Sunday, August 24, 2014

Final hours in Connecticut

We are anchored in Stamford Harbor, behind one of the massive breakwaters that protect the harbor from the ravages of the Sound (map).  Just outside the breakwater, about midway across, stands the Stamford Harbor Light (photo above).  The vast majority of water in the harbor deep enough for us is covered in mooring balls, but we found an area with plenty of swing room across the rocks from the main channel.

It was quite choppy on the Sound yesterday, but we felt little of it until we turned north just outside the harbor.  The combination of a tight turn to starboard with winds and waves from the east rolled us to port well past the ability of the stabilizers to correct, and the fridge door flew open, sending items from the top shelf, including the all-important beer, flying across the kitchen.  Sea latches for the new fridge are on my to-do list, but we need to be docked near a hardware store for that project.

As soon as we passed between the breakwaters, the water got calm, although the wind pushed us all over the channel.  Quite a few boats passed us going the other way, heading out for a day on the Sound, and we thought they might not really know what they were in for.

Even with the last minute motoring around the harbor and squeaking over the shoals west of the channel, courtesy of a seven-foot high tide, we had the hook set before lunch.  That let us watch the festivities from the comfort of our easy chair -- more than one boat came back from the Sound speedy-quick, opting instead to spend their Saturday swinging from a mooring a bit south of where we anchored.

This morning's view of Stamford from our anchorage.  Ritzy waterfront homes, closer to us, on the left, with the city's newest condos rising skyward in the background to the right.

Weekends often bring a fair bit of excitement.  Across the sound near Manhasset bay, where we spent a lovely couple of days earlier this month, two sailboats sank in 40' of water (and earlier this week a boat exploded at the fuel dock there, killing one and injuring two more).  We had two separate DSC distress alerts send our radio into a frenzy, and I spent some time talking to the Coast Guard as well as to someone in a rental boat who thought his kids might have set it off by mistake.  No one, it would seem, actually reads the user manual that came with their radio -- one woman responded to the CG's "Pan-Pan" call with "What's a DSC alert?"

I chose this stop because I knew it would be well-protected from the weather on the Sound, and it was about four hours from our last stop and four hours to our next stop, a great mid-point.  Stamford itself was not really on our must-see list, and the listing in Active Captain said there were no dinghy landings here.  Once we were in quarters, though, my curiosity got the better of me and I started to research ways we could get off the boat -- we haven't been off the boat in three days and it will be another two or three days before our next opportunity.

There's not really a good way to get to town -- despite the historic harbor, Stamford is not really a waterfront city.  But I did find two waterfront restaurants attached to a marina, which offers a dock-and-dine rate of $1 per foot.  Ten bucks (our dinghy is 10') was an acceptable fee to get ashore for a meal and get four days of accumulated trash off the boat, and we tendered in for a nice meal at La Dolce Cubano, which was uber-trendy but had great food.

On our way back to Vector after dinner we stopped at the fuel dock across the channel just as they were closing, to top up the tender.  We realized at the last minute that we'd have no opportunity to get gasoline once we arrive at 79th Street Boat Basin.  The dock hands at both docks were extremely courteous and helpful.  I don't think Stamford sees many transients, so were were something of a curiosity.

Somewhere west of here is the summit of the Sound's tidal hill -- the point where the flood from the eastern Sound and the flood from the East River meet.  We will leave here towards the end of the flood to arrive at the entrance to the river in time for the ebb, which will carry us downhill to Anchorage 14, Hallets Cove, just south of Hell Gate.

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