Extended vacation!

Shelly bought a pair of 1.5 pound Maine Lobsters, cooked them up, and prepared this gr8 meal on the boat for us after work today.    I think this qualifies as extended vaca!   

It was great!

We did not stay long as weather radar showed some pretty nasty stuff coming in.  

Written safely from home!

Father’s Day!

I have already exchanged nice text messages with Nick.   We are anchored in the lee of Fox Island to escape the muggy weather ashore.   Nice breeze here, and about a half mile of visibility in some fog.  

We travelled 335 miles aboard Shellerina for this vacation, a few miles further than previous years.    I have hats from Shelter Island, Block Island, and Sag Harbor.   I’m wearing the Shelter Island one today.    33+23+21

Now anchored in Cedar Beach’s Cove.  Water temp is up to 72F!   

We made it back to our S-Dock home slip on Friday, the rainy day.  We were glad to find our dockmates were not intimidated by the weather.   So, like most Friday nights, S-Dock was fully populated and festive.  

Steve and Tina were hanging out with us.    Like expectant parents, they have been waiting for delivery of their 40 foot cruiser shown below after it arrived from Florida yesterday.  Isn’t it a beaut!   Captain George, the guy who brought the boat up to Long Island from Florida, needed a hot meal, and Shelly’s chilli/stew, made on the hook back at Shelter Island came through as the perfect remedy!  He is quite an accomplished mariner.   He made our port in Lindenhurst in one 12 hours day all the way from Virginia Beach VA!

A new addition to the S-Dock arrived yesterday. A 40 foot Formula with twin Volvo pods (diesel!) with Tina aboard and husband Steve at the helm. His first dock landing was performed masterfully! She is shown here passing the bow of Shellerina for the first time.

Cruise Day 8

We took the “inside route” just to say we did (we never have) back to Great South Bay from the Hamptons.   It was not such a great route.  There is a lot of shoaling in the channel that goes east-west near the Moriches Inlet and Coast Guard station.   3 feet of water at high tide.    So basically we got our stainless steel prop pollished up.  We timed it with the high tide.   We’ll go around the outside next time, just like we did heading east a week ago. 

Explorers have to explore!


This picture shows the bad spot near nun buoy #26.   My recommendation is to avoid this area until they dredge.  

We destinated at AuquaMarina Sunset Harbour in East Patchogue.   A new place we never heard of; it was recommended by Marc of Precious Cargo.   Thanks Marc!

Awake on the hook!

5:30 am Wednesday June 14, 2017 awake on the hook.    I totally forgot how much I love waking up afloat tied to nothing but an anchor.   Part of the fun is  waking up and seeing all the boats around facing a different direction than they were the night before.

There are some man-made noises like a distant jet.  But, the birds and jumping fish and water noises dominate!

My coffee came out of a whistling kettle instead of a microwave.   I had to run the engine first thing to replenish the batteries that were drained all night keeping the fridge cold.  But, these small changes in routine are so minor compared to the reward of waking up on the hook!
This particular Harbor is perfect for this too. It is very protected, very quiet, and while there are a lot of houses around this Cove, they all look unused. The don’t appear to be neglected or run down.  On the contrary, they are beautiful.  They are just unoccupied, as if this is the middle of the work week, and these may all be just weekend getaway spots for the families that own them.

I wish there was a camera that could capture what waking up on the hook feels like.   The different species of birds are all competing for the airwaves here.   I wish I could identify the species by their call just so I could name them all for you.   It won’t be long before there is a smartphone app for that, I suppose.  I’d download it, but I doubt it would be able to separate all the calls from each other.   It’s not like I can tell every species but one to be silent for a time, so I can get that one recorded on my phone.   No, I’d prefer to just learn all the calls myself by ear.     Here are a list of the ones that I DO recognize:  the osprey, the crow, the mourning dove, the blue jay, herring gull, Canada goose, countless other calls that I definitely recognize; I just can’t tell you the species.

What is interesting here this morning is that it is mostly cloudy; only a few small patches of blue appear.  There is no beautiful sunrise to overwhelm the sense of sight.  The temperature is moderate, neither hot nor cold, my coffee tastes the same as always, there is no smell that I can distinguish or describe for you.   So, it is like all the inputs on my sensory equalizer board are turned down to their minimum setting with the exception of the one for sound!

I now hear a halyard clanging against an aluminum mast.   I guess the wind is picking up a bit.   There do not appear to be any trains here in Shelter Island like I would hear if back at Neguntatogue Creek in Lindenhurst.   There was a distant helicopter a while ago.   There are definitely fish jumping.   They are not very large ones.  But they seem to be making sure that I am aware of their presence in this painting of sound.   There is, of course, the sound of tiny waves against our boat’s hull. That sound is a study in and of itself.  But the Osprey seems to barge in and say, “Listen to ME now!”    A warbler is doing the same.  Now there is crow trying to take over again.

