Oyster Bay to Locust Point, Bronx, NY

31 October (Happy Halloween!): Refueled diesel at the Oyster Bay Marina (gotta love New York State fuel prices…) and headed towards the New York City skyline. Destination: Throgg’s Neck, Bronx and the Locust Point Yacht Club.

LoungingOur good friend Sarah, who I went to college with and who worked at the Shoals Marine Lab with us this past summer, has a long-time family membership at LPYC. Given the storm head our way this weekend, her family graciously offered to let us stay at the yacht club until the weather cleared for a New Jersey coast transit (the worst passage of our trip south).

Passing Hart’s Island (Wikipedia it… perfect for a Halloween sail), and City Island, we crossed under the Throgg’s Neck Bridge and anchored to wait for a higher tide in order to clear the channel into LPYC.

Pumpkins ahoy!While making lunch and killing time, we heard a terrifying may-day come over the marine VHF radio. A large sportfishing vessel had struck the rocks somewhere nearby. The Coast Guard kept asking how many people were on board and needed a location. Meanwhile, other mariners in the area were relaying detai ls as this boat started rapidly taking on water. At first, we walked around the deck of the boat with our handheld radio trying to get a good signal. An NYPD boat flew past us under the Throgg’s Neck Bridge. Only then did we notice that we could see the sinking vessel about a half mile away, crushed against the rocks at Stepping Stone Lighthouse. SeaTow tried to pull the boat off of the rocks, but could only move it a couple hundred yards before the boat was lost. What a wild welcome to NYC.

Once the tide came in, Sarah and her dad brought their Whaler out to greet us and led us through a narrow channel into the yacht club. Such incredible hospitality, we cannot thank the Locust Point Yacht Club and Sarah’ family enough! It really was the best spot we could have hoped to end up given incoming bad weather.

Snapchats from Sarah

Snapchats from Sarah

After touring the club house, we ended up all over the easternmost neighborhoods of the Bronx with the dogs: SUNY Maritime (with an awesome under-bridge, elevated park that was once an old fort), past a slew of trick-o-treaters, and we definitely looked like we fit in… haha.

Spare prop for the Abby B? Seems reasonable.

Spare prop for the Abby B? Seems reasonable.

We contemplated going into the city for Halloween — which would have been a blast — but given our exhaustion, we opted for a low-key Halloween night on the boat. I carved a pumpkin and Alex watched. Big night. No costumes were worn. Maybe next year? Anyways, Happy Halloween from your favorite floating family!

Happy Halloween

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Old Saybrook, CT to Oyster Bay, NY

30 October: Set out from Saybrook Point early on the morning for a long transit across Long Island Sound. Destination: Oyster Bay, Long Island, New York.

Saybrook sunriseThe weather was sunny but cold, and we tried to stay tucked in as close to the north shore until we passed New Haven in case the winds picked up. They stayed relatively mild, so we crossed the Sound with New York City just barely visible on the horizon late in the afternoon.

Dog daysAlex caught another huge bluefish around 3pm today, and we decided to butcher it right on deck before getting to Oyster Bay. I positioned myself in the bow with knives, a bucket of seawater, and Ziploc bags for the filets. Just as we started cleaning the fish, the winds and seas increased and Alex had to take the helm while I bounced up-and-down in the bow with the dead/bloody bluefish. (That’s what a marine biology degree is for, right?)

"King of the Blues"

Capt. Al: “King of the Blues”

In Oyster Bay, we cruised passed the mega-mansions and exclusive yacht clubs. I think it’s safe to say that the garden sheds of some of these homes would have made a small family very happy. Pulled up to the fuel dock at the town marina just as it was closing, and got permission to stay tied up while we walked the dogs. Oyster Bay has an enormous sports/park complex just outside the marina,complete with bright field lights and perfectly manicured grass – a great place to take the dogs for a stroll. The only problem: no dogs allowed. WHAT?! Who makes a dog-free park? Isn’t that one of the principal reasons for having a park in the first place?

So, rather than outright break the rules, we took a walk with dogs around the park boundary. Our near incursion onto park land did not go unnoticed – a truck labelled “park maintenance” stalked us until we crossed the parking lot and exited the premises.

We toured downtown Oyster Bay, which was very quiet on a Thursday night.

