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The First Mate's Journal
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Great Lakes to The Bahamas
Who: Wayne & Pat
Port: Jackson
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Fairport to Newark Harbor (NY)
08/31/2008, 43.0475 x -77.0944

Last night was very interesting; everyone was fascinated with our boat and where we were from (people kept asking how we got here from Mississippi). It was weird & I felt like the main attraction for a while. I guess we shouldn't have docked right next to the picnic tables at the ice cream store. It was really kind of cool. I don't know if Saturday night is ice cream social night on the town square or not but I've never seen so many little munchkins running around at dark as I have here. It was like family's just converged on the place and it was a big social meeting place. Little old couples, young families with strollers, just incredible! They were all out and about without a care walking up and down the canal, chatting with each other, eating ice-cream. It reminded me of a scene from the early 50's - nobody seemed threatened by anything and they weren't afraid to talk to strangers (boaters) passing through. They actually were intrigued with us. A very family friendly place - I would recommend it to anyone wanting to raise a family - wonderful small town America at it's best. Dock Master Tom checked back with us a couple times to see if all was well and brought us a poster of their "Canal Days". I also forgot to mention yesterday that we saw this place called "The Box Factory" um but there wasn't a box to be found... it was the name of the building that housed offices and stores, etc...

On to today! Got up early and showered (before dawn)- very nice facilities but on the south side far end behind the Dock Master's office - 3 full shower/bathrooms and a bath all very clean and took some pictures of the town at twilight. They have a mule sculpture in front of the police station that is pretty cool looking. I think it was a tribute to the mules that used to haul all the barges up and down the canal system.

While meandering back to the boat and taking pictures, I saw the Bridge Tender standing outside of his tower on the bridge and struck up a conversation with him. "Hey, not to busy this time of day" "Nah, I should take up painting" I told him I thought this was a very nice town, he agreed. I asked about the bridge - it was higher up on his end than on the other side of the canal and he said yes. It's the only lift bridge of its kind & in the Guinness World Book of Records. All 4 corners have different elevations and there are no 90-degree angles on it so it was quite a feat with the counter weights to raise and lower the bridge correctly! So there's a piece if trivia Jesse - I know how you like the Records Book!

Today was ~21 miles to Newark (NY not NJ) We went through 2 Locks today, one 16 ft and the other a 20 ft drop in elevation. It still makes my heart pound to do this but after 22 of them, I'm told it will be old hat. Today we had ropes to grab on to and the first one was no problem, I had my trusty gloves on and pole in hand to grab it. The second one - well I forgot to put my gloves on and remembered as I felt the slimy algae get pushed down the rope by my hand. Yuck... but it wasn't as bad as some of the algae I've played with in some of the fish tanks. Got it all over the wheel and after we left the lock I had to go wash my hands and splatter marks off my legs and arms...

Met another boat going in our direction last night and chatted with them this morning (Norma Fay - a Hunter 38). They were originally headed to the next port up but I think they were enticed into putting into Newark where we were going to dock when they heard about the free laundry here. They beat us in and got to the laundry first LOL. They're a nice group. I chatted with them while doing laundry and passing back and forth. They'd run into Carpe' Diem in Tonawanda so it sounds like Carpe' Diem isn't far behind us.

09/05/2008 | Jackie Yaroch
Love the story about the little boy. Sounds a lot like Luke to me. He is so interested in things and is a very neat kid!!! Anyway, glad to hear some more of your blog, keep them coming!!!!

Sunny, mid 80s
08/30/2008, 43o06.086 x 77o26.472

Brockport to Fairport - there's a lot of "ports" in these here parts... Tried to leave Brockport this morning but we couldn't hail the bridge tender on channel 13 and neither telephone number to the lift bridges picked up. We circled and circled while I tried to call each lift bridge but the phones just rang and rang. Tried to call the supervisor's number and that one just rang and rang... holiday weekend, trapped like rats in a bathtub ummm, errr between two lift bridges in downtown Brockport. Does this mean I get to have another sandwich at the Stone Yard???? I finally called the lift bridge operator in Holley and he answered. I told him our dilemma and he said he'd radio the lift bridge operator when I told him they didn't respond to channel 13 or to either phone number. 5 minutes later he showed up to let us exit, and we were followed out by Sugah - a large motorcraft that helped us out the rest of the day (helping us grab lines in the lock, then again coming in to Fairport they grabbed our lines and helped us tie up).

So locks 33 and 32 down and 30 more to go (for some reason there is no lock 31). Both locks dropped us another 25 ft each so we're now down lower than 100 ft' since the Great Lakes!

Leaving Brockport about 14 miles east we came upon what they call a "rock cut" - a deep cut made through solid rock - which appeared to be beds of shale (under the sandstone formations we passed earlier). It was interesting to note how the beds were gently dipping eastward the farther we went till they appeared to disappear into the water. Still amazing to think about how they excavated out all these layers of rock without the use of modern earth moving machinery 80 years ago.

Between Locks 34 and 33 is the Genesee River which has a current cutting across the Canal Channel. It flows through Rochester NY and we noticed more boat activity in this area. One side note - The Genesee River level is what sets the level for the lock levels in this area (between 34 & 33).

We passed through the Village of Pittsford - cute looking place - that was settled in 1759. Quite a bit of history there I'd imagine.

