Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Coecles, Sag and Three Mile Harbors

We wound up our time exploring Shelter Island at Coecles Harbor on the west side of the island. It is a large, sheltered harbor and we anchored right off the shore of the Nature Conservancy's Mashomack Preserve. We ventured into the preserve by docking the dinghy on Taylor's Island and wading across a sandbar onto the main island. We would have had a really nice hike had it not been for swarming gnats that surrounded our heads most of the the time. It was still a good hike, it just took quite a bit of discipline to not be driven to annoyance by the tiny critters.

From Coecles Harbor we motored the short distance south across the bay to Sag Harbor. We anchored ouside the breakwater in the company of several megayachts. We went ashore to walk around town, have lunch and top up our fresh fruit and vegetables. Sag Harbor is a nice enough town, but there is a lot of vehicle traffic on the main streets, noisy and distracting. We had a nice lunch and picked up our groceries but didn't linger. Instead, after dropping of the food, we took the dinghy to a beach a few hundred yard from the boat. While wading out to go swimming, I dug around the bottom with my feet to see if there were any clams and immediately felt a big chowder clam. We spent the next hour treading in the shallows and came up with a dozen biggies. I made a clam stew, a very thick clam chowder with vegetables and big chunks of chewy clams. It was pretty tasty.

We left Sag Harbor this morning and continued eastward along the south fork to Three Mile Island, near the town of East Hampton. This is a large really beautiful harbor accessed from the bay via narrow inlet. It looks more like a freshwater lake than a saltwater harbor. There are relatively few boats in the anchorage and no megayachts at all. Very much more my style.

I'm looking at the weather for our upcoming passage to Block Island. I was not planning to depart until Saturday, but it looks like Thursday will have much more favorable winds, although it is forecast to be cloudy. So now the plan is to enjoy another day here and then set sail for Block Island on Thursday evening.

I was thinking to myself how ideal being on a boat is in these days of COVID. We have very little contact with other people but rather than being stuck in the same place indoors at home, we are outdoors and the boat moves freely from place to place. We really only come in contact with other people when shopping and we observe all the social distancing, mask wearing and hand washing recommendations. I didn't realize how good a situation this would be, more worried about what would happen if I or a crew member got sick. That seems almost impossible if we continue on as we have been.

Marshland along Coecles Harbor, Shelter Island

View along our gnat-challenged hike in the Mashomack Preserve

Classic wooden-masted schooner in outer Sag Harbor

Sag Harbor sunset