Sunday, July 16, 2017

Day 8: Mystic, CT to Providence RI

We left home a week ago today. It sure feels longer than that. On the other hand, seems sad that there are only 2 weeks left on our adventure, and only one more week with Elana aboard. She is flying home next Monday, after we visit Tamara at camp on visiting day a week from today. Tomorrow is Benny's birthday, so Ann is searching out vegan restaurants in the area, and we'll have to celebrate with Tamara when we see her in a week.

Yesterday was our full day in Mystic that made up for the day we lost in New York due to weather. We all agreed that we were better off in Mystic. Early in the morning, I woke up the kids, and the three of us went for a 2 mile run into town and along the water. Then, Elana and I pulled out the paddleboards and paddled up Mystic river for two hours. It was a great way to see all the boats and the other sites in town. Unfortunately for Elana, at one point she fell into the water, but she claimed the water was refreshing and was not hurt.
Paddleboarding up Mystic River
Mystic has a famous drawbridge, and although we did not have a camera with us on the paddleboat tour, I took a picture later from land. We paddled under it when it was down and had to duck as we went under.
Mystic's famous drawbridge
We spent the afternoon at the Mystic Seaport Museum. This was a phenomenal experience that I highly recommend to anyone who visits this area. It's a large complex full of small buildings each containing an exhibit. The theme is boating and early American life. There are also several boats in the water that can be toured, and some very nice exhibit halls.

Mystic Seaport Museum of America and the Sea
I really enjoyed touring the big boats as well as a replica of a Nantucket Lighthouse. We're spending 2 days on Nantucket later in the trip, so I will look for this one.

Nantucket Lighthouse replica at Mystic Seaport Museum
Aboard the Charles Morgan
Looking up aboard the tall ship
In one of the exhibits, they had black and white murals, and they provided props for people to dress in period costumes and take pictures in front of the murals, as though they are in the shot. Elana and I took several shots, and I posted my favorite one on Facebook - my first posting on this trip.

Elana and I in our 1920s shot
Minutes after posting this shot, I got a text message from one of my closest friends from grad school, Liorr Karasanti, who recognized this picture and wrote me, "Are you in Mystic?!?! So am I!!!" Liorr lives in Long Island, but she happened to be in downtown Mystic after bringing her daughter, sister in law and niece to a concert at Mohegan Sun the night before, and they were in a coffee shop hanging out before heading home. I was a short walk away, and we got together and hung out for a while and reminisced about old times. Small world! Thank you Facebook!
With my dear friend Liorr, who happened to be in Mystic - we haven't seen each other in over 15 years! She still looks the same!
This morning, I was up very early, before 6:00, and I tried a few ideas to get chart data onto my plotter. Nothing worked. I even dug up an old chip that I had used on my previous boat, thinking that might work, but it didn't. I was pretty stressed about getting through various channels on both ends of the trip and having to navigate with my iPhone app instead of my chart plotter. After Ann got up, I took a shower, and halfway through the shower, the water stopped. I had a premonition that I might be in for a rough day. It was either a busted pump or the tanks were empty. With heart pounding (because I did not want to imagine how I would deal with a busted pump or even broken impeller on this trip), I went up and checked the gage, and luckily, the tanks were empty. I guess we're taking a lot of long showers because I had filled them 2 days earlier, and they hold 210 gallons. I filled the tanks, and now we're flush with water. I also made sure all the faucets on the boat were off, and they were.
Our route from Mystic to Providence
We pulled out of Fort Rachel Marina, crossed the swing bridge, and left Mystic behind us.
Saying goodbye to Mystic on our way out

Despite not having the navigation instruments that I am accustomed to, I was able to enjoy the beautiful boat ride to Providence. The scenery is stunning, and there are many gorgeous lighthouses along the way.
Lighthouse on the way to Providence

Another gorgeous lighthouse with an actual house
As we were leaving Mystic River, I got another indication that this was going to be a rough day. A firefighting boat came zipping around until it was facing me, and then came straight for me. As it got closer, I moved to port to make room, putting myself uncomfortably close to the red channel marker. Surprisingly, the boat veered to come right at me! I was on the verge of panic and stopped my boat and was about to sound my horn. The firefighting boat, which was quite big and moving fast, zipped right by my starboard side, as I reached for the joystick control and pulled my boat sideways to avoid hitting the big red buoy. It was a close call, and no idea why in the world he did this. Again, it felt like my day was off kilter.

Continuing my theme of things going a bit wrong since my shower and the run-in with the fire boat, along the way, several buttons on my instrument panel popped out all of a sudden for no reason. I tried putting them back and did not realize I had actuated the functionality behind those buttons, and the boat started veering wildly. I got everything under control and thought that maybe I should just find somewhere to dock the boat and call it a day. But the mishaps were not over yet.

As we approached the marina in Providence, I called them and asked about their fuel dock. I asked about the small bridge right before the marina, wondering if I was really going to fit under it. In fact, I stopped the boat and watched some other, smaller boats barely get through. I had a bad feeling. The dockmaster at our marina said, "what bridge?" That's not good. I told him that I was outside the low fixed bridge right before their marina. He said there was no bridge in front of their marina. I assured him that there was, and that I was looking at it. He assured me that I was at the wrong marina. He was right.

When I originally booked this trip, I had reserved slips for our 47' Sea Ray, Lucky Break. However, a few weeks ago, we lost our minds and bought this 59' flybridge, Sababa, with a 24' vertical clearance. Whatever that fixed bridge was, it was under 24 feet. Anyway, I had to call all the marinas and change our reservations. In some cases, such as in Providence, they told me that they could not accommodate Sababa, or that Sababa was too big to reach them because of a bridge or some other reason. So, I went through my chart data and changed all the routes. Well, I thought I had, but apparently, I forgot to change the one to Providence.

Now here I was without my navigation data in the chart plotter and not sure where in Rhode Island I was, nor how far away our actual marina was. Fortunately, the iPhone came to the rescue, and I was able to find our actual marina, which we had passed 4 miles earlier and get us there. We fueled up, pumped out, tied up, and settled into our routine. As we were docked stern in, we pulled the dingy off at the fuel dock, and later, Benny and I went out and brought it to the big boat and tied it up alongside us.
Tied up in Providence
Once we were settled in, I washed the boat thoroughly (after failing to convince Benny to do it), and Ann and I took an Uber to West Marine where I bought a navigation chip for the chartplotter. We then walked about a half a mile to a grocery store (that walk along a highway was probably the most dangerous part of our trip so far), purchased several bags of provisions, and then took an Uber back to the boat.

Uber is really a game changer. For boaters who arrive in a port with no means of transportation, Uber means that you can pretty much get anywhere anytime. We have made extensive use of Uber on this trip, and I can't imagine what it would be like to do this kind of trip pre-Uber.

Later, we met up with Ann's brother Michael for dinner at a vegan/vegetarian restaurant in downtown Providence. His family was not able to join us because their daughter Hannah was sick with a fever. Tomorrow, we will see Amy and Rebecca, and if Hannah is better, she will come too. I will not blog tomorrow, as it is also not a travel day, and I'll cover our trip to Martha's Vineyard that is planned for Tuesday. Weather looks great.
Benny with his uncle Michael
Best news - the new chip works, and I have navigation data in my plotter again! So, the day was not jinxed after all!