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Day 59 - Mystic, Connecticut
20:10 hrs - July 29, 2007
Symfoni

Well it started as a perfect anchorage in Mystic Seaport, and it just kept getting better, by the end of the next day I felt like a Kennedy! We were really just going ashore to spend a quiet day at Mystic Seaport but it turned out to be something much grander. By happy coincidence we had picked the best day of the year to visit Mystic Seaport! The 2007 “Antique and Classic Boat Rendezvous” was underway as we arrived, and as we made our way along the docks, full of exquisitely restored zillion dollar yachts, we found ourselves drawn to a beautiful 65 foot double-ended ocean cruising ketch called “Symfoni”. She was built in Stockholm in1937 for the king of Sweden and she was every inch a royal yacht.  Each boat along the dock had clear and unmistakable notices posted instructing anyone who dared stray too close, to keep their grubby little hands off! And Symfoni was no exception, but Neville couldn’t keep away.  He started a dialogue with one of the yachts crew about teak decks, and was quickly in a complex discussion about the pros and cons of some boating product or other, but before I knew what was happening he had managed to have us both invited aboard to have a closer look!  It was amazing, every detail was perfect and it was a thrill to be on board this magnificent yacht.  We were introduced to the owner Fred Holth a charismatic and very charming American trial lawyer.  He very generously allowed us to wander around and gaze longingly to our hearts content, but then when it was time for us to go he mentioned that his boat would be taking part in the following days yacht procession, and would we perhaps like to come along for the ride?  You can guess our reply.  We showed up exactly at the appointed hour and hopped aboard feeling oh so grand and special.  And then it got even better! As we were about to set off we were invited to stay aboard after the procession to join them for a sail and a BBQ! We were delirious!  It’s difficult to imagine how beautiful a yacht like that is under full sail until you are there, it was truly heavenly and I got a sense of what it must feel like to be a Kennedy or perhaps a Swedish king.  Fred and his family could not have been more generous and gracious hosts. And what a spectacular day, a thousand thank yous to the Holth family and Symfoni, and also a round of applause to the very talented 6 man bagpipe group that played beautifully on the deck of Symfoni and captured the attention of every spectator along the entire processions route, a day we will not forget!!

         
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Day 57 - Mystic, Connecticut
07:02 hrs - July 27, 2007
Location, location, location

Inspired by Mystic's maritime heroes, Catherine and I decided to anchor Dream Time right up the Mystic River today - past the railway swing bridge, past the bascule bridge, past Mystic Seaport and past the very last channel marker (can #53). Few boats over 40 feet venture up this far. Even now, during the height of Mystic's busiest season, there is just
a single sailboat anchored with us. In comparison, thousands of sail boats and motor cruisers are jostling around for space less than half a mile away. The reason for this beautiful, secluded, serene location, is the depth. See, after the last channel marker, the depth drops almost immediately from 9 feet down to about 3. As most sailboats our size draw anywhere from 4-7 feet, this can be a problem. However, after speaking to a few of the locals and learning there were some "holes", and motivated by the idea of not having to pay a single penny for anchoring (it can cost up to $150 a night at the marinas) we motored up the river yesterday in our inflatable to explore. Using an old lead-line (a 10 fathom piece of rope with a lead weight on the end) we manually took readings to find an area deep enough to accommodate Dream Time. After about half an hour of slowly motoring around in circles we had an area mapped-out. Today we returned in Dream Time and I'm happy (and a little proud) to report that the only thing that touched the bottom was our anchor.

Dream Time: In anticipation of anchoring, we topped-up our diesel tanks (30 gallons) and both water tanks today. Total engine hours: 591.

               
     


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Day 56 - Mystic, Connecticut
19:23 hrs - July 26, 2007
In the presence of greatness

Today Catherine and I spent the day wandering around Mystic SeaPort. The highlight was going aboard Charles W. Morgan. Built in 1841 in New Bedford, Massachusetts, she is the last wooden whale ship in existence. She sailed around the world for over 80 years, cruising the Pacific, Indian and South Atlantic Oceans, surviving severe storms, icebergs and even a cannibal attack.

We ended the day in the fo'csle (crew's quarters), sitting alone on the dusty wooden floor, getting lost in the moment listening to old recordings of crew sharing their stories of what life was really like 100 years ago, at sea for stretches of up to 5 years, onboard the Morgan. The audio player and speakers were concealed, so stories came from empty bunks, as if sailors and ship had somehow become one and needed to share what they had exprienced together - eternally locked together through desperation, comradery, loneliness or love. Each recording was accompanied with subtle ambient sound effects - the creaking of aging wood, waves against the hull, wind in the rigging. We felt their presence.

