Sunday, August 30, 2009

Old Lyme Marina on the Connecticut River

We have so many memories of the Connecticut River. We can recall so many wonderful and magical times here, and we also had one of our worst boating experiences on this waterway. That event, though, has softened into a recollection worthy of a good telling. On our first visit we failed to consider the current, and with a strong ebb against us, we could only make 2 knots or so getting up river. Live and learn.

In our old boat, a 34 foot Hunter, we braved the shallows to enter Hamburg Cove, and were pulled off aground by a little runabout who saved the day. Hamburg Cove is all filled with moorings and it is the practice to pick one up, and switch moorings if the rightful owner shows up. For the less stalwart, you may pay for a mooring (and you probably gain the assurance that it has been serviced). We doubt whether First Edition's 44 feet and radar arch would swing easily at Hamburg, so this romantic spot will henceforth be thought of but not visited by us. It really is worth a visit if you are less than 40'.

We also had a slip here at the Essex Island Marina in years past, again on In Recess, the Hunter. I think this was our first visit as well, when we bucked the current the whole ride up. We planned to depart the marina at 6:00 in the morning to get the current right, but we failed to consider the swiftness of the tide while exiting our slip. We were directly across from a line of large power boats, and at least two of them were roused by a love tap from our bow pulpit. I recall that I did an admirable job of pushing us off multiple gas-guzzlers, and I can still see one blue-haired woman screaming at us "Get off, get off" (like we had a choice).

With Hurricane Danny threatening the Sound, we decided the Connecticut River should be inland enough, and Old Lyme in particulr seemed to provide good protection. We took a mooring at the Old Lyme Marina for $35 an night (launch service would have been an additional $12!). It rained cats and dogs for almost two days, and Danny did not generate enough wind to even turn the blades on Arnie, the wind generator. So we were lucky, and made a good choice.

A word of caution though. Upon entering the creek at Old Lyme, you will come across an obstruction buoy. Unless you leave this well to port you will run aground, which we managed to do. Fortunately we were on a rising tide, and the bottom appears to be soupy, so we quickly got off. So, when visiting this Marina, ride very close to, or through, the mooring field. There is a grocery store and a few restaurants within walking distance, but not much else.

1 comment:

George said...

I have also stayed at Old Lyme Marina on the Connecticut River and found it to be a most charming place. It is very quite and well protected and my dogs loved exploring Calves Island. The "town" that is a short walk away and has both a grocery & hardware store for your convience.

You are correct it can get very shallow quickly as you enter the area and you do not want cut between the R/G bouy at the southern end of Calves Island as you will surely run aground, stay within the mooring field and you will be just fine.

Hamburg Cove is also one of my favorate anchorages, but you do need to honor all the aids to navigation when entering the Cove.