NELL FALL TOUR - AVERY POINT
GROTON / NEW LONDON, CT
SEPTEMBER 24 - 25, 2005
THE WEATHER WAS FANTASTIC !!!!
In keeping with my long standing policy of providing a
variety of weather for our NELL adventures, after our January
snowstorm, and hurricane Nantucket, it was time for a beautiful early
fall weekend. And so it was. :)
Our gang began arriving Friday evening at the Groton
Inn, but since we have SO MANY Connecticut members, there were numerous
commuters who didn't arrive until the business meeting on Saturday
morning. I will defer to the Secretary's minutes for the meeting details
but will mention the high points.
The membership approved the expenditure of $3,000 to the
Friends of Rockland Breakwater, ME, and 2 requests from ALF for the
Little River Light, ME totaling another $5,800 for preservation
efforts at those lighthouses. That left about $4,000 in the preservation
fund and the membership deserves a big THANK YOU for raising another
$1,600 at this meeting, not counting merchandise sales.
During this meeting I also brought to the membership the
plight of a lighthouse friend and NELL member Seamond Roberts of New
Orleans. Her letter which I subsequently shared by e-mail shows how
much hurricanes Katrina and Rita really impacted their lives. I am
pleased to announce that as of Sept. 29 NELL members collectively donated
$600 which will be forwarded to Seamond along with any additional
contributions. Keep those cards and letters coming. Her current address is PO Box
395, Libuse, LA (with corrected zip code) 71348.
The membership also re-elected, by acclamation, the
nominating committee of Marguerite MacDonald, Lee Hall, and Cyne Bosse, who
will have their work cut out for them with next year's elections.
Cyne and Norm Bosse were also BOTH appointed as Mr. and
Ms. NELL. This is the first time a couple has won, and without any
collaboration by the outgoing members. I can't think of more dedicated and
deserving recipients. We all wish you CONGRATULATIONS !!
Members Ellen Granoth, Alan Ells, and Jean Zunda
volunteered and were appointed as the new audit committee. Be careful what
you volunteer for.
I discussed possible LHHC&Y options as well as
prospective tours for next year. I will be working on the southern Maine
lights for this winter's tour. Hopefully the snow won't be too deep and
we will be able to access Cape Elizabeth this year.
There seemed to be interest in the Hudson River lights
so maybe we will do that in the Spring, and Maine or the western CT off
shore lights for next Fall. Stay tuned.
Thanks again to MJ Foster for the NELL mailing labels,
and to Ron Foster for the great tour buttons depicting the Avery Point
Light, Ledge Light, and the USCG Eagle. This is the best button ever and
will command a high price on the secondary market. If anyone wants one, you
can call me at....
Following the meeting we all gathered at the USCG
Academy Museum and were given a tour by retired Captain Bob Getman. He made
it so much more interesting than if we just browsed the exhibits.
Several members mentioned returning so they could spend more time. The
first order Fresnel lens on display from Thacher's Island, MA is the
"highlight" of the museum.
From there half of us visited the Maritime Museum at the
New London Custom House while the others took their turn on the
Project Oceanology tour to the New London Ledge Light. The Custom House
features the original third order Fresnel lens from the Ledge Light.
It was acclaimed the "best on the tour" and we all spent much time
viewing, rotating, and photographing this most unusual lens, red glow to the
clamshell side and three white bull's-eyes. A possible piece from Harbour
Lights some day?
Many of our group then stopped by Avery Point Light with
its recently ;delivered lantern room sitting on the ground next to the
the scaffolding encased tower. We searched the walkway for familiar
names on the memorial bricks and watched as the Mystic Highland Pipe
Band marched and played by the tower as part of the UConn "Festival by
the Sound" weekend.
The scientists from Project "O" were great tour guides
at Ledge Light from the basement desalination and waste water treatment
room up 4 flights to the lantern room. Ernie, the ghost of Ledge
Light, quietly allowed us to climb throughout his eternal home, but we
got some spooky shots of the writing on the mirror, the "ghost" in the
sunny window, the creeky stairs, and the the dark image of the light
against the ominous sky as we departed.
OOOoooooo !!! Lee Hall's dancing with the tour guide
lifted everyone's "spirits". :)
Did I mention the spectacular day on Sunday for our
cruise? It was spectacular. The SeaPony was a very comfortable boat
with AC downstairs, a small bow deck, but sitting areas with windows that
open for photography, mirrored ceilings, great pastry, and a
friendly crew. A very knowledgeable Captain Tom narrated the cruise and
gave interesting as well as humorous commentary about all the lights on a
crystal clear sound system. The early "Oktoberfest" was appreciated by
many as well. "It was after 5:00 PM somewhere".
About 70 members departed New London City Pier at 9:00
AM and cruised past the Barque Eagle at the same dock, past Fort
Trumbull, and out of the harbor. Our first stop was a water view of Avery
Point, followed by the very beautiful Morgan Point with the white
Adirondack chairs on the green lawn. The stop at Stonington was not worth the
time because you could only see the lantern room from the west side.
Next we cruised around three NY lights at Latimer Reef
with its distinctive red stripe, then on to North Dumpling, the
home of the Segway entrepreneur, with his navy landing craft,
windmill power plant, and "wind whistling" Stonehenge, and then rocked and
rolled around Race Rock photographing it from all possible angles while the
boat bobbed in the heavy seas of "the race".
Finally it was back to CT waters where the Captain tried
to tell us how much work had been done in the Ledge Light but we
reminded him that we "just toured it yesterday" :) and look forward to
helping them finish the project.
Last stop was a close up of New London Harbor Light,
which the CG was reluctant to open for us to climb on this tour. :(
All good things must come to an end and our day finished
as we departed the SeaPony and gathered for a group photo before
boarding the huge white tall ship Barque Eagle, flagship of the CG with
its distinctive red, white, and blue stripe. All who board are now
restricted to the main deck but cameras were clicking as members posed at
the ship's helm and up into the masts. Commemorative photos and coins
were given to members. A good time was had by all.
Please share your photos from this tour by sending them
to Penny Miller at
email@example.com who will
add them to this story on our website:
Some of us returned to Groton on Friday Sept. 30, 2005
when the lantern room was hoisted to its proper place atop the tower. A
few of us even got to climb it to inspect the fastening of the cupola
to the base. The media was present as well as Steve Jones who replicated
the lantern room, and the Tripani family from ALF, so look for a
photo story in the Lighthouse Digest soon.
The focus of this tour was to have been the relighting
of Avery Point which now looks to be planned for May 2006 for the
anniversary date of its original lighting. So stay tuned for more
information as the tower is completed and hang on to your directions because NELL
will return in May to be a part of this historical event.
See you at LHHC&Y in January.