19 July 2014 | Mont Louis, Quebec
12 July 2014 | Saguenay, Quebec
04 September 2016
Our last day of the Erie Canal had us crossing Lake Oneida, in very benign conditions, thank goodness. We then moved into the Oswego Canal, which took us to Oswego on the south side of Lake Ontario.
We checked into the Oswego Marina and were scheduled to have our masts put up the next morning. There was some pretty intense rain the next morning and I was sure we would be pushed off to the next day, but apparently only strong winds and lightning will cause them to postpone. The mast raising was interesting.....the 'mast guy' is an older fellow and he has a female assistant that helps with the remote control. We had to actively participate in the work and after the essential stays were attached he disappeared. In comparison, when the masts were taken down at the Hop O Nose Marina, there were 4 burly guys working and we just watched. And Hop O Nose was actually less expensive....
At 10:30 AM the next day (Thursday) we were back sailing on Lake Ontario. Our destination was Main Duck Island but the winds were blowing in the wrong direction to stay there so we headed for an anchorage on the south side of Amhearst Island. And I'm glad that we did because the wind speed increased overnight.
The next day we were able to sail for a few hours enroute to Sandy Cove, near Belleville, where we anchored again. We were very happy to be 'on the hook' again after having been tied alongside for the last 10 days.
Saturday our destination was Cobourg Marina. The winds were quite light so we took the opportunity to raise the spinnaker. I always resisted putting the spinnaker up but I have to admit that I am starting to get more comfortable with it. We flew it for nearly 4 hours on Saturday (blog image).
On Sunday our trip came full circle with our final stop at Wiggers Custom Yachts in Bowmanville. It is here that we will put the boat to bed for the winter. We spent most of the afternoon removing sails and then took time, with a dinner out, to celebrate our successful completion of the Maritime Circle Route.
27 August 2016
Wedesday morning we arrived at Hop O Nose Marina in Catskill NY to have our mast lowered and placed on deck. As we motored into the harbour there was one boat heading out to the Canal and as we arrived at the marina they had 3 boats in the queue (both stepping of masts for people who had finished transiting thr Erie Canal and heading for points south and people like us who were headed north).
We had considered the option of having the masts shipped to the other end of the canal nut the costs were prohibitive so the next option was to build them ourselves. Generally you can find scrap wood and frames left by other boaters, but otherwise you have to make a trip to Lowes to buy new wood and hardware. Or you can pay the yard $200 to build them for you. Given that we didn't have wheels to get to Lowes and that we've never built stands before, we opted for the boatyard option and I'm so glad we did. It took nearly 3 hours to fit the stands and remove the masts - if we were to build the stands, that alone probably would have taken us an entire day. It took us a couple of hours to finish tying everything down, but we were then ready to go.
We left the marina at first light on Thursday and it was approximately 35 miles to the start of the Erie Canal. There are 32 locks that we need to traverse to make it Lake Ontario. There are various types of locks - some with just ropes to hang on to, others where you have either a cable or pipe to pass a line through to guide you up or down the lock. I was a bit intimidated, not having done this before, but we quickly got the hang of it. The heights of the locks vary - anything from 7 feet to 40 feet. It is pretty awesome to stare up a 40 foot wall. We had one experience we won't soon forget. On day 2, in our first lock, Andy and I were set up with our two ropes and as the lockmaster opened the water flood gates to let water into the lock to raise us, the water rush was pushing the boat away from the wall to the point where we couldn't hang on to the ropes anymore. I think it was after my scream that the lockmaster ran out and apologized and told us the flood gates on the other side didn't open. We floated to the other side of the lock but not before some anxious moments as the boat was turning and the bow of the boat was pointing at the lock wall - not what you want to see. We envisioned the boat stuck athwartships in the lock. Thank goodness there were no other boats in the lock with us.....
The first night we tied up at the west side of Lock 8 on the wall - no services, but we had it all to ourselves. The second night we stopped at Little Falls Canal Harbour - a lovely little municipal marina with a very helpful dockmaster. The days have been extremely hot and humid, so a shower was a most welcome respite. Day 3 we made it as far as Sylvan Beach at the east end of Lake Oneida just as a thunderstorm rolled through.
Lake Oneida is a 20 mile, shallow lake that has a reputation for kicking up short, steep waves when the wind picks up, so when you have your masts on deck you want calm conditions. We plan to leave at first light Tuesday for hopefully a very benign passage. That will bring us into Oswego, where we will have our masts put back up.
Today we took a rest day - after 3 twelve hour days in the heat, I needed a break. It's been a day of sleeping in, doing the odd boat job, and catching up on some reading.
24 August 2016
We left New York City early Monday morning with bright blue skies and calm winds. The New York skyline was spectacular as we headed north up the Hudson River.
Throughout the morning the wind contined to pick up to the point that we had sustained winds of 20 knots with 30 knot gusts. The wind and current were opposing so we got short steep waves. The boat handled it just fine but I did everything I could to find a comfortable place to sit. To make things a little more exciting we had barge sandwich - two barges approaching from astern with us as the sandwich meat and it looked like we were all going to converge on the same point. After we passed the Tappen Zee (Tappen Sea) the river narrowed and the waves subsided and the rest of the trip was pretty docile. On Monday we anchored at Bear Mountain. It was a very quiet anchorage - with only one other boat in the anchorage with us. The cruising guide warned of heavy train traffic and they were right on the mark. To the west we had extremely long freight trains and to the east the Amtrak trains seemed to run about every half hour. But we were so tired it certainly keep us awake.
