An early morning launch found me passing a group of stand up paddle boarders who each had at least one dog sharing their board. The humans were smiling even while strained a bit to transport their passengers across calm water. Body language projected the dogs’ intimate bliss with their humans and each other. Though their slow progress limited my own, I paused to ponder the unexpected water parade. Their obvious pleasure was contagious and prompted a deeply-contented breath and my own smile. Enjoying the water in his or her own way while allowing others to do the same is the essence of shoreline living.
Each day on the water reveals something special to those who venture forth. Fishing from shore or by boat beguiles beginners and experts who breathe in the ocean’s intoxicating aroma in anticipation of catching her bounty. The beautiful waters directly off shore are protected by Fisher’s Island while the seriously nautical Long Island Sound challenges even the most advanced boaters.
Groups of sailboats are a common sight. Stonington comes by her sailing reputation honestly as quick access to deep water means more quality sailing time. Boats on individual moorings are beautiful and elegant yet the sight of full sails quickens the pulse. More than once, I’ve been startled by a sailboat in close proximity after just a few moments of focus elsewhere. Stealth and grace carry them with only the sound of the rushing wind. It delights me to share the water with classes of young beginners in tiny sailboats. As they develop sailing skills and respect for the ocean, they are inspired to preserve the gorgeous resources of both land and sea. Their wonderful instructors demonstrate courtesy on the water which results in safer, more enjoyable boating for all.
Connecticut’s only commercial fishing fleet calls Stonington home. When an incoming boat’s outriggers are extended from the main hull, sea conditions have been stormy and the crew is happy for safe harbor. When not being utilized to drag nets, the long arms provide much-needed stability. It is a marvel to watch these same huge boats carefully dodge tiny sailboats and kayaks within the
harbor. This also means we have the freshest seafood right here. You must try the outrageously delicious Stonington sea scallops at home or in one of the many fabulous local restaurants.
Before you eat, though, please grab a kayak, stand-up paddle board, rowboat, sailboat, or motorboat and get out on the water. Rentals are available throughout the area including on the Mystic River. Free parking and a free boat launch at the Stonington Town Dock (1 High Street) means you can launch quickly and easily. Adjacent to the launch and the commercial fishing vessels is a beautiful pier where local legend, Caleb Rose, caught the State record squid in 2015.
Get yourself invited onto someone else’s boat (maybe offer to bring great food) but… get out there. The magnificent sailing ships, Mystic Whaler and Argia provide as much relaxation or interactive fun as passengers can handle while touring the beautiful Connecticut coastline. And I’ve heard that the Mystic Whaler serves up a great lobster dinner. Summer doesn’t last forever but the memories can. Be sure to wear sunscreen and take lots of pictures. 🙂 If you get a chance, please share your comments, memories, and photos here.