Saturday, June 25, 2022

On the flip-flop

We are under way westbound in Long Island Sound, after a lovely couple of weeks at the forks. In years past we would have continued east and north, cruising New England, but today we are headed back toward the Hudson, where we will turn north to our next destination, a family gathering at the end of the month.

Sunset over Greenport from Dering Harbor. Using my anchor day shape to strategically block a neighbor from my shot.

When last I posted here two weeks ago, we had just anchored in Port Jefferson harbor, and that is again our destination today. We weighed anchor with the tide and made such good time that we bypassed Truman Cove and ran all the way to Orient Point. We raced through Plum Gut with the current behind us and headed south, toward Sag Harbor on the south fork.

Being nearly a week early for our reservation in Greenport, we were in no hurry to get to Sag, or anywhere, really, and especially on a weekend. So with the wind forecast to pick up overnight, we opted to try out a new anchorage, squeezing through the narrow channel into Coecles Harbor on Shelter Island. We dropped the hook in the lovely protected anchorage (map), where anchoring is permitted for up to 48 hours. There is not much to access ashore, so we left the tender on deck and had a nice dinner aboard.

While raising the mast in Port Washington, the latch on this deck plate broke off in my hand. I did my best with what I had on hand to fabricate a replacement from a piece of HDPE while we were in Sag Harbor.

Monday morning we weighed anchor and made the very short run to Sag Harbor, which was as quiet as we have ever seen it. We had no trouble finding a very nice, close-in spot to drop the hook (map). We tendered ashore for dinner at the new-to-us Il Cappucino, which had some nice outside tables albeit a little further from the bustling town center.

The finished piece in the latched/stowed position. I did not have a large enough piece to fill in the semicircle.

Tuesday we made arrangements to meet up with good friends Cora and Dave, who have a lovely place about a 20 minute drive away. We met up at Sen downtown and snagged a nice table by the wide open patio doors. After dinner we enjoyed a cocktail at the American Hotel, where we enjoyed chatting with long-time barkeep Vinny.

Two nights was plenty of Sag Harbor for our tastes, and Wednesday morning we weighed anchor at just the right time to have a fair current all the way around the west side of Shelter Island to Dering Harbor, directly across the channel from Greenport. We dropped the hook in the limited open anchorage (map), where we expected to spend the five nights until our dock reservation. We splashed the tender and headed across to Greenport for some groceries, and dinner at Andy's.

The snow plow "Jaws" along with a boxcar and caboose at the Railroad Museum of Long Island, in the old Greenport LIRR station.

When we were dropping the hook, we observed a piece of 2x4 lumber floating nearby. It was not close enough to be in our way, and we just assumed it was flotsam. But when we returned from dinner, it was still right where we left it, but sticking up at an angle, both suggesting it was attached to the bottom, and we brought the dink alongside to investigate. It turned out to be a home-made "winter stick," sometimes called a "sully stick," and it was right in the middle of our anchor circle.

I asked our server what incident prompted this sign, at Lucharitos. She only said it was just what you might imagine.

Moorings in seasonal areas are either removed entirely for the off-season, or else the mooring is left in place, and the chain is dropped to the bottom to settle into the mud. A rope is attached to the end of the chain, with the "winter stick" attached. This is usually a spar buoy, which will always float vertically and protrude above the water. Usually these small spar buoys are tolerant of ice, and can move around with the ice to the limits of the chain and rope.

Louise, our nieces, and their mom at the rink, in the American Legion hall. Stage at left is original to the building.

This home-made winter stick protruded above the water at high tide, but at low tide it just looked like a floating 2x4, since the owner failed to weight the bottom end. Alongside, we could see it had a name on it, which matched the name on a mooring perhaps 200 yards away. Once we knew what it was, we realized we had a problem, because we could easily snag our prop, rudder, or stabilizer fins on it when we swung around at anchor.

Once upon a time this was the enormous bar for the American Legion. Even though they still use the hall, this is now a snack bar for the rink.

Winds would hold us a hundred feet from it overnight, but in the morning we weighed anchor and moved far enough north to put it outside our circle altogether (map). Not before chasing an osprey off the boat, who was attempting to build a nest using our wind instrument as a starting point. The sound of a 1/2" diameter, three foot long stick falling and landing on the steel deck woke us up and alerted us to the activity. After I heaved the rest of the construction overboard, he came back and started again atop our mast, and I had to break out the ladder. I tied a streamer of surplus quilt fabric to the WiFi antenna to dissuade further attempts, which seems to have worked.

This stick wedged behind our WiFi antenna is the intended foundation for an osprey nest.

