Sailing To Charles Island | Connecticut Charm | New England Blog

The day after Ashley and Raymond’s wedding I woke up later in the morning to a cloudy and grey sky. My body ached with the usual soreness I experience in my shoulders, wrists, back, legs, and feet, the day after a wedding. You don’t realize how many times you squat, bend, and lift while photographing a wedding until the morning after. Still, I felt accomplished that I had created some beautiful images for Ashley and Raymond. The morning after my first instinct is to cuddle up, sleep in, then edit images while watching a movie. I had been invited on an adventure the day before the wedding and I knew I couldn’t change my mind now. I have been friends with my friend Ben for twelve years now and I am so proud of him for chasing his sailing dreams. He works hard and is dedicated to his Catalina sail boat and it has been fun to see him gain confidence in his sailing abilities. I was a little late meeting up with Ben and his lovely friend Susie, but the adventure was worth the effort to pull myself away from my fluffy duvet. 

When we arrived to the marina in Branford near the Thimble Islands, the clouds over the water were fading into a bright haze and blue skies were peeking out from behind us. The cool air was warming into a hot summery day and we decided to set our destination to Charles Island, a forty minute voyage from the marina. 

Sailing has been on my life goal list, just like flying a plane. Last October my friend Ben made this dream come true, but it was such a windy and wavy day we had to cruise back to the dock shortly after departing. But not this day, this day was perfect in every way. There is no rush on a sail boat. You move at a slower pace than the boats rushing past you and there is not much that must be done while you keep on course, besides taking in the moment, enjoying the scenery, and joining into a lovely conversation with new and old friends alike. 

The Thimble Islands off the shore of Branford are both big and small, some are as tiny as these rocks or even smaller hidden below the surface. Many are used for private homes and mansions. One of the islands, Horse Island is owned by the Yale Peabody Museum. It is believed that the pirate Captain Kidd buried his treasure here, although it has never been found. The islands themselves are an archipelago off the shore of the southeast coast of Branford. I do love a good pirate story so this local legend captivates me. Captain Ben enjoys teaches us about the ways of the sailboat. 
First sighting of Charles island. When the tide is low, a walkway emerges from the water from Silver Sands Beach in Milford to Charles Island, a bird sanctuary. While the tide is low you can walk right across the water to the island, but you must hurry back to make it to the beach before the tide comes in. I have walked to this island numerous times and played and explored Silver Sands beach many times over the years, but I have never experienced the island by boat in the little bay. It felt like I was seeing Charles Island for the very first time. Sailing offers an entirely different perspective of the Connecticut shoreline. The water looked amazing. We were blessed with an unusually hot day in September and I knew I had to make it in just once, even though deep dark water makes me nervous. I have no excuse, I did grow up on a lake after all and I love to swim in it very much, but being out in the Sound with who knows what lurking underneath. . .So I just went ahead and jumped! Challenge yourself, do something scary (within reason of course!), and savor new experiences. I’m so glad I took the leap! On the way back I meditated on the top deck while watching the blue sky and the water rush by. Before pulling into the marina, Ben gave me another chance at steering the boat. My first attempt literally turned us in circles. Like a plane, even little turns make a big impact. We said farewell to the Happy Camper until next time. 

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