Gale!

We thought we were so tough, having survived wild episodes in remote parts of the world, such as the unpopulated sections of western panama, the lawless portions of eastern Nicaragua and Honduras, the whole of California, etc. In those, places we’d often be the only boat in an anchorage, relying on our own gear and wits for survival. Weather prediction would be a hazarded guess, at best. So we naturally thought that our sojourn to the Bahamas, basically in Florida’s backyard and populated by thousands of like-minded cruisers, would be a walk in the park, literally. But nothing prepared us for the once-in-a-generation freak storm we endured on January 6, 2016. Winters in the Bahamas can be tricky at times because cold fronts come off the eastern US and pass through and can bring winds that change directions and strength, along with rain and thunder on occasion. On this occasion we knew that a front was passing through, but it was not predicted to be very windy in our immediate area.

Wrong! We were taking it easy the day after a night of 30 – 40 knot easterly winds – these are strong winds, but are common in the Bahamas. They come from the East and there are many islands to hide behind to avoid the waves that such winds can generate. We usually don’t mind the wind alone because it is the waves that really move the boat around. That night was windy but not anything we were not used to. The next night was predicted to have lighter wind from the West. There are fewer places to hide from West winds in the Bahamas and we went to a location that was good for us in the recent past – just behind the large rock called Thunderball Grotto, where they filmed part of the James Bond film Thunderball (it has a really cool interior cave, which will be highlighted in the next blog post). These rocks have a small area to the East of them where you are sheltered from West winds. So we settled in thinking no big deal because winds were not predicted to be strong and in any event we had good old 007 rock to break the waves.

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Our hidey spot behind Thunderball Rock, in less crowded times

Around 6 pm we noticed the wind beginning to pick up – a normal circumstance toward the evenings here. However, it did not die down and continued to build, and rapidly. The wind quickly accelerated to 30+ knots, and then it jumped above 40 knots and stayed there. Things were getting hairy. There were 3-foot waves in the anchorage even though they only had 200 feet to develop. Whitecaps in a swimming pool it seemed like – and then they started getting blown off and the waters were white with foam and the winds were roaring.

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It never looks as bad in photos as it really is, and this looks bad.  This was when it first started; the worst of it was in the dark.

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One of the cats that dragged past us.

Then the wind increased above 50 knots and again stayed there, and we were closing in on hurricane territory.

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Instruments recorded max wind speed at 55.5kts (63mph)

Things were getting really dicey at this point. I started the engines to push the boat forward to take some strain off the anchor – after all, it was the only thing holding us from a wall of rocks ¼ mile behind us. In these sorts of winds, anchors can give up their hold and let boats go sliding off into oblivion. And it was no different this night. We saw one catamaran go sliding past us, and there was nothing we could do to help him. We just hoped his anchor dragging along the bottom didn’t snag ours and send us on our way too. I was driving the boat to move it out of the way of the dragging boat and take the strain off the anchor.

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Two young guys on this boat out in the open were dragging anchor.  They started the night in front of the rock to the right.  We were glad to see the next day that they stopped short of the rocks.

The rain was coming down so hard that I had to wear sunglasses – I couldn’t open my eyes otherwise. Then another catamaran went by – so eerie and sad to see that in the dark, knowing that those people were in for a world of hurt and you can’t do anything about it. This went on for about 2 hours, with me driving the boat – each time it got a bit sideways, the wind would grab it and I could feel it accelerate out of control sideways. It was lifting our big boat up and tilting it a bit on its side, with spray flying over the side. I gave the engines full throttle just to stand still and try to correct our angle so we wouldn’t slide off into oblivion as well. Mary kept a watch for other boats heading our way in the dark.  She handled the radio, which crackled with maydays and frenzied shouts for help or warnings about impending collisions and was running around giving me clothes to protect from the freezing rain – I started the ordeal in just swim trunks and ended up in full foul weather gear with sweatshirts and boots underneath .  At one point, I looked back and saw that our dinghy, which was hanging behind our boat on a rope, had turned upside down, flipped by the wind like a child’s toy. To add salt to the wound, a stray line from the overturned dinghy caught our starboard prop, killing that engine. I stripped the foul weather gear, dove in and removed the line. Luckily it was not wedged round tightly and I remember that the water felt lovely and warm. I just wanted to stay there and forget about the maelstrom above. But I jumped out, quickly showered, put the foulies back on and went back to the helm.

