By Johna Till Johnson
Photos by Vladimir Brezina
(click on photos to expand them—they look a lot better when they’re BIGGER!)
It was an unprecedented delight to wake up to strong coffee and a delicious breakfast of bacon quiche at the Harbor Knoll Bed & Breakfast. I can’t say enough good things about this place and its gracious owners (we chatted with them both). If you’re ever in Greenport, this is a wonderful place to stay. And you can get there without paddling—it’s just around the corner from the Greenport stops of the Hampton Jitney and the Long Island Railroad.
Then we thought about today’s paddle. Today would be a short day—we wanted to round Orient Point, but the currents wouldn’t favor us until late afternoon. We figured a launch time around 2 PM would be ideal.
So after breakfast, we decided to stroll through Greenport and look at the sights. Much to our surprise, this gracious town featured both of the scary things we’d joked about before the trip, Jaws and Deliverance… though not in the way we’d expected!
We strolled around Greenport’s picturesque harbor…
After lunch in town, we returned to Harbor Knoll, and begun to pack up the boats. You’d think it would be easier now that we’d done it a few times, and had a comfortable night’s rest. On the contrary, it was particularly challenging this time. We decided that indoor living was making us soft—not that it stopped us from wanting more of it!
We rounded Orient Point in the late afternoon…
… and were finally in Long Island Sound!
One catch: We weren’t sure exactly where we were headed. We planned to paddle until dusk, then find a place to camp.
Before we left, I’d mentioned a hotel called the Sound View Inn to Vlad. It was right on the water, somewhere close by. But we hadn’t planned to have two indoor nights so close together, so we hadn’t marked it on the chart.
Could we find it? Fortunately, before we left, Vlad did go as far as to print out from Google Maps a map of the North Fork on which the Sound View Inn was marked. But… on ordinary paper, which had long since been turned into waterlogged mush by water leaking into the chart case.
But, before the paper had completely disintegrated, some of the ink from it had transferred itself to the inside of the chart case. And, when we looked, we saw that, by some miracle, the chart case had imprinted on it exactly that little portion of the coastline on which the Sound View Inn was located.
Ironically, it was located in the same town we’d just left—the town of Greenport, but on the other side of the North Fork. If we made it there, we’d be traveling from Greenport… right back to Greenport!
Then another question arose—could we make it there by dark?
We decided not to worry, and just paddle. (Good philosophy in general, I was discovering!) And sure enough, just as the sun was sinking low in the sky, we saw a building facing us that looked like a hotel. …………………..
We arrived just at sunset—once again, we had our timing down perfectly. A woman on the upper deck shouted, “Look, kayaks!” and took our photo. Later, we found it on the Sound View Facebook Page.
Once again, Vlad suggested I was the right person to scope out the situation. I grabbed the dry bag containing the credit card I’d packed for just such an eventuality, and went in—wet clothing, caul of sunscreen, and all.
To my surprise and delight, they not only had a room, but had no issues with us stowing the boats right below the deck. The best part was filling out the registration card, which requested the make and model of our car.
Me: “I’m going to have some trouble with this… we don’t have a car…”
Receptionist: “Oh, that’s okay! Just put ‘Kayak’!”
Which I did, proudly. While wondering if, during some future IRS audit, an accountant would see it and wonder, “Kayak? What kind of car is that?”
Dinner that night was steak and salad at the Sound View Restaurant. This was the life—paddle during the day, sleep in a real bed, and eat warm food cooked by someone else! But as we were to find out, it doesn’t pay to get too accustomed to such pleasures…