People who serve in the armed forces are awesome*

Before leaving Essex Monday morning we popped over to Main Street for the Memorial Day Parade.  No floats or cheerleaders or clowns on unicycles. Basically it was a few veterans and a smattering of fifes and drums, strolling through town to the various cemeteries to honor fallen service people.  The entire parade passed by in about three minutes.  And absolutely was amazing.  Very moving.

Yup, even the view pulling out of Essex is cool.

Then west to Branford for the night.  On the way out to a flawless cruising day we passed by Old Saybrook again, where Old Saybrook Light was draped Old Gloriously.

A quite pleasing four hours later we pulled into the rather oddly-named Bruce & Johnsons Marina for the night.  The most we can say about Branford is that of all the many New England coastal towns we’ve visited, Branford is one of them.  Nothing significant nearby the waterfront, mediocre restaurant, and no decent place for Oscar to wobble along before Dana picks him up and carries him.   About the only excitement was finding a non-pitiful Pearl to add to our list.

But hey, the marina is nice enough despite the odd name, the dockhands were great, and the free pumpout boat arrived about fifteen minutes after we tied up.  Plus, Branford isn’t a no-drone zone.  Even collectively, however, those aren’t enough to make us want to stay longer.

So we didn’t.  Instead, we had a third-straight exceptional day on the Long Island Sound.  The new fins did their job.  Beautiful.  Flybridge weather.

The only plot twist came in the form of Stacie Frances, who seemed rather intent on ramming us.  We understand that as an active fishing boat she’s the stand-on vessel.  However, every time we turned away from her, she turned towards us.  We’re nearly certain that the dude doing the Crazy Ivan was looking down at his fishfinder and never even saw us.**

Anyway, the rest of the trip—at least as far as the Sheffield Island Lighthouse—went more smoothly.

The Sheffield Island Light—finished in 1828—was intended to warn mariners of the numerous rocks and shoals at the mouth of the Norwalk River.  It’s a cool limestone Victorian building and all, but apparently someone quickly figured out that the rocks and shoals extended way out another mile or so, so as to necessitate a different lighthouse that actually gives mariners an appropriate warning.

Now Sheffield Island has no lighthouse but instead has a cool Victorian museum made of limestone, which is of no use to mariners unless they’re taking their kids out there for an educational visit.  Either way, we didn’t hit any rocks or shoals so something is working.

About the time we turned past the more useful Greens Ledge Light into the channel to Norwalk, Dana remembered that the Norwalk virus causes diarrhea and vomiting.  That’s some unpleasant word association right there.  Unpleasant, and something of a bad omen.  Because the dockhand fielding radio calls knew nothing about our slip assignment and the dockmaster who did know something was absent.  After we bobbed a bit in the current they finally directed us in.  To a slip without a working power pedestal.  The hottest day of the year so far and we couldn’t turn on the air conditioning.  Grrrr.

As usually seems to be the case, however, nobody died and everything worked out.  A cold front rolled in.  The scooters took us down to the beach and then through well-kept neighborhoods to a most delicious dinner.  Yup, Norwalk has a beach, where people were sunbathing as we rode by in sweatshirts.

Sunset back at the boat may not have been the most spectacular, but what the hell, we’ll include it anyway since we didn’t take any pictures of Tumbleweed.

Turns out Norwalk also had great places for Dana to run in the morning while everyone else exercised on the recliners and cat beds.  Norwalk is way better than diarrhea and vomiting.  We’d come back for sure.

Wednesday brought another short travel day.  A bit breezy and cloudy and wavy, but the stabilizers smoothed out the two- to three-footers that periodically crossed our path.  After only minor dock confusion we tied up at Minneford’s, again in the shadows cast by ghosts of Confederate POWs who died out there on Hart Island.

The swans welcomed us back.  Dana is sure they’re the same ones who played in our hose shower last time we were here.  Maybe, maybe not.

Minneford Marina is on City Island, which is one of the Pelham Islands, which once were their own thing until the Bronx gobbled them up.

The island is a mile-and-a-half-long crowd of houses and apartment buildings, and Italian restaurants, and seafood restaurants.  Between the three of us we walked or were carried up and down the entire length of  it.  Red Buttons was born on City Island.  For a guy with a successful career as a comedian, Red Buttons was only moderately funny.  There’s also what sort of passes for a beach, although no sane person would sunbathe on it regardless of the weather.

But here’s the thing.  Although there’s nothing objectively awesome about City Island or Minneford Marina, we really like them both.

Anyway, in order to time the East River, we turned our backs to New Rochelle at 12:30 this afternoon.  Sadly, in this blog we’ve already used up our allotment of observations about Rob and Laura Petrie and their exceptionally bland son Ritchie.  So much for New Rochelle.

Since we’ve now posted about trips through New York City multiple times, we’ve also used up all the applicable lines from Warriors and The Godfather and Seinfeld.  We’ve mustered all we can about Riker’s Island and the United Nations complex and the rest of the cool stuff that sits between Long Island Sound and Jersey City.  But here’s the Brooklyn Bridge and a tiny Statue of Liberty one more time, because we just can’t help ourselves.

As we reached the narrow channel into Liberty Landing, a ferry zoomed by right as the dockmaster was changing our slip assignment at the last minute.

Shenanigans aside, the view from this joint never gets old.

Turns out we aren’t the only Loopers who like Liberty Landing.  Seems we’ve finally joined the peloton, although for some reason we were stuck out where God hides his socks, well past the range of Wi-Fi and cell service.

On a final note, tomorrow is the third of June.  We hope everyone will join us in a moment of silence on the anniversary of that sleepy, dusty Delta day that Billy Joe MacAllister jumped off the Tallahatchie Bridge.  Now pass the biscuits, please.***


*Special Memorial Day thanks to our buddy Lt. Col. Jim Tucker, who gave us one of our favorite Loop experiences.

**How cool is that?  Back-to-back posts containing references to The Hunt for Red October!

***Maybe it’s just coincidence, but June 3 also apparently is National Donut Day.

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