 

Finally, the winds subsided. I never thought of 30 knots of wind as “light” but it felt that way this night. All the boats were haphazardly strewn about the anchorage. One boat with a French couple and their dog were blown ashore and crashed into someone’s docks, tearing them up.  Another boat washed up against the rocks and started breaking up and taking on water. I was impressed with how calm the guy sounded in putting out his mayday – he was more sad than panicked.  One of the catamarans that slid past us ended up on the rocks with a hole in a bow, a rudder broken off and many other issues. This is the end of the cruise for some of these poor folks. Exhausted, but with hearts still pounding we tried to get some rest but continued to keep a watch throughout the night. When we heard our errant dinghy under the boat and scraping its propeller against the hulls, we went outside at 3 am and flipped it over. Easier than it sounds for 350 pounds of sodden rubber boat in a raging sea. But somehow we did it and tied it up. Next we saw that some of the boats that moved were very close to us. We would have started banging into each other if no one did anything. Now, generally when anchoring space gets too tight it’s up to the latest arrival to move. And the draggers who ended up very near us should have upped anchor to relocate to a safer place. But it became apparent to us that people were too shell shocked to take the proper action. So in the dark of night (by the way, this had to happen on a moonless night) at 4 am we fired up the engines to find a place to anchor safely away from anyone banging into us.  This accomplished, we collapsed into the bed. Surprisingly, adrenalin would not let us sleep and Mary was up at 6 am like she is every day. Its funny how bodies work that way, but the smell of coffee made its way down and I was not far behind her.

We spent the next day cleaning up and trying to save the engine of our dinghy.  An episode like this really lets you know who your friends are and can bring out the best in some. Our long time buddy-boaters, Charlotte and James, on their way to Nassau to effect their own repairs, offered to bring back a new outboard engine for us and to anchor near us and shuttle us around since we now have no way to get to shore to get provisions.

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Bob and I trying to get the waterlogged engine going.

Bob on another boat in the anchorage spent several fruitless hours with me trying to get our engine running again. After we put out a call on the radio for the stuff that fell to the bottom from our dinghy (the water is crystal clear here after all), we saw several boats trolling around looking for it. And we tried to do our part by giving parts to other boaters who needed them.

 

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The calm

It was sunny and calm now and you wouldn’t know that such danger was only 12 hours past. Some say that traveling like we do is hours of boredom punctuated by moments of sheer terror, and this was one night to prove it. We are glad we are safe and only have a waterlogged outboard motor to deal with. We are also glad that the people on those boats that went ashore are all OK. We were impressed by and proud of the way the community rallied to help others in distress.  Some people showed amazing bravery in heading out at the height of the storm to try to get to those calling for help.   Its just part of what we chose to deal with when we embarked on this crazy lifestyle, but we sincerely hope not to endure anything like that again.

This video shows the start of the storm.  When it got worse, Mary had to put down the camera.

 

 

Bahamas Bound

Season 3 starts with our longest passage to date – Deltaville, Va at the bottom of the Rapahannock River to the Abacos Islands, Bahamas.

4.5 days/800nm.  Thankfully, we had the help of our friends Mike and Holly to make watches easier and days more entertaining.

Our planned route involved heading out the bottom of the Chesapeake Bay, hugging the coast until below Cape Hatteras and then making a left turn and heading about 100 miles offshore to cross the Gulf Stream.  You don’t want to linger in the Gulf Stream because it rushes north and if the wind opposes it you get big ugly seas.   Also, if you are heading south, as we were, you need to get out of it because it just keeps trying to push you back north.  So we got across in one piece and turned south for the Bahamas.

