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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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From Baldwinsville to Brewerton, NY

The pic is of the Norma Fay 3 musketeers :)

Today we decided to see if we could find bulb replacements for the mast while we have it down.

Two locks today #24 took us down 12 feet, then, surprise, surprise the next one (23) took us up 7 feet. I wasn't prepared for that - it was a shock instead of holding on to stay close to the wall, we had to exert a lot of strength to keep the boat off the lock wall!!! Sore muscles tonight... The turbulance of the water coming into the lock had quite a lot of force to it.

Stopped at the Winterhaven Marina for fuel, pumpout, water, and to check their stores but only found one bulb that matched ours. While there, I spotted Ombre' Rose on a travel lift, so they must be leaving their boat here for the winter (indoor storage). We got into Brewerton a little after 4 pm and walked into town to the Marine 2000 store. Very nice fella there - didn't have anything we needed but was willing to look up the part numbers for us for the next stop we came too. Directed us to Rosies "the best pizza in town". It actually wasn't bad but couldn't hold a candle to the one in Put-In-Bay. The kids making the pizza reminded me of my kids at school - made me wonder how they are. Today was the first day back to school, and I'm not there. Love the first day back - I don't sleep all night - but love hearing the kids as they come back all excited. Hope this is a good week for everyone - students, teachers, secretaries, etc.... Rumor has it that Elaine functioned quite well without Mary and Me LOL...

To all my school mates and chums and students - miss you all and am thinking about you today.

Tomorrow we cross Oneida Lake, the largest lake in NY. We've been told to go early and only if it's calm because it's shallow, and the power boaters really kick it up. So enough for today.

Newark to Baldwinsville, NY
Sunny, 80s
09/01/2008, 43o09.351 x 76o20.112

Happy Labor Day

Well another 5 locks down today: Locks 28B, 28A, 27, 26, 25; 53.6 miles and 9 hours.
We started out at a little after 8 am. The first lock (28B) was 2/10ths of a mile from where we docked and you could see it. Each one-I come in very slowly - probably drove Capt'n Mike crazy but I sure hate getting it wrong. They went ahead of us after the 3rd lock - I think their boat goes faster than ours - it looks a lot lighter and sits higher on his water line too (ours sits below the waterline in the front and at the waterline in the back). We passed by the remains of the historic Richmond Aqueduct - it was once the longest one on the Erie Canal and now stands deserted but still majestic looking with it's 6 arches.

It was a terrific morning - great scenery again and I was really looking forward to the Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge until we got there. Once in there I couldn't wait to escape the wildlife - it was all power boaters, pontoons and personal watercraft (what I call mosquitoes) all kicking up wakes and as I'd try to go over their wakes they'd look at me like I was stupid. Haven't they heard of NO WAKE around other vessels or around docks?!?! I swear that three large ones were racing and trying to roll us to get us to lose our mast so after the first two tag teamed me and I was swerving our 19,000 lbs to cut through the wake and not roll us - the others had to slow and the woman passenger gave me a dirty look - like what? Are you stupid? I gave her the same look back and realllly wanted to give her something else too... Even the NY State police boat was wreaking havoc with Mike and us.

So needless to say, the Wildlife in this refuge is non-existent except for the two legged kind with to much horsepower and not enough brains. Why don't they make everyone that gets behind these large monstrosities take tests and get licenses? By the time we got into Baldwinsville I was feeling a great amount of "road rage". I reaaaalllly felt like turning into one of those mosquitoes that circled us. Splat! But Wayne said: then you'd have to clean it off the boat. Hmmmm.... I actually wouldn't mind (does that say anything?)

It was good to see Norma Fay at the South wall when we approached Baldwinsville I needed refuge from all the wildlife behind us and was really greatful to see them there and for their assist in bringing us in... After tying up and comparing road rage notes, I grabbed Swee'Pea for another of my Where's Swee'pea pictures. I'd made a tuna & macaroni salad during the day for dinner and now am unwinding.

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!!!!


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