09/28/2010, Waterford, NY
We arrived in Waterford NY on Sunday. This is the end (or beginning if going west) of the Erie Canal. Nice visitors center here. The chart book and cruising guides I ordered were here waiting for us when we arrived. I ordered the Atlantic ICW chart book and cruising guides for New Jersey and Chesapeake and Delaware Bays.
We really loved going through the Erie Canal but glad that phase is over. As I have mentioned before, 98% of the people we met were fantastic. Looking at the Garmin odometer we have now traveled 1,293 miles from Silver Bay to here. We are also 53 days since leaving Silver Bay. Almost 2 months already, time does fly when you are having fun!
The current and always subject to change itinerary is: go to Hop-O-Nose in Catskill NY to have the mast stepped, find some anchorages going down the Hudson River, go to Sandy Hook NJ to wait for a weather window to start down the east coast. There are several inlets along the New Jersey coast to stop for the night, including Atlantic City (of course, we will need to stop there so I can play a slot machine or two). Once we get to Delaware Bay we will need to decide if we will go off shore to the Chesapeake Bay or go up Delaware Bay, across the C&D Canal and down the Chesapeake Bay to the start of the ICW (double the distance). The weather will pretty much be the deciding factor.
Jimmy, Dean and Chris's friend, came to the visitors center where we are now and drove Bill & Dean around to pick up a few things that we needed. Chris and I went into town to do laundry. We all went out to dinner at a restaurant called Reel Seafood which had great food.
We will decide shortly if we will head for Hop-O-Nose today or tomorrow. It looks like we could get very heavy rains on Thursday. One of the anchorages I would like to stop at is just behind Liberty Island. The Manhattan skyline at night is absolutely fabulous so hope to be able to see it from that anchorage. We plan on spending a couple of days there so we can go into New York City and do a few touristy things. I was there several years ago for a work conference, Bill joined me for a few days and we both found that we really liked it a lot. Already did the Empire State Building and Times Square so not sure what we will do this time. I know that I really want to find a really good bakery and a deli while there. Get some bagels, good Italian bread, maybe a few canoli's!
I called my insurance company (BoatUS) yesterday to have the coverage changed. The current coverage is for inland waters only so the new coverage will include the Bahamas, of course, at a much higher premium.
09/26/2010, Schenectady, NY
Our pumpkin on the bow has been a big hit with other boaters and lock tenders. One lock tender asked me if that was the Captain so I said, yes that is Captain Jack and we blame all our mistakes on him! I think I forgot to mention that Chris (Rubaiyat) drew the skeleton/pirate on the pumpkin for us. Thanks Chris! We have had lots of people comment on it and take pictures of it.
Each day the color in the trees change, getting more colorful and picturesque. Finally does feel like autumn is here. The pics we have taken do not really capture the beauty of it all. I would image in another week or so they will be at their color peek.
LITTLE FALLS, NY
We liked Little Falls so much we stayed there for 2 nights. Great showers! Gene, the Harbormaster, was yet one more person on the Canal that was so helpful, informative and an all around great guy.
Bill spoke with his Mom last night and discovered that his Grandpa Stewart was born in Amsterdam. We walked into town hoping to find a big statue in the center of the town honoring him but didn't find one. We did find the Professional Wrestlers Hall of Fame. No, we didn't go inside - it was closed. Went to a take-out pizza place and sat at a park bench across the street and ate our pizza. Like so many of the little towns on the canal there were lots of empty stores, making the town look very depressed.
We went through 7 locks today, the most locks in a single day for us.
This will be our last day of the Eric Canal. We are at the Schenetady Yacht Club, which is actually east of Schenectady. We pulled in next to another sailboat and met Greg & Anna aboard 'Jolly Mon'. Looks like they will be here until at least Monday when they will be hauled out to fix the damage a log caused to their prop shaft. Dean and Chris's friend Jimmy from Albany drove up to see them. Jimmy took us all out for a rib dinner. Thank you Jimmy!
Today we will go the last 6 locks on the canal. The final 5 are called the Waterford Flight. We are required to go through all 5 locks without stopping in between. The guide books indicate it takes about 2 hours to get through the 5. It will drop us down over 150 feet to the Hudson River.
I ordered the next round of chart books and cruising guides which should be enough to get us to Florida. They are supposed to be delivered to Waterford Visitors Center for us to pick up on Monday. We will probably stay in Waterford for a couple of days then head down to Hop-O-Nose to have the mast re-stepped.
Something I have been forgetting to mention here. Bill and I wanted to say a big thank you to Jim & Linda at the Silver Bay Marina for giving us the batter board and chart books for Lake Erie and the Erie Canal. All have been a huge help for this part of our adventure.
09/22/2010, UTICA, NY
Baldswinville - Arrived at around 4:00 pm, one of our longest days on the canal. Jack and Kris on 'Renaissance' and Dan and Mariann on 'Midori' were here tied up to the wall. Good to see them. Craig Horn left us on Saturday to return to Indiana - thank you Craig for all your help the past two weeks, it is very much appreciated.
Brewerton - A short day, stopped just west of Oneida Lake in Brewerton. Lots of places to stop for diesel here. We met Chris, Maggie and Tom aboard 'Oh Be Joyful'. They are on a catamaran also headed for the Bahamas. They told us that they stopped at Wardall's to have their mast unstepped. He wanted $125.00 for their very small light weight mast that would take 10 minutes to unstep, he wouldn't negotiate. So, they motored over to the bridge, tied a rope to the mast and bridge and lowered it themselves, with Wardall watching them. Good for them! Oneida lake is about 20 miles long, we were told to watch out for power boaters who zoom right by the sailboats, their wake causing the sailboats to be very unstable. We were all a little anxious after the stories we heard. Ended up being very uneventful, except for a missed buoy or two!
Utica - Left Brewerton at 7:00 am and arrived in Utica at 5:00 pm (long day). We all (Rubaiyat, Oh Be Joyful and Walk A-Bout) were going to stop at Rome but no power or water so we went on to Utica. We are actually tied to the wall at a restaurant that charged us $1.00 per foot. We have power and water but no showers. Tom mentioned that he wanted to shave off his beard so Chris (Rubaiyat) got out her dog grooming electric sheers and shaved him right there on the dock, it was pretty funny. Chris and I are going to make breakfast for everyone this morning before taking off. Plan on making this a short day, probably stop at Herkimer. Our 10-day canal pass expires tomorrow so we will need to extend it since we will not make it to the end by then. We still have another 20 locks to go. I believe we are just a little more than half way through the canal.
09/18/2010, FAIRPORT AND LYONS, NEW YORK
Thursday it rained the majority of the day, so we dug out our foul weather gear to wear. Cold as well. We stopped in Fairport for the night, tied up to the town wall and Bill and I went for a walk about the town. Very pretty town but as Bill would say "it's too foo-foo" (too upscale for his tastes). Anyway, as we were walking back to the boat this guy comes up to us, calls me by name and introduces himself. Turned out to be Dean, Chris and Stella (their dog) aboard 'Rubaiyat'. They also have their blog here and we have been reading about each others travels. Dean and Chris are from Petroskey, Michigan and are also heading south. After chatting for a while we decided to travel together through the canal. We all agreed that we were not in any rush to get to New York and out to the Atlantic with all the hurricanes brewing.
We agreed to make Lyons our next stop. As we are exiting Lock 27 the lock tender told us there were several state boats at the town dock but they were just leaving. Turns out the town just finished their ceremony for their updating of their tie-up facilities here. Anyway, Bob (one of the volunteer greeters) came and talked to us and asked where we were from, etc. He asked us to come to the firehouse where all the dignitaries were and talk about our travels. So, they videotaped us and we met the Mayor, the New York State Canal Commissioner, and many others, I think there was also a state representative thrown in there as well. So, that was our 15 minutes of fame.
Looking at the Garmin odometer we now have over 1,100 miles since we left Silver Bay!!
09/16/2010, Fairport, NY
We stayed last night in Middleport. Bob in Lockport called Nick in Middleport and Nick brought his car to the tie-up to pick up Bill and Craig to take them with our jerry cans to get diesel at the gas station. This gave us another 20 gallons of diesel. Thank you Bob and Nick!!! We have met so many great people, and still only one jerk.........the guy at Wardell's. We bring this up to all the people we meet and everyone who has ever had any dealings with the guy have similar very negative opinions of him. It's a wonder he is still in business.
Middleport was very nice with great tie-up facilities for only a small fee of $8.00. Bill and I agree that we need to slow down a little going through the canal, it is so picturesque with so many great towns to visit......we need to stop and smell the roses and not be in a big hurry to get through the canal.
We went through Locks E33 and E32 today. I think we are starting to get the hang of this lock thing and not as scary as the first few. I believe we have gone under our last lift bridge on the canal.
09/14/2010, Middleport, NY
Fortunately, our very first person encountered on the Erie Canal was not an indication of the remainder of people we have met. Unfortunately, I cannot in this blog use the specific four letters words I would really prefer to use to describe him. Here is the story: we were passing Wardell Boat Yard when we see a diesel fuel pump. We thought, this looks like a good place to stop and top off our tank........wrong. An old guy (Wardell??) comes out after we are at the pump and says "what can I do for you? (in a very unfriendly tone)", I said we need some diesel, his response (even nastier) was "we only sell diesel to people who have their mast unstepped here", hethen turned his back on us and he walked away. Two guide books list Wardell's as a place to stop to get fuel, they need to update it to say they will only sell you fuel if you step or unstep your mast there. Diesel locations are few and far between on the Erie Canal so the fact that he won't sell you diesel is a very important piece of information. I have read on other peoples blogs about the very negative experiences with this place, now we can be added to the count of people who think this guy is a TOTAL JERK.
Now for the nice people we have encountered - all the lock and bridge attendants have been very helpful. We our spending our first night at Middleport tied to the town dock. There is free electric, water, bathrooms and showers here. Nice little town. Not much in the way of a grocery store. I didn't realize that we would have so many bridges that need to be lifted even with our mast down. Looks like tomorrow we are going to try and get to Spencerport, with no locks but 12 lift bridges to go through.