Eventually, the air and water warmed and we swapped the sweatshirts and long pants for shorts and T shirts.  The fish started biting and all was good.  We safely landed at Green Turtle Cay in the Abacos Islands of Bahamas completing our longest passage to date and immediately began enjoying the warm, clear water.   We were also greeted by Rob & Rose on R&R Kedger who had set sail from Moorehead, NC and with whom we kept in contact via SSB throughout our passage.  Big kudos to R&R for doing their passage doublehanded.

The locals in the Abacos are laid back and friendly and the pace is is deliberate and slow.  We are back on island time, and loving it.

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Lucy

Dear Reader, please indulge us this little tribute to our dog Lucy, who left us in Deltaville, Virginia before we departed for the Bahamas.  We will return to our regularly scheduled blogging in the next post.

Holly's lucy photo

She chose us; we didn’t really choose her.   On vacation Mary has a habit of saving a bit of dinner for strays that inevitably haunt the pretty places. In Belize, she saved some fish for the many local cats we saw. But after dinner, they were gone. All we saw were three mangy dogs apparently living under an old upturned boat. All three came out to take the scraps, but only one continued on with us. Lucy followed at a safe distance and as we sat on the porch of our rented house she crept up and took a scratch from Mary.  Once she felt safe with us, she curled up in Mary’s lap and slept the sleep of the dead. It was clear she had not been able to let down her guard like this and just sleep in a long time. Her trust was touching and right then I knew she was ours.

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Early days in Belize

We got her back to NYC and she had every disease in the book, including heartworm and Lyme disease.   I often say that what we spent to fix her up would have allowed us to buy 10 purebreds, but there really was no question we would do whatever was needed.  She recovered and thrived.  It seems mutts are more resilient that way, and there was no muttier mutt than Lucy. She was an island dog descended from a long line of indistinguishable canines.  In Belize they call them potlickers, and lick a pot she could. Even though she spent only one year surviving on her own and had 14 other well-fed years with us, she lived for her next meal. It was her reason for being. She had an internal clock that knew her 4 pm dinner was coming down to the minute. That clock corrected for daylight savings time within a day.   You couldn’t deny her treats. She was so earnest about it, like begging was her job and she was dedicated to it. She was indifferent to playing fetch, acted bored at a dog run, and wasn’t much of a guard dog, but when it came to finagling food from a human, she was an expert.  Kids were easy targets as they always dropped food and found it a funny game to feed her.  Now, Mary will confess that she was the main cause of this begging, but I know she just couldn’t resist those big sad brown eyes pleading for a treat.  IMAG0001

And Lucy would eat anything. We didn’t bother noting the things she liked. She liked just about everything. It was far easier to note what she wouldn’t eat – bananas and citrus were about it. She had odd tastes too. Cut open a red pepper in the kitchen and she would smell it from wherever she was and come around.

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Lucy enjoying a drink at the Bark Bar.

She actually got excited about it. She’d eat a green pepper too but for some reason they weren’t nearly as good as a red pepper. In her later years she learned about fresh coconut water. To her it was like the elixir of youth. Even though a senior dog, a bowl of coconut water would have her jumping about and playing like a puppy .DSCN3144

She was an adaptable dog. It didn’t matter what we did or where we went, as long as she was with us. From her humble beginnings on the island, she ended up a well-travelled pooch. She lived in NYC and spent weekends on Long Island. She accompanied us on vacations all over the place. When we moved to San Francisco she rode out there with us in the car and watched the scenery go by.  She romped in the snow and tiptoed in the surf, climbed mountain trails and navigated city streets. She loved going for hikes. Not much for bushwacking, she would always find a trail and had to be in the lead. Sometimes at a fork she would look back asking which way to go and sometimes she just chose one and marched on as if it were completely obvious. If the humans didn’t follow her, she’d have to run back and find out what went wrong.

