Ever since our early August trip on Long Island Sound, Tom and I have become insatiable cruisers. Luckily for us, our dock neighbors are just as insatiable. During one of our regular Friday night food and drink fests, we cooked up a raft up trip to Oyster Bay Harbor for the end of the month. Needless to say, there were many jokes about our speed, with a suggestion made that we should leave on Wednesday to arrive by Saturday night. Funny, not!
I think more time was spent on our menu and choice of cocktails and wine than the actual course of the trip. The Thursday night before we were due to leave, I was on the boat alone when I realized we had no idea where this cove was. Luckily one of our neighbors was aboard his boat and was willing to show me the way on the chart. The next day, I very importantly showed the captain where we had to go (remember, men don't ask directions). Since I didn't feel like winding up at Sandy Hook in New Jersey, I had no trouble asking. To be fair, Tom is an excellent navigator and reads a chart brilliantly, but I didn't want to miss a minute of this trip.
Ironically, For Us was first on site (okay, so we left 2 hours ahead of everyone else, but they had to stop for fuel, ha ha). After convincing Tom that we were in right place, we circled around for almost 45 minutes until I spotted one of our neighbors. Now the chatter on the radio began to get us all into position. Tom and I were both a bit nervous - we had never done this before and there was a lot of expensive real estate at risk here. True to their generous ways, the others decided that the best position would be for us to be on the end of the raft. Everyone was on our starboard neighbor's boat to guide us alongside and help me tie up to them. The second our engine was turned off and last boat tied up at the other end, the party began.
As a group, we held our noses, yelled "geronimo" and jumped into the water from our swim platforms. We splashed and paddled around like toddlers, having the most wonderful time. One of the boaters who wasn't in the water brought chilled shrimp onto his swim platform so we could paddle up for a quick snack. Once our fingers were properly shriveled, we went back to our respective boats to "dress" for dinner (dry bathing suits and tee shirts).
Dinner would have put many Thanksgiving celebrations to shame! Every available space on our neighbor's boat was occupied by a bowl, platter or some sort of serving piece. Wine bottles and other forms of drink were lined up wherever they would fit. We ate for hours, laughing and enjoying our wonderful lives. When we could eat no more, we brought out dessert and after dinner libations. While we were happily engaged in this activity, the town of Oyster Bay celebrated our presence in their harbor with a wonderful fireworks display! Somewhere around 2 in the morning, I reluctantly announced that it was time for bed. Since we're all of a certain age, no one disagreed.
As I climbed into bed that night, I whispered a reverent "thank you".
As we untied from each other under a drizzly sky the next morning, we profusely thanked each other for sharing in a night that was one of the summer's highlights. For Us was the first to leave (no surprise). As we watched the group recede in the distance, I hugged myself with sheer delight. We had survived our first raft up, managed not to hurt anyone's boat and still had many more happy boating experiences ahead of us.