WD-70 Watch Hill/Napatree and Homeport

What do I call this place? The town is Watch Hill, but the anchorage is Napatree and I tend to use the names interchangeably. This was the final stop on our WD-70 Cruise. 😞😢 Don has wanted to go back to Napatree since his first visit there with us last year (Thirty-Nine Times Two). It would be the perfect final port for that reason and because it is close to Shennecossett. It is one of our little treasured places, too.

We rafted together again. It’s unusual to be able to raft so often, but with the lower predicted winds for the next few days we felt safe, except for the wakes of crazy speeding boats passing by just at the edge of the anchorage. Geez! Out go the many fenders.

Al surveys the fender situation. Can’t have too many fenders. Looks like we’ve got this covered.
It is so much more fun to be rafted and able to chat across our cockpits.

We were ready to chill and relax here at Napatree to just enjoy these last few days of our cruising time together. But you know guys and boats.  After lunch, Don and Al were deep in a discussion about Limerick’s throttle issue. Don decided that with Al’s assistance, he could rebuild the hydraulic throttle assembly. He had the parts and a partner to work with. What could go wrong? 🤔😬😳

The Captains consult and review the diagrams and instructions.
To work on the throttle, Don had to crawl under the helm in the pilot house. That space on the Kadey Krogen 44 is quite large. Might it be the origin of the term “man cave”?

The hydraulic throttle and housing was removed and carefully rebuilt on the dashboard with no problems. The throttle assembly was re-installed and the directions stated that under proper pressure the system could be bled of air and would function again. When they attempted to bleed the hydraulic fluid in the system, no fluid would flow. This meant there was a clog in the hydraulic system somewhere. A phone call to an expert provided enough guidance to trace where possible clogs might be. It turned out that behind a large nut was a stone-type filter that was totally clogged. Finding that unexpected clog now and clearing it solved the current problem and potential future issues. This “little” project that should have taken 45 minutes expanded into a FOUR HOUR agonizing and frustrating job. After the first two hours, I climbed over to Limerick’s cockpit to ask Cindy what those two guys doing over there, reconstructing the entire boat? The look on her face told me that things were not progressing well at all. We, Cindy and I, decided to stay out of the way, therefore I have no photographs, interesting though they may have been.

I took the photograph of Al from Kindred Spirit and I could see that this was a tough job. Even calm and even-tempered Al was looking rather grim. But then, hours later, there was a cheer and a thumbs up from Don!! They did it!

“There is nothing–absolutely nothing–half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.”

This is the 3rd time I have used this picture and quote from The Wind in the Willows.

Al and Don worked so hard on that throttle project, determined to find the problem and the solution. The triumphant and happy look on their faces said it all in the end.

The weather radar and the sky warned of passing rains, but they stayed off in the distance and spared us at Napatree. Not a drop fell. How lucky could we get to have no rain, but still get a rainbow over the anchorage? The rainbow appeared around the same time the throttle problem was solved and concluded. A sign of “job well done!”

Doug from “Out There” stopped by to tell us that he and his wife Holly had photographed the rainbow with our boats under it. Would we like to have the photos? You bet we would!! Thank you, Doug and Holly!
Kindred Spirit and Limerick under the rainbow. Perhaps it should be “over the rainbow” because these 3 weeks have been lovely!
This might be my favorite photograph of the trip.

The sky continued to display colors and drama as the sun set.

8:20 pm
8:25 pm

Here we were at Napatree on a beautiful Saturday so we braced ourselves for the crowds of boats and people.

A fancy breakfast for the Captain and nice enough to eat it in the cockpit.

Beach time!! We are going to get a good beach day!! Hooray!! It is finally summer.

They look relaxed and happy. Sunshine and not too cold or too hot. Just right.
While they sat on the beach, I got in some water time. IT FELT SO GOOD! The ocean temperature here was really fine. Honestly!
Napatree has such a nice beach. A short walk over the from the anchorage, a great view, a long beach for walking, clear water for swimming, nice sand……….. I could go on and on!
Walking back over the dune path we can see that we are not alone. Everyone wants to enjoy this weekend.
The hot and cold water faucet is so nice for washing off on the swim platform. Gets the salt off before entering the boat.

After another great dinner on Limerick, we made an evening trip into Watch Hill for ice cream. Last port, last ice cream. St. Clair Annex is a small family run sandwich and ice cream shop, in Watch Hill since 1887. They make their own ice cream in small batches.

We enjoyed our ice cream sitting by the carousel. What a happy crew!
Aphrodite and Miss Asia are at their dock. Handsome, handsome boats!
People watching the setting sun.
Cindy and Don in their dinghy returning to Limerick as the sun set.
Ahhh, Napatree. You did it again.
Al serenaded the setting sun with his conch horn. A much better sound than honking boat horns.