For a dog that grew up on an island, she was surprisingly afraid of water at first. She wouldn’t go near the surf. When we first tried to take her on the boat, she noticed the water between the boards of the dock and froze in fear. She even avoided puddles on city streets. It took a long time to coax her to swim. Eventually, she would do it in water without waves and into which she could wade. She was no crazy lab belly flopping and chasing balls. But for all that, she was a great boat dog.

She never got seasick and when we were moving she would just find a comfortable spot to lie until we got where we were going. When we started sailing long distances, one of our greatest triumphs was when she learned to do her business on a mat we made for the purpose.   Once she figured it out, she took to it like it was what every dog did naturally.   We’d hear her trotting up there on her own before breakfast each day.

She got old though, like all dogs do. She had arthritis in her back legs and walked with a stiff-legged gait that caused her head to bob. Her teeth decayed and some fell out but that didn’t diminish her one true love- eating. She could barely hear and lost the sight in one eye. But through it all, she never complained. I know dogs can’t complain, but what I mean is that she maintained her cheerful personality each day. As long as she had her humans with her and got her two square meals, she could endure anything. To me that is a lesson we can all learn from. Don’t dwell on the bad stuff; enjoy the time you have with the ones you love.IMG_8622Eventually, cancer got her and her body gave out and we had to give her up. But we will never let her go. We still get up in the morning and look for her in her bed, and it’s a little heartbreaking to realize she is not with us anymore.

We hope you’ll enjoy this video celebrating Lucy’s many 2 and 4 legged friends, her travels and our wonderful life with her.

 

Chessie, we hardly knew ya

The leaves were starting to fall and a tinge of cold was in the air and we knew summer was over and fall was coming.  We wanted to get south to warmer climates and soon. However, the stomach flu (will spare you the photos) and a series of lows marching out of the southeast were pinning us into Jersey City.  So once we were moderately better and got a decent weather window we made a mad dash out of NY harbor, down the Jersey coast, up the Delaware Bay, through the C&D Canal and into the Chesapeake Bay.

C&D Canal

C&D Canal

Whew, it was long trip but nice to be ensconced in the picturesque calm of this big bay and all its tributaries, creeks, byways and hi ways.  But just as we were about to start exploring, NOAA threw us a curveball by predicting that Hurricane Joaquin would run straight up the Chesapeake Bay and bring a 5 – 10’ tidal surge with it.

Rats, now instead of touring around, we were on the desperate search for a hurricane hole and a way to secure our home so Mother Nature would not take off with it.  We went into lovely Swan Creek near Rock Hall, Md (Swan Creek looks a bit like Hallocks Bay in Orient, only a little smaller, so we felt right at home).

The calm before the storm. Beautiful Swan Creek.

The calm before the storm. Beautiful Swan Creek.

We were the only boat that chose to remain on the hook in this bay but were comforted when John Clarke of Gratitude Marina rode by in his skiff and told us that if we tucked way up in the back bay, we would probably be OK if the storm hit.  He is a former cruiser and said that if the storm pushed Neko ashore, he would come and pull us off.  It was comforting to know that someone nearby knew we were out there.  We immediately went to work removing sails, setting our storm anchor and generally battening down the hatches.

Pete prepping 2nd anchor, yes was that cold.

Pete prepping 2nd anchor.  Yes it was that cold.

Of course, though, merely by doing all this back-breaking work, we assured ourselves that the hurricane would not come.   If we had not prepared, it surely would have hit us in the nose.

Yes I know not from NOAA but you get the idea of how many possible paths the storm could have taken.

Yes I know not from NOAA but you get the idea of how many possible paths the storm could have taken.

But it was still worth it because a big Nor’easter having nothing to do with Joaquin decided to come visit us anyway.  We had 3 days of big, cold winds and huddled inside and watched movies and thanked providence that we had installed air conditioning/heat when we were in Florida.

