Erie Canal to Oswego
22 May 2017
The Erie Canal opened on May 19th after a mid morning opening ceremony celebrating 200 years! We walked up to lock 2 to watch some of the first boats lock through. The first lock of the day was full to the max with power boats. We decided to just hang for another day in Waterford. Once most of the boats had cleared off the wall we moved 2 Outrageous closer to the action just outside the lock and in front of the visitor center. Lots of people attending the opening festivities stopped by to chat with us asking about the boat, where we had been and where we were headed.
We didn't know it at the time but it turned out our decision to stay that extra day in Waterford was a very good one. The boats that left that day had all kinds of problems with two or three of the locks. There were many delays including a situation where only one of the lock doors would open making for extremely skinny passage into the lock.
We got started shortly after 07:00 on Sat May 20. The past two days had been extremely hot ones at 34 degrees and 30 degrees. This day was a much cooler one. In fact, we had to put our toques back on! We had only one other boat with us in the locks. This made for a much more enjoyable journey. The lock that had the broken door was still broken when we arrived but just as we were about to enter the lock it opened! The lockmaster told us that was the first time it had opened fully! There was quite a bit of debris in the water within the locks and in the canal between the locks. We had to be on a constant lookout.
We stopped at Fonda NY that first night and tied up to an old commercial dock that is no longer in use. Locking the boat is a workout so after 10.5 hours on the move, and 10 locks we were ready for a good meal and a snooze! It wasn't long before we realized we were tied up about ¼ mile from a racetrack. You would not believe how loud it was. Oh well, if we weren't so tired we probably would have walked over to check it out. In the end it didn't keep either of us awake so that was good.
The next day we did 8 locks in 12 hours. The day was cloudy, rainy, cool and very windy. This made for some challenging times in the locks. We were on our own for the first 3 locks of the day then were joined by Island Dancer a 63 foot Gulfstar with Bruce, Gina, Mike, Diane and two miniature dachshunds on board. By the time we reached the docks at Rome, NY and there was not enough room for both of us to tie up so Island Dancer went along the dock and we rafted up to them.
Monday May 22 was another cool, cloudy day. The winds were light in the morning but forecasted to increase substantially as the day wore on. We got moving shortly after 06:00. Our goal was to get across Lake Oneida before those winds arrived. We had a good crossing and had our first testing of taking the wake of a large power boat with our mast on deck. No problem!
We almost made through the whole Oswego canal but ran out of time. We had only 3 locks to go. We arrived at Lock 6 expecting to tie to the wall outside the lock for the night but unfortunately the wall was under some re-fit so the wall was full of tugs, barges and construction equipment. Island Dancer was still with us, they decided to tie up to one of the barges and we rafted up to them. This meant that we almost had the whole canal blocked off! I'm sure it would have been quite a sight from the shoreline.
We joined the Island Dancer crew for some sundowners and to discuss some plans for the next day in Oswego. We were planning to have our mast stepped at the Owego marina before crossing Lake Ontario. Island Dancer would do the same before heading west on Lake Ontario to the Welland Canal.
The next morning we fully expected to be awakened at sunrise to a construction worker pounding on our deck telling us to move out.
We were on the move by 07:00 and there was still no sign of anyone on the construction site.
By 08:15 we had made it through the final 3 locks of the Oswego Canal and were tied up to the wall just below the last lock. And 30 seconds later we were visited by 8 Coast Guard officers, 3 homeland security officers and 1 dog. This visit lasted about an hour.
Once the officials were through with us they boarded Island Dancer as well. We spent this time trying to decide what to do. The Oswego Marina couldn't step our mast until the next day. It was flat calm on Lake Ontario with no wind in the forecast.
We decided to motor across the lake with the mast still on deck. We departed Oswego at 11:30 and arrived safely at Loyalist Cove Marina in Bath, ON at 18:35.
2 Outrageous is back home at her slip in Loyalist Cove Marina after an outstanding 2 year adventure covering a total of 8100 nautical miles.
We are a motorboat now
18 May 2017
42 47.16 'N:73 40.69'W
We made the 53 nautical mile trip up the beautiful Hudson River from Pollepel Island to Catskill, NY on May 14/17. It was a very chilly 8 degrees with wind directly on our bow. The fishing for striped bass (stripers) seems to be as popular on the Hudson River as it was in Chesapeake Bay.
We arrived at Riverside Marina on Catskill Creek in the early evening. The weather forecast was for extremely windy conditions the next day so we took advantage of the calm evening to take our headsail off the boat. The next day was windy as promised but we put in a full shift making preparations for taking the mast down. Paul had to design and build the supports to hold our mast on deck as we transit the canal. Our mast weighs 1200 pounds so the supports need to be strong!
