So here is the fantastic trip I teased you with - not once, but twice! LOL
Betty and I discussed the possibility of me cruising with her for a long weekend way back in May. True to the trawler lifestyle, Betty wasn't quite sure when this long weekend would occur, she was just sure that it would happen. Not one to pass up a fantastic opportunity, I tried to keep my August weekends open as best I could.
I knew I would be visiting my sister in Wake Forest, NC August 7-12, so I hoped Betty wouldn't pick that weekend. As luck would have it, Betty called to make the long-awaited announcement that she would be "headed my way" at the end of August, probably around the 22nd or so. I casually cleared my calendar (leaving some disappointed folks in my wake) and prepared for the big weekend.
The plan was to pick me up in Port Jefferson harbor on Thursday, August 22nd. For those of you not familiar with Long Island's geography, Port Jefferson is a scenic harbor town on the north shore of Long Island, about 45 minutes east of Huntington. The plan became a bit snarled when I realized I had a nurses' open house booked that day - in Brooklyn no less! No problem, I would host the open house and somehow get to Port Jefferson later in the day.
To make this happen, I had to involve several people along the way. First, my husband had to adjust his workday so he could drive me to my office in Hicksville. Next, I had to coerce a co-worker to drive us into Brooklyn since I wouldn't have a car. Next came cozying up to yet another co-worker who lives pretty close to Port Jefferson to ask for a ride to the boat. All set to go, but just one more call to the launch operator since Betty was on a mooring in Port Jeff harbor. Luckily, the launch ran until 10 pm - good thing, since I didn't arrive until 8! We became fast friends over the phone and he promised to be there within 10 minutes of me letting him know I was on the dock. True to his word, he picked me and my bags up (one bursting with wine and snacks) and off we went to Betty's boat. A short trip and $5 later, he promised to be there to take us to breakfast the next day.
I jumped on Betty's boat and the party began after much hugging and squealing. After an introduction to her friend Kate, we were ready for dinner and LOTS of conversation. In fact, we didn't stop talking until Betty dropped me off in Huntington 4 days later!
The next day we took the launch into town for a quick breakfast, then it was anchor up and on the way to Oyster Bay Harbor (the scene of several raft-ups when we had Serenity). What I didn't expect was for Betty to relinquish the helm to me for the major part of our days on the boat! Ecstasy to be sure!!!
The trip from Pt. Jeff to Oyster Bay took about 4 heavenly hours, 2 hours of which I was at the helm. In fact when we approached the anchorage, Betty handed over a headset and told me I would handle the boat while she dropped the anchor. If you read my past blogs, you would know this is something the captain NEVER permitted. I giggled to myself as I tried to picture his expression when I told him about this major accomplishment on my part. Brave Betty!
Oyster Bay is an idyllic anchorage in a beautiful protected harbor. It was a short dinghy ride into a quaint town with a convenient dinghy dock. We popped in and out of cute shops - I was finding it hard to remember that I actually live about a half hour from this town. We stopped for ice cream, then discovered a vintage-type shop with a sale in progress. Show a woman a "Sale" sign and see what happens. I wandered into the back yard where I found something amazing. I called to Betty and Kate to come look. What I found was 2 sequined tops, one in red and one in green - we were going to be the port and starboard girls. Clutching our treasure amid gales of laughter, we continued exploring the town until it was time to return to LiLi. We made great plans for those tops.
Since it was a Friday night, we were surprised to have only 3 other smaller boats for company. The sunset was breathtaking...
The next morning, we were treated to a water skiing exposition by some sort of club. Who else would be water skiing before 7 am on a Saturday morning? Though the boats' engines disturbed our tranquility, the vista was still there for us to enjoy. After a leisurely breakfast of yogurt and fruit, it was anchor up again and me at the helm navigating us out of the harbor on the way to points west - Port Washington.
