Cruising Club of New England
Summer Cruise Week
July 31-August 7 2010
story and photos
by Maren Schober, First Mate
Today Al and I are busy packing clothes and food at home for our sailboat cruise week with the Cruising Club of New England. As I am packing up the cold foods, I reach for the two packages of guacamole and find only one! Panic time! "Oh, no!", I think. "I only see one guacamole in the refrig.!"
This is real important because our 28 year old niece, Debbie, who is going with us has told me, "Don't forget the guacamole, Aunt Maren! It's the one food item I care most about."
We have this with crackers as an appetizer before our boat meals and we all love it.
Al dashes out and buys some more. Thank goodness.
Al makes trips to the Sea Cup with our duffle bags and canvas bags. He unpacks and stores everything. By the time Debbie arrives from Maryland, we just have a few things left to bring on board.
Climbing into the Sea Cup and entering our galley, I take a deep breath. Where did Al put everything? It is great that Al stored all the food, but where are the meats? The condiments? The veggies for our salads? I don't have time now to find everything. I will have to do it along the way.
There is a good wind today! We are soon under sail and on our way to Orient Point State Park on Long Island. This year there are seventeen boats signed up: "Callisto", "Lily Pad", "Weyrling", "Montrose", "Sea Deuce", "Dalliance", "At Last", "Sundance", "Seaweed", "Sea ++", "Breeze", "Born To Run", "Cynosure", "Carpe Diem", "Sea Cup", "Sedative" and "Daydream". We look forward to more good times with our cruising friends!
Along the way Debbie and I play the "I Spy" game, checking off what we see.
" I see a schooner," I say.
"It's a ketch," Al corrects me. I always seem to get them mixed up in my mind. We check off ferryboat, kayacker, catamaran, seagull.
One of the items to check off is pick up a peanut from inside the cockpit grating. "I don't see a peanut in the grating" I say inspecting the grating hole-by-hole. "You will sometime during the trip!" Al promises.
"I see a jelly fish," Debbie moans. "It's not on the list", I respond. We add it to the list plus spot a lobster boat, man in a speedo, lighthouse, bell buoy and kite boarder.
Passing by Great Gull Island Debbie asks, " What is that funny looking box like structure on the island?"
"I think that is where people who are bird watching can hide from the birds. The birds do not see them there," Al replies.
We pass Little Gull Lighthouse and not much later we turn the corner by "Bug Lighthouse" and find Orient Point State Park. Soon the other boats arrive. Our fleet captains, Joe Kaplowe and Jackie Fisher, dinghy over to welcome us. They present us with our official 2010 Cruising Club souvenir which is a red cloth cooler pack with "CCNE 2010" handsomely embroidered on it. The embroidery job is done by Paul Leary, a member of the Thames Yacht Club. It looks beautiful and will come in handy!
After dinner on board I reteach Debbie how to play Cribbage. We play and Debbie burns right by my pegs and beats me soundly!
Nine o'clock a.m. starts our daily roll call on channel 72 and announcements for the day from Joe Kaplowe.
"Donna and I are celebrating our wedding anniversary today," Al Feir announces. We invite all of you to join us for lunch at Claudios in Greenport today."
Most of the boats leave Orient Point Beach after breakfast and head for Dering Harbor. We decide to stay until the afternoon and do some exploring by boat and foot.
Al takes us for a dinghy ride up into the large pond where we see lots of neat driftwood on the shoreline and also flocks of sandpiper birds. Securing the dinghy the three of us walk along State Beach collecting some seashells and admiring the beautiful scenery under blue skies. Debbie is delighted to find a perfect spiral conch shell.
After lunch on board we putt-putt over to Picccozzi's Marina in Dering Harbor, Shelter Island where we have a reservation for a slip at the dock. No one is on hand to greet us on the dock. No one is in sight! After waiting for someone to help us, we give up and manuver our boat into the open slip next to the "Sedative". On board the "Sedative" are Spence Kloter, Gary and Lauren Staples, Dave Prentice and Ivy Murch. We have arrived!
It is a very hot afternoon so Al and Debbie and I poke around the village. We see the "Dory Restaurant" across the street. My friend Susie Forbes has a brother who sometimes plays in his band there, but not at this time.
Our favorite shop is the Grocery Store where you can buy ice cream and sit on stools inside or tables outside. We notice the parade of villagers who go in and out of this popular place.
In the hardware store Debbie and I find some pirate hats that will be perfect for "Pirate's Night"! We also buy a skull and cross bones flag to fly from our mast. "Pirate" is the theme for the week!
After dinner on board Debbie and I take a walk over the the Shelter Island Yacht Club. We find Bev and Barb in the lounge with Hannah.
The "joint is hopp'n" with youth at the end of their day of sail races. They are singing and having a dance together obviously enjoying each others company.