But finally the skies cleared and the waters receded and the dove came back with a green twig.  One of our Chesapeake Bay goals was to get to Annapolis for the annual sailboat show.  This is a big draw for sailors with just about every parts vendor and many boat manufacturers present.  We wanted to look at Outremer and Gunboat catamarans and check out any new and interesting products.  Annapolis is a cute little town that hosts the Naval Academy on its beautiful campus.

 The Academy is an interesting site to tour with a fantastic naval museum.  Don’t fail to go to “The Yard” to watch the midshipmen march off to lunch.  Every weekday they gather for noon formation complete with a brass band and march in formation into Preble Hall for lunch.  Such a grand procession merely to go to lunch, but tradition abounds in this place and it was quite a spectacle, not to mention it WAS taco Tuesday.

What a production, just for lunch ;-)

What a production, just for lunch ;-)

Time was ticking so we made a quick trip over to the Eastern Shore to see the charming town of Oxford and then it was off to Chesapeake Boat Works in Deltaville, Va., where we had a few little jobs done and prepped the boat to be away from the US for an extended period of time again.

 Deltaville was the temporary base for our friends on R&R Kedger. So it was great to catch up with Rob and Rose.  Just when they thought they had gotten away from us, we pull them back in ;-)

Relaxing with Rob and Rose

Relaxing with Rob and Rose

Deltaville is a tiny little town but full of marinas, boat support and the perfect place to prep for our big jump South.

Mike and Holly saying goodbye to "Izzy" who safely brought them across country.   Izzy as in "is he gonna make it"?

Mike and Holly saying goodbye to “Izzy” who safely brought them across country. Izzy as in “is he gonna make it”?

We finished our jobs,  and hooked up with Mike and Holly from S/V Wanasquewin.  They left their boat in Curacao to visit home and road trip across the country in a beater car they named “Izzy”.  It safely delivered them to us and we were glad they could join us on the trip to the Bahamas.  However, our Deltaville stay ended in a sad note for us and it was good to get underway again.

We ❤ NY

Just like Grandpa & Grandma Malloy and Grandpa Perica many years before, Lady Liberty greeted us as we sailed into New York Harbor.

Lady Liberty welcoming Neko.

Lady Liberty welcoming Neko.

Granted we were probably a lot more comfortable than they were and we knew what to expect when we arrived, but it was still exhilarating and made us excited to be back home. We were traveling with our pals on Pegasus, which made for great photo opportunities as we sailed down the East River.

 I ❤ NY

I ❤ NY

What immediately grabbed our attention was the almost unrecognizable skyline. Since 9/11 we’ve had to get used to the jarring absence of the twin towers but with The Freedom Tower and numerous new skyscraper shifting the city’s silhouette, it all seemed sadly unfamiliar.

Lucy back on the streets of NYC

Lucy back on the streets of NYC

This was perhaps the most dangerous trip to date for Pete, not for navigational reasons but because he knows how much I love NYC and once there, I may not have wanted to leave. We were thrilled to see old friends and family, ride subways, mix it up with the throngs of tourists, eat at some of our favorite haunts and just be a part of the machine that is the big apple.  Although we had a fabulous time I agreed to keep on our adventure and head back south to embark on season three of this crazy life at sea.

Freedom Tower

Freedom Tower

Thankfully the good old Empire State and Chrysler Buildings still stood proudly representing the old guard and we knew we were in the right place.

To see photos of City Island in the Bronx click here.

Lawbsta Pots and Chowdah

Dare we say “we summered in Nantucket, darling”.   Haha, well sort of.

Mary's new pal

Mary’s new pal

We spent the last few months cruising around New England and remembering why we love East Coast sailing so much – lacking the dramatic natural beauty of sailing on the west coast of North America, it makes up for it with innumerable places to explore, charming scenery and, importantly, safe ways to go ashore and leave your dinghy.  If you are a long time reader you may remember how we went ashore in most places on the west coast – put down the wheels on the dinghy, wait for a break in the waves, run it into the beach and hop out and pull it up as fast as you can.  Walking around dry after that was a fantasy.