Coming into Fairport we no sooner got tied up, and people were asking us questions about our boat. One couple of guys from Canada thought we were from Mississippi (Jackson, MI) but we were no sooner tied up and I went below to open the ports, while Wayne was hooking up the power, when one little guy around 9 years old came up to Wayne and said "I wish my dad would buy a sailboat!" "This is a really nice boat" and Wayne said "Well start saving your money, and when you get older, you can buy your own sailboat!" I heard a "Yah!" from the picnic bench and laughed - good response Wayne you won his mom over! The next thing I know, the little guy is asking if he can see the inside of the boat. He wanted to see what a reeeaal boat looks like! Do we live on it? Is it like a house? Does it have a bathroom? Yes, yes, yes, even a bathtub. Can I see? Sure, but you better ask your mom first. Mom, mom, mom! Can I look inside? He said I can, can I? I cracked up below... Mom said yes. He asked how to get on and Wayne told him to climb over the lines and called to me below - we've got company - someone wants a tour of the boat. I came up and showed him how to turn around and come down the stairs and showed him around. He oohed and ahhed the bedrooms, tub, stove, dining area, etc., etc., etc., then his sister came aboard and he pointed out all the places and the bed, just look at the bed!!! She looked thunderstruck. He said - it's not like yur in the water at all. It's like a little house, a trailer home! I really like being on a real boat! He was so excited and enthralled to look around I wished I could have taken him for a real sail. When he got off the boat with his sister again, he had to tell his mom all about it. She said to him to thank us which he did several times. She thanked us also and we told him and her that we hope he gets his own someday. He and she both said they hoped so too. He made my day & I'm pretty sure we made his.

We wandered the docks looking for the dock master and he was terrific. Very friendly and yelled at people when they came through kicking up a wake (Doc Master Tom). He'd been out sailing in the morning on Lake Ontario and was here for the evening. He gave us the wireless code, and shower access code and pointed out some features about the town. It really is a lovely little town and quite active. People have so many questions for us and about us - it amazes me - truly - I can't remember ever fielding so many questions about us, and our boat (I feel a little embarrassed actually). Okay time to russell up a little dinner Me thinkest! BBQ Chicken, tossed salad, bread & wine time...

Medina to Brockport, NY
Cloudy and threatening but nada
08/29/2008, Brockport, NY

Can you find Swee'Pea in the art sculpture above?

Nice day. After a shower this morning we headed out for Brockport. Wayne and I both marvel at how clean and kept up everything is along the canal. You don't see a lot of trash along the canal walls or along the rivers. It's impressive.

Brockport's a lovely little town. $8 to park on the wall, there's water, power, showers, laundry and free bikes and wagons to use to go into town. After getting settled in, we strolled the town and got ice cream and looked about in the local bookstore. It's an awesome bookstore... We're nestled in on the south wall between the two lift bridges. SUNY is to the west of us and it looks like all the college kids are coming back to campus. It reminds me of the college towns up north, older, but vibrant and alive. We did a circuit across one Lift Bridge and then back around on the other. Along the way back we saw the two motor boats that we followed along the way here, Missy, and I'm drawing a blank on the other boat's name - from Erie, PA (he said just call me Fred); they both run the marina in Gasport and helped us tie up here on the wall. I hate to say it but it was the worst job I've ever done pulling up to a wall (embarrassing). We stopped and chatted with them, they were most helpful with where to stop for petrol, groceries, etc... along the way. Thank you, thank you guys J Coming back to the boat we noticed an Island Packet tied up in front of us from Grosse Isle (The Dove). We were trying to remember what size we had in the Virgin Islands and couldn't remember if Avante' was a 30 or 32 footer it looked about the same size as The Dove (Laura or Greg - do you remember?) - a very nice boat that is also heading for the Bahamas... We chatted with them for a bit and I get the feeling that we just hit Wardell's on one of his off days or something. They had their mast taken down and ran into Carpe' Diem there too. So, so far there are two other boats that we've met that are also southbound.

We started to walk into town on the other side of the lift bridge to go to a recommended restaurant by the family dollar but on the way there passed by the Stoneyard Restaurant that we were told caters to the college kids. We didn't make it past the Stoneyard. While walking through the pathway to the lift bridge Wayne said, "look at those sandwiches" I scoped out the burgers and beers and we both did an about-face turn and ordered a couple of drafts and burgers that came with these unbelievable fries! Now you kids know I'm not fond of fries, and they normally stay on my plate but I've got to tell you that there wasn't one fry remaining on my plate! One of the new owners came around asking how things were and Wayne told him of my affinity for fries. He said he'd noticed my examining the fries from inside and asked how I liked them. I told him kudos to the chef (Chef Tom). The burger's were awesome and fries too. He was telling us how they were going through some changes and that the beef was special ground round, hand cut and seasoned by them. I would definitely come back again. I don't remember the name of their signature sandwich (pork, apple bacon, and a host of other items...) but if the burgers were any indication - I'd definitely try it next time! The restaurant/bar is rundown, but the food makes it a place definitely worth coming back to.

09/02/2008 | Mother Mary
Hey Patti.... I have spent the morning catching up with you and your BLOG....You are doing a great job keeping folks informed. One thing I learned is you are drinking a lot of coffee.. :-) Take Care and MISS YOU!!!!
10/14/2008 | Ron and Jane
Pat and Wayne
Just found your blog, slow day at work. Glad to have met you both in Brockport and nice to hear how well your trip is going. Jane and I hope to be able to take off in our boat someday, but first we have to get the boys out of college and on thier own.

Good luck, fair winds and calm seas to both of you!

Ron and Jane aboard the Missy

PS - the other boat in Brockport was named Danita after it's owners, Dan and Anita. (but you can call him Fred!)

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