We did make it ashore another couple of times from Dering Harbor, but as the weekend arrived, stiff winds out of the north made the crossing untenable, and Saturday we weighed anchored and moved across the channel to Pipes Cove. Mindful of our experience with the oyster farms there from our last visit, we dropped the hook well away from where we thought the farms extended (map), spending our final two nights at anchor here.

Sunset from the yard at the Southold house, a nightly ritual.

Our friends from California arrived Saturday evening, and they picked us up at the dinghy dock and whisked us to the family compound for dinner, notwithstanding that the original plan had them arriving on Monday. The next five nights are a blur of dinners involving too much food, lots of laughter, catching up, home repair, wine tasting, and even a visit to the roller rink, hosted in the American Legion hall -- our first time back on skates in a very long time.

That same sunset reflected in three pairs of glasses.

On Monday we moved to the dock at the Mitchell Park Marina (map), as scheduled, where we remained for the next four nights. That let us put the scooters on the ground so we could ride back and forth to the house as we pleased. I also gave us the water and power to do around ten loads of laundry, which included the latest round of finished quilts from Louise's studio. With the dock voltage only 208 volts, the dryer took a very long time at just 75% power to dry each load.

Louise washed and dried this massive pile of quilts while we were docked in Greenport.

The clan actually departed Thursday afternoon, after a final lunch with us in town, but we had the dock booked to Friday morning on a fourth-night-free deal. We contemplated making an early departure right from the dock yesterday, but we needed the morning to get the scooters back on deck and finish up the laundry, so we waited until checkout time to head to the pumpout dock and then right back to anchor in Dering Harbor (map) for one final night.

At the Lieb Cellars wine tasting room. I'm good if you don't count the reflection.

I spent the afternoon working on the air compressor for the horn, which we had found running continuously when we had returned to the boat at anchor Sunday night. I had hooked up the big compressor from our hookah rig to the system as a stop-gap, which I had figured would be until I could source a 12-volt compressor, but it turned out to be a blown-out O-ring and I was able to get it running with a couple of hours of effort. I also reconditioned the lithium battery for our handheld vacuum cleaner.

Anti-osprey streamer. Not a permanent addition because it can interfere with the anchor light.

We had made a slight miscalculation on provisions before leaving the dock, and so in the evening we splashed the tender, went ashore for one final dinner, and stopped into the IGA supermarket for a handful of items. We decked the tender upon our return, knowing we had an early departure this morning. We very much enjoyed our several days in downtown Greenport, strolling the town and dining at Andy's, Lucharito's, Front Street Station, La Capricciosa, and PORT.

Sunset last night from Dering Harbor. This anchored neighbor, superyacht Caryali, was too large to block out.

Seas have been flat calm, and other than being against the current all day, we're having a pleasant cruise. Louise has spent a fair bit of time below in her studio, while I've been typing and arranging the occasional pass with expensive go-fast yachts running out to the forks for the weekend. I figure we'll have used less than 100 gallons of diesel on this entire round-trip from the Hudson, inclusive of generator -- around $550 at today's prices. These guys burn that amount in an hour.

Star of the Sea.

Just as we did in the other direction, I've already made a minor detour to scoop a mylar balloon out of the Sound, this time just a single one on its own. And the plotter says we'll have the hook down in Port Jeff right at cocktail hour. Once again we have no plans to go ashore, instead having some of the copious leftovers from the family food fest earlier in the week. Tomorrow we'll be in Port Washington, and Monday we'll lower the mast and work our way back to the Hudson for the journey north. My next post will be from the Hudson as we head upriver.


  1. Sounds like you are moving along nicely. I would have loved to have seen a pic of the Osprey stick with the quilt fabric hanging off of it. If you ever complain about Louise's hobby she can remind you of how handy it is for things just like bird nests! Glad she was able to get all her quilts washed.
    That was a great fix on the latch on the deck plate.
    Happy sailing!

    1. Thanks. Just to clarify, right after this photo I pulled the stick out and tossed it overboard. The streamer was then tied to the WiFi antenna. I did not think to snap a photo, and I took the streamer down a couple of days later when I went to put the ladder away.

    2. After I published this comment, Louise informed me that she had a photo of the streamer that she took for her quilty friends, and I have added it into the post.

  2. I bet a branch falling onto the deck makes a disconcerting sound! Never a dull moment. Sounds like a successful trip! Glad you noticed that winter stick.

    1. The winter stick was an oddity and it took me a moment to recognize it for what it was. Naturally, we seldom see them because, by the time we get here, they've been switched out for moorings.


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