Always room for one more at the dinghy dock

Always room for one more at the dinghy dock

So, bays with docks where you just tie up and step off seem like the utmost in civility to us. Oh, it’s the little things, isn’t it?

No BikesWe were hoping to get all the way to Maine but we ran out of time and will save it for another visit.   I believe Mother Nature took pity on us after our hellishly hot, wet summer in Panama last year and gave us phenomenally mild sunny days and cool evenings with very little rain for the entire time we spent up north.

Lucy taking a dip in the waters of Block Island

Lucy taking a dip in the waters of Block Island

Sophie giving Pete a surfing lesson . Block Island

Sophie giving Pete a surfing lesson . Block Island

And he is up

And he is up

Summer months are busy in this neck of the woods, especially weekends. Its nice to see the prevalence of sailing over motor boating in these waters, even if catamarans still seem like a UFO to locals (unidentified floating object).

Hyannis race

Hyannis race

They are traditional sailors.

Beautiful sailboat

Beautiful sailboat

Harbors tend to get crowded with weekend and holiday cruisers. However, very few of them anchor, preferring slips or moorings.   We felt our cruising time had trained us well and we happily saved the money and dropped the hook in some familiar harbors like Nantucket, several stops on Long Island and Block Island.

Gay Head Light House Martha's Vineyard

Gay Head Light House
Martha’s Vineyard

We also finally made it to other places we had long wanted to visit, such as Martha’s Vineyard, Cuttyhunk and parts of The Cape.

Perfect way to enjoy sunset with oysters shucked and delivered right to our boat.

Perfect way to enjoy sunset with oysters shucked and delivered right to our boat in Cuttyhunk, MA

We dodged lobster pots and ate clam chowder, met up with old friends and truly had a summer to remember.  Click on each place above highlighted in red for more photos or videos.

Visit from our NYC pals. Gus, Dave, Eileen and Sophie.

Visit from our NYC pals. Gus, Dave, Eileen and Sophie.

Hardworking Lobstermen

Hardworking Lobstermen

Martha's Vineyard fun

Martha’s Vineyard fun

Beautiful Nantucket sunset

Beautiful Nantucket sunset

Getting Re-Oriented

Orient, NY was our home away from home when we lived in New York City.  It was the perfect balance to hectic city life with lots of space, great sailing and peace and quiet.

Bug Light welcomes you to Orient Harbor

Bug Light welcomes you to Orient Harbor

Sitting on the eastern-most end of Long Island (get it, so far east it is the Orient) sits our historic village of less than 800 people.

Orient Historical Society

Orient Historical Society

Latham's Farm Stand

Holly's chicken

Our neighbor’s free range chicken

Come on, how much more small town can we get?

For those not familiar with the area, Long Island is in fact aptly named and at the end splits off into two directions.  The South fork is where you’ll find gorgeous ocean beaches, gorgeous homes and gorgeous people, aka the Hamptons. And on the North fork you’ll find waterfront vineyards, working farms and gorgeous people.

The gorgeous people of Orient ;-)

The gorgeous people of Orient – Holly and Phil and John and Martha

Halyard swing

Halyard swing

We were a bit nervous to return, worrying that perhaps our memories were rose colored and that reality would reveal something less.  But we were over the moon to find the hamlet had not changed and the small changes that have happened were for the better.   We were welcomed by our friends Phil and Holly and Martha and John, and kids.

Love seeing friendly faces welcoming us back.

Love seeing friendly faces.

We anchored in front of the yacht club, which allowed for easy dinghy docking and shoreside access.

Neko in Orient

Neko in Orient

OYC

OYC

OYC Jr. ragatta

OYC junior regatta

The yacht club’s junior racing program is really the envy of the area.  When we were there, Orienters took all the top spots in an Opti regatta with 6 or so different clubs joining.  The training goes on 6 days a week.

