Saturday, June 30, 2007

June 30, 2007 . . . Little Falls, New York - on the Erie

Leaving the dock at Canajoharie we had an easy passage through Lock #14. Only had to dodge some of the waterfowl crossing the canal.

The water is flat, calm, and the surroundings just great.

After completing Locks #15 and #16 we came to the impressive Lock #17. This lock is one of two locks in North America where the entrance gate is LIFTED ABOVE the entering boater as opposed to the opening of "barn-like" doors for entry. Once you pass under the dripping door the boat must be secured on the South dock wall due to turblence in the lock when it is filling.

Inside the lock is like being in a walled canyon ... the lift here is just over 40 feet.

The Little Falls Canal Harbor provided a new dock with 50/30 amp electric, water, restrooms/shower, a reception/reading area, and a short walk to town.

Once inside the entrance gate is lowered and you are "trapped" inside waiting for the lock to fill and raise the boat to the top of the lock wall. Hang on to the side and enjoy the ride...

The early morning fog on the canal was caused by the warmer water and the cool night air, upper 40's, with an expected high today in the upper 60's or low 70's. Great sleeping. Passage today is to Ilion, the home of Remington Arms.

Friday, June 29, 2007

June 27-29, 2007 . . Amsterdam & Canajoharie, New York

Amsterdam, former residence of Kirk Douglas, supplied a new Park and dock for SONATA and CANDY DISH. SONATA remained here two days through a series of intense thunderstorms.

The previous picture of Amsterdam Riverlink Park was taken from the pedestrian tower one has to climb to cross over the CSX railroad. AMTRAK or a CSX freight appears to pass every 20 minutes. Great train sounds throughout the day and night. The tracks so far parallel the Canal on the North side.

Minutes away from the Riverlink Park Dock we were approaching Lock #11. At the lock you could observe trees down around the lock grounds all from the previous days of thuderstorms.

After Lock #11 . . . comes Lock #12, surprise, surprise. Each one is slightly different. In some you hold on to ropes that have been living in the water ... slime, others have poles or cable fastened to the lock walls and you put a line around the pole or cable to hold the boat close. Bonnie has to place SONATA gently against the lock wall so others can grab the pole, cable, or rope . . . She does a great job and theh lock personnel love her North Carolina accent on the radio.

With AMTRAK on the North side I-90 is on the South side. Some people are rushing to work at 70-80 mph while we travel at 7-8 mph.

Canajoharie, the home of Beech-Nut Baby Food, provided us with a free dock, 50 amp electric service and water. The town was just a short walk away with meatloaf for lunch and pizza for dinner. The 28th of June, last year, this area was under water. Our lunch site which was up hill in town was destroyed by the water and other town stores has more than three feet. TV stations were out and about conducting "one-year-later" interviews.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

June 26, 2007 . . . First Day up the Erie Canal

Alongside the Waterford wall we prepared to depart, over to Lock #2, and through the Erie Canal. The first boat is the canal charter barge, then SONATA, then CANDY DISH. The other Loopers had departed Waterford on Monday, the 25th. We will surely see them in other places along the way. See:

Inside Lock #2 looking back toward Waterford after SONATA was lifted some 33.6 feet.
Lock #2 open and waiting for our entry. All we need is the green light to proceed inside.

After Lock #6 we approach Guard Gate #1. These guard gates along the canal are to control the flow of water downstream. Looks close for SONATA to slide under.

Sitting in Lock #4 looking at Lock #5. The first five locks, Locks #2 - #6, known as the Waterford Flight, raises the boat 169 feet in less than two miles. This is reportedly the highest set of lift locks in the world.

Lock #10. This lock, dam, was severely damaged last year due to heavy rains. Construction work is ongoing to build a cofferdam around the middle section which appears to be scheduled for replacement. From here we proceeded on to Amsterdam and Riverlink Park. A nice location with trains going by every 20 to 30 minutes.

June 24-25, 2007 . . . Waterford and side trips to Hyde Park

We rented a car and took a side trip to the Hyde Park region, in particular to Springwood, the home Sarah Roosevelt . . . the mother of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The place where he was born, grew up, married, lived, and, was buried there in the rose garden after he died in Georgia.