Took a mooring for the night and cooked up another bluefish feast. After two successful and delicious bluefish dinners, we’re convinced that the key to good bluefish is freshness. Pan seared in butter, skin-on, with garlic, rosemary, red pepper flakes, oregano, salt, and pepper — we tried our best, but couldn’t possibly eat it all. Needless to say, the dogs ate very well. So many omega-3’s!

Saybrook, CT

29 October: Slept in today! And decided to take a day off from beating into the wind.

SaybrookWe took the dogs for a short walk that turned into a 5-hour tour de force around Saybrook Point and Old Saybrook. (As it turns out, “Old” Saybrook is a very appropriate name for the town haha.) Weather was BEAUTIFUL! We walked along private golf courses, Sound beaches, lighthouse point, and retaining walls, all the way downtown — Halloween decorations and pumpkins filled neighborhoods. By 3pm-ish, we stopped for drinks and a plate of nachos on the outside patio of the Penny Lane Tavern. It was so nice to explore a new place for the first time during our trip! If only the cold winds didn’t keep reminding us that we need to get south – fast!

Saybrook Dockin'Another cruising sailboat, Sal’s My Gal, was at the end of the marina dock when we returned. The nice older couple on board was also heading south, and hinted at a weather window for the Jersey coast this coming Monday… very interesting… I think we should rename the Abby B to Al’s My Pal.

Point Judith, RI to Old Saybrook, CT

28 October: Left Point Judith just before sunrise and motored out of the harbor’s breakwater system. Today we planned to enter Long Island Sound via “The Race” and see how far we could get given SW winds and 3 ft seas.

Marine Mammal spotting teamAs we neared The Race, fishing activity picked up and there were tons of seabirds in the area! Avoiding the large trawlers, we picked up speed with the current and cruised at a steady 7 kts. Soon, we had a small pod of Atlantic White-sided dolphins riding our bow through The Race. We immediately set the autopilot and Alex and I rushed forward to watch them. The dolphins — covered in scars and clicking and chirping to each other (SO COOL!) — played in our bow wake for about 10 minutes while we tried to get as many photos and videos as we could. Our first close-up marine mammal encounter! Luna even got some dolphin action; Piper of course stayed huddled in the stern haha.

Pod of Atlantic White-sided dolphins riding our bow through The Race into Long Island Sound

Pod of Atlantic White-sided dolphins riding our bow through The Race into Long Island Sound

After seeing how rich The Race waters were with marine life, Alex set our trolling gear out, and within an hour we caught an enormous 32-inch bluefish, who put up a damn good fight! We were still several hours from our next port, so we collected a gallon of seawater over the side, put the thrashing fish in a (clean) seawater-filled garbage bag with ice on the deck, and eagerly awaited a dinner feast.

Originally we thought New London looked like our best bet for dockage tonight, but as we approached New London we felt pretty good about continuing ahead, and set our sights on Saybrook Point, CT instead. Unfortunately, over the next half hour, the winds picked up strong (15+ kts) from the west and the seas got choppier and more confused. Great.

Arriving in Saybrook around 2:30pm, we got a sweet off-season rate for a slip at Harbor One Marina, and made the most of the afternoon tidying up the boat and prepping the bluefish for dinner.

Our awesome friends Sarah, Taylor, and their adorable daughter joined us for an aquatic feast on the boat. Maggy rocked a toothpick shaker instrument all night, and we only had one odd encounter with a fellow marina-goer, who tried to give Alex and Taylor attitude about our slip, and then ended up bringing us a copy of Eldredge. It was so nice to see good friends, talk about boats, and share our new sailing adventure with them!

Saybrook Harbor entrance

Marion, MA to Point Judith, RI

27 October: Woke up early to unfavorable winds as we tried to jog as far into Rhode Island as possible. Initially, our goal was to get as far as Newport. We pounded into the wind and waves all day, but made decent time and speed, which was too good to give up, even under bumpy conditions. And we had the sun to keep us warm so long as the genny (front sail) didn’t block it too much.

Piper seemed to calm down more today, and slept in her Mexican blanket for most of the trip. Still a wimpy princess, but improving!

By midday, we were passing Newport and decided that we could make it as far as Point Judith, Rhode Island. (Another big day!) Pulled into Point Judith around 5pm and tied up to the fuel dock for the night. (Definitely getting spoiled with dock tie-ups, but it’s just so convenient for the dogs haha). Dinner, bed. Phew!

Point Judith, RI dockage

Point Judith, RI dockage