A Long Travel Letter Series by Jørgen Amundsen
The North Eastern (wind) is dreaded for a reason, and we ended up being stuck in Montauk for two full days. Even the big fishing trawlers stayed at dock, so for Fram Jr it would be hazardous to venture out in the open Atlantic Ocean. By the third day we saw no sign of the wind calming down, and we decided to take Fram Jr out of the water and move her the few km down Long Island to get inshore and
pick up the route from there.
The gale was still strong inshore as we entered back at sea in the Shinnecock Bay. The route from here took us down Long Island along the south side, protected from the roaring Atlantic Ocean by a continuous flat sandbank. The bays and channels on the inside are very shallow, and we could travel here in high tide as we only stuck about 66cm deep – sail boats or bigger boats have no chance. We had to navigate accurately not to get stuck, which we got to understand first hand as we scraped the bottom several times (the keel got nice and polished during these days!).
With no other boats out we were afraid of getting stuck in the gale on a sand bank having to wait for high tide again. But we made it with a bit of luck and as the tides were rolling back out and the sun was setting – we found a beautiful abandoned wooden dock at Great Gun Marina with a boat house next to it. Perfect camp for the night. We settled in at the porch of the boat house for the night – fired up our stove with drift wood and explored the area.
A boardwalk from the boat house over the Island to led us over to the beaches along the Atlantic Ocean. The surf from days with strong winds were large and powerful— a dramatic scene in the sunset. We woke up to milder winds, and it had been some days since we had soaked in salt. We ran across the boardwalk over to the beach at 5am in the morning to catch the sunrise, jogged up and down the back to kick start the blood circulation and dove into the rather cold ocean.
With fair weather in sight we off-docked early to get a long day at sea and take up for the days weather stuck. We followed the narrow canals at full speed all the way down to Fire Island and its famous lighthouse. On the way we stopped briefly for fuel and stocked up on steaks and breakfast in Bellport. This journey would have been more complicated in high season, as docking would have been difficult. No boats and thus no people on the lighthouse pier. We docked up and explored the lighthouse and national park surrounding it. The beach next to the dock made for a perfect camp – the stove was fired up with coal this time and in no time our big fresh steaks from Bellport were sissling in the pan. We had so far not spent a night on the boat, so with a stomach full of meat we dozed off to the gently cradling boat on each our bench and slept like children.