The armored warrior figurehead below symbolizes strength and courage and was popular on British warships during the 18th and 19th centuries. It is believed that this figure head is from the H.M.S. Orlando of 1858. It has inspired me to start my coconut carving!

         
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Day 53 - Mystic, Connecticut
15:03 hrs - July 23, 2007
Mystic here we come!

At 5:30am this morning we caught the early tide out of Westbrook and made our way to Mystic, we are now further east than we have been for a long time and I can feel the Atlantic ocean getting closer.  It was a pretty stormy sail but we got our toasty wet weather gear on and we were fine. We knew it was time to get out of Westbrook when yet another mega yacht pulled up alongside us and we started loosing daylight, and feeling like the middle of a big boat sandwich! Our new neighbors boat was registered in ‘Bikini’ of the ‘Marshall islands’ (northeast of Australia) and fyi strange but true ….. Bikini Island is well-known for two reasons. First, it, along with the rest of the atoll, was subject to numerous nuclear bombing tests. Second, the bikini swimsuit was named after this island in 1946, as the two piece swimsuit was introduced within days of the nuclear tests occurring, and the name of the island was popular in the news??  

         
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Day 50 - Westbrook, Connecticut
9:53 hrs - July 20, 2007
Itchy feet

We've been berthed in Westbrook now for 7 days and I'm eager to move on. There's nothing wrong with the marina or the town, it's a pleasant place, but it's time to leave.
I want to raise the canvas, get a little water under our keel, explore new harbors, drop the hook and feel independent again.

It's nice being tied-up in a slip, we have all the conveniences - unlimited power, water, hot showers, even a complimentary car service to the local shops, but it feels restricting and cramped. It doesn't help that we're berthed right next to an 80+' powerboat, it's like we had the perfect view, then all of a sudden someone built a office building right in our front yard! The open seas are calling me...

                 
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Day 48 - Westbrook, Connecticut
14:28 hrs - July 18, 2007
Ying & Yang

This isn't a gripe, far from it, but I'm still working 6-10 hours a day! Now, that's a big improvement on my old hours, and I know it's been the plan all along - to work and sail, but it can be difficult, at times, focusing on business when on a sail boat. I get easily distracted you see. It could be a bird sitting on our bow chirping at the world, the sound of waves lapping against the hull, a boat racing past, the sun, the ocean, a bumble bee, or my wife sunbathing. What ever it is, I'm trying to find the balance between my 'old life' and our new 'cruising life'.

When you can spend an hour or three quite happily watching the water rush past the boat, idle-away the afternoon reading, napping, kayaking, whittling, sketching, swimming, fishing or exploring new ports, firing-up the laptop, checking emails and working for a living holds a little less appeal.

Still, it's early days, 48 to be precise. Even though we're living on a boat, I'm confident that with a little more effort, or less effort, I will find balance.

                 
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Day 43 - Guilford, Connecticut
20:32 hrs - July 13, 2007
Baby steps

I have figured it out, it's all about baby steps, instead of everything having to be perfect right now, I will take progress not perfection, and in baby steps.  The journey so far has been such an odd mixture of utterly opposite feelings contradicting and confusing, which I can tell you is not very useful in a confined space, but I have at last come to terms with the concept of baby steps, which has made life infinitely easier.  I have realized that I took my old life way too much for granted, everything living on land is so simple, everything you need in order to conduct a typical life is generally (a) close to where you live or work (b) varied and plentiful and (c) conveniently packaged in easy to transport and store containers.  Everything has a more complex process now, everything from washing up to grocery shopping to e-mailing to getting a hair cut (Neville has assured me he will do a perfectly splendid job!!).  Nothing that used to be simple is simple anymore, but I do appreciate everything so much more now, like when the wind blows the right way sometimes, and how stars on a warm night are so beguiling that they can make a tough day feel like it was no big deal.  I’ll keep you posted on the hair cut!