The trip to Port Washington is a scenic one since for part of way, the Manhattan skyline and Throgs Neck are in full view. My geography was a bit rusty. When asked what bridge it was, I replied that it was the Verrazano. Upon closer look out the window, we realized that there was no land between us and bridge. Since the Verrazano Bridge lies between Brooklyn and Staten Island, I realized my error. Luckily Betty let me stay at the helm, though I suspect she kept a closer eye on me after that faux pas.
Hard to be upset with this view...
... or this one...
This was some sort of race with helicopters overhead. Those boats were moving - made us look like we were at a standstill. Their wakes were awesome!
As you can see, the weather was perfect for boating of any type. Unfortunately for us, there were MANY, MANY sailboats out. In fact, we got caught in the middle of a regatta of small sailboats that were going in every direction. More than once, I had to bring LiLi to a stop while we tried to figure out what those small sailboats were doing. The captain would have passed out if he could see my maneuvers!
We found out that Port Washington offers free mooring balls for 2 nights plus launch service into town. I learned how to approach a mooring ball and with the help of Betty and Kate, handled the boat to successfully pick up the ball. After a quick lunch, we hailed the launch...
... and stoically made the 2 mile trek into town. We were so disappointed. This once vibrant town had fallen victim to the recession. Many stores stood vacant. Those that survived represented either nail shops or convenience stores. We were delighted to find a market selling fresh seafood. We tried to find one in Oyster Bay, but no luck. Betty was looking for oysters we could roast on the grill and bathe in her famous butter, garlic and parmesan cheese sauce. After hearing about this sauce, we became like hound dogs sniffing out a seafood market. Once we found our precious oysters, we reversed our tracks and made our way back to the harbor. The launch brought us back to LiLi and the feast began. I can tell you that the garlic on those oysters could be smelled by every boat within a mile of us! What could end a perfect day better than a beautiful sunset enjoyed on the back porch of gorgeous LiLi? All is well with the world.
Even though a second night would have been free, we had seen enough of this town. We left the mooring ball and headed for Cold Spring Harbor, about 3 hours away. In what was now becoming a familiar phrase, Betty asked me take us to our next destination. I realized that my knees knocked less and the cold sweat on my upper lip was now gone. Progress!!
Cold Spring Harbor, known to locals as CSH, is an old whaling village with adorable (and expensive) shops and restaurants. It is protected by a beautiful harbor that runs parallel to the main street of the town. The dinghy ride is less than 10 minutes and the dinghy dock is a 10 minute walk into the heart of town. DNA was discovered by Drs. Watson and Frick and sequenced in the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, which is perched on a bluff overlooking the harbor.
We had a wonderful early dinner after doing some successful shopping. We popped into the Whaling Museum (which during the school year is flanked by many school buses) but had to leave as it was closing in a few minutes. When you're returning to a Krogen at the end of a great day, there is no such thing as being disappointed that plans didn't work out exactly! We kicked off our shoes
and prepared to enjoy a now-empty harbor and another captivating sunset. I can't believe I felt compelled to capture every single sunset, but each one was uniquely beautiful in its own right. This one in CSH was no exception. It would also be my last for a while.
This trip ended the next day in Huntington at our old marina, West Shore Marina. Though I navigated most of the way back from CSH, I handed the helm back to Betty once we entered Huntington Harbor on the approach to the marina. The harbor is extremely narrow here and tricky, with crowded mooring fields on either side of a narrow channel. It was great to see old friends at the marina, but saying goodbye to my new friends wasn't easy. I took some pictures of us, bur for some reason was unable to find them in my uploads. The picture of Kate and I in our port and starboard outfits cannot be displayed here. They are on Mike Warren's camera, so if you see him, you can ask for a peek.
What a great time was had by all. We saw wonderful sights, helped each other with boat chores, laughed a lot, enjoyed wonderful meals and most importantly, shared the love and passion for boating and simply enjoyed "being in the moment."
Thanks Betty for sharing your beautiful boat and home with us and for being such a gracious and lovely hostess!