It is now 7:17, and only now can I distinguish the purr of distant vehicular traffic.   By direction, none of it is coming from Shelter Island.  Rather it is all from the South.   Even the sound of boat traffic has been rare, only one boat was heard in the hour or two I’ve been up.  I guess that’s what it is like during the work week.  Back in Maine, the Lobster fisherman would have wanted their share of the airspace.

This is day 12 of vacation.  This vacation started out in the city with the lights and glitter of Times Square, and the amazing talent and culture of Broadway, all that followed by the grand adventure of an ocean voyage across to a distant island we could not see.   And now this!  The concert of nature at its best… bringing me back to a place I all but forgot, waking up on the hook!

It is time to hit SAVE and fix another cup of coffee.

On the hook!

We have decided to stay “on the hook” tonight.   That means we are not at a dock, at a port, with the luxuries of hot showers and shore facilities.   While those things are very nice, staying and waking on the hook is a more close to nature “thing” and we used to do it a LOT back in Maine.   I’m looking forward to doing it again tonight.  

We need to pay a little closer attention to battery voltages and such, as the fridge and lights draw from them.   But it’s all manageable!   

Shelly is cooking!   You can probably smell how good it is from where you are.  

We picked this place for the night, back where we started our day, West Neck Harbor, Shelter Island NY.   T-Boomer possibilities for the night have been cancelled.    With the wind still coming from the SW, you can see how this anchor position for the night is a sweet spot!

9:55pm some rain drops making some noise on the canvas.   There was some heat lightning to the north; but basically we are vegging for the night.  

There are fish jumping all around us!  The are not huge, but they are there!

Cruise Day Six – Sag Harbor to Shelter Island

The quaint port of Sag Harbor is certain to be one we will return to!   The Sag Harbor Village Docks were very close to town, had floating docks, a great seafood shack, hot showers and lots to see close by.   They pack a lot into this little harbor, including some big boats!  The laundry and Corner Bar kinda go together.  A hardware store and grocer are also close by.    Like Block Island, there are no traffic lights here.  Everyone stops for pedestrians.   

Sag Harbor Village – transient slips are on the west side of the municipal steel pier. Our spot is shown by the blue dot.

The only negative I could say is nothing is free here.   I’m not sure if this was a joke or for real, to be honest!

To tie up to the town dock and walk around for a while costs $1.25 / foot for 3 hours.  That’s different from Maine!    Overnight rates were on par with the typical $4/ft + electric.  

After a relaxing morning, we push off to visit two of the ports of Shelter Island.   The chance of T-Boomers this afternoon has been dropped until later tonight.   84F temps are predicted this afternoon, so it may be the first time for a jump into the water today!    Predictions are for more moderate temps for the rest of the week.  

Shelter Island

The largest island between the “forks” of eastern Long Island.   There are ferries to both North Fork and South Fork from Shelter Is.  So, it is very common for home owners and visitors to “The Hamptons” to use this island and its ferries as a short cut when ferrying to and from New London CT.  

On the way back from Maine once, we ferried across Shelter Island to get out to Montauk Lighthouse.   It was around Thanksgiving, and I remember they were preparing for the first lighting of all the Christmas lights on that Lighthouse.  

Menantic Creek, off West Neck Harbor, Shelter Island.

We saw this nice tugboat style pleasure boat in Menanick Creek, off West Neck Harbor south west side of Shelter Is.  My brother Russell, says this is a Lord Nelson “Victory Tug” a dream boat!    There is a restaurant in here called SALT.   But we did not tie up.  It was not clear if tie ups for lunch were welcome.  

So, we headed to the larger port on Shelter Is and tied up at the Town Dock in Dering Harbor to the North Side of the Island, near the North Ferry Terminal; we had a good lunch at the Dory.   But it was hot.  

“Let’s get out on the water to cool down in the breeze!” barked the Admiral.   So here we are anchored broadside to the SW wind and sun so we’d have some shade. I set the anchor from a bridle so we would ride the wind broadside.   The reporting weather stations below show being out on the water to be a good thing.  

Below is a pretty cool pic showing the North ferries passing in the channel, shuttling vehicles from the North Fork (Greenport NY) to Shelter Island.  

Cruise day 5 

Here is our departing picture of the inactivated USCG station at Block Island.  It holds a predominant spot on the south side of the entrance to New Harbor (aka Great Salt Pond) on Block Island.   We were underway by 6:30am, as the wind was already blowing 10 mph.  We wanted to get across to Long Island before it got any windier than that.  