         
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Buckle up! Catherine in the galley preparing a meal whilst underway. The harness around her waist
allows her to use both hands.
Day 42 - Branford, Connecticut
15:03hrs - July 12, 2007
New shores

We weighed anchor today at 10:30, raised the main and genoa (head sail) and in 15 knots of breeze, under clear blue skies, sailed close-hauled on a NE heading to Branford, which is located on the other side of the Sound about 17 nm (nautical miles) away. Now sailing has a reputation of being hard work. If you're racing, in nasty weather, or doing it wrong, it can be. However, if you're cruising, especially on the longer passages in the trade winds, it's just heaven. Even on our short 4-hour hop across the Sound, when the sails were set, the waypoint entered (a waypoint is where you're sailing to) and the autopilot on, there's really nothing left to do but relax, read and watch the world go by.

Dream Time: Used-up aft water tank, switched to forward. Forward diesel tank down to 1/8 full, will switch to aft tank before we depart. Total engine hours: 581. Trip log: 101nm

               



Dream Time anchored behind Old Field Beach - Port
Jefferson.
Day 39 - Port Jefferson, New York
19:10hrs - July 09, 2007
Mellow Monday

We're getting into the zone. My biggest achievement today was inventing a suspension system for my hammock! I attached bungee cords from the port and starboard side lifelines to dampen the sometimes wild swinging movement in an effort to prevent an unintentional dismount. The bungee cords are a great system that tame the hammock in, say 1-2 foot swell (a little speed boat or jet ski perhaps) but I soon realized they were inadequate against a large powerboat whizzing by at 100 mph or the Port Jefferson ferry that steams into the harbor at full throttle. After being 'pinged' back-and-forth across the boat, sometimes swinging clear of the boat altogether and momentarily being able to look down and only see water, I realized that I needed an "emergency" tether. The solution - an 8' canvas strap that is secured to a neighboring stanchion (the small vertical poles along the side of the boat that hold the life lines). Now, when a rogue waves comes bearing down upon us, I simply need to grab hold of the emergency tether. (Of course, this system requires that the user is either paying attention or not napping - perhaps I'll explore upgrading it tomorrow.)

In addition to setting-up my hammock, I had a short nap (in the hammock), went for a swim, and only checked email once!

Dream Time: Scrubbed teak decks.

                 



Neville standing behind sign.
Day 38 - Port Jefferson, New York
20:46 hrs - July 08, 2007
Port Jefferson, the (not quite) final frontier

We made it!! Yes we really made it out of Oyster Bay!  I am definitely going to miss Bonanza’s Italian Ices but we must forge on people !  With provisions taking on a more serious role at sea I am happy to report we are in Port Jefferson where the best bakery ever is located! And I’m not kidding! (I wasn’t kidding about Bonanzas in Oyster Bay either) It’s “Le Bonne Boulangerie” www.labonneboulangerie.com and if beautiful and truly scrumptious cakes and pastries are your thing, then this is the place for you.  It will undoubtedly cost you a couple of calories but it’s so worth it.  Unusual to note it is curiously located next door to a McDonalds?

Dream Time: Installed new dome LED lights throughout boat to replace old fluorescent lights (new LEDs draw only 0.2 amps each compared to 2.2!). Scrubbed teak deck in
cockpit.

               



Fireworks in Oyster Bay - Independence Day 2007
Oyster Bay , New York
21:14 hrs - July 04, 2007
Cause for celebration (again)

OK, the funny phone calls, witty emails and coy remarks have to stop. Yes, we get it, we're still in Oyster Bay. We've heard it all before though "gotten lost already" or "you're making 'zero' progress", "changed your mind", "lost your nerve". The fact is we're quite happy with the progress we've been making. I've calculated that at this pace, it'll take us approximately 120 years to do our circumnavigation. Now, that may be a little longer than we would like so we're determined to get some water under our keel and will sail directly to Port Jefferson either Sunday or Monday. (If you're only waiting for the little radar 'blip' on the home page to move, come back and visit us in September!)

The truth is, we're still in "the old neighborhood" because i&D, my company, is relocating. Business is booming and it's time for us to expand. Catherine, wife, sailor, Captain and real-estate guru has found a very cool loft space in Freeport (self-proclaimed, Fishing and Sailing Capital of the East). 18' ceiling, floor to ceiling windows, lots of brick - very creative, the team will move in August, so we needed to return to help things along.

We left Glen Cove, for the second time, on July 4th - Independence Day - a much more appropriate date for our adventure don't you think? We watched the fireworks in Oyster Bay with friends Mark and Debbie onboard Outpost. The best part, they have a loo onboard that in order to flush, requires the user only pushes a green button (rather than the 50 or so strokes required on our one-arm-bandit, slot-machine style loo).