Sunday, July 29, 2007

July 22-29, 2007 . . . Oswego, NY to Peterborough, Ontario, Canada

The last look at the United States . . . the lighthouse at the Oswego Harbour Entrance. We were off eary on the 22nd of July from Oswego across Lake Ontario to Trenton, Ontario, Canada; calm seas, no wind.

Trenton, a pretty little town with this flower garden as our back yard. Dinner with other "Loopers", Howard and Diana from St. Louis, whom we first met at Ocean Marine in Portsmouth, then again in Deltaville. Immigration and Customs into Canada was a cell phone call; easy.

The first lock on the Trent-Severn Canal placed us with a number of other vessels, two from Quebec, a sail boat recently purchased by the operator . . . and others.

As the first boat in a lock on the way up, you can see the "whirlpool" created, like a sink drain, when they open the gates to allow the upstream water to fill the lock and raise us to the next level.

At each lock there is a Lockmaster's House. These were formerly occupied by the lockmaster, now they provide an office and restrooms for those passing through the locks. Boaters are permitted, for a small fee or an annual pass, to tie up to the lock walls outside the lock itself and remain overnight. There are no water or electric services (not to compete with local marinas), but then some of the locks are out in the country and an overnight is delightfully quiet.

Our first white swans were seen on the way to our overnight at Lock #9. July 23rd.

After clearing the first nine locks we spent the night along with BLISSFUL, Steve and Jane from Toronto, shown here alongside SONATA in the lock-through.

Several locks are called "flights". Flights mean that there is more than one lock in which to travel through. You go into one lock, proceed through a lift, then enter into the second lock for a second lift. The flight locks look huge!

Looking back after the lifts (2), the sight is spectular!

At Campbellford we stopped for lunch with Steve and Jane, met several other boats on the loop and obtained our fishing licenses from the local fishing store operated out of a residental garage. July 24th.

Overnight again with Steve and Jane at Healey Falls was followed by an early morning trip through another flight-lock.

We crossed most of Rice Lake and spent the night at the Golden Beach Resort. The resort is a combination of condos, homes, trailer parks, camp-sites, and boats. Made use of the "hooka" (a scuba tank with regulator, breather, snorkel and mask) to dive under SONATA and remove a "glob" of nylon that had wrapped around the starboard shaft just forward of the screw. July 25.

Before arriving in Peterborough we dropped anchor and went for a swim in Rice Lake. Peterborough Lift Lock is the largest of this type in the world.

The lift-lock consists of two pans mounted on a ram. The one that ends up at the top is loaded with an additional foot of water (7'+1') to make it heavier than the one at the bottom. The proper valves are opened and the top one presses down and pushes the bottom one up. This picture shows them at about the mid-point in their travel.

Ed, the Lockmaster, took us on a tour of the lock, inside and out, down into the machinery spaces, the valve rooms, and into the pit next to the ram and under the "pan".

Bonnie was asked by the Lockmaster to announce the next lift and transfer . . . and to operate the controls. "Welcome (ya'll) to the Peterborough Lift Lock, a transfer will be taking place momentarily."

The transfer was completed without incident ... however ... it was reported that the next day there was a problem . . . must have missed Bonnie's gentle hand and her beautiful smile!

A view from the top, the control tower. When Bonnie returns from Virginia later this week she will pilot SONATA into the lock for our lift and continuation of the journey. We have now traveled some 1,027 miles of the 6,000 mile journey.

The marina adjoins a pavillion where free concerts followed by fireworks on the water are given a couple times a week. Reportedly some 12,000 persons come to the concerts and sit on the lawn. Hand scooped ice cream is served up by the marina office. This must be heaven!

Friday, July 20, 2007

July 19-20, 2007 . . . Oswego Canal

The 19th, Thursday, we remained at Phoenix with the "Brats" due to rain, rain, rain! Today, Friday, we were able to gather some of the older, and a few of the younger, Brats for our departure.

The rains started again, Bonnie puts us in the Locks, Taylor assists in keeping us where we belong, along the wall. The winds and rain picked up all during the day as we proceeded North.

We take turns at all the jobs.

Arriving at Lock #8 the rain let up for us to get through and Taylor had her last lock experience on this trip. Saturday she returns to her family as we prepare to cross the Lake.

Today on Lake Ontario the winds are NorthWest 25-30 knots, the water is breaking over the harbor breakwater . . . a good day to stay in port. Sunday the forecast is for sunny skies, a high of 78, calm winds (beginning late on Saturday) and finally builting on Sunday afternoon and evening to East winds 6-9 knots. Should be a good day to cross. A note: Once in Canada our VERIZON air-card will not work and there may be few, if any updates to the BLOG until mid-August. Telephones work, not the air-card.......for our internet connection.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

July 18, 2007 . . . From Erie to Oswego Canal

As we leave the ESS-KAY YARDS in Brewerton you can see the vessel HARMONY at the dock. Our friends Phil and Virginia are back in Texas and will hopefully catch up with us later on the waterway.