8:15 am.  Below is our view of Montauk Lighthouse as we approached Long Island after a 21 mile cruise back from Block.    There were swells running that kept us off plane for the crossing.  The fastest we could go was about 10mph.  Below that you can see the “M” bell buoy which tells us we made it to Montauk Harbor, where the in-service USCG Station greets us after we pass the Inlet.  

After a late, well earned, breakfast, and buying another waterproof chart that filled some holes in our collection, we toured the rest of this surprzingly large port.  After we saw it all, we headed out to see Threemile Harbor and Sag Harbor.   
Threemile was quiet as expected, but there were more homes and boats there than we expected to see.   Also, in this area AND the beaches east of Montauk Harbor, we were surprized to see lots of mobile campers pulled by SUVs set up right on the beach!   I guess in these less densely populated areas, folks are allowed to set up camp right on the beach.   Between Long Island’s eastern most point and Sag Harbor we could not count the miles of beautiful unused beach areas, much of which is inaccessible by any vehicle, except perhaps by boat!

Upon approaching Sag Harbor we saw this huge, elegant sailboat/yacht anchored outside the Harbor.  

FMI on this beautiful boat: 

http://www.boatinternational.com/yachts/editorial-features/superyacht-ganesha-this-46m-vitters-is-primed-for-cruising-and-regatta-racing–319    Copy and paste in your browser if the hyperlink does not work.   It is a good article on an impressively designed boat. 

What is really impressive is how tall the mast is.   I could not get a good pic of that to show here.   

Joe’s Sunset pic…

H2M co-worker Joe Mottola highly recommended Block Island to us over a year ago, as a cruising destination.  We finally made it our here, Joe!    

As promised when I last saw you at the office, here is the Block sunset pic you asked for:

…and a bonus one taken the same hour, on board on my birthday no less!

Wind Power!   Vacation Day 8 – Cruise Day 3 


Aboard Shellerina, ​​​we left our slip at the Block Island Boat Basin for a few hours to go see the first commercial offshore wind farm in the USA.

It is 3.8 miles SE of Block Is. and consists of 5 wind turbines that stand twice the height of the Statue of Liberty at 670ft.   They are in 75-80 feet of water.  

Block previously got its electricity from diesel generators that were frequently breaking down.  The fuel had to come out by barge.   Electricity was very expensive, and the cost to finance a cable to the mainland was not feasible.  

Enter renewable wind power!   This $300M project makes enough profit to make the underwater transmission line to the mainland feasible.  When there is no wind, electricity is sent to Block.  When there is wind, electricity contributes to the mainland grid.   On balance there is a net gain to finance the project and make a profit.   Several other countries in Europe have succeeded at projects like this, so there are models of success that predates this project.  

The five wind turbines lie 3.8 miles off the SE of Block Island. 

After returning to New Harbor, we fueled up at Champlin’s Resort.  The fuel prices we just a few pennies more per gallon than they were back on the docks of Long Island.  

There are dozens of racing sailboats out here this weekend; they are preparing and practice racing for Block Island Race Week, which starts next weekend.   

I grew up cruising by sail, and I know it well.  I envy those who use that renewable energy to power their boating passion!  That mode of operating would pretty much mean Shelly stays back at the dock due to her MS health issues.   So we cut our carbon footprint in other sectors of our life to try and compensate.   For example, we are a two Prius family.  

“The Town” at Block Island 

Took a taxi from the Basin to town.   Very nice classic Victorian New Englandish down town.    We stopped at Mohegan Cafe for some locally brewed refreshment.   Here is my Admiral and our view out the window!

The main drag, Water Street, has a plethora of businesses on one side, and Old Harbor on the opposite side, a man-made harbor formed by a couple of jeddies that have been there since the 1800s.     The ferries from New London and Montauk have their terminal in Old Harbor as shown below.  

Here is another view of the business side of Water Street.  If you are lucky and walk around town long enough you might find a place selling Block Island T-shirts.  

This statue of the Biblical figure Rebecca-at-the-Well was put in place in 1896 by the local Woman’s Christian Temperance Movement, which hoped to curb the consumption of alcohol on Block Island. I think most would say, that was a failed initiative! <grin>

Day Seven – destination Block Island

The clear sea water afforded us the ability to check the prop before pushing off for Block.  

8:30 Pushed off at Greenport

8:45 Long Beach Point Lighthouse.  Calm. 

9:10 leaving green gong “1GI” off Gardner’s Island.   “We are going for it.”