On our walk back to our boat, I notice how much the cottages look like the ones in "Cottage Village" Oak Bluffs in Martha's Vineyard.
It is nine o'clock a.m. and all of us automatically do roll call. This is followed by a long silence. Where is our fleet captain? Where is Joe?
"Is there something wrong with my radio?" asks one of the boat captains. " I don't hear anything!".
Finally at 9:10 we hear Joe's sleepy voice, "Good morning, everyone. This is Joe your Fleet Captain. We will now have roll call." So we do it all over again. No problem.
This morning Debbie and I take the short walk to the ferry boat where we buy tokens for the trip across the water to Greenport. This is our day in town.
The first point of interest we come to in Greenport is the Carousel by the water. This is a large one for all ages. We pay the admission and pick out our horses. Up we climb! Soon we are spinning around in the circle moving up and down with our horses, laughing our heads off. This is pure fun. Sorry to feel the horses slow down and the music stop, we reluctantly climb down and continue our walk down main street.
The rest of the day we go in and out of main street shops to our heart's content. Debbie likes the Earth Store the best and almost buys a purple scarf with a dragon on it. On our way back to the ferry boat we revisit "Bayside" gift shop and buy some jam as gifts to our families.
The ride back on the ferry is rough in high winds. We walk slowly back to our boat, stopping in the grocery store for some refreshing iced coffee.
Tonight is dress up night and the annual cruise dinner. Al and I and Debbie take the launch over to the Shelter Island Yacht Club. On the dock Al Feir walks past us shouting, " I have to go back to my boat and get my hearing aid or I won't be able to hear anything you say!"
Inside the club we greet everyone on the cruise and sit down to a delicious buffet dinner. We are sitting with Marilyn and Gene Lohrs, Gary Staples, Dave Prentice and Rich and Gigi Murphy.
Marilyn leans over and whispers to me, "I don't know what got into Gene! He is talking so much!"
After dinner we have a guest speaker who is the director of the historical society. She is fascinating as she gives us a history of the island.
At sundown we hear the loud report of the gun. We all rise to our feet for "colours". This is the time the American flag is lowered and there is silence as we remember those not with us anymore.
A big surprise during dinner is receiving a hand made blue beaded ankle bracelet from Janet Gorrell! Janet goes around to every lady cruising club member bending down to attach the ankle bracelets to our ankles! She made every one of them! We are all moved by her kindness and generosity.
Dessert arrives and it is berry cobbler. So good! We walk back to the Sea Cup after dinner.
"This is my best day yet," Debbie tells me.
I get up during the night to use the head and this wakes Debbie up in the V berth.
"Is it morning yet?" she asks me sleepily.
I am over heated down below tonight so I try to sleep in the cockpit. I see the blue light shining through the windows of the huge motor yacht across from us! It is the screen saver on the large plasma TV! Fascinated I watch jumping dolphins, whales and even African jungle animals until I get very sleepy and finally fall asleep.
This turns out to be a very special day. I swim off our boat during the day and relax on the Sea Cup.
Early evening all club members dinghy over to "Taylor's Island" where Pat gives us a tour of the Smith-Taylor Log Cabin. This original log cabin was built on Cedar Island in Coecles Harbor in the late 1800's by Francis Marion Smith. All of us have seen this cabin from our boats, but this is the first time we can walk on the island and see inside the cabin. The cabin is now on the National and New York State Registers of Historic Places. We marvel at the wood interior and especially the stone fireplace and unique wood front door.
We have permission to have a picnic dinner on this little island. Al Feir is minding the grill.
"Come and get your hamburgers!" Al calls. All of us have brought side dishes and there is plenty to eat.
Debbie and I notice that the crew of the Dalliance is with us for the first time. We do not know these people.
"Let's go over and meet the new comers" Debbie whispers. So we do just that. I meet Liz Caruso and she says to me,
"I know you from somewhere."
"I live in Uncasville, CT," I tell her.
"I used to live in Uncasville," Liz answers.
"I live on Dydo Drive."
"I lived on Dydo Drive for three years!" Liz replies startled.
Then the light dawns and we remember that short period of time that we were neighbors back in the 1980's. Small world!!! It is great to see her again and remember old times.
We all observe a gorgeous pink sunset this evening on the island. We are speechless in the face of this beauty.
Later on back on the boat Debbie beats me so soundly in Gin Rummy that "I quit!" and I went to bed!
During roll call this morning I invite everyone over to our boat at 3:00 p.m. for a "noodle party". I know it will be a fun party.
It is a very hot day and I decide to stay on the boat and go for a swim while other club members go on a dingy sefari.
I go for my swim off the boat and I begin to wonder what we will all do when everyone comes over for the swim noodle party later in the day. My brain goes to work. "I know," I think. "we will get in a big circle and do simple water ballet moves." I begin practicing what we will do.
