Monday, August 27, 2007

Vacation Starts

Two Concordia Yawls at 'The Gulf'Here I am anchored at Point Judith Harbor of Refuge. It is my third pleasant and unhurried day of cruising. Tonight, Laura and Cory will tie up and tomorrow we'll be heading to Cuttyhunk in the Elizabeth Island chain.

If Cape Cod is an arm, then the Elizabeth Islands are the armpit hair. I use that imagery just so you know where it is. They start at Woods Hole (where the eponymous oceanographic institute is) and continue down past Tarpaulin Cove on Naushon Island and Cuttyhuck Island where Cuttyhunk is, ending at Gosnold Island. The island chain separates Buzzards Bay from the Vineyard Sound.

Pelican has performed impeccably - all the instruments are doing exactly what they're supposed to do, although the autopilot went sort of nuts around Noank/Mystic last night. All of a sudden it couldn't figure out a magnetic course. Pretty strange, but once I left there it was ok.

I left Saturday around noon from City Island and because it was beastly hot and humid with no wind, I motored for 6 hours and dropped anchor behind Charles Island, outside of Milford Connecticut. As uncomfortable as the day was, the night was very cool with just enough breeze. Lovely sleeping weather. In fact, so far, that's been the case every night.

All this lovelyness cannot go untainted, however, and the payback comes in the form of biting flies. They attack a boat somewhere around Middle Ground (Stratford Shoals) which is between Bridgeport CT and Port Jefferson, Long Island. I thought it might be just me because during the day before my shower I can be, um, ripe. But my friend Sylvia experienced them and so are Laura and Cory - we've never seen them so bad.

Yesterday between Milford and Noank I must have killed a couple of hundred of them - they just kept coming! And biting. Somehow they know where your ankles are and that's what they go for. It turns out I have an old cap that covers the binnacle compass that is the perfect weapon. It kills without schmearing. And most of what would get schmeared would be my blood. In any case, the cockpit floor was so littered with dead flies that I had to rinse it down. Twice under way and once again when I got to Noank. Yuck.

Today, Monday, it was better because there was some breeze so they tended to stay put. Makes the easy targets. I only had to kill a dozen or so and I was good. They are just awful!

I haven't experienced flies like this since the horrible trip from Norfolk on a fly infested boat (they had laid their eggs in the sail cover, and literally covered the boat). We solved the problem by jettisoning the sail cover, dragging the mainsail behind us for a few miles, and covering ourselves in diesel fuel. But that's another story.

Today started out as a sailing day, but the wind got lighter and lighter and Pelican just does not do well upwind in light air. You can imagine. So I motored for about three hours to this idyllic spot. Point Judith.

It's quiet, pretty, and the sound of the waves against the breakwater is just like you'd imagine. Normally in an anchorage it's quiet - the lapping of the water on the hull, noises from nearby woods or homes or cars, but here, because it's not seen as a 'destination', it's very pleasant. And so far, empty. I really like it here.

If we get going tomorrow, it's to Cuttyhunk. I hope we can sail. I hate motoring my vacation away....

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