Could we have another great day? You bet! Sunday was a repeat and even a little better. We are in play mode now.

A morning water workout, right off of our boats. I don’t often get into the water on this side of Napatree, but it was clean and clear and the temperature was just fine, not even a little shiver.
Cindy and I go for a kayak tour around Napatree. I am trying to convince her that she needs one of these. I think I need to convince Don, too.

Al has a new toy, an SUP, Stand UPaddleboard. Early in the trip, he found this board adrift, all alone, and towed it back to the boat. The water here was warm and calm enough to give it a try.  SUPs are sure popular and we see them everywhere. I suspect that it looks easier than it really is.

Al tried out paddle boarding (is that the right verb ?) using a kayak paddle. Will he keep it? Undecided as yet. 
I pulled myself up on the board and that was about as far as I got. I don’t think stand up paddle boarding is the right activity for me.
After a day of play, we ate dinner at the Olympia Tea Room.
The Olympia Tea Room, another family-owned Watch Hill fixture, since 1939.
Ok, I know….. MORE ice cream??? We skipped dessert at the Olympia in favor of another round of ice cream at St. Clair’s. YOLO, isn’t that what they say? You Only Live Once!

Our two gorgeous days in a row were followed by a rainy Monday. Al and I decided that for our last day of the cruise we needed a special treat after dinner. Watching the weather radar, we planned our dinghy trip around the showers.

Off we go! We return with a special bag of treats from SIFT.
Sift is a French-style bakery owned and operated by Pastry Chef Adam Young with locations in downtown Mystic, CT and a smaller shop in Watch Hill. Al and I chose a few indulgent delicacies for dessert that night.

With a day of rain ahead the guys decided on another project, this time on Kindred Spirit. The eternal optimists…..

Al and Don replaced three existing fluorescent ceiling lights in Kindred Spirit‘s engine room with LED lights to save energy. This time the legs belong to Al. I did not intend to take two such similar photos of a boat project in action but it is rather funny.

For the last night of the cruise Cindy made her delicious Pasta Bolognese. She pampered Al and made it with spaghetti. I usually use any shape except spaghetti, much to his dismay.

Funny coincidence – I looked back at last June’s blog post when we were all at Watch Hill together and saw that we chose the two of the same bakery confections, but instead of the Blueberry Cheesecake we selected five different macarons.

Our SIFT choices – Raspberry CON-fusion (almond dacquoise, raspberry ganache, Mexican vanilla mousse, caramelized yuzu), Opera Cake (espresso soaked almond sponge cake, chocolate ganache, almond praline, coffee, French buttercream) and a box of macarons.
Cutting each piece into four. See, we aren’t gluttons.
The sun sets over Kindred Spirit‘s bow.

And then it was Tuesday, the 23rd day of the WD-70 Cruise and time to return to Shennecossett. A sky of low clouds soon morphed into a bright and sunny day.

On our way back – Limerick just behind us and looking ahead to Stonington.
Ledge Light and then UCONN’s Avery Point campus. It’s time to turn in towards Shennecossett.

Limerick took on diesel fuel and filled her water tanks for the return to Sea Cliff, while we nestled back in to our dock and started cleaning Kindred Spirit and packing up to head home to our dirt house.

We can’t end the trip on those notes, can we? An impromptu cookout was quickly arranged bringing us full circle to the day we welcomed Don and Cindy to SYC to begin our cruising.

Whit & Joan (Sweet Liberty) and George & Patrice (Our Nest) joined us under the tent for our summer picnic of grilled chicken, potato salad, corn on the cob, cole slaw, watermelon salad and finishing with blondies and brownies. We missed you, Dean & Mary Jo!
Whit has a page of notes on cruising up the Hudson River to Lake Champlain. That is where Limerick is heading next. Whit has made that trip twelve times and knows Lake Champlain very well.

And so the WD-70 Extravaganza Cruise has come to a close. A fellowship that began in the oddest way (last year’s blog post 39×2) and grew virtually for over a year and a half, has now become a treasured friendship. I think all four of us would say that our boating together adventure was a tremendous success. Before this cruise we had only spent about 4-5 days together in person. Our relatively young friendship survived and thrived through twenty-three days of togetherness.

I’m going to miss Cindy.
The crews of Limerick and Kindred Spirit.
We waved good bye to Don and Cindy with mixed feelings. With sadness that our time together has ended, but also with joy and the fond memories of shared friendship and a love of boating.
Don’s photo of the last evening on our mooring.

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