On Tuesday May 16/17 the day was calm and we were ready to get the mast down and on deck. Well we were ready but the whole process wasn't without some anxiety on our part. There's something about that big stick dangling by a rope from a crane over top of your boat that is a bit nerve wracking. That can't be helped and in the end things went pretty smoothly. Paul spent the afternoon securing the mast to the supports with strapping to prevent movement in any direction. We had taken the dodger and bimini off the boat and happily they fit back in place over top of the mast so we would still have some shade for our trip.
By noon we were ready to switch docks with Dagny so they could move into place under the mast crane and get ready for their mast to come down.
Bev and I walked the 2 mile hike to get some provisions that afternoon and by the time we got back both boats were ready to go. We had a little pizza party on board 2 Outrageous with Dagny and Anglesarke that evening.
We departed the marina the next morning as a motorboat. The temperature was hot at 30 degrees! As we passed by Albany, NY we encountered at 60 foot bridge. Paul was at the wheel and I could hear him getting kind of concerned about the clearance under the bridge. I was able to tell him that he really needn't worry about the clearance 60 feet should be more than enough! Ha Ha after all that he forgot the mast was on the deck! We both had a good laugh over that one.
We passed through the Troy lock mid afternoon and were very surprised to arrive in Waterford and find space on the town dock. Paul had called the Erie Canal lockmaster that morning and he said no way would we find a spot. Well we did and we are here, right on schedule waiting for the canal system to open. In the meantime we are just enjoying the historic town of Waterford and the camaraderie with the crews of the other nineteen boats here waiting with us.
Dagny is here now but will depart early on Friday morning to head a little further north to the Lake Champlain canal system. Allan and Bev have been great travelling partners and we will miss their company.
Northbound on the Hudson River, NY
13 May 2017
40 32.50 'N:74 08.20'W
We set out from Annapolis on May 6 for the forty eight nautical mile trip to Chesapeake City in rather poor visibility.
There was a sailing regatta going on in the harbour so we were perched at our watch points to make sure we didn't run into one of them or pick up a crab pot. After about an hour the visibility improved and we had some pretty spirited sailing for the remainder of the day.
We were surprised to find several boats in the Chesapeake City anchorage. We hadn't expected so many boats to be on the move in such chilly conditions. It was a tight squeeze but we got a spot.
We made our way through the C&D Canal and down Delaware Bay the next day in 20 to 25 knot winds. The winds were gusting over 30 knots as we got further down the bay. I managed to cause a jam in our headsail furler which put us in a bad situation where Paul had to go up to the bow in less than desirable conditions to fix the jam. We did 99 nautical miles that day and made it to Cape May, NJ in one piece so I guess we'll call it a good day but it was one I could have done without.
After a good night's rest we set out of Cape May, NJ for the 20 hour run offshore up to Sandy Hook. The first eight hours of the trip was fantastic where we had some good sailing and a great push from the tidal current. By sunset though the wind was switching around to our nose and we had to motor. The seas had only a gentle roll and the full moon made the night time passage more enjoyable. It was cold though. Really cold!
By 03:40 we had a full view of the New York City skyline and enjoyed watching it for the next three hours as we approached Sandy Hook. The sun came up just before we entered the channel and rounded the hook. Good thing too because the waters between Sandy Hook and the anchorage at Atlantic Highlands are full of crab pots. We arrived at the Atlantic Highlands anchorage and dropped the hook just inside the breakwall at 06:30. After 20 freezing hours on the move and 118 nautical miles we were ready for a couple of hours of rest.
After three hours sleep we were up and at it. We launched the dinghy and picked up Allan and Bev from Dagny and headed for shore to stretch our legs. We had hoped to watch the Sens vs Rangers game 6 that evening but we couldn't find it on TV. By 20:00 we were struggling to keep awake anyway so not sure we would have made it through the game even if we had found it.
We re-located the boats over to Great Kills Harbour at Staten Island on May 10/17. From here, with Allan and Bev, we took the city bus into downtown NYC. We had a very helpful bus driver who was kind enough to let us on the bus even though we didn't have a metro card. He stopped the bus at a gas station to let us run in and purchase the card we needed to ride the bus. This move bothered one bus rider who made quite the scene but many of the other riders voiced their support to the driver for taking care of the tourists.
We walked through Central Park, Broadway & Times Square. Not sure how many miles we walked that day but it was a lot. The sights, sounds and masses of people in Times Square were almost overwhelming for these four pirates who have spent the past several months in remote places.
May 11/17 we took the bus into NYC again. This time we toured the St. Pauls and ground zero memorials as well as Wall Street. We walked to Battery Park and took the ferry to Ellis Island. We were really impressed with the Ellis Island museum audio tour.