Lock #23, Taylor was the docking assistant for the stern. She did not realize her strength as she was able to easily push a 38,000 pound boat away from the dock wall.

As we apprached the "Three Rivers" our Garmin 2010C Chartplotter again, as it often has on the Erie, has us up on land while actually we are in the middle of the channel. I love my Garmin . . . just sometimes wonder how much to trust it.......

Three Rivers is the intersection of the Erie Canal and the Oswego Canal . . . here we turn North toward Lake Ontario. Buffalo 192 miles to the West, Oswego 24 miles North. We have two days to get there.

On the way to Oswego we completed a planned stop in Phoenix, New York, to visit the "Bridge-House-Brats." Here children of all ages are working to support the Henley Park and will take your lunch, sandwich, or other order to the local merchants and return promptly to you with your food and/or drink. Just after we docked and found we had free docking, twin 30 amp power, water . . . and a very young girl, 8-9, offering us coffee or lemonade.

The kids operate out of the old bridge house and maintain a museum of their town that burned in 1916 and also show current developments including the new Lock #1.

While we intend to only stay tonight, there is a concert at the pravillion just at the end of the park planned for Thursday.

July 7-17, 2007 . . . Brewerton - Lake George - Niagara Falls

After Bonnie returned from being in Virginia Beach, 8-11 July, we went by rental car to the Patterson Recognition Trip at the Sagamore Hotel at Lake George, New York. As one of the top sales persons for her company Bonnie has won this high award now for four years. We joined Fran and Newell Coble for the Thursday Evening Dinner Reception.

Friday we were treated to a parasail adventure on Lake George. As we prepare to become part of the sky the Sagamore is shown in the background.

Off we go into the sky.....

There we are, high above Lake George . . . what a view!!!!!

The evening was set aboard the vessel ADIRONDAC for a dinner cruise on Lake George. Newly certified CAPTAIN BONNIE, United States Coast Guard 50 Ton Master's License issued 6/21/07, was invited by the Captain of the Adirondac to take the helm. The evening ended with a spectular fireworks show on the lake for the Patterson group.

What more needs to be said.
Captain Bonnie Croom Burke, USCG 50 Ton Master's License!

Now our third trip in or along the Erie Canal, we return from Lake George to the Syracuse Airport to pick up Granddaughter Taylor and off to Niagara Falls.

Down to the Visitor's Center and tickets for the "Maid of the Mist". The boat departed and passed near the American Falls and continued on to the Horseshoe Falls on the Canadian side.

Bonnie, Taylor, and Charlie on the bridge to the Visitor's Center.

The American Falls from the Visitor's Center.

After the river view of the falls we were over at the "Cave of the Winds" and the girls went up on the Hurricaine Deck . . . the photographer stayed lower and in less water and wind to secure their picture. Even with hurricaine force winds, Bonnie's hair did not move!

Over to the Canadian side we went up the observation tower and included in the views was this one of the Horseshoe Falls with one of the Maid of the Mist vessels conducting a tour. The Canadian side of the Falls were very attractive and tourist inviting.

In the state park along the falls on the Canadian side you are right at the Horseshoe falls, you can just about reach over the edge and touch the falls. Spectacular!

A close up view of the 3 million gallons of water pouring over the falls from 6:00 am until 10:30 pm each day. During the night it is reported that the dams are raised to divert water to the electric generating stations on the US and Canadian sides of the Niagara River.

Back at Brewerton the girls enjoyed an afternoon in the Coleman-inflatables when we went out on Oneida Lake for an afternoon anchorage.

Taylor was our driver on the way back to Lake Oneida for the afternoon anchorage and became an expert helmsman.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

July 6, 2007 . . . Sylvan Beach - Brewerton, New York

Weather on Lake Oneida is always a consideration so at 0700 (7:00a.m.) we pulled away from the dock at Mariner's Landing in Sylvan Beach and departed for Brewerton, West across Lake Oneida. A cool 66, light fog (visiability 2-3 miles) and a light West wind, seas one foot on the lake.

We crossed the lake and went under the I-81 bridge at Brewerton before 1000 having experienced no difficulty in the crossing. We learned later in the evening from HARMONY, crossed during the afternoon of the 6th, that the wind picked up, waves were 4-5 feet, and they had a very rough ride.

Johnny and Anne departed SONATA on their way to Niagara Falls by car and then home. We went shopping at the huge Carousel Mall in North Syracuse. More shopping adventures planned for the 7th.