Carol and I just returned from a trip to Fire Island, N.Y., and I thought I'd pass on a trip report. MOANE member Don O'Keefe passed on some helpful information to us before the trip - thanks Don! We had been invited to visit some friends in Ocean Beach, Fire Island, and decided to bring TIME ENOUGH along and get in some cruising. We launched at Heckscher State Park in Islip. There were six ramps with finger piers on a protected cove, lightly used when we were there. No overnight parking is allowed, so we registered in the campground, set up a tent and left the truck and trailer there. At $14./night it turned out cheaper than marina fees. It is about a mile walk from the campground to the launch ramp.
We had a pleasant sail over to Fire Island. Great South Bay is about five miles wide and well protected. We found our friends' house facing the bay and anchored in front, tieing stern to a bulkhead. This was not a great spot as there was a lot of wake from passing boat traffic and ferries, but had the advantage of being right in front of the house and free. There is a nearby municipal marina which was very expensive ($40/12 hrs. on weekends). The first night we tried to sleep on board but boat and party traffic continued all night long. It gave a double meaning to the word "wake". After that we slept in the house. We used that plank we carry first as a gangway, then later as a fenderboard when we tied TIME ENOUGH along side the bulkhead. But oh how she rolled!
Fire Island is a unique place. About half is National Seashore and wild, half built up with nice summer cottages, but no roads at all on the island. It is a five minute walk from the bay to the ocean side and the beach is beautiful. The event we were attending is an annual Morris Dance weekend sponsored by Greenwich Morris Men. My own group, Pokingbrook Morris, attended with about 20 people. We had a great time partying, playing music, singing, and performing on the ferry landing in Ocean Beach.
Sunday afternoon we untied from the dreaded wall and sought shelter on the "mainland" side of the bay. We found a peaceful anchorage up the Connetquot River near Oakdale. There were several large marinas which we passed by and anchored upstream by the Bayard Cutting Arboritum, in 4 feet of water with a mud bottom. There is a 4 mph speed limit on the whole river, so what few boats came up our way were slow. Geese and swans were everywhere, and sculling boats from Dowling College in Oakdale glided by. Very quiet and peaceful.
Monday was a cool, gray, wet day and we lay low, sleeping late and remaining at anchor. In the afternoon we explored upstream in the dingy. Dowling College is located in buildings of the former Vanderbuilt estate. The Vanderbuilts dredged the river to accomadate their steam yacht. The Cutting Arboritum on the other side is now a state reserve and you can tour the mansion and beautiful grounds.
Tuesday the sun returned. With a south breeze it would have been a great day to head east toward the Hamptons and Peconic Bay, but we were returning to Albany Wednesday, so we went day sailing on the bay. Our chart kit is way out of date, with most buoys either moved or renumbered, but you can keep track of your position from shore reference points, and there are few hazards. We sailed out to Watch Hill, opposite Patchogue, but didn't stop. Don O'Keefe had recommended this National Park run area, and I wish we had more time to explore it, and Sunken Forest and other areas on Fire Island. Oh well, next time. We returned to the Connetquot River to be near our take out point.
Bob Ahlers and Carol Moseley TIME ENOUGH