Friday, August 10, 2007

Summer Vacation 2007 Days 6&7

Wednesday 8 August 2007

The heat wave continues. Todd and I went into New London to walk around and explore the city a bit. We didn’t spend that much time exploring because of the heat. We walked by a bank and saw the sign said the temperature was 94 degrees. This sign was also in the shade, so maybe the air was even hotter.

We found a Cuban joint and had a bit of lunch and the best mojito I’ve ever tasted. I looked around at the restaurant, at the way it was so festively decorated. The walls were painted bright colors, the ceiling bright green. There were artificial potted palm trees everywhere, and loud Cuban music piped in through the speakers.

“You know, when you think of communist Russia, you think of downtrodden people waiting in bread lines in the snow. Yet Cuba is under communist rule, and our impression of Cuba is… well… this,” and I gesture around the restaurant. “I mean, does that mean that Castro parties harder than Breshnev, or what?” Then we sat there and had this great conversation about Cuba as I finished my mojito. This is one of the things I really love about Todd—he’s brilliant and interesting. We can have really great conversations, and we can have very silly ones as well. It’s always fun, and I always end up learning something new.

We walked through New London trying to find a marine supply store that was rumored to be in the area. We talked about how New London is, as Todd calls it, a study in contrast. The area along the Thames is pretty, and then when you look across to the other side you see the Electric Boat plant. The streets of New London look like they are trying very hard to go through revitalization, yet the poverty among the people is very apparent. There are little kids learning to sail at the New London Community Boat House in these little bitty sail boats, yet up the river there are nuclear submarines sitting at a dock where people are trained to train their torpedoes at the enemy du jour.

We found the boat store, after passing by the City Marina, where they advertise $25 moorings—less than half of what we were paying at the marina. Now we know where we will stay next time. And there will be a next time in New London.

We went back to the boat to swim and wait out the heat. Then we headed into town to pick up a few things and grab some dinner. We took the dinghy back to the town dock, and grabbed a cab at the train station. We struck up a conversation with the driver, as we always do. This guy started off by answering “How are you?” With “I am blessed by God, thank you.” Turns out he’s some sort of Reverend, according to his business card that also said something to the effect of “Let Jesus help you.” Surprisingly he wasn’t preachy, and answered our questions about New London.

Then he went on to tell us he was Jewish. I brushed it off at the time, because I didn’t want to get into it. I later asked Todd “OK, now wait a minute. The Reverend said that he’s Jewish, yet his business card talks about Jesus. What’s up with that? I thought Jewish people had Rabbis, and not Reverends.” We both decided that we didn’t want to ask the question because we didn’t want to get into it with him. There’s just something about New London and contrast, I suppose.

Thursday 9 August 2007

Today’s the day to leave New London. Next stop, Shelter Island, NY. We got up early in the morning because our friend Tonya the Canvas Lady would be bringing the rest of our canvas that will enclose our cockpit. Tonya rolled in, and got to work, I cleaned below decks and prepared for the journey to Shelter Island.

Tonya left, we settled up with the marina and we left too. We had winds from the south east at about 14 knots. We decided to put up all 3 sails and see if we can make some time to the Island.

Then we lost the steering.

We have hydraulic steering aboard, so every now and then we have to fill the steering pump with hydraulic steering fluid. Todd had just filled it a few days ago, and it was bone dry again. There’s a leak somewhere in the system. Todd went below to scout it out, and then we determined we needed to take the sails down. Being under sail puts more pressure on the wheel, and uses more hydraulic fluid that will inevitably leak to where ever it was leaking.

We were only a few miles off of Shelter Island anyway. We’ve never been to the Island and we were looking forward to checking it out.

The entrance into Shelter Island is very shallow. We have a keel that’s 6 feet deep below the waterline. We have to be very careful about where we go so that we don’t run aground. We watched the depth sounder tick shallower and shallower as we entered into the harbor on the island. We must have called the marina a dozen times on the way in to as “Are you sure we can make it in here?” We found our mooring, and headed ashore. It was just after 5 when we arrived ashore, and the marina office was closed. We did see someone who works there and he told us that the whole island shuts down at 5. Nothing is open after 5 PM, at all.

We went back out to the boat, and cooked some kielbasa on the grill, and sat in our newly enclosed cockpit to watch the sunset. We checked the forecast and saw that we were in for rain. So we stripped the bed in the aft stateroom, and prepared to sleep up in the v-berth where it is dryer. Hopefully some day we’ll get the leaks plugged up so being on the boat in rainy weather won’t be an issue anymore.

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