Stepping the Mast
September/1/2009, Wardell's to North Tonawanda
Sunday, Sept 1st2009
What a day!
Stepping the mast's...why did we buy a ketch? I know, I know... I'm just tired.
Janice and Harley arrived just in time to see me vacuuming up the sawdust off the boat deck and Steve having his first beer. It was 3:30pm. By 4:30 pm we were paying the bill for Denny's help (ha! ha! ha!).
Rule No 4 BE AS INDEPENDENT AS POSSIBLE! Denny charged us $90.00 for wood (the scrap wood that we found) and $63 for transient docking with NO facilities (note: if you get there the night before; hang off the wall on the other side for free and take the sails down etc ... in order to make quick work for the next day). DON'T expect any help from Denny. AT ALL!
He'll walk by every now and then and throw out some advice. . . but some of it not that good. Steve constructed the main part of the mast support back in Mississauga. We just needed to tweak it for height and as you will see in the photo, we strapped it down with ratchet straps. Actually, when all was said and done, the boat seemed pretty balanced. As I sat down that night in North Tonawanda (5 minutes away for $20/night) I told Steve how proud and happy I was with the job and the fact that he did not punch the little weasel in the head when he gave us his outrageous bill. Steve's says a colonoscopy will be a breeze after this. Later on that evening I enjoyed a glass of wine with Janice as they had just delivered us 2 cases of beer (60 cans for $30). Then my Benedryl kicked in and as I slurred my words, they left us and I gladly went to bed.
Crossing the Border
Port Colborne to Tonawanda
Trip 35 nm
Water temp 76.2
Steve and I worked hard to prepare the boat for our departure from Port Colborne yesterday, so today I just relaxed and after the water tanks were filled, I sat in the lobby of the marina and downloaded our hotmail and sent off some emails while Steve returned the rental car. While there, I greeted Keith and Heather "ShadowFax" (a 36 ft. Roberts, home-made fero-cement design, that we previously met in Tobermory and Port Elgin). They had just arrived ~ 1 week later than us.
It was kind-off a calm, sunny day as Steve and I headed to fill up with some diesel before we headed to Buffalo. Next stop the US of A. I phoned my mum and Thera to say good-bye again. We only saw one tanker heading north, put on the auto pilot (aka "the drunken bastard") and started to dismantle the boat. We knew it would be a long day ahead of us and tomorrow would even be longer.
We had a wonderful motor into Buffalo and charted our way into the Black Rock channel with the photocopies that we had scanned from Harley and Janice's Richardson maps.
The highlight of the day:
As we passed the lock on the Niagara River, we were pulled over by US customs. Two good looking young men...I might add. Anyway, after asking us a few questions, they realized that we were "living the dream" (their words) and they moved on.
This is for Jamie and Janice and Ishmael (who are coming behind):
- The first Bridge is after the Peace Bridge.
As we contacted the bridge (VHF channel 13), he thanked us for the contact and the heads up and said he would lift the bridge when he saw us. As we got closer he lifted the bridge.
- The next bridge is shortly after.
As we approached we hailed him, no response, but he swung it as soon as we approached. That's the swing bridge (photo's attached).
-The Black Rock Lock (say that 3 times...ha!) gave us instructions and it was a breeze. Have your bumpers on the Port side. They have lines available on your port-side that you hang onto and descend.
- Wardell's is just past a town house type development on the starboard side. Turn right, there is an island in the middle (which is just an old piece of bridge). It will be on your left (port side). To step your mast, you have to tie up to Wardell's dock on your starboard side. . . which means that you must drive almost right up to the bridge and turn left, going back into the fuel dock. Where Denny steps his masts, is almost right under the bridge....ya! We mean that! (kids are jumping off the bridge to scare the living daylights out of you).
- The current is minimal in front of Wardell's., so no worries, you can sit there for a while.
As soon as we arrived in Tonawanda we did our Video Customs check in and that is another story. We got a newbie that asked us one thousand questions but in the end, issued and faxed us a cruising permit (which we don't think they are supposed to do). The pharmacy that we walked into allowed us to use their fax number for the charge of $3.00
Tonawanda, looks like a wonderful place to re-group and provision. We are looking forward to spending some time there.
Blue Blazes was along the wall in North Tonawanda and everything looked all well and good. They are back in Ontario and we will head there after stepping the mast tomorrow and pull up along the same wall to enjoy what North Tonawanda has to offer.