Saturday morning we left Port Jefferson for Mamaronek, Connecticut. We timed our departure so that we would leave just after the ferry arrived. So around 8:45 am, we slipped our mooring and Adrienne took us up the Port Jefferson channel and out into the Long Island Sound.
It was a cloudly, kind of gloomy, day on the Sound. NOAA had predicted that we would have 5 – 10 kt winds and 1 foot seas. Unfortunately NOAA lied. The winds were about 17 kts and the seas were 2 – 3 feet. It was a choppy mess. Fortunately Curiosity did not care and easily plowed through the seas. The center console boats around us, however, were rocking and rolling. It was not a fun day for them. In fact, we heard on the radio that a boat had capsized in the Sound.
By noon, we were entering the Mamaronek Harbor. The Harbor is deep in the center but quite narrow. As you enter, the Harbor splits – with channels going both to starboard and port. I had plotted our course to Nichols Yacht Yard, which had us going up the starboard channel. We eased into the channel but could not see the yard. Adrienne and I were both confused. She kept looking at the charts and the Waterway Guide and finally decided that we had gone up the wrong channel. Our only choice was to turn around and go back out. I backed Curiosity up and began a slow turn. As we were almost turned around, I eased her forward. Unfortunately, we were too near the edge of the channel. We were only going about 4 kt, when I felt the keel hit bottom. I looked down and saw the depth guage read 4.5 feet; we draw 5 feet. But before I could even shift into neutral, we had pushed through the sand or mud and were in deeper water. Everything felt alright but I wanted to make sure. So we went back up the channel and out into the Sound. We brought both engines up to speed and everything seemed fine. I then tried idling one engine and speeding up the other. Again everything felt fine with no vibration. The stabilizers also seemed to be working fine. Just to be sure I called Kevin and told him what had happened. He concurred that everything should be ok. At the most we might have lost some paint and possibly the steel plate that helps protects the keel. Nothing to worry about in the short term. As he said, “you paid for the keel, now you have used it.” His other sage advice was that “you haven’t been around, unless you have gone aground.”
While Kevin made me and Adrienne feel much better, I am still pissed with myself for plotting the course wrong and then edging out of the channel. Adrienne is so glad it was I who made the stupid mistakes and not she.(Amen! – Adrienne)
We then headed back into the harbor and up the right channel this time. Nichols Yacht Yard was right where it was supposed to be. Some guys from the boat yard came out and moved up two boats that were on the face dock so they were out of our way, and I eased Curiosity in. Adrienne and the guys quickly had us tied up.
Nichols Yacht Yard is much more a boat yard than a marina. While they take transients, it is clearly not their business. However, the docks are new floating docks, the people were friendly and helpful, and as long as you go up the right channel, it is a great spot to stop.
A couple on the boat beside us were very friendly and asked all sorts of questions about Curiosity. They also told us about where to go in Mamaronek and the best places to eat and shop. So after lunch and a wash down for Curiosity, we headed into town.
The area around the Yacht Yard is a very scenic residential area. It was about half a mile into town. Mamaronek is not bustling, but there were a fair number of people around. It seemed that every other shop was either a bakery or an Italian restaurant/deli. The downtown had a number of empty storefronts but otherwise the town seemed to be prospering. We did pass one very large Episcopal Church complete with a turret and a large rectory and parish area. We also passed a few historic areas that were a testament to Mamaroneck’s history dating back to the 1700s.
After touring for a while, we headed over to the Stop and Shop for some groceries. We didn’t need much but we did need a few essentials. The store was about 1.5 miles back toward the Yacht Yard, so it was a fair hike. It was a nice day but Adrienne could feel the heat and my feet were getting sore. Nonetheless, it was a pleasant walk. They had everything we needed and so we headed back to the boat – another 0.8 mile. By the time we got back to the boat, we had walked 5 miles. Definitely got our exercise today.
We relaxed on the boat for a while, posted our blog on Port Jefferson and got ready to go out to dinner.
For dinner we went to La Piccola Casa, a restaruant recommended by our slip neighbors. It was a little Northern Italian restaurant, not much to look at from the outside. However, the food was excellent. I had vitello romano and Adrienne had vitello piccata; the veal in both dishes was very tender and the sauces were excellent. The waiter was very friendly and attentive. We were very pleased. However, we were disturbed that on a Saturday night the place had only a few diners. We hope it survives. It is an excellent place for dinner. After dinner, it was back to Curiosity and bed.
Tomorrow, we head for Jersey City.