Lunch for the day at the Culinary Institute of America. What a place! Formerly a Jesuit school. Beautiful view of the Hudson from the front.

The last of the guilded age . . . the home of "an unassuming philanthropist" Frederick Vanderbilt sits on millionaire row along the Hudson in Hyde Park. Both the FDR estate and the Vanderbilt Mansion are part of the National Park Service. Frederick was one of the eight grandchildren of Cornelius Vanderbilt fortune who died in 1877 with an estate of $100 million.

June 21-23, 2007 . . . New York City to Waterford, New York

Tarrytown (Sleepy Hollow), North of the Tappan Zee Bridge we went ashore for lunch. Tarrytown derived its name from the Dutch wifes that complained their husbands tarryed too long at the village tavern.

Proceeding up the Hudson we passed this tug and barge . . . BUCHANNAN 12. In our Norfolk waters we often pass the tug BUCHANNAN 11. We discussed the connection by radio, Channel 13, while passing.

As we passed West Point had to call them on the radio and speak with the Dockmaster (not allowed to dock there . . . Security Reasons(?)) to let them know the Navy was passing; they wished us well . . . following seas, etc.

Sprinkled all along the Hudson
are quaint lighthouses like this one with bridges and mountain ranges in the background.

We pulled in alongside this little lighhouse and while Anne drove SONATA Bonnie, Johnny, and Charlie lowered the mast. We must be below 20' air draft to go under all the bridges on the Erie.

The mast now lowered and secured in place . . . a tug and barge in the background proceeding down the river.

Our FIRST lock. Lock #1 on the Hudson, also called the Federal Lock, located on the Hudson in Troy, New York. Bonnie did a terrific job, as usual, placing SONATA carefully in the lock.

After docking Bonnie had 6" in front; between SONATA and a canal barge one may charter for travels on the Erie; and,

Bonnie did a terrific job landing SONATA at the Waterford City Dock (free dock with electric and water). We are now in the ERIE Canal, next to Lock #2 just yards away.

And 6" in the back, between SONATA and CANDY DISH. She, Bonnie, is so good!!! A terrific, awsome, ship-handler.

June 21, 2007 . . . New York City

The highlight of Atlantic Highlands was a trip to Best Buy to have the Geek Squad fix the computer. Mission accomplished. Then, Thursday, the 21st in the early morning mist we headed for New York City. After a short passage we could see the skyline and passed under the Verrazano Bridge, the Narrows, connecting Staten Island to Brooklyn.

Strange how moving through the waterways you meet up with people again. As we came under the Verrazano Bridge LITCHFIELD LADY was just ahead of us having docked over near Raritan Bay the night before.

With the morning ferrys going past on all sides we entered New York Harbor and passed Governor's Island on our port (left side). A spectacular view of the lower Manhattan Island. Just had to go see the Brooklyn Bridge.

The Brooklyn Bridge and a view Northeast up the East River, between Manhattan Island and Brooklyn on Long Island.

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame, with conquering limbs astride from land to land, Here at our sea-washed, sunset-gates shall stand A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame is the imprisoned lightning, and her name Mother of Exiles. From her beaconed hand Glows world-wide welcome, her mild eyes command the air-bridged harbor that twin-cities frame.

"Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she, with silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore; Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the Golden Door." November 2, 1883 . . . Emma Lazarus

Back across the Hudson River to the site of the Twin Towers, a prayer, then North on the Hudson.

Passing under the George Washington Bridge could not help but notice the traffic was moving at about the same pace we were, 8-11 mph.

Monday, June 25, 2007

June 18-20, 2007 . . . Cape May to Atlantic Highlands

We departed Cape May at 0800 for Atlantic City. We departed on flood tide when it was at 2'+ so that we would stay off the bottom. The New Jersey ICW (Intercoastal Waterway) has had little or no dredge care for years and is very shallow. Many boats go outside in the Atlantic from Cape May to New York, however, HARMONY joined us and followed us out of Cape May.

