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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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Ashtabula OH to Erie PA (Presque Isle Bay State Park Marina)
Wind on the nose
08/20/2008, N42o09.33 x W080o07.28

Got up and looked out to see the sky pink and clearing, with very little wind and no sound of crashing waves on the breakwater. Got a weather report and decided we could go today so headed to Erie PA. We're going to get to bed early and get up at 2 in the morning, to head out to Tonawanda, so that we can get through Buffalo NY while it's daylight. We forgot to bring an alarm clock but I noticed my phone has an alarm so hopefully that will work.

We pulled out right behind Carpe' Diem - again - he pulled out about a half hour ahead and this time I watched and noted we were going in the same direction. About half way there it occurred to me that he'd have his ears on channel 16 so I hailed him and asked if they were going to Erie and he acknowledged that they were, so I asked about the Erie Canal - affirmative, and the Bahamas - affirmative! We met up finally at the gas and pump out docks in Erie - the boat is an Endeavor (Curt & Karen) - and chatted briefly. They're going to hang around for a couple days so we'll probably meet up on the Erie Canal again. We're both going to Wardell's to have our masts unstepped for the trip down the canal. Everyone we've talked to seems to go to Wardell's. They're not ecstatic about the place and say that they have to do all the work themselves, but heck, that's how I learn things the best - by doing them. I hear that it's kind of rustic but it will be interesting.

Erie has a large harbor - nice size city to the left as you enter the harbor. Presque Isle Bay is a completely land locked harbor that you can sail around or motor boat around in without having to enter Lake Erie if there's a nasty blow on the big water. We anchored in the Presque Isle State Park Lagoon on the western side for the night. Very nice anchorage.

Leftover spaghetti for dinner and early to bed... here's hoping the alarm works on the phone.



Weather
Clearing in the Afternoon
08/19/2008, Ashtabula N41o55.1 W080o47.8W

The winds really kicked up last night and woke me up as they came howling through the hatches and ports at 1:00am. I got up, turned on the instruments, and went topside for a look-see and stood there for 15-20 minutes watching the clouds roll in. The winds were steady at 13-18 knots from the NW and the clouds were well lit by the moon. The ore boat pulled out between 2:30 and 3:00 so it was a busy evening/morning for them. It was interesting to see how they worked through the night emptying the freighter. The operation was lit up most of the night and you could watch the big ore carrier getting higher and higher as his load lightened.

Got back up at 6 and put the attachment on to the bimini and dodger in the semi-dark after tearing down spider webs. I kept running into them and smacking spiders out of the way. The winds have clocked around to the NNE and optimist that I am, I'm going to try and charge my other computer on the cockpit 12volt that Wayne installed last evening. It won't charge my dell, but it might charge the H. Packard. That was the one I used last year and it charged then, so, we'll see. The 12volt in the dining area won't work - keeps kicking it off.

Closed all the ports - it's sprinkling (6:45am). Still waiting on my coffee to perk, the alcohol on that burner is running out so it's a bit slow this morning. We hung out here today on the boat (the weather). The waves are really slamming the stone harbor walls but we're nice and snug. This is really an excellent harbor to anchor in during heavy weather. It's funny but you can still see the plumes from the Perry cooling tower at the power plant and it's about 20 miles away from here. It looks like it's a commercial shipping lane in the central and west ends but there's excellent anchoring with a mud bottom in the southeast end. A sail kite came whizzing past a couple times to take a peek at us this afternoon after the rain cleared. Good winds for that - he really came zooming by on his ski but I never saw him go airborne (reminded me of Rob - bet he'd love to do that).

Time to go make spaghetti and some salad for dinner.

On to Ashtabula
Wonderful!!!
08/18/2008, Fairport Harbor to Ashtabula (N41o55.1 W080o47.8

Nice sailing day - we averaged 6.35 knots today and it felt good to sail - running with the wind all day (hey isn't that a Bob Segar tune?) with all sails up. From Fairport we could see huge cooling towers in the distance for the Perry Nuclear Facilities and as we got closer I thought why not... 15 minute sketch with my colored pencils... I discovered that I have no perspective when it comes to drawing rolling waves... but it was fun to sketch again - it's been a while since I've picked up a pencil in Marcie's art room.

We put into Ashtabula at 2:45pm and Carpe' Diem was anchored already there. Looks like a mud bottom - 10-15 ft depths. They'd left in the morning about a half hour before us and it looks like they're heading in the same direction as us. We don't have our dingy in the water yet so I can't go over and chat with them. They don't have their ears on either so we'll wait a bit to contact them. It'd be nice to meet another couple doing the same thing as us.

Ashtabula is an interesting looking harbor. It has major iron piles and coal piles. We watched them unloading a freighter most of the evening and into the night too. A little history - The name Ashtabula is a Native American term meaning "many fish". The river was the boundary between the eastern and western tribes with the Iroquois claiming the western territory and the Algonquin claiming the land to the east. This was also the northern terminus of the "underground railroad" before the Civil War.

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