"Right knee up, two, three, four, right knee down, two, three four. Left knee up, two, three, four, left knee down, two, three, four.
Right arm up....right arm down. Left arm up...left arm down. Now center splash!"
Al and Debbie listen to me practicing and want nothing to do with it!
When 3:00 pm finally arrives...no one comes over! I feel relieved. Now I can relax and now worry about people liking this or not.
About 3:30 pm...everyone comes over!!! Next thing I know we all get in a big circle. Al jumps off the boat and swims over and Debbie also joins us. Now it is as I pictured it this morning.
" Right knee up, two, three, four...etc.
Much laughter and much fun.
Tonight is the Pirate Beach Party back on Taylor Island! We don our pirate hats and eye patches and Al sports his "heavy medallion" around his neck. Everyone is in pirate mode. Pirate stories are told and tall tales!
We have a costume contest and Jackie Fisher is the winner! A treasure hunt takes place on the island for the hidden dubloons. Al Feir has a stuffed parrot on his shoulder that actually talks to him and repeats his words!
Sunset once again is indescribably beautiful!
Last night I slept in our cockpit. It was the perfect night for this and I slept soundly!
After breakfast Al and Debbie take a dingy ride over to the Marina and bring back some ice for our ice box.
The cruising club has a sailboat race over to Three Mile Harbor. Our time is 1 hr. 3 min. and 25 sec. We win second place!
It is another hot day and perfect for the scheduled "Blindfold Dinghy Race". Jackie Fisher works for hours mixing us all up on different dinghies. I am paired up with Vin Moriarty. Vin is the driver of his dinghy and he must wear a blindfold during the race! I have to give him directions. Scary thought! We all line up in our dinghies along an imaginary starting line and Jackie points out the buoy we have to go around before coming back to the finish line.
"When you hear my whistle, you start!" Jackie tells us.
The next thing we know we hear the whistle!
"Go straight!" I shout to Vin. "Go straight!" (The poor guy is blindfolded!)
"Go to your port side! Port!"
"Go straight! Go starboard! "
By some miracle we go around the buoy and get back to the finish without crashing into another boat.
The second race we are not so lucky.
The whistle sounds and we are off! Without my even seeing it coming, Wham! We are hit broadside by another dingy...another blindfolded driver! I lurch in the boat but do not fall out, thank God.
We make it around the buoy and back again. Much laughter.
After the races we somehow secure our dinghies together in a long line and make crazy circles like a whip! It is like the whip I used to do on ice skates in years past! This is fun but crazy at the same time.
I thank God no one was hurt!
Back on the Sea Cup I rest and Debbie teaches me a new card game. It is called "Rummy 500." I like it immediately and we play a few times.
It is 5:30 pm and time for the appetizer contest. I can't spell that other word they use...hors d'oeuvre contest. It ought to be a crime to try and spell that word!!!
Anyway, we all dingy over to Sammy's beach for the "you know what" contest. So many delicious appetizers. I bring my East Indian Curry dip and although I am not a winner, two friends beg me to send them the recipe!
Janet Gorrell is the winner with her fabulous meatballs on a stick!
We are on a narrow spit of sand. Nick Caruso goes wandering off into the marsh on the other side only to come running back with a crab in his hand!
"He just reached out of the sand and bit me!" Nick tells us! Seems to me I remember this happening at the appetizer party last summer to someone else in our club! This is getting to be an annual occurrance! Watch out for those crabs!
We are all wondering about this long stretch of rope lying on the sand. The mystery is cleared up when Joe says, "Now everyone find a spot alone the rope! This is one team and this is another. On your mark, get set, pull! Much grunting and groaning and falling into the sand!
Mike Passero speaks up. " Now let's choose teams like we did in high school. Captains choose your teams!
"Oh no," Debbie whispers to me. "I hated doing this in high school. I was always afraid of being chosen last." Teams are chosen and we try it again.
"On your mark, get set...pull!"
We are off again huffing and puffing, pulling and being pulled, dropping into the sand! It is a good work out for us!
Everyone is shocked when they find out that our niece Debbie is 28 years old and contemplating marriage in less than a year!
"What!" Jackie exclaims. I thought you were 16 years old!
Joe Kaplow is also in shock, but he sits down on a dinghy with Debbie and give her some fatherly advice. He asks Debbie some important questions to think about.
"Does your father know about your desire to marry?"
"Have you seen your boyfriend eat a meal?"
"Have you driven in a car with him?"
"Have you met his parents?"
"Do his parents have all their eyes?'
"Have you met your boyfriend's friends?"
"Does he open doors for you?"
"Have you had your heart broken before?"
These are serious questions to think about, and Debbie appreciates Joe's concern.
Another show stopper sunset. We can never get enough of these. It is soon back to our dinghies and boats before the tide completely covers our sandy picnic area.