June 5, 2001
LESSON LEARNED #1: When NOAA radio says there is dense fog on Long Island Sound, BELIEVE THEM!
Story behind Lesson Learned #1: We were up at our usual 0600/0630 on Sunday morning, ready to travel on to Mystic, Connecticut. It was very foggy, as NOAA radio was broadcasting! So, we decided to wait until 0800. Well, around 0800 we had convinced ourselves that it was clearing so we started down the Connecticut River. We got half way to the inlet, couldn't see more than mile in front of us, and wisely decided to pull out of the channel and anchor for an hour or so until it got a little brighter. At 1000 we once again convinced ourselves that the sun was starting to break through the clouds. Up came the anchor and on we went. By the time we got to the inlet, however, we couldn't see more than 200 yards in front of us. We were fine and knew where we were using the charts and GPS, but at that visibility it would have been a long trip since we had a three to four hour trip ahead of us. It was now 1100 so we decided to go back to our Essex anchorage and wait to go to Mystic until Monday. And wouldn't you know it - as soon as we pulled into the anchorage basin, the sun came out! Oh well, we spent the rest of the day doing the ever-present odd maintenance jobs. (Side note for other boaters: The anchorage in Essex that we used was just east of Nott Island. Although the channel is thin and there is just enough swing room, the water is deep within it and the anchorage was quiet and pretty).
LESSON LEARNED #2: Always read AND COMPREHEND Reed's (tide and current listings) before heading out.
Story behind Lesson Learned #2: On beautiful Monday morning, we once again set out for Mystic. We had checked tide and current tables two days ago so we knew "about" when the tide change would occur. We were off by about an hour meaning that for the first 2 hours of our trip to Mystic, we were against the tides - - translation: we were only going 5.5 MPH with following winds! Not a problem, but the difference between 5.5 MPH and 7.5 MPH is a lot when you are anxious to get somewhere.
We stayed at the Mystic Seaport Marina last night - - the marina is right at Mystic Seaport Museum (a smaller scale, water-oriented Williamsburg-type village - - very pretty, informative, and relaxed). We were the only transient there which meant that during the evening we had the whole place to ourselves (+ the 2 security guys). Kind of cool! If anyone else gets here, we would recommend Trader Jack's tavern in the town of Mystic. It is a great local place with friendly people and price sandwiches and appetizers during Happy Hour.
On that same note, we would recommend the Black Seal Grill and Tavern in Essex. Great food and friendly people. Also for the boaters who may go to Essex we found that the best place to tie up the dinghy when going to town is the town dock next to the museum (which is a pretty good museum, by the way).
We are now anchored off of Stonington behind the break wall. Stonington is much quieter than Mystic or Essex but still has lovely old homes and quaint shops (I'm assuming the shops are quaint. I don't know for sure as Brian won't let me do any shopping since the Mystic Seaport Marina charged $3.00/foot per night! Guess he'll have to drink even cheaper beer).
If the weather cooperates (and we remember Lesson Learned #2), we are off to Block Island tomorrow morning for several nights - - if we don't remember Lessons Learned #2, it could take us DAYS to get there.)
Jeri and Brian