The forecast suggested that Sunday’s wind might peter out instead of get us back to the Connecticut River’s mouth before Sunday’s ebb took hold. Nonetheless, not long after launching Saturday late morning, we decided to be bold and make the most of the tides and forecast wind directions, avoid the holiday weekend river traffic, and head for the South Fork.
We rode a strengthening ebb and west breeze outside Plum and Gardiners Island, spotting many shoals of fish, on one occasion so dense we were briefly convinced we’d stumbled upon an unmarked rock. The wind picked up so much in Tobaccolot Bay that we hove to and took in a reef before dropping the jib. No cuts between Cartwright and Gardiners Island sufficient to overnight in were made out in the setting sun of hundreds of birds. We sailed into beautiful Napeague Harbor. In it’s empty north side, after a few hot bowls of vegetables with red lentils and couscous, we had a bug-free and tentless night under a starry and then moonlit night, with Mars a bright red dot next to the moon.
We got an early start to improve our chances of making it home, but our concerns blew off with the steadiily building breeze. Plum Gut was a busy slop, but the whole sail back was accomplished in one glorious tack, with the exception of a quick MOB drill to pluck a dreaded mylar balloon that crossed our path out of the Sound. We made it back into the Connecticut hours before our tidal deadline, with wind enough to make it moot.
After a pit stop we headed up the Back River, but after a little while waiting for the railroad bridge to open, we opted to retreat back to the quieter waters behind the marsh, where the Old Lyme Land Trust‘s annual kayak regatta was in happy full swing. After a bit of smooth water coasting, we nosed into a peaceful shady spot for a simple lunch, watching schools of fry swim by and an osprey lug its catch right past grown but loudly begging fledglings. Not long thereafter we headed home. We couldn’t have asked for a better Labor Day weekend trip. Thank you, Roberta!