Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Thimble Islands Tour

Recently I described Eatons Neck Basin as an anchorage that I have visited for over three decades. During this past decade however, the Thimble Islands has become the anchorage that I most associate with Long Island Sound. It has always been too far for an overnight or weekend sail, but nearly every trip up or down the Sound has included a stop here.
Despite visiting often, I have never ventured beyond the deep water passage between High Island and Money Island. The submerged rocks (boulders) and unmarked channels always seemed too risky to me. When a keel hits granite, granite always wins.
This summer, we decided to take a tour on one of the boats that are based in nearby Stony Creek. I don't remember what the name of the boat was, but we chose one of the smaller ones with the idea that it could travel closer to shore. It was $10 per person for a one hour tour, and in my opinion, a great bargain. The captain grew up in the area, and even worked on some of the island homes in his youth. With the exception of an inevitable, 10 minute story about pirates, Captain Kidd, and buried treasure, he was very informative. I learned where President Taft spent a summer, where Jane Pauley lives, and how granite was mined here for the construction of Grand Central Station.
Another thing I learned is that while most of the islands are private, Outer Island is open to the public. The Stewart McKinney Wildlife Refuge along with the CT State University System maintain Outer Island, and it is accessible by the ferry that serves the islands. 
CT Coastal Access Guide: Outer Island

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