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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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Waterford to Catskill (Rip Van Winkles Home Town)
Cool, cloudy
09/11/2008, Catskill, NY

All flags in the town and at the marina are at half-staff and it clicked - it's 9/11 today...

There was a hard freeze last night (20 degrees) in the upper elevations and it got down to 40 here. Brrr... Went to the visitor center to check the weather on the television and was chatting with the guy about the tugboats and how cool they were and the next thing I know, he's giving me a t-shirt of their rendezvous. It's cute - a pic of a tug and the dates of the "10th Annual Waterford Tugboat Round up"

I discovered we have one more lock to go through today (good thing I still have my gloves, even though the algae has dissolved the rubber padding and it's fingers are melted together). Lock 1 - the missing lock? Is on the Hudson River and is not run by the State of N.Y. but it's a federal lock, hence not included in the Erie Canal New York State Locks... After we got through the lock (wow I maneuvered the boat through all the locks) Wayne had the helm the rest of the day up to the River View Marina (Catskill) and I started reading Chesapeake along the way (and of course taking pictures).

Once we got tied up we found the bulbs for the mast in their ships store (Yay!!!) so we'll be able to change the bulbs before putting the mast up. The people at the marina are very helpful and friendly, the store well stocked. I now have a map of the Hudson River and the NY Harbor. They also have a live web cam so you can call home and have people go on line and look at you while you wave at them. Riverview Marina has diesel as well as gas, power, water, laundry and a very nice shower facility, etc... I'd definitely come back here - highly recommend it.

I'd heard that they have cat statuettes all over the town and someone said they even have a pirate cat across from the police station, so after our bulb excursion we walked into town and I took pictures of a great many cats - my favorites: the police cat, the pirate, the chef, the actor and the post office one covered in different stamps.

This is the home town of Rip Van Winkle (forgot to mention that we passed under the Rip Van Winkle Bridge coming into catskill). And it's time for me to snoozzzzzzzzzzzze.

Waterford, NY
69 degrees, sunny & fair
09/10/2008, Waterford, NY

After morning coffee and a shower one of the guys that works here came by this morning to tell us we needed to unplug from the power cord. They had stretched a few long lines for the Tugboat Rendezvous that they had over the weekend so all the Tugs could have power. Se la vi... There was a spot on the floating dock with power and water but we decided to stay where we were since we'd be leaving tomorrow. I did manage to take pictures (of course) of quite a few of the tugboats. They even had Bogie's African Queen here (or a rendition of it) that was a wood burning steam engine - pretty cool.

Walked into town. Nice walk - the houses here are old and there are a couple nice parks before you cross the bridge. One has a very nice memorial garden to our armed forces going back to the World Wars with a statue honoring the soldiers and sailors killed. They have an excellent grocery store here. For anyone needing provisions, I've been told that this is the place to come to for your stores and after seeing it - I believe. They're very accommodating to boaters and let you take the cart back to the boat (encouraging you to buy more?) after unlocking the wheels for you. Just tell them at the checkout that you're a boater. It's interesting because as you leave, once you start to leave the parking lot - there appears to be some sort of locking mechanism that kicks in. This prevents people from stealing their carts. So someone from the store follows you out with a control and when the wheels lock, they push a button, and wellla - you can go again. Pretty cool.

While I unloaded the groceries and straightened up (things have gotten a bit lax), Wayne went up top to work. There was an older fisherman up there that was quite friendly and it was neat to just listen to them chatting away - the fisherman talking about family, the town, and Wayne sharing our tale with him. The fisherman had made some comment about not being able to do much anymore but fish because, well, he was 70 and that seemed to say it all for him, when Wayne responded back - Well I'm going to be 70 next year and I'm still out sailing. My wife wants to sail around the world... It was cute.

Later when we were below (after dinner while I was doing dishes) I heard someone discussing the boat - "This is a Bayfield". Ya gotta love it when you hear someone talking fondly about Bayfields, and their merits. I shouted out from below - yes - ya gotta love a Bayfield or something like that and heard "oops, didn't know there was anyone below". Bruce (another Bayfield site member) had buzzed in on a pristine 1957 Chris Craft and was showing his fellow boaters what a Bayfield looks like. It was great chatting with them. Read awhile now time for bed.

