AFTER over two weeks on the hook at Hamburg Cove, we finally left our snug little hurricane hole yesterday. Contrary to plans, we did not head north. Turns out that the flooding in PA has stranded my parents in their road schooner in Harrisburg, PA, so Cape Cod was off. We’re terribly disappointed to miss seeing my aunt, uncle and cousin, but with only a few weeks until Alex and Rob’s wedding in DC, we decided to skeedadle back south.
The Connecticut River was uber-swollen (that’s German for very swollen), a bit post-apocalyptic and evocative of the Yangtze, not that I’ve ever seen the Yangtze, but you get the idea. The muddy, current-swirled waters were full of debris, and we were on constant watch for the many tree-sized logs. The swift flow brought us down to the railroad bascule bridge in record time. Then, because we are genuises, we waited 20 minutes for the bridge to open motoring in place up the river, before we thought of calling the bridge tender and asking him to open it. Hey, it’s supposed to be open all the time, except when a train is actually using it, so it wasn’t that stupid. (OK, it was…) That extra 20 minutes woulda been really helpful later in the day.
Just outside the Saybrook breakwater, there was a clearly-described line where the muddy river waters met the clear blue water of the sound, demarcated by a scuzzy foam of twigs, logs and trash.
Because we had to hit the breakwater at slack or on the ebb, we ended up trying to sail into an ebb tide all day. Pretty soon we were making only 2.5 knots in a good 18 knots of wind, which was progressively turning to blow from exactly where we were headed. So we fired up the engine and motor-sailed for a while, at least until we noticed that it was belching ugly, white smoke out the back. Yikes! We continued on for a small bit, thinking it was working out some water in the system or something, but it became clear that we were facing an injector problem when it didn’t work itself out. The injector oil had been a bit low when Pip checked it before we left, but we didn’t know what kind of oil to put in it. So I did what any thinking nearly-40-year-old adult would do: I called Dad. Who only gave me a minimum amount of lecturing, and informed us that it took regular motor oil. Yay!
So we added the oil and got under way again, hoping that the smoke would diminish as the oil worked its way into the injectors. No such luck. It was a stressful afternoon, making shitty time against the current and hoping to God that we made Port Jefferson before dark. Becca valiantly fought a migraine (stoopid coffee) while Philip and I tried to keep our sniping at each other at a volume that wouldn’t hurt her brain.
The approach to Port Jefferson was therefore particularly sweet, the nearly-full moon rising behind us as the sun set brilliantly behind the clouds, with just enough light to slip in between the breakwaters and anchor before the stars came out.
It was a chilly, clear night, thankfully almost windless. It’s clearly fall now — the air is crisp, trees are turning and the Sound was deserted. We actually wore jeans and fleeces for most of the sail yesterday. Clearly time to head south!
We’re in town now, enjoying Starbucks’ free interwebs and mediocre coffee before exploring this quaint little village. This afternoon, we plan to grab a mooring in the sand pit, a big cove just inside the harbor with high sand walls, created in the early 20th century when the sand was mined to supply NYC with its miles and miles of concrete.
Speaking of centuries, I was reminded that we’re in the 21st this morning when I logged on to Facebook for the first time in a couple of weeks and discovered that my baby brother got MARRIED. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I learned my brother got married on FACEBOOK. Seriously. Did this not merit a phone call, for chrissake?? What, should we Facebook them gifts? Mafia Wars or Farmville credits? Or one of those cheesy little $1 roses you can “send” someone? I wonder what Emily Post would make of THAT?
Oh, and Becca promises to write a blog post soon. She’d better. It’s part of the crewing duties.