“Too much tiller, Margot” is what this poor young girl heard all during her lesson.

We were thrilled to learn about the oyster biz from our pals at Oysterponds Shellfish Co.

Reg Tuthill

Reg Tuthill

Frank checking the fruits of his labor.

Frank checking the fruits of his labor. “It takes Oysterpond oysters about 18 to 20 months of growth before 75-80% are ready for market. The creek warms up faster, cools down slower and is filled with lots of food for the oysters brought in with the strong flow of water.”*

Orient has a deep history in oysters, in fact Orient was once know as Oysterponds and oystermen thrived harvesting them from 1874 until the brown tide killed them off in the 1980s.  “The algae wasn’t poisonous to the oysters but out competed all the other algae and left the water filled with 99% brown tide which the oysters didn’t like to feed upon. It still shows up in some areas but not at the levels of the 1980″s.”*              *From local historican John Holzapfel

The Tuthill family has the privilege of owning the water rights to the estuary where Oysterponds Shellfish Co. harvest their critically acclaimed oysters.  Their family was one of the original settlers in Orient as deeded by the King of England in 1640s

But aquaculture is alive again and our buddies Phil and John are really helping the old guard ramp up operations.   I think we helped them plant close to a half million baby oysters.

Cruz in the estuary

Cruz in the estuary

Oyster unloading

Step 1 – Unloading half a million oyster seeds

Step 2 spread out baby oysters

Step 2 spread out baby oysters. These seeds are about the size of your thumb nail.

Step 3 count out baby oysters and load in growing bags

Step 3 count out baby oysters( they are about 5 months old) and load in growing bags

Step 4 carry oyster bags to

Step 4 carry mesh oyster grow bags to “plant” in the bay.

Step 5 Planting oyster bags

Step 5 Planting oyster bags where they will grow doubling in size every 10-15 days. “It takes Oysterpond oysters about 18 to 20 months of growth before 75-80% are ready for market. The creek warms up faster, cools down slower and is filled with lots of food for the oysters brought in with the strong flow of water.”*

Roberto shucked some mature ones right on the spot, and they are delicious.  If you see Oysterponds oysters anywhere, get them!  They are hearty and briny and perfect.

shucks

Down the hatch.

Down the hatch.

Lucy watching every move

Wild dingoes in the area

Speaking of local foods, it was nice to sample some of the local fares again.  Farm stand produce, clams that Phil dug up with his hands, mussels that we pulled out of Hallocks Bay.

Birds in Hallock's Bay

Geese in Hallock’s Bay

Mary musseling musselsFarm to table has always been a way of eating here, not just the latest trend and it continues to flourish.  The nearby town of Greenport has some exceptional restaurants, The Frisky Oyster is as good as ever, even if its prices are higher than ever.   Newcomer Brix & Rye has an incredible bourbon selection and delicious food.  And Little Creeks’ fun shuck-your-own oysters has taken over White’s bait and tackle shop right at Mitchell Park Harbor.  Linton’s store, now that he sold it it goes by its real name of the Country Store, has been taken over by a young couple selling very good sandwiches and prepared foods.  Orient country store signThe little store in East Marion has been transformed into a gourmet food store called Fork and Anchor.  Greenport has a brewery making craft beers.  And of course, all those vineyards are going strong.

Holly and Mary spending the afternoon wine tasting.

Holly and Mary spending the afternoon wine tasting.

Vineyard

Vineyard

Mary, Pete and Phil

Fun night with Phil and Holly in Greenport

I know these names don’t mean anything to most of you, but these places deserve a plug, check them out if you are ever out this way.   People complain about the strict conservation and preservation rules out in Orient, but we hope they hold strong and keep up the fight because in our travels we’ve seen how overdevelopment ruins a place.  And Orient is a rare pearl worth treasuring. Long Island Sound