Dan and Marcia on Cutting Class showed us on our charts some of the anchorages in the area they enjoy so we decided to stay in the area and check them out.
On Monday we dropped the mooring and headed out to move further down Long Island Sound. As we moved into mouth of the river we made a pass by the lighthouse. It is a granite building on a rock in the entrance. It is pretty impressive. We also were hearing warnings about a submarine in the area. We could see it further out in the sound but were too far away to see much, even with binoculars. It was about the same view of a sub that we had as we were approaching the river earlier in week. We turned east and motored between Fishers Island and the mainland down to Stonington. The harbor is well protected with two long break walls but is full of moorings, both private and for rent. They do have a section marked off for anchoring so that is where we went. We had only traveled about five miles so it was still early and we went ashore to look around. There are a lot of old historical buildings dating back to the late 1700’s.
Tuesday we worked on a couple of projects, specifically charging the batteries and repairing the water heater. This winter we started having a problem with the safety valve leaking when we would try to heat water when plugged in of with the generator. While in New London we made a trip to Defender, a marine supply company we often order from, and bought a replacement valve. Once the batteries were up to power I flipped the switch for the water heater and soon we had hot water without a leak. Problem solved. In the afternoon we decided to make a run to Watch Hill with the dinghy. It is about a two and a half mile trip. It is a very popular resort area with a lot of small shops, very nice beaches and old houses, Inns and hotels. We took a short walk over to the East Beach and followed the path to the beach. The path follows the fence that was built to keep the public from getting too close to Taylor Swifts house.
On Wednesday the forecast was for more rain but the morning dawned with thick fog. By late morning it had burned off and we went back into town to look around again. The guide books mentioned a fish market by the docks and we stopped by to check it out. The fish all looked good but we opted for the scallops instead. We had them for dinner and they were great. In the evening it finally did rain but the area north of us got it a lot worse than us.
We decided to move again so in the late morning on Thursday we pulled anchor and moved back towards New London to an anchorage at Noank CT, a trip of about four miles. Most of the anchorage area is filled with mooring balls but Dan had pointed out an area next to Ram Island so we dropped anchor there. We hung out on the boat and watched boats come and go. I am constantly impressed with the number of boats in the area.
Friday was our anniversary so we went into Noank to find a post office and have lunch. We tried the lobster roll at Fords Lobster Shack on the waterfront. From there we took the dinghy up the river about three miles to the town of Mystic. We had been there about twenty years ago but not by boat. The main attraction of Mystic is the Mystic Seaport. It is a combination of 1800 seaport village and seaport. They also do reconstructive work on old wooden ships. They have a very impressive collection of wooden boats including the last whaling ship. We didn’t stop but rode slowly through the harbor looking at the boats. We tied up at the dinghy dock and did a short tour of the town, including a stop at the Drawbridge Ice Cream Shop. The ride back got a little rough but was without incident.
Saturday was a big day. We had been invited by Rob and Diane on Date Night to their annual clam bake. We spent the afternoon visiting and learning how they steam their clams, potatoes, corn and lobsters in a fire pit. We also got instructions on how to eat a freshly cooked lobster, messy but good. Rob and Diane also being cruisers know what is important so Cori was told to bring the laundry along and she got that done while we were there. Laundry is always a problem and priority.
The spot we were anchored in had a problem causing us to roll with current and wind so we decided we would leave Sunday. The morning dawned with fog. As the fog was burning off the locals were coming to the anchorage to swim and go ashore on the island. Once the fog had cleared enough we pulled the anchor and maneuvered among the boats to head east again. We had plans to try to make it to Newport RI but soon the fog moved in again. Thick fog! We turned on the radar to try to track the boats around us and we heard a lot of talk on the radio as people were moving about and reporting the conditions. At times it would thin out and we could see the traffic around us, a combination of sailboats, fishing boats, powerboats and boats just sitting and fishing. As the fog thickened again we decided to call it quits and go back into Stonington. Our chart plotter marks a trail everywhere we go so we were able to follow out previous track into the anchorage. We were not able to see the breakwalls or the boats in the harbor for the fog so it was good that we had been there before and that we had radar. The fog thinned out a little and we were able to pick a spot to drop the anchor. The fog cleared in the late afternoon and many of the boats around us left but we decided to stay for the night.
Monday morning I slept in and eventually we pulled the anchor and headed out for Newport RI. The wind was light and from behind us so we decided to fly the spinnaker. We would make better time if we motored but we were not in a hurry. We were able to sail at 3-4 knots and just relaxed for the day. Since we were not going to make it to Newport by evening we stopped off at Point Judith and dropped the anchor. There was a lobster boat working in the area and Cori flagged him down to see if he had any to sell. We bought three for $20 and cooked them up for dinner. They couldn’t get any fresher.
Newport was just around the point and up the river so on Tuesday morning we pulled anchor and motored up the river. When we arrived in Newport we called the harbormaster and got direction to the anchorage. After anchoring we launched the dinghy and checked out the shore facilities. We checked out the Mariners Center which has a dinghy dock, lounge, showers, laundry and Wi-Fi. From there we walked around town for a awhile. The number and size of the boats here is mind boggling. There are very active sailing schools so there are a lot of small boats out learning to sail which is fun to watch.
Wednesday we went ashore again to get some provisions. We also visited a nautical consignment store but didn’t need anything. We had lunch at the White Horse Tavern which bills itself as the oldest Tavern in the county, operating since the 1600’s. The wind was kicking up the water in the harbor so it was a wet ride back and we decided to spend the rest of the day on the boat. One of the yacht clubs marks sundown by shooting off their cannon as they take down the flag. Cori joins in by blowing her conch at sundown also and tonight it was a beautiful sunset.