OUR PLAN

We are writing this blog for one reason and one reason only. To provide a vehicle to make it easier to remain in touch with our family and friends back home.

Our plan is simple. Depart our home port of Goderich Ontario in the Summer of 2011. Cruise Georgian Bay and the North Channel of Lake Huron while visiting some of the ports and anchorages we have missed over the years. As well as revisiting some of our favourite haunts hopefully with some of our very good friends with whom we have cruised with many times before. All the while adding up the miles and gaining experience with our new trawler. Our first and only self imposed deadline is to be in the Chicago area around Labour Day. South of Chicago, weather and circumstances will guide us!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

July 20 - July 22, 2013 Ess-Kay Yards Brewerton NY. - Oswego Lock Wall Oswego NY.

We were awake and on our way by 0730. Terri and Smudge even had a good walk while I did my pre-trip checks. Only a few miles to go before we turn North on the Oswego River and leave the Erie Canal to history. There were only a few locks and 32 miles before we reached our last lock in NY State. The weather was iffy for crossing Lake Ontario tomorrow, but we wanted to be staged for the possibility of crossing the following day.
To the left Buffalo NY and to the right Oswego NY and Lake Ontario

The next few locks while routine had a few issues with their personnel. We were not the only ones who noticed this and the comments were less than flattering towards the people who operated these locks. But Terri and I promised ourselves to keep this blog positive and upbeat so we shall leave it at that.
Before we arrived at Oswego we had a few decisions to make, the first one being, where to stay tonight. Should we stay at the Marina that is on the North side of the Last lock and have shore power, water etc? Or stay on the wall on the South side of the last Lock and have no shore power or water. It all depended on how long we think we would be here. If we stayed at the Marina on the far side of the lock we could have all of the amenities but most important we could leave at first light to crow Lake Ontario. The down side was that this Marina was very exposed to the lake. A rock and roll night would be a definite. If we stayed on the lock wall we would be right out of the weather. The down side of the lock wall was we would have to lock through the last lock before we started across the lake. That meant an 8:00 am lock through if the lock master was on time and properly prepared. The lock was not the biggest lock either so if there was a crowd that 800 am might be 9:00 am. An easy 3 hours later than we would normally leave. It was 70 miles or so across the lake it should be no problem to cross in the daylight hours if we if we got a late start. So we opted for the wall and arrived at around 1:00 pm. I fired up the generator and cranked the A/C. Beautiful!
We weren’t the only boat with the idea of staying on the lock wall. By the evening there were up to 6 boats to join us along with the two that appear to have been camped here for quite a while. The rest of the afternoon we walked around the small down town that we could walk to and then spent a nice quiet time up on the bridge for Cold Beer and Wine Spritzers.
I don't know who this is, but he was flying the Canadian flag.

This boat was docked with no one around for quite a while.

Zoom in and read the words if you can.

Looking North to Lake Ontario from the Lock wall.

Terri and Terrmar on the Lock wall

Industrial Oswego

We turned in that evening listening to the weather forecast and decoding the Mafor. It didn’t look real promising for our crossing, but we shall see.

Cheers,

Mark

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

July 17 - July 20, 2013 River Link Park, Amsterdam NY. – Ilion Marina in Ilion NY – Ess-Kay Yards in Brewerton NY.


The next few days were totally benign. Judging from the number of pictures we had taken (none) we were just on a mission to get out of the Erie Barge Canal. Ilion Marina was a safe stop but nothing special to do or see here. We stayed here a mere 14 hours and were gone by 0640 the next morning.
Ess-Kay Yards was on the West side of Oneida Lake and represented our last stay on the Erie Barge Canal System. Our self-imposed pressure, was off and we stayed an extra day, because our next stop was in Oswego NY on the Oswego River System. This was where we would stage for our crossing of Lake Ontario. We had been watching the weather systems quite closely and conditions were not quite good enough for the crossing. We had to change our decision making process and change from the "River" mindset and back into the "Lake" mindset. Flooding, closed locks and floating debris will no longer slow us down. It will be the wind and more importantly the wind direction that will decide whether we go or don’t go. Ess-Kay Yards was a beautiful old time marina. Adequate in every way but it certainly had that don’t hurry feel. We really the enjoyed river front view and the boat traffic that always seemed to be buzzing. We managed to find a pizza joint one day for lunch and although there we very few patrons. The local people were friendly and colourful.
Cheers,

Mark

July 15 - July 17. 2013 Schenectady – River Link Park, Amsterdam NY.

Today was the day. Our life in Purgatory (Schenectady) NY was about to come to an end.  We had returned from Canada yesterday and while we still had the car we took advantage to re-supply. It was hot and humid and a lot of work but it had to be done and we shouldn't complain, right? We have confirmed that that Lock 8 would open tomorrow. This would get us a little farther West in the Erie Canal system. We guessed that there would be a rush of boaters wanting to move as soon as possible so we wanted to try and beat the crowds. Even if we only moved one lock forward it would be a small moral victory.
While we were up early we were in no big hurry to be underway. It was about a 20 mile trip and there was no reason to get ram-my. We settle up with the dock master, and topped up our water tanks. Now we just had to get to the fuel dock for a pump out. There was still quite a current running and as we were docked perpendicular to the current, undocking and then docking at the fuel dock would require some planning and skill. The summer student who was working as a dock master and a neighboring boater were there to help us. Help us they did and we maneuvered in a three knot current like true boaters. No worries! A quick pump out and we were on our way by 10 AM. A big thank you to all of the people that we met in Schenectady, every one that we met was more than friendly and in spite of the Purgatory feeling we will always have fond memories of this place.
WE SAW THIS CROSS ON THE RIVER BANK SHORTLY AFTER OUR RELEASE FROM PURGATORY

SELFIE ON THE FLY-BRIDGE

There was still a fair amount of tree branches and debris coming down the river system so this would add to the experience today. As it turned out, travelling worked out fine. We traveled a little slower so if we did hit something there would be less damage to the boat. We weren't worried about our prop as it is very well protected by the full keel and skeg. As we rounded the last corner for the day we were greeted by another beautiful view that was becoming the norm in this part of NY State. River Link Park in Amsterdam NY would be our home until Lock 9 was open for business. 

Terrmar at River Link Park


Amsterdam Link Park was sort of a serve yourself faucility. We did have reservations as suggested in the cruising guide. But there was little here other than a good safe dock. What else could we ask for? We arrived about 1:30 in the afternoon and still had some time to drop the dinghy and go ahead and scout the next lock. This we did and as we approached Lock 9 it was clear that there was still work being performed. But we did manage to get enough information from one of the local boaters that Lock 10 was a go tomorrow. Monitor the Erie Canal website was the advice. We have been doing that for a long time now and the updates were really, well not up to date. But like so many things in boating, you have to gleam information from many sources and sort of put them all together to get usable information.
We retired that evening with plans to head West the next morning.
Cheers,

Mark
THAT'S A WRAP