This picture does not clearly show it, but the NJ ICW channel is a popular place for the NJ "Bubbas" to fish. He likes the center of the channel because it is the "deep water" . . . outside the channel, in many, most, locations there is only 2' of water. On several occasions I issued 5 whistle blasts (the Emergency signal) hoping they would move out of the way. While we did not get shot at . . . there were some colorful comments.

Along the ICW we went through marshland and urban areas. At this bridge, the Dorset Avenue Bridge just south of Atlantic City, we had to wait for a "police emergency" to pass before they could open the bridge.

At Atlantic City we stayed at the Trump Marina. All of us, Johnny and Anne Bristow, had joined us in Cape May, after docking the boat went to the Casino. The slip fee was very expensive, $4 per foot . . . but Bonnie was very lucky and hit a small/medium size winning on the slot machine which then paid for dinner and the slip. In all, a very good, successful, stay.

After Atlantic City we stopped at Beach Haven Yacht Club and took on 233 gallons of diesel fuel at $2.37 per gallon. Then on to Manasquan and an anchorage on the Metedeconk River . . . we apparently anchored in the middle of a sail boat race and had an evening of entertainment before the violent overnight thundershowers. A rock and roll light show with strong winds.

Our anchorage was shared with HARMONY and CANDY DISH and during the evening there was discussion of a Wednesday early departure for Sandy Hook, however, the forecasted wind on the Atlantic was for 15-20 knots. At bedtime, before the thundershowers . . . the decision was pretty much that we would remain for two days waiting for calm wind and seas. Up at the normal 0530 disclosed fog and flat water at the anchorage. A call was put out of Channel 16 for any vessel at the entrance of the Manasquan Inlet . . . LITCHFIELD LADY, a vessel we refueled with at Beach Haven Yacht Club, answered and reported flat seas, no wind. The anchor was up and off we went on an outgoing tide for around Sandy Hook and Atlantic Highlands Municipal Marina on the North coast of New Jersey (inside Sandy Hook, next to the Navy ammunition depot, Earle, New Jersey).

Friday, June 15, 2007

June 8-15, 2007 . . . Cape May, New Jersey

Arrived in Cape May in the early afternoon of the 7th. Friday, the 8th, had us on our bicycles and off to see the town. This picture is one of the many Victorian structures in Cape May. Many houses and hotels are of this style. This particular one is an oceanfront hotel.

Lunch was at a nice little cafe on Cape May's downtown Mall (some two+ blocks of little shops) and the window next to our table look into the shop next door . . . all looked so good but we resisted . . . for ice cream later on the mall . . . after some samples of fudge. Must keep walking and riding the bike!

On Saturday after picking a car for Bonnie to return to Virginia Beach on Sunday we went to a craft show. We had been looking at mirrors for the boat before we started this adventure and at a craft show I found this mirror . . . it was however just a bit large for the area planned..............

We met some very enjoyable people here, Mike and Pat Sullivan from Knoxville. They have completed the "Loop" from Knoxville around the Gulf and up the East Coast to here. They continued North on the 10th and Bonnie packed to drive to Virginia Beach for the week. She returns on the 16th and we will leave Cape May the morning of the 18th for Atlantic City via the New Jersey, Intercoastal Waterway.

Friday, June 08, 2007

June 7, 2007 . . . Crossing the Delaware

An early departure from Delaware City, Delaware, put us on the Delaware River/Bay on a perfect weather day. The sea was flat and the wind was calm.

Crossing the Delaware. George did it . . . so did Charlie. Not the same status, equal importance (to some), but nonetheless a great accomplishment. In any event, Ashley you asked for it . . . here is the picture you requested.

Date and time of crossing and traveling down the bay to Cape May is important . . . we wanted a calm day, and outgoing current. You can see from the current surrounding Bouy 6L that there is a swift current. Our 8.5 knot boat (at about 1750 rpm) was maintaing 11.5 knots through the water. We were flying.

Entry into Cape May was via the West Canal. Continued calm other, than the wakes created by passing brainless operators of sportfish boats. We are now safely in Cape May.
Upon docking there were three other "Loopers" lined up in a row; from Nashville, Knoxville, and Johnstown, Colorado. A great group gathering in the evening . . . an enjoyable rivalry between the Vanderbuilt and the Volunteers . . . the Volunteers rule!!!