Skip to content

October 26, 2014

10

September Song – Connecticut to Annapolis

by frankandems

It’s October. Our last post was early in September. We’ve been back in Annapolis for a couple of weeks. So we need to catch up with the end of our summer cruise.

“September Song” started running through my head. You know the song? It’s a classic that was written for a movie in the 40s and has since been covered by Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett and – our favorite version – by Willie Nelson.

“Oh, it’s a long, long way from May to December,
But the days grow short when you reach September.
When the autumn weather turns the leaves to flame
One hasn’t got time for
the waiting game.”

Well the days notably turned shorter, but we certainly made the most of them!

After Newport, we only had a couple of other “must see” destinations and those were on the coast of Connecticut, an area we didn’t see at all last year. The really cool thing about cruising north this year is that we had made friends with a number of cruisers over the winter whose home bases are in Connecticut and who had invited us to stop in on our way through!

We had a good trip from Newport to Stonington, CT. What a lovely port. We were very fortunate to visit with cruising friends who ran us around for some boat errands, groceries and laundry – AND fed us a delightful dinner.

Stonington

Coming in to Stonington, CT and the view at Dodson’s Boatyard.

I was amused by this sign. I'm sure there's a joke here.

I was amused by this sign. I’m sure there’s a joke here.

image

One of many lighthouses in the area

Our next trip was up the Connecticut River to Essex, CT. We grabbed a mooring ball at the Brewer Dauntless Marina – a very nice stop if you’re looking – and enjoyed the quaint main street of Essex with the upscale shops and specialty food markets. Not where you’d shop every day that you’re cruising, but a nice treat for a couple of days. There’s just something about New England. We also discovered the Griswold Inn (or “The Gris”) for food and drinks. They have a pub and a wine bar and we tried both! Enjoyed a picnic lunch with cruising friends and a really fun dinner in town with friends that evening! Thanks to all our Connecticut hosts!

image

Going up the Connecticut River to Essex

image

Who ya gonna call?

image

High marks for the ice cream in Essex!

image

The gang from the yacht club coming back from an evening sail.

image

Frank making friends.

image

Strolling around Essex

image

Eleanor Q on her mooring ball at Essex

The Gris

Hanging out at “The Gris”

We learned about the strong current in the river by watching the sailing club trying to come back in to port at max flood!! They came in dead sidewise, crabbing their way through the mooring field. A few had paddles off the side of the boat trying hard to keep themselves from overshooting their target. Great entertainment.

The last night in Essex was sort of the last night of “vacation” in some respects. Now our mission was just to get back to Annapolis post haste. We really liked our approach to getting here in August – make a longer trip and passage and get it over with. That was going to be our approach going back, too, but a lot of things have to align for that to happen.
1) The weather and wind have to be favorable, of course.
2) From Long Island Sound, you have to go back through New York City. Talk about a place where you really have to go with the tides . . . so timing the tide through “Hell Gate” (that’s the name, really) and the the East River is critical.
3) Once you get through there, what’s the tide doing at Sandy Hook at the top of NJ?
4) Okay, so now what’s the wind direction as you head down the coast of NJ? That’s the overnight part.
5) And after that, if you want to keep going, what’s the current doing past Cape May and turning north up into the Delaware Bay?
6) AND THEN, when you get to the top of the Delaware Bay, which way is the current going through the C&D Canal?

If the current isn’t in your favor in any of those places, you have to break the trip up into chunks and wait it out . . . or you can try powering through any of those places against the current and just about sit still in place and waste a bunch of fuel. That makes no sense and is not recommended. We used our Eldridge Tide and Pilot Book, the boater’s Bible for all things tide and current related, and found a window of about three days where all the tides aligned . . . if only we could get the good weather to go with it.

So we did a long but beautiful day down the Long Island Sound clear from Essex to Port Washington, NY just north of the city, passing right by Port Jefferson. We plotted the exact time we needed to leave Port Washington to start our trek which would be on a Sunday around 11am. That gave us all day Saturday to rest and prepare for the overnight trip down the coast.

The youth sailing class being towed back to land in the rain in Port Washington

The youth sailing class being towed back to land in the rain in Port Washington

And sure enough, the forecast looked great. We did a little happy dance (okay, I did a little happy dance . . . Frank just looked pleased) because everything was lining up perfectly. We departed Port Washington on schedule at 11:00am, had another exhilarating trip through New York City (never get tired of that), whipped around the top of NJ just before sunset and motor sailed, then just motored down the coast overnight in extremely calm, benign, comfortable conditions. Yes, some more wind to sail would be nice . . but for overnighters, we’re happy for really settled conditions so the one not on watch has an actual chance at sleeping. We were riding the engine pretty hard, too, to get us to the Delaware Bay in time to catch the changing current direction just right. There were a number of other boats who had the same idea and we found each other on the radio and suggested calling each other a few times during the overnight hours just to hear another voice out there in the dark and to “shepherd” one another down the coast a bit. We were not necessarily within sight of each other, but we were within a few miles. Always nice to have some company offshore in the dark.

Some of the boats stopped in Cape May, but a handful of us kept charging on. Another fleet of boats had been in Cape May overnight and were setting out up the Delaware. That was the most boats we’ve seen on that leg yet. It was fun! A virtual flotilla.

