Long Island Bays
27 September 2007 | Manhasset Bay
After a pleasant afternoon sail from Port Jefferson, we made our way into Oyster Bay on the north side of Long Island - which is on the south side of Long Island Sound - which is enough to confuse anyone who might be directionally challenged.
It is a large bay with several yacht clubs and the usual assortment of huge mansions that we have come to expect along these shores. Our guidebook told us to not even think about landing on Centre Island since the folks there are less than welcoming so we just gazed at the estates as we cruised by. It had been our intention to anchor in the cove between the town of Oyster Bay and the bluffs of Cove Neck, but Strathspey radioed us to say they had been asked to move from there and were relocated over at the far end of the big bay. We headed in that direction too, around the many, many boats on moorings and the poles marking oyster beds, to drop the anchor near them and out of the way of the rowing sculls moving swiftly back and forth in the area. It was fun to see those sculls with their eager rowers since both our boys were rowers in high school and we have warm (well - sometimes it was quite cool at 4am) memories of watching them practice and race on the Ottawa River.
Our Strathspey friends, Mary and Blair, came over to join us for nibblies and drinks to celebrate our 100 days - that is how long it has been since we pulled away from Trident Yacht Club - between Gananoque and Kingston, ON. We enjoyed a wonderful evening of sharing memories of the past and plans for the future.
We didn't go ashore here except to get fuel and a chart in the morning, but it begs another visit because of the oysters to be enjoyed, and all the Teddy Roosevelt history and memorabilia around. Sagamore Hill, Roosevelt's summer home is here, and according to a friendly kayaker who drifted by, there are still many Roosevelts summering in the area.
I was happy to chat with the fellow at the Oyster Bay Marine Centre since I had been getting caught up in trying to plan precisely when and how to make the passage through the East River to New York City. He told me not to worry about it. "You go a little faster or you go a little slower" depending on which way the tide is flowing. It was like taking a deep breath and letting the fretfulness slide away, and was just what I needed. Of course we plan as best we can; if we plan well, the passage will be easier, but an hour or two this side or that of a tide change will not really matter in the long run.
It felt good to get moving on the Sound again toward Manhasset Bay. The thermometer in our cabin read 78 and it was much hotter out in the sun. That Ombrelle 45 sunscreen is getting smeared on liberally!
We motorsailed for about 4 hours, and headed into Manhasset Bay to the mooring balls maintained by the town of Port Washington. As Jim says, "This town has balls!" What's more, it welcomes transient boaters to use them free for two nights. It's always a nice treat to see how a village or town can create a happy atmosphere among its visitors. A launch service is also provided - for $8.00 per person round trip - for those who don't want to or cannot use their dinghies. People go ashore to eat, drink and browse through the shops. I'm sure a few dollars are dropped into the local coffers, and everyone feels good about it. We paid a visit to the West Marine store (an easy walk from the Town Dock), and though we didn't find the wifi antenna we are looking for, we enjoyed a nice chat with Joel, the manager. That evolved into a funny moment later on as Jim and I were seated on a bench along the main street with our laptops on our laps. A car cruised by and the driver - Joel - stopped to chat some more. It seemed amusing to be so far from home and still have a familiar face come driving by.
We made one last check of the charts and books and headed for bed to dream of wild rides through Hell Gate on our way to NYC the next day.