Guard Gate 2 to Waterford, End of The Erie Canal
T storms/rain Cold Front moved it
09/09/2008, Waterford, NY

It was a dark and stormy night... errr day... that is... (cold front moved in this morning around 7:30)


Got up at 6 (and yes - I need my coffee) and eyed the sky. Wayne went topside to have his coffee and Heinz came by and told us that they'd be lifting the Guard Gate shortly.

They went through and we vacillated - to wait - or go... These are the last 5 locks on the Erie Canal and there is no stopping over. Once you start - you have to finish, and it takes about 2 hours to transit them (they're pretty close together - all 5 are within 1.5 miles). The" flight of 5" We decided to go - so cast off about 7:30. You could see the front approaching from behind us.

We managed to transit Lock 6 (33ft drop in elevation) no problem. Cold front was whipping up the winds. Lock 5 (33 ft drop in elevation) we got a quarter of the way down and the rains came down in buckets, thunder and lightening ensued and the Lock Master apologized and told us to tie up and wait it out. Hope we didn't mind... I looked at him like he was crazy and yelled - you're the one standing on the metal gate - get in out of the lightening! He grinned and disappeared with a wave and we tied up using the canal ropes then went below and cut the power and instruments for the boat, and had our second cup of coffee, while we waited out the lightening storm. I thought about it and we were in the safest place we could be - about 12 ft below the winds - sheltered by 4 walls (granted the walls were metal, the gates were metal, the rails were metal, etc... but we were now below the level of strike). I had to laugh because I was actually having fun!

After the lightening lessened the Lock Master yelled back down to us to untie now, so we did and went on to Lock 4 in the rain (man it was pouring buckets until we managed to tie up in Waterford). It was amazing. All the algae that had covered the lock walls was gone... and on our boat... When we came topside, there was black flakes and spots all over our deck in massive amounts. We had to circle and circle until Lock 4 opened (he was transiting up another sailboat -westbound). So I'd pull near the wall in my circle and chase the gulls off the wall - couldn't believe how many were perched there. A lot of the algae was flushed off by the heavy rains, that which didn't get flushed... oh well... Lock 4 was a 35 ft drop, then Lock 3 in the torrential rain (35 ft drop also). I yelled to Wayne in Lock 3 "Man! This is fun!" "What?" "I said - I'M HAVING FUN!!!" and I meant it. I was having fun traveling the locks in the thunderstorm, then the torrential downpours. Then the rain lessened a bit and when we got to Lock 2 (34 ft drop) we noticed that Heinz and Marlena were still in the Lock holding their ropes in the rain (nice raingear too). It looked like the Lock Master was waiting for us for the last lock. So we transited 169 ft down within 1.5 miles. I think that this is the steepest gradient drop anywhere.

We followed La Buena Vida into Waterford, the docks were really filled - so many tugboats all along the free dock (with the power and water). We later found out that there had been a Tug Boat Competition this last weekend - which explained all the tugs tied to the wall. La Buena Vida pulled into the one free spot, and we went ahead and circled back waiting for someone to leave (which they did) and we pulled in as they pulled out. This area has a very high wall and has 15 amp power lines lying along the grass - none of which reached our boat so Wayne got our trusty adapter and extension cord and wella - I have power to type up my journal. They're supposed to have wireless here, but it doesn't show up... oh well... I'll post these when I can, but type and download my pics first. A fire truck and rescue boats came by and launched off the boat dock next to us and the truck that launched the rescue boat got stuck so the fire truck had to hoist him back up. I guess somebody said a boat got loose so they were launching a rescue. Only problem was - there were no boats that got loose. I figured it was probably just a drill...

When we got all tied up, I had to pop some bubbly! 346 miles down and this was our last lock on the Erie Canal. Salude!

Yes, yes... 11:00 am, but that Asti was just calling - "It's 5:00 o Clock somewhere!?" So leg two - of the Erie Canal - over. Next up is the Hudson River and New York City Harbor... Cheers!

09/10/2008 | Stephanie
Mom - What a trip through the Erie locks! Seeing your photo (toasting with my matching dolphin glass : ) made me feel so good. And reading about the fun you're having, challenges - you're living life - and again I am so happy for you. I love you.

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