Monday, May 25, 2009

May 26 ::: Communications . . . . . . .


May 22-25, 2009 ::: Oswego to Clayton, New York

Departure from Oswego gave us a quiet passage past the Oswego Light into Lake Ontario. Wind out of the SouthSouthWest 5-10 mph and a slight ripple on the water. A very pleasant ride on our course to the NorthNorthEast; our next stop to be Sackets Harbor, New York. After a couple of hours the wind went calm then shifted to our bow at 5-10, a pleasant ride continued.

Entering Sackets Harbor the first vessel in clear view as INN PLAY II, the 69' Sea Ray earlier mentioned. We stayed at the Navy Point Marina; mostly sail boats, all being readied for the summer season.

Next to the "4" you can see a narrow slip . . . yes, it was ours. Bonnie skillfully backed SONATA with our 14' 7" beam into the 15' 5" wide slip without touching either side. We then went to lunch at the Tin Pan Galley. A cute town with many tourist attractions. Brig. Gen. Pike, a war of 1812 general is buried there, he named Pike's Peak in Colorado . . . something you may need to know.

Departing Sackets Harbor you pass the historic residence of the former Commanding Officer of the 1812 Naval Station. We then turned to the North to enter the American channel of the St. Lawrence River.

The cruising guides, the books talking about the LOOP, warn of the "big" ships that pass through the St. Lawrence. It is nice, comforting, having spent so much time in the Norfolk area so that the "big-boys", while respected, do not create fear. This was our first of many ships we would see on the way out the St. Lawrence . . . "The River" as locals call it.

Passing the first ore carrier and then the Cape Vincent Light surely placed us on The River, Eastbound.

The view from SONATA alongside the pier in Clayton toward the marina office, Islander Marina and Lodge. Very gracious and accomodating people. We then took our bikes and traveled all over town.

Part of the bike ride was to secure lunch and locate the Baptist Church. We enjoyed a great lunch and found the Baptist Church was . . . for sale. Oops! Upon inquiry we found they had relocated so the search continued. We found them, The River Community Church. Sunday provided a terrific message by their pastor, Dr. D. James Lewis, using Joshua 20:1-9 as the starting basis for his sermon. A very friendly church, a Great message!

Back to SONATA and a delightful lunch by Bonnie . . . we watched a 42' sail boat, SENSATION I, arrive on the pier next to ours. SENSATION I had been with us briefly in Oswego. Mike and Janice Skjelmose from Thornbury, Ontario, had purchased their boat in Montreal, taken it down Lake Champlain and across the Erie, up the Oswego and into Lake Ontario. They are on their way through the "Thousand Islands" then across Lake Ontario to the Welland Canal, Lake Erie and Georgoia's Bay where they live. We had a very enjoyable afternoon and evening with them swapping cruising stories.

Clayton is the home of the Antique Boat Museum which we will visit today. This Chris Craft is an example of what one will see there. Look at the varnish job...................!!!!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

May 11-22, 2009 ::: Erie and Oswego Canals; the trip from Waterford to Oswego, New York

The morning of May 11th we are up early to be one of the first to enter the Erie Canal's first lock, called Lock #2.

Once inside the Lock had to take SONATA's documents (on board thanks to John Robey, Ocean Marine) to the Lockmaster so that he could verify the boat was registered; and, pay a $50.00 canal fee (Pass No. 09-10163). All taken care of and we were off, west bound on the Erie.

Up the first "flight-of-locks, Locks #2, 3, 4) we approach Lock #5 and follow another boat into the lock.

Just to the right of the lock is a dam and spillway where the Lockmaster, in cooperation with others on the canal, regulate the water level in the waterway by raising or lowering the dam.

One of the many houses along the Erie.

On our way to Canajoharie we are passed by two boats; one was INN PLAY II that we had previously seen on the Hudson. INN PLAY II is a 69' Sea Ray and came up fast behind us on the Hudson and way about to give us a huge wake . . . they slowed, passed slowly, and were nice guys. We would see them later.

One of the stops Charlie was looking forward to was Canajoharie. When we arrive we found their floating docks were not out and in place, so, we tied up to their terminal wall. The power posts providing electric power were not turned on . . . we had no power, no water . . . but then we carry water and have a generator.

The Amish were present to watchover SONATA while we went to town. A local fisherman assisted us in securing SONATA to the Terminal Wall. Had wanted to go to town for "chicken' & biscuits" but found a problem. The local diner was still in business, but only served chicken and biscuits for breakfast the day after they had them for dinner . . . we were there on the wrong day/night.

GPS is great . . . just rely on it as much as you can see!! We are NOT in the "corn-field" we are in the Erie Canal, in the water. GPS has us "cutting the corner" and going across land.

Lock 17. The vertical gate opens to let us in and then slides down to keep us in the lock. We then hold on to lines along the side of the lock to keep us against the lock wall.

The lock fills and we are lifted some 40.5' then released into Little Falls, NY.

We stayed at this location when doing the LOOP, June 29th, 2007. There is a reminder why we come in the summer . . . "No Dumping of Snow Allowed."

After Little Falls we enter the lock that is the highest on the Erie and start down the other side. We are now being lowered in to the western Erie and on our way to Sylvan Beach.

In Sylvan Beach we stayed at the same marina we visited two year ago, now known as the Mariners' Landing (formerly Liberty Marina). A purchase of some 223 gallons of diesel at $2.44per gallon. Much less expensive than the places down the road . . . Oswego was reporting $2.99 a gallon.

We crossed Onida Lake, went through Brewerton and then North to Phoenix where we had planned on seeing the "Bridge-House-Brats" but then they were still in school. We waited there for an extra day due to wind out of the west at 40-45 knots.

