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Those Aren't Mooring Balls, They're Swans

On Thursday, with a big weekend of wind and rain almost upon us, we were happy to be moored safely away in North Cove in Old Saybrook, CT, surrounded by tall grassy marshland, the North Cove Yacht Club, a skimpy town dock with confusing signs and a history of thefts of dinghy motors, and a few lovely waterfront homes. Because the area needed some safe havens for boaters in bad weather, the Feds dredged this secluded cove but required moorings to be free and available to transients like us.

As we slowly wended our way to the secretive cove, we sighted from afar what looked like plenty of available white mooring balls. As we neared the entrance to the cove, we realized that they were really about 50 swans swimming about and not mooring balls. They were simply guarding the entrance to the cove.

With small fish (bunker) literally jumping out of the water to give their greetings after we moored, Allen got out his fishing gear and yet no luck in snatching any bigger fish. Osprey, swans, cormorants and egrets In the early morning, we are certain, hung about the cove and had more luck than he did.

In the Spirit of Katharine Hepburn: Early the next day, Friday, we rowed over to the marshlands and rowed about the natural peacefulness of this place. We found some swan feathers, sighted 2 osprey nests high up in fir trees on the marsh, a large straw matted nesting site for a dozen swans, and enjoyed the chirpings of red-winged blackbirds flitting about on the tall reeds. The spirit of Kathryn Hepburn was with us, we later found out.

Allen motored us to over to North Cove Yacht Club. We planned to see the British Legends of Rock event at the Kate, a museum and cultural center honoring one of Old Saybrook’s most famous residents. We toured the museum for an hour or two and really enjoyed the bits of her life—her childhood, her love of sports, her wit and acting career, and her love of family and her Kenwick home, destroyed by the 1938 hurricane and then rebuilt, as well as her athleticism. One of the videos showcased Hepburn rowing in the same marsh as we did earlier.

After lunch we meandered about town, making sure to mail a Hepburn shirt to Jackie, Allen’s mom, and doing what good tourists do—spend a bit of cash around the well-tailored town. We stopped by the NCYC once again to get back to the boat for dinner, when we were kindly invited to share a festively decorated Fajita Night at the yacht club (at a cost of $20/person and $5 margaritas). Back to the boat for a quick clothing change and shower gear, we dinghied over for the lovely social life with the North Covers until it was time for us to walk over to the Katharine Hepburn Cultural Center (in light rain).

The 8:00 p.m. rock show was great, with some fabulous renditions of Tom Jones, the Kinks, the Beatles, Rolling Stones, and lots of Led Zeppelin (not my favorite) and in no time, in light rain, we walked back to the NCYC, got into our damp dinghy, and motored in the dark to the boat (with the anchor light on so we could find our boat among the many boats also moored there). A lovely time in Old Saybrook!

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