29 August 2014

Visitors Week, Navigating Bridges,Work Day and Broken Water Pump

Visitor Week
We began what Linda is referring to a Visitor Week in that we are happily connecting with some friends and family in different harbors this week.
Linda's son, Josh, and his girlfriend, Sharon visit from Amsterdam (more below)
With Ree and Sammy in Stonington
Argon anchored in Stonington Harbor at dusk

Onward from Stonington to Mystic Up the River and Under (Through) Two Bridges
A sailboat + a bridge is always interesting.  To get to Mystic, one must navigate a little way north up the scenic Mystic River before encountering both a swing railroad bridge and a bascule bridge.  The RR bridge opens on request unless a train is approaching and the bascule bridge opens at 40 minutes past every hour (if there is waiting boat traffic).  Since we were approaching on a Tuesday late morning, there was very little boat traffic which was good since although we had planned our timing well and followed the instructions from both the harbormaster and cruising guide, we happened to catch the RR bridge just as not one, but two trains were approaching.  Thus we had to wait and circle for the first bridge quite a while unexpectedly, as well as then missing the carefully timed second bridge thus having to temporarily tie up for about a 45 minute wait.  Despite the unintended delays, we really enjoyed the travels up the Mystic River and will return again (but this time we would arrive at the RR bridge earlier than needed in case there is a train closure).
Mystic Railroad Bridge finally swinging open after we circle and hover waiting for two trains to go by
Safely through Mystic Railroad Bridge
Mystic River Bascule Bridge (road bridge through downtown Mystic) opens at 40 minutes past every hour but for only 5 minutes - thus Captains need to be ready and alert

Argon quickly following behind a couple other sailboats as the bascule bridge opens on our way south leaving Mystic
Close up view of the Mystic River Bascule Bridge - It is very well maintained and quite attractive.  One can see the huge cement counterweights in the upper part of the photo.
Josh and Sharon Visit the US!
Linda's son, Josh, moved to Netherlands this past May to be with his love, Sharon.  Both Josh and Sharon are spending a three week holiday in the Boston and New England area.  We were thrilled to host them overnight while docked at Mystic Seaport before they spend a few days camping in Connecticut and visiting with friends and family. We look forward to seeing them again back in Boston at the end of our sailing trip.
Enjoying the delicious cheeses that Sharon and Josh brought from Amsterdam
Sharon, Josh and cousins Sam and Morgan pose on Argon's deck
Josh and Sharon relaxing in the cockpit
Josh examines the jellyfish closely to see if they sting
We are so proud of Linda's nieces Sam and Morgan.  They are both embarking on terrific adventures.  Sam has enlisted in the Navy and leaves for bootcamp in about 10 days; and Morgan starts her university career at SCSU this week.  Congratulations Sam and Morgan!!
Mystic Seaport Museum Docking
Despite living in Connecticut for many years, Linda had never been to Mystic Seaport Museum before.  We were not sure what to expect but thought it would be cool to be docked on the museum grounds, well museum waters.  We loved it!  The dockstaff was A+, we felt almost part of the museum with visitors passing by and some stopping to chat about the boat, and the docked guests have exclusive private access to the museum grounds after the area closes to the public in the evening.  The town center is easily accessible by foot or dinghy.
Linda pretends to clean up "road apples" harking back to her stall mucking days in Higganum with Morici and friends
The impressive and recently renovated Charles W Morgan whaling ship from the mid 1800's

View up one of the masts of the Charles W Morgan
Argon on display at Mystic Seaport Museum
Bob loved that we were given a sign to hang from our rail "Private Yacht - Please do not board" as well as our special museum "yachtsmen" passes for the grounds
Among all the fun and adventure, we both are still working a bit also (Bob more so than Linda).  Wednesday of this week was one of our official, pre-scheduled working from boat (WFB) days.

Linda's office
Onward from Mystic to We'll Figure It Out Before We Hit the Head of the River
After a leisurely morning, we said farewell to our guests and headed south down the Mystic River not quite sure where our next destination would be.  After examining the winds, currents and distances, we opted for Dutch Harbor on the west side of Jamestown RI.  The wind was variable ranging between 8 - 20 kts but mostly out of the N.  We used a few different sail trims including reefed main, then unreefed, jib, then genny, then back to jib.  There was a high surf advisory for along the RI coast and we sailed in unusual swells in that they were sometimes 6 to 7 feet but with very long periods between thus still made for a comfortable ride.  Given the height of some of these swells, however, we were sure to stay clear of the several shoals extending from the CT and RI coast.

Large waves breaking as the surf passes over Watch Hill Reef quite a way off the coast
Swells were making their way up the West Passage of Narragansett Bay causing waves to crash against Whale Rock

We anchored in Dutch Harbor just as the sun was setting
Initially tried to anchor along Dutch Island but the rocky bottom prevented us from getting a good hold.  We found a comfortable holding on the east side along Conanicut Island
Plumbing Issues
While in Mystic we ran out of propane as we were making our morning coffee.  Not an issue as we have a spare tank and we quickly switched tanks.  However, we soon were having difficulty keeping a full flame on any of the burners.  Bob took advantage of Josh and Sharon having our car in Mystic and did some provisioning including taking our original tank to get refilled.  This solved the problem but we do not yet know what the issue with the other tank is.  We can address later.  The bigger plumbing issue came up as Bob was doing dishes shortly after we anchored in Dutch Harbor - water pump seemingly died.  Of note:  our toilet uses fresh water, not sea water, hence there were implications and urgency all around with not having a functioning water pump.

After close examination and some experimentation, Bob determines that the pressure switch is faulty and is able to get the water pump to work again - but only for a few minutes.  (Btw.... Bob worked with a similar type mechanical switch extensively many many years ago and indicated that these things normally are very reliable.)
Although it is just the pressure switch we need, the following morning we were luckily able to secure an entire new water pump from Jamestown Distributors, a local extensive marine supply warehouse, and they will deliver the new pump this afternoon to the boatyard near where we are anchored.  We will also send back this practically new water pump to the factory for a replacement (spare) or refund.

Not sure where we will be tonight yet.  But have dock space in Newport and plans for more visitors Saturday through Monday to celebrate the holiday weekend!  :-)

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