Arrived Oswego, Bonnie to Virginia Beach, Charlie on SONATA, and we had our second LOOPER. The first LOOPER was PELICAN out of New Bern, NC, that was headed south on the Oswego canal . . . the Trent-Severn canal was closed due to high water. PELICAN decided to return to the Erie and head west to Lake Erie. In Oswego the day before we departed ELLIE JANE arrived with John and Sharon Bremer aboard making the loop.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

May 5-10, 2009 ::: Chesapeake City, MD to Waterford, NY

At 0540 a Security Call was given, SONATA prepareing to drop lines at the Chesapeake Inn and enter the C&D Canal. A few minutes later we were underway and in the Canal headed for the Delaware Bay.

This view is what one sees with their "eyes on" the C and D. This picture is what is seen from inside, on the bridge. The radar presentation of the C&D Canal and the two radios, one on Channel 16, the General Hailing and Emergency Channel, and Channel 13 the Channel used by commercial boating and the bridges and canals. We maintain at least these two channels all the time (only have four radios aboard, all with scanning functions).

Still another electronic view on the bridge is our Garmin 2010C GPS. It shows the time, our position, speed, a chart overlay, the depth of the water and other information may be taken from it by just changing a function or command. Cannot go to sea without this equipment. We are about to exit the C and D canal and enter the Delaware Bay.

Entry into the Delaware Bay. Fog, big ships, tugs and barges. Must keep a sharp eye on the water, the traffic, the radar, the GPS, the charts . . . all a full time job for the person at the helm.

Before passing N39-10.765 W075-16.398 on a course of 160M at about 10.2 knots; a call had to be made to my good friend Dottie Stopher with USBoat Insurance. Change, update, our boat insurance for leaving the Chesapeake Bay and its then limits and moving on to the Delaware Bay and points north. Then as we approached the Miah Maull Shoal we were received by a number of very large porporise.

Trying to get a picture of the large fellows is a challenge. Caught just the tail end of the pleasant beast. Largest we have seen.

After entering the Cape May Canal Entrance from the West side of Cape May we stayed at Utsch's Marina. Bikes were quickly placed over the side and off to town we went for grocery shopping and ice cream . . . and another coffee pot. Crossing the Delaware we had some high seas and the "old" pot just jumped on the floor.

Another early rise. We departed Cape May just after 6:00 am so that we could ride the rising tide on the way north. New Jersey Intercoastal Waterway (NJ ICW) . . . is shallow.

The NJ ICW is filled with small channels in marshland . . .

Small houses crowd against the NJ ICW, from the common to the elegant. We continued up to the Beach Haven Yacht Club for 305 gallons of diesel at $2.15 a gallon. When we stopped here on the "Loop" their price was $2.37 a gallon. We overnighted on the Manasquan River in a thunderstorm.

So much is driven, in some areas, by the tide, the currents, and the weather. An early start from the Brielle Boat Basin in Manasquan at 0535 put us then on the Atlantic Ocean headed north to New York City. We could see the sky scrapers before we arrived at the Verrazano Narrows Bridge. It has been quite a ride. Wind from the SSW at 25-30 knots and following seas of 5-7'. The New York inner harbor was a welcome sight.

The Lady was a welcome sight, then we proceeded up the Hudson to the 79th Street Basin.

On our way up the Hudson we pass the empty space once occupied by the World Trade Center and say a prayer of thanksgiving for us all.

A river view of the 79th Street Basin.

Once inside the Basin, the marina, we had a view of the NYC skyline. We took our bikes and went off to Central Park . . . what a ride. The park was only 5-6 blocks away and on the way home we stopped at the West Market on the corner of 77th and Broadway. We wanted the whole store . . . but then our regrigerator and freezer was still almost full. What great fresh food and at good prices.

SONATA resting in the evening with New Jersey in the background we prepared for our first dinner guest; nephew Russell Marks, Charles' sister's Mary Ruth, son.

After Russell arrived we all sat up on the bridge and recapped the trip, the plans for the rest of the trip and just good old time discussion. Charlie and Russell.

Bonnie and Russell. After Bonnie's delightful dinner of roasted pork tenderlion, brocolli caserole, home prepared apple sauce, fried cornbread, and sweet potatoes with black beans. A fine dinner out of the little refrigerator and off the tiny stove. Bonnie does a great job.

After dinner we were given the pleasure of a friend of Russell's joining us, Ji Soolee. Russell and Ji were going out on the evening . . . the older folks . . . were off to bed for another early morning rise, the tide going up river starts at 0630.

We join the "flood-tide" up the Hudson, under the George Washington Bridge and on up to West Point and beyond.

When we arrived just outside Poughkeepsie we were greeted by the USCG, Customs and Immigration, and the local Sheriff. A Coast Guard inspection was completed on SONATA by Lt Mannion and Petty Officer Creico. No discrepancies. They were such pleasant people. The Coast Guard was presenting an enhanced presence on the upper Hudson. Last year there were a number of small boat accidents . . . increase awareness, education will hopefully reduce incidents on the waterway.

We overnighted to avoid a thunderstorm, in Catskill. The next day we stayed in for a while, not leaving until nearly noon. We passed the Hudson-Athens light house . . . the site of where we idled for a while during the "Loop" trip to drop the mast, to make our air draft 16' vice 22.5'; then we were off to Albany and our first lock.

Our first lock on the trip. Federal Lock #1, the Troy Lock. Bonnie showed her skill again in landing SONATA with a soft touch on the Port side, Charlie held SONATA in place as we were raised to the next level in 40 knot winds.

We arrived at Waterford, New York; a few minutes later and we were greeted by a raft of "new-friends" from Bolder, Colorado, Quebec, and places in between . . . all of us starting the Erie tomorrow.............