We returned to Battery Park then walked up to the famous O'Hara's Pub for dinner before catching the bus back to Staten Island.
We departed Great Kills Harbour at 07:00 on May 12/17 and motored across New York City Harbour in calm conditions. The harbour was busy with ships, tugs, barges, ferries, water taxis, and fishing boats zooming about. We entered the Hudson River and things calmed down considerably with only the occasional ship or tug passing by. We sat back and enjoyed the morning and the beautiful scenery of the Hudson River. We had a fantastic tidal push all morning giving us great speed as we were putting the miles under the keel.
Around noon, I was just getting the binoculars up to my eyes to find an object on shore that I had been looking at but couldn't figure out what it was. As I looked through the binoculars all I could see was grey hull and flashing blue lights. Uh-Oh. We were getting pulled over by the police again. Now what did we do? This time it was Special Ops. We were told to take in our mainsail and put the boat in neutral as they came along side. The officers informed us that Special Ops have been tasked by U.S. Home-land Security to check the paperwork of foreign vessels in and around the NYC area. The officers checked our passports and cruising license and confirmed we had in fact reported our arrival in NYC to customs and border protection. They told us that our boat had been scanned for radiation no less than 5 times as we passed through the harbour. Once they were satisfied all our documentation was in order they let us continue on our way. Well, they are going to be pretty busy over the next few weeks because we know there are a lot of Canadian boats behind us heading north.
We continued to enjoy the spectacular scenery as we rode the tide up the Hudson River. We anchored at Pollepel Island in the wacky current. The ruins of Bannerman Castle, the only castle on the Hudson, are found on Pollepel Island and form the backdrop of this anchorage. Some very busy train tracks run down both shorelines of the Hudson but the eastern shore where we are anchored has the commuter train track which although busy is less noisy than the cargo tracks on the western shore.
05 May 2017
38 58.38 'N:76 29.55'W
On Saturday April 29/17 we had some excellent sailing between the hours of 07:00 and noon. At that point the wind came to a sudden and complete stop. One minute it was blowing 20 knots. The next minute it was blowing 2 knots. As soon as the wind died those mean and nasty flies made their appearance. We armed ourselves with the super swatters and started the engine.
During the early morning hours we had spent some time dodging crab pots as we were sailing then we were dodging fishing boats while we were motoring. I mean hundreds and hundreds of fishing boats. We couldn't get any of them to talk to us on the radio to find out what was going on but Google provided the answer. It was the largest striped bass tournament in the world!
At the entrance to Annapolis harbour we started dodging sailboats as is usually the case in this area. We entered Spa Creek which is our favourite anchorage. This is a fantastic place to drop the hook. The creek is lined by beautiful homes and condos. It is completely protected from any wind direction. There are dinghy docks conveniently located at the ends of most streets making it easy for cruisers to visit most attractions in the city within easy walking distance.
The spring boat show was in full swing in the harbour so we attended that on Sunday April 30. The spring show is not as large as the one in the fall but we enjoyed the day walking around the exhibits and touring some of the boats.
Dagny arrived in the Spa Creek anchorage in the late afternoon and dropped the hook beside us. We joined Dagny and Our Diamond for dinner at a Mexican restaurant in Annapolis. It was a great night with lots of laughs and we stayed out a little later than expected. During the 500 ft dash from the dinghy dock back to the boat, without our navigation light, we managed to get pulled over by the police. The short story is that after a lengthy discussion a fairly exasperated police officer let us go on our way. I'm pretty sure he had no idea what to do with these 2 Outrageous Canadians. Whew!
On May day (May 1) homes in the area display floral baskets at their entrances as part of a community contest. It was really nice to walk around and see the different arrangements. There were no two the same and we were surprised at the large portion of the community that participated in the event.
Paul made two trips to the top of the mast during our stay in Spa Creek. Allan from Dagny and I hoisted him up there using the 2 Outrageous tandem winch set up. This is certainly a lot easier than using only one winch. We still got our morning workout though!
Lana and Rob from Our Diamond live in the Annapolis area. Lana was kind enough to drive us around to all sorts of locations to get the items we needed to continue our journey northbound. We hosted a dinner on 2 Outrageous on May 3 which included the crews from Dagny, Our Diamond and White Bird.
We weathered out some bad weather for the next couple of days. We were still able to get to shore and tour around the town though. We visited the Naval Academy noon parade and museum. We had been there previously but it is something that can definitely be enjoyed more than once. Also it is just such a beautiful city to walk around looking at the homes and gardens.
We had one final get together with the crews from Dagny, On Y Va, Our Diamond and Heartstring on May 5. We met the gang at Charlie's for some great pizza! We said goodbye to Our Diamond and Heartstring. Dagny is continuing on with us and we will see On Y Va again somewhere further north.