The next day we travelled further north up the Hudson. We passed Westpoint - the US Army Military Academy. It is quite an extensive facility and it would have been nice to see it from ashore but we didn't have time. We had another great weather day and anchored off Port Ewen. We were within spitting distance of a sailboat that had wrecked on the rocks. And interestingly another boat came and harvested parts off it while we were there. We tried to relax that night knowing that the next day we were heading to a marina to have the mast unstepped (lowered) so that we would be able to transit the Erie Canal. More on that in our next post......
New York, NY
19 August 2016
The trip from New Bedford to New York was approximately 150 miles, so our plan was to break the trip into two days, but the weather forecast looked pretty benign, so we opted to sail overnight through Long Island Sound. This would have us arriving at the East River around 10 AM, which would give us a favourable current to transit the East River of New York City. The only challenge that had us a little nervous was our inability to see the lobster pots. Lobster pots are attached with a line to a buoy at the surface of the water. They are usually not to hard to spot during the day, but at night there is no way to see them. And if you happen to drive over one, you run the risk that the line may wrap around the propeller, which would stop you in your tracks. Thankfully we didn't hit one!
Sailing the East River was quite an experience. There are areas that have quite a fast current, so when larger boats pass you, you feel like you're in a washing machine. Overall there wasn't too much traffic until we got to the lower Manhattan area - there were ferries galore, sea-doers, barges, motor boats, helicopters flying overhead - quite chaotic. We sailed right down to the Statue of Liberty to get the idyllic photo op.
We stayed at the Liberty Landing Marina which is located in Jersey City, across the Hudson River. They have their own ferry service that runs to Manhattan, so it was quite convenient for accessing the city. Friday night we went for dinner at Distillers and had a really interesting dinner.
Saturday was a fun-filled day. We left the boat at 9 AM and managed a visit to Ellis Island, the 9/11 Museum, dinner in little Italy followed up with Jersey Boys, a Broadway musical.
Sunday saw us saying good-bye to Kim. And for us it was errand day - catching up on laundry, groceries, etc. Tomorrow we start our trek north up the Hudson River.
New Bedford, MA
17 August 2016
We had a really nice time in New Bedford / Fairhaven. Kim befriended another boater at the marina and she and her husband provided us with lots of advice on the area and even gave us a personal tour of the area when they drove us downtown.
New Bedford is a scallop fishing town and has the highest per capita income for fishers in all of the US. On the other side of the harbour is Fairhaven which was known for ship building. New Bedford also has a history of whaling and have an amazing museum that covers the history of whaling plus the area in general.
The best piece of advice we had was where to go for lunch. At the Whaler's Tavern we had the most delicious lobster roll - imagine if you can, a half a lobster in a brioche roll. No filler, no mayo, just lobster meat.
After a couple of hours at the Whaling Museum we went for dinner at the Black Whale, which had a great raw seafood bar.
Gulf of Maine
16 August 2016
The picture above is what we saw as we sailed into Cape Cod Bay on Tuesday morning. After 48 hours at sea it was nice to see such a beautiful sunrise on very calm water.
Kim arrived in Shelburne on Saturday evening having flown from Quebec City to Halifax and then took a local shuttle which dropped her off at the marina.
We had had a few days to get all of our preparations done for the passage - got the AIS (vessel tracking device) working, cooked some meals, deflated the dinghy, laundry, groceries, etc. I know it doesn't sound like much, but when you don't have your own transportation or facilities, even small tasks can take several hours. Laundry for instance required a 3 hour block of time at the marina.
Our plan was to depart at 0600 hours on Sunday, but our requirement to inform the United States Coast Guard of our impending arrival took nearly two hours. Trying to fill our an online form with weak WIFI was nearly enough to make me want to scream. Finally we got it done and were off by 0800 hours in calm airs and light fog.
By the time we were clear of the Shelburne harbour area the fog had thickened and the winds were starting to pick up - unfortunate for us though - they were right on the nose. As in most trips we have a time constraint, and in this case it was to reach the Cape Code Canal by mid morning so that we could transit the canal "with the 3-4 knot tidal current" rather than against it. So with that in mind we opted to motor. The seas were not running high but it did create a lot of rolling motion - I call it the corkscrew motion. The fog stayed with us for a full 24 hours so it made for a kind of a mystical situation. We had the radar running looking for contacts, but didn't see another boat all day. The night watch went well - Kim and I had the first watch and for a period the fog cleared and the skies were lit with a full moon.
Day 2 we woke up to calmer winds and bright blue skies. It was a beautiful sailing day. The wind had changed direction enough that we could now carry some sail and this really helped to calm the motion of the boat. Interestingly, on the open water, there is always motion on the seas - even when there is no wind. After another night with a full moon we sailed into the Cape Code Bay. Still not much traffic, but as we got into the bay, the fishermen were starting out for the day.
We made a quick stop at Sandwich Marina at the east end of the Cape Cod Canal, to take on some fuel and I think every other boat was doing the same. It was quite a circus and boats jostled to get in line for the fuel dock.
The Cape Code Canal is approximately 10 miles and allows boaters to avoid going around the outside of the Cape to get into Buzzards Bay and ultimately into Long Island Sound. We were heading for New Bedford where we had booked into a marina and where we would clear US Customs and Immigration.
It is extremely hot and humid here and with Kim's keen sense of water, she found a beach within walking distance which turned out to be an amazing way to cool down.
Strong winds were forecast for Wednesday, so we decided it would be a good idea to stay here for an extra day and check out New Bedford, the historic whaling capital.
We had dinner on board and watched the movie "Into the Heart of the Sea" as preparation for our visit to the New Bedford museum on Wednesday.