We zipped up the bay with the current (motor sailing), caught the current right in the C&D Canal and got to Chesapeake City, MD at the end of the canal by 5pm on Monday evening – 30 hours after departing Port Washington! Mission accomplished! The more overnights we do, the better we get at them. We did 4 hour shifts overnight and both got some reasonable sleep . . . but we did crash big time Monday night after a fun dinner with another cruising couple that we had met via radio and by waving as we passed each other in Ocracoke . . . finally got to talk face to face! Always a fun part of the adventure.

image

I was taking pictures of the cable car over the bridge . . .

image

. . . when I saw this helicopter approaching, low . . .

image

. . . and it got lower and closer . . .

. . . and then passed port to port with us UNDER the bridge! Only in New York.

. . . and then passed port to port with us UNDER the bridge! Only in New York.

image

Never get tired of this view.

image

See you next time, New York!

image

A gorgeous sunset as we rounded Sandy Hook, NJ.

image

Heading up the Delaware Bay: This unusal vessel was coming down the bay. It’s a Joint High Speed Vessel named USNS Chocktaw County. (US Naval Ship). Can cruise from 34 to 42 knots. It didn’t put out a wake – it put out a tsunami! Look at the tidal wave behind it.

We enjoyed a lay day in Chesapeake City just wandering around town. I used the term “lay day” in an email to my family one morning . . . they were unfamiliar with it’s origins. It basically means a day when a vessel is at dock but the crew has no particular responsibility for that period of time. We were back in the bay!! Home waters! There is always a sense of comfort when we get back in the Chesapeake. We spent the rest of the week just enjoying short travel days and nosing around the bay. Stopped in the Sassafras River for a day. Visited Bodkin Creek the next. And then . . . we were back in Annapolis, back at Stella’s Stern and Keel. Back “home.”

Anchored up in Chesapeake City after a successful 31 hour voyage

Anchored up in Chesapeake City after a successful 31 hour voyage

We earned ourselves a couple of perfect Dark and Stormies!

We earned ourselves a couple of perfect Dark and Stormies!

Day 2 in Chesapeake City - parked at the free dock watching the tankers transit the canal.

Day 2 in Chesapeake City – parked at the free dock watching the tankers transit the canal.

Walking around Chesapeake City - saw this shop. They say it ain't what it used to be.

Walking around Chesapeake City – saw this shop. They say it ain’t what it used to be.

Anchored up in the Sassafrass River

Anchored up in the Sassafrass River

Sunset in the Sassafrass

Sunset in the Sassafrass

Sailing back under the Chesapeake Bay Bridge - coming home.

Sailing back under the Chesapeake Bay Bridge – coming home.

With the Bay Bridge behind us, we're filled with mixed emotions of a deep sense of accomplishment, gratitude and some melancholy.

With the Bay Bridge behind us, we’re filled with mixed emotions of a deep sense of accomplishment, gratitude and some melancholy.

Home. What will home be in 2015?

Well, we can tell you that we’ve decided not to go south on the boat this winter. We’re going to take a sabbatical from our sabbatical and go back to work for a while. What is that going to look like and where is that going to be? We’ll let you know just as soon as we’ve finished figuring that part out ourselves! Meanwhile, we just had ourselves a heck of an end of summer cruise and look forward to some fall time in the bay.

“Oh these days dwindle down to a precious few, and these few precious days I’ll spend with you.” You said it, Willie.

10 Comments Post a comment
  1. Harold Elmore
    Oct 27 2014

    Mary Marie and Frank,

    All good wishes to you in your sabbatical from your sabbatical!

    And safe traveling on land!

    Harold

    *From:* Voyages of the Eleanor Q [mailto:comment-reply@wordpress.com] *Sent:* Sunday, October 26, 2014 11:53 PM *To:* elmore_h@wvwc.edu *Subject:* [New post] September Song – Connecticut to Annapolis

    frankandems posted: “It’s October. Our last post was early in September. We’ve been back in Annapolis for a couple of weeks. So we need to catch up with the end of our summer cruise. “September Song” started running through my head. You know the song? It’s a classic that w”

    Reply
    • Nov 4 2014

      Thank you Harold! Always look forward to your comments.

      Reply
  2. Nadia
    Oct 27 2014

    I love reading of your adventures….they are certainly refreshing! Still looking for a hone…..away from home? Well, it is better in the Bahamas!! Lol! Enjoy, thanks for sharing.
    Nadia

    Reply
    • Nov 4 2014

      Nadia – always nice to hear from you! Looks like all is well with you. Tell your dad hello!!

      Reply
    • Nov 4 2014

      We’ll miss seeing you this winter!

      Reply
  3. Nov 1 2014

    Mary Marie and Frank: We look forward to your updates. Take care. Nancy and Rick

    Reply
  4. Loretta and Jim Elliott
    Nov 3 2014

    Wow, that’s alot packed into a short time! You go guys. Good luck with the sabbatical. Sorry we’re not going to see you on the water this winter! Boo hoo! Please keep in touch. Loretta and Jim s/v Plan Sea

    Reply
  5. Nov 22 2014

    Great post! From Stellas to Stellas, how long were you guys gone? Thinking of squeezing in a cruise north once school lets out 🙂 I’m sad we never got to hang with you guys. I truly feel we’d have a lot to chat about hearing your ideas on “home,” and sabbaticals and such. I understand heading back to work, you guys had a GREAT run and knowing you can do it again, whenever you’d like, must be a freeing feeling. I’m very scared of that Navy vessel by the way. I’m pretty sure it would capsize our little Journey! You guys take care and thank you for updating the blog so we can keep track of you! Hug Frank from me 🙂

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Note: HTML is allowed. Your email address will never be published.

Subscribe to comments

%d bloggers like this: