28 October 2010 | Catskill, NY
Cruising so far has been a lot more work than we expected and more rewarding than we expected. We were up early again today and decided to try to beat the wind to Hop-O-Nose Marina in Catskill on the Hudson. Our first task was to extricate the boat from the line-up in Waterford. Bud tried to use the engine off a spring line to pull the bow in and the stern out. When that didn't work I tried to pull the bow in. In the end I pushed the stern out and then went down to the uncrowded end of the dock and Bud picked me up. The current there was stronger (we have to get used to those currents) and continued to push Bud against the dock. The only casualty was a crack in our fender board, but since we had only the Troy lock to go we weren't worried.
The Troy lock turned out to be the trickiest one yet. First Bud had a hard time holding the boat in the current at the approach (those darn currents again). Then there were only cables in the lock and they were so widely spaced we could only secure one. That's supposed to be all you need, you hold the cable at midship and let the boat slide down against the fenders. We've gotten into the habit of keeping the boat off the fenders, but with just two of us, Bud was holding the cable and trying to fend off and I was going from bow to stern pushing one out and then the other. Eventually, Bud ended up close to the bow with the cable and I fended off the stern.
Once through the Troy lock we really started to move. The current and ebbing tide (oh no, wind and currents and now tides!) were both with us, so the knot meter was reading about 5 knots and our actual speed over ground from the GPS was about 8 knots. It was a beautiful trip. I put pictures in the gallery of Albany from the river and a tug and barge we passed.
We were almost there when the cell phone rang. It was Jon and Arline, our new friends from Fair Point Marina in Little Sodus. They were on their way to Connecticut and had thought they saw us as they crossed the Hudson. They were thinking of stopping to see us at Hop-O-Nose, but weren't sure if there was a good route back. If they didn't come here, they said they would look for us on the Chesapeake.
We arrived at Hop-O-Nose at about 1 PM. We didn't see anyone around, so Bud brought the boat along one of the docks and tucked it nicely between a powerboat and a cross dock. We (mostly Bud) really are getting better at this. We walked up and found one of the Marina guys and he said they could do our mast later that day or first thing in the morning. They preferred first thing in the morning because they were busy shrink-wrapping boats for the winter that afternoon.
Bud started to untie the mast, getting ready to step it. We also took off one of the fender boards and put the Windex back on the end of the mast. We needed to pull the stern of the boat right over to the dock to do the Windex. I climbed a stepladder on the dock and attached it while Bud held the stern in against the wind. We also got all the hardware ready for tomorrow and finished the repair where the mast goes through the deck.
While we were working on those things the head of the marina came over. He had a message from Craig and Barb on Freedom Quest, who'd been docked behind us at Waterford. They hadn't seen us before we left in the morning and wanted us to have their contact information. So I gave Barb a call and we exchanged email addresses also.
Since Hop-O-Nose doesn't have pump-out facilities, we were reminded that we thought there was a problem with our aft toilet. We ended up disconnecting the line from where water to flush comes in through a fitting in the hull to the toilet and pumping air and water through it with the dinghy pump (that dinghy pump has been useful!). We got the toilet working, but you can imagine the mess it made. We had just finished cleaning that up and Bud was washing his hands at the galley sink when I heard water running. I checked the aft head to see that the sink faucet had been bumped on. That drain is slow because the check valve sticks (we need to fix that again) so the water was running all over the floor. And oh, yeah, we're down to our last tank of water and have to refill the tanks tomorrow.
Just as the constant work, repairs and reminders of repairs to come were becoming overwhelming, a young couple stopped by who'd come in after us and are also getting their mast stepped tomorrow. We chatted a while; they said they were going to shower, then go have a couple of drinks in the restaurant at the marina and invited us to join them. We walked to town, fed Fuzzy and then went to see if they were still at the restaurant. They were so we joined them for dinner. They are Brittany and Scott Meyers from Chicago. They had transmission problems in Buffalo and docked at RCR Yachts, where we had done the initial work on Earendil, and Andy, our favorite mechanic, tried to help them. They ended up staying a week while they shipped their transmission to Florida to have it repaired. Soon after they got to Buffalo, Bill Fleming, Commodore of Tuscarora Yacht Club, came by. He'd been following their blog and emailing them. He saw on the blog where they were and went to check up on them. He brought them food and introduced them to Todd Ciehomski from the club. Todd and his girlfriend semi-adopted them and gave them a place to stay for a few nights. Bill told them to be on the lookout for a couple from TYC heading down to Florida. Bill sent our blog address, but they hadn't had time to check it out before they came into Hop-O-Nose. Wow! We had a great dinner and after I asked them to come aboard so I could take their picture for the blog today. So Bill or Todd, if you read this, you will recognize Brittany and Scott who are sitting in our salon with Fuzzy.
We have read that it's the fellow cruisers you meet who make cruising so rewarding. Now we're experiencing that first hand. Three different couples all reached out to us in one day, and completely took away the pain of stopped toilets and overflowing sinks.
P.S. Please note that we have finally moved a degree south!