9:45 first visible sign of Block Is.  West wind going with us.  The tops of the waves are just curling over, 15 MPH.   Bumpier than we’d like on plane; 19 MPH is the optimum speed, but it is a lot of work throttling up and down constantly to stay in that sweet spot, 18-20mph.    Too fast and we start pounding the sea, too little and we come off plane.  

10:00 Montauk is now abaft our starboard beam.   13.5 miles to go.  Shelly steered until the 7.5 miles to go mark giving me a break.    When I took over, the wind was picking up, making things that much more bumpy, but manageable for the short distance remaining.   

11:00 entered the Harbor at Block Island.  

11:30 all secured after a challenging slip landing as the increasingly gusty wind complicated things.  “Jay” the dock hand was very helpful.   I lost a Maine Island Trails embroidered baseball hat overboard.   No other damage to report.   

Mostly sunny skies.   Soon it will be time to venture out and explore Block!


Taken from the infamous OAR restaurant.  Can you find the Shellerina?!

7:00 pm back at our boat from our trip into town.   Shelly decided it was time to open one of the special bottles of wine we recently got mailed to us after our Nappa Valley trip.  

Day Six of vaca – First Push off of this year’s vaca cruise!

We wanted to push off at 7:00am.   But we were simply too beat from the NYC trip to get up early.   We chalked up the great night of sleep as a good thing, and pushed off after breakfast at 8:50am.  

9:04 Passed beneath Robert Moses Causeway Bridge

9:21 Passed beneath Fire Island Bridge.    We decided on going outside, so we headed out Fire Island Inlet.  

10:00 break – across from Ocean Beach

11:00 break – across from Smith Point (furthest east we have ever been by boat)

11:30 We hit some floatsam, a 5″ thick waterlogged log about 6ft long.    Not a good sound to hear 1/2 mile out when up on plane doing 25 mph.   We stopped tested everything, turned around to get a pic of the object, then declared victory of our prop vs the log!   We then got underway again.   

Noon – Made Shinicock Inlet.  No Navigation Bouys !?!?  

Got fuel in Shinicock and proceeded through this canal with the gates open.   A ripping tidal current was against us.  But we made it through without too much grief.  

1:15 – once in Great Peconic Bay we dropped anchor to have lunch and decide on where to spend our first night of this cruise.    By 2:25 we were fed, our course was set in the GPS for our first trip across Great Peconic Bay.  Destination: Greenport!

3:15 – All secured at Slip C5, Mitchell Park Marina, cement floating docks with facilities and electric, all for $2 per foot plus extras.   Basically under $70 for the night with all the bene-s.   Lots of local establishments walking distance away to entice us for supper!     We steamed 87 miles today, and we are in great position to make Block Island tomorrow morning; weather is still looking great for that crossing.

They had this very accurate weather indicator hanging up at the marina.   Basically, you use the rope and knot hanging below the sign to determine the current conditions.  

We heard some great sound from a band playing very close by.   So, they earned our first visit!  PORT Waterfront Bar & Grill.  

Here is a sample of the sounds:

​​

Also nearby our dock was Vinyl Night at Oyster Creek.  Locals bring in their favorite LP-s and a volunteer DJ spins them up.   Shared tables are the rule, as are locally produced pickles and other sides to have with one’s oysters.   There was one variety that were smoked, just a bit, to give an amazingly good flavor.  

Day Five of vacation 

We started this day waking at the Marriot Marquis, Times Square, with Anna.   The Broadway show, Wicked, was really fantastic!    I normally wouldn’t be attracted to a movie or play by that name, but it was such a great plot and story, and masterfully written and performed.   We had a great lunch and visit at the MET, walked much of Central Park where we had not seen yet, visited B&H Photo, and got Anna on her flight back to Maine.  

Then Shelly and I had to get prepared for an early morning departure for our cruise.  We stayed the night aboard for the early “push off”!

Vaca Day Four

New York Harbor with Anna Sirois aboard Miss Liberty.

AIS equipped vessels transmit their positions.    It has not caught on for most pleasure craft… yet!

1200px-Le_Grand_Bleu_31July010

One of the pleasure craft in NY Harbor, anchored very near Ellis Island, was this one.  Notice how she can have a full sized sail boat carried around with her!   Very nice.   Because of AIS I could tell her name is Le Grande Bleu; then my camera was able to confirm by zooming up.   I often google impressive boats that we see when underway in our own boat.   

The current owner of this one is a Russian-American oil tycoon, Evgeny Markovich Shvidler, I wonder who he was in town visiting?    

Anna and I coincidentally did ride a taxi past Trump Tower on 5th Avenue yesterday on way back to hotel from Central Park.    Impressive security detail outside the building, just sayin’.