Thursday, July 13, 2006
Release Date 7/9/2006
Paddled from Orient Point on the North Fork of Long Island to Watch Hill Rhode Island and camped out. Then came back along Ct coast to New London and took the ferry back to Long Island.
I released the message right off of Race Rock off the South West of Fishers Island around 14:00 in a substantial ebb. It was headed toward Cape Cod.... I found the dolls arm, and bottle on Little Gull Island.
This is a great trip, we went along the string of islands Plum, Great Gull, Little Gull, and Fishers, so the longest open crossing was less than 3 miles.
The trip didn't start well. I missed all the bucolic scenery on the drive out because I was making meticulous notes of the current in a variety of places every 2 hours over the course of the 2 days we would be out. I always do this for a big trip, since we can't keep the tide charts on the deck. While we were packing the boats somebody stole my chart case out of the car which included the chart and current table. I had to take an extra 1/2 hour and regenerate it. Fortunately we had a back-up chart...
We started the trip just after the ebb started between Orient Point and Plum Island. The current wasn't running too strong, so there was no tide race there, and conditions were pretty flat.
We went along the Western shore of Plum island. It looks cool, but there are a plethora of US Govt. warning signs. I didn't see any security guards or cameras. Because I was cool in the morning, and the conditions were supposed to be so intense I was wearing my trilaminate wetsuit, but I got overheated. We stopped under a cliff on the North tip of Plum island, and I changed to shorts.
Great Gull was full of bird researchers. We ate lunch at Little Gull. The island was full of agressive nesting seagulls, so we couldn't explore.
We got into the race around 13:00, and finished around 14:00. There is a substantial tide race with a series of standing waves. We hit it right at the peak. The current was strong around 3kts, and because the crossing was so wide, our boats were heavy, we didn't really play in the waves until we were almost at Race Rock on the other side. By ferrying across we made really good time, our speed peaked at 7.5 kts on the GPS because the current was supplying all the eastbound speed. The tide races in Wales had steeper waves, but this was impressive because it was several miles long. I need to come back on the springs with more people and it will be even more impressive. Seemed like the cleanest and best standing waves were 1/2 mile off of Little Gull Island.
The paddle along the South side of Fishers Island was a bit of a slog, and the current actually seemed to be against us, contrary to what the tide charts showed. Next time I'll try and stay out further from land, I can only assume it was a huge eddy, since the current was still clearly going west to east once we cleared Fishers.
We landed around 16:00.
We camped on Napatree. This is a nice rock beach that was fairly deserted. There is an interesting fort on the very tip of it. It is called Fort Mansfield. Wes, the owner of a boatyard told us it was last used in World War I. You can barely see it from the beach, because of the overgrowth, but by bushwacking we were able to explore it. Looks like lots of kids come to party here. If there is some wind to keep the bugs down, it might be a good place to camp.
We left around 10:00 in the morning.We had run out of water, so we visited the nice people at the Watch Hill Yacht Club. A bunch of rich white kids were learning how to sail in little prams, which is the kind of boat my Grandfather got me when I was a kid. The instructors were berating the poor little kids. I had already drunk some of the water, when I asked the old guy on the dock if it was ok to drink.
We went back along the CT coast because the current was against us all day. Lots of expensive homes and interesting architecture along the shoreline.
We had a nice lunch in Nohank and got back to the ferry in New London around 17:00.
I had a sinus infection on both days, and didn't feel well for both days, but it was a great trip, with great weather and a lot of fun.
Its almost never safe to leave you car unlocked...