September 2008

September 1, 2008 - Sundowner Island to Gananoque, ON

When we woke, there was fog everywhere, we couldn't barely see the shore. It was surreal. The kids gave Julia her birthday gift which always causes lots of excitement. Once it cleared, we uped anchor (no electrical cable issues!) and motored back to Gananoque where we had to say bye to Carolyn, Sean and Julia.

Woke up to major fog

Julia opening her birthday gift

some more surprises

Heading back to drop Carolyn, Sean and Julia back (sniff)

Our friend Matilde with her two children, Sophia and Philipp came by for a quick visit.

We met a couple a few weeks ago who own a PDQ power boat and they keep it in Florida. They are building a house in Gananoque right on the water with a large dock and they offered it to us any time we wanted. We thought tonight might be a good night to try it, it was a 3 minute motor form the Municipal Marina and it worked out perfectly. We would like to say thank you Ken and Linda for the use of your dock.

We woke up to a glassy calm day. Today is a special day. First, it is the first day of school and second Grandma and Grandpa are coming for a visit. The kids are very excited. We motored back over to the Gananoque Municipal Marina to meet up with the folks. We celebrated Cari's birthday a few days early and went to the Gananoque Inn for dinner. Because of the late hour, we went back to Ken and Linda's dock (thank you again!)

Calm Day

1st day of homeschooling ever!

Cari's 4th birthday is almost here with Grandma and Grandpa

Ken & Linda's private dock - Thank you!

September 3, 2009 - Gananoque, ON to Kingston, ON 17.60nm

We are back in Kingston and will stay here a week or so to take the mast down. Right now we are docked in the Confederation Basin. There is a car show here and a bike show which Ryan will love. It is great being right downtown.

Mike and Brian came out so Chris and them could have one final boys night out.

Ryan rowing out to pick up the boys

Mike and Brian coming to say bye for now

Car show here today

Kingston Car Show

September 7, 2008

More visitors! We are so fortunate that so many friends have been able to come from Ottawa for a visit. It is great to catch up after being gone for the summer as after we leave Kingston, we will be heading farther away. Thank you for coming, Wesley, Richard, Michaela and Nicholas.

Art project

Nicholas and Ryan

Michaela and Andrea

Wesley, Richard and Chris in the cockpit

September 8, 2008

We moved the boat over to the Kingston Marina. We decided because this is the first time we are taking the mast down and this is the first time we have ever owned a cat, we hired James and Ed from PDQ to come and help. Fortunately, PDQ/Antares is still located in Toronto at this point. Unfortunately it was on Cari's 4th birthday so Dad had to stay behind and I took the kids to an indoor children's playground. When we got back the mast was down and everything was all set to go. They did a great job and it looks extremely secure. We took Cari out for a sushi birthday dinner and I made her a cake.

Cari's 4th birthday in Kingston, ON

Cari's 4th birthday - opening gifts

Thinking it through

James and Ed from PDQ

James and Ed from PDQ

Mast all down and secure. We're ready to go!

September 9, 2008 Kingston to Oswego and on to Minetto, NY 55.68nm

We left early at 0545 to head for Oswego Canal. When we were planning the trip, we always said we wouldn't go until Cari is 4. Well we are right on schedule! We also said we would not start heading across Lake Ontario with the mast tied to the deck unless it was super calm. Well it was calm for the first 30 minutes then it became really wavy and rough. Andrea got sea sick. The mast didn't budge though. However at the canal entrance where it became narrow at Port of Oswego, we surfed down a wave at 11.5 knots!! So much for leaving in calm conditions.

We stopped at the Oswego Marina for fuel and customs and then started through the canal. The first 8 locks are part of the Oswego Canal. The canal was opened in 1828, it is 38.1 km in length, and connects the Erie Canal at Phoenix (Lock 1) to Lake Ontario at Oswego (Lock 8). The canal has a depth of 14 ft, with seven locks spanning the 118 ft change in elevation. There is no lock 4. Three locks, with a total lift of 45.6 feet take boats over what had been a steep rapids at the city of Oswego. This is the only route from the Atlantic/Hudson River system to Lake Ontario within the US.

We are starting at Lock 8 and made it through three locks to Lock 6 and stopped at Minetto, NY. The population is approximately 1,663. Minetto was once a company town of the now-closed Columbia Mills textile factory. It is all bordered up now and deserted. There is not much to do here but we tied to a wall, and the kids were able to get off the boat and go bike riding and rollerblading.


September 10, 2009 Minetto, NY to Phoenix, NY 14.21 nm

All the kids are helping go through the locks. They each have a broom handle or a pole to hold us off the wall or they grab one of the lines until we can grab it. Chris helms the boat then grabs the stern line and I handle the bow lines. Phoenix is a cute little village, Chris fixed the internet at the internet cafe and we got free coffee. There was an antique car show on the main street here too.

All hands on deck~

Antique car show in Phoenix, NY

Tied to the side of the canal in Phoenix, NY

September 11, 2009 Phoenix, NY to Sylvain Beach, NY 29.90nm

We are at the end of the Oswego Canal now and have joined the Erie Canal system at Lock #23. The canal links the waters of Lake Erie in the west to the Hudson River in the east. We crossed Oneida Lake. The average depth of Oneida Lake is around 22 feet. When the wind blows, waves kick up very quickly, however for us it was a calm day to cross. Sylvan Beach is on the Eastern shore of Oneida Lake. There is a large amusement park but unfortunately it was closed and only open on the weekend. We saw another old car rally which is here every Thursday night. Everything seems to be starting to close down for the summer, we are coming to the end of the season. We found a restaurant that had a Thursday night chicken wing special and the lady at the bar turned the TV to the Disney channel for the kids, so Chris and I had an hour of peace and quiet!

Andrea taking a turn to helm the boat down the canal.

Tied to the side at Sylvan Beach

Sylvan Beach

September 12, 2009 Sylvain Beach to Frankfort, NY (Lock #19) - 30 nm

It was pouring rain when we left Sylvain Beach.

We passed through Lock #21 at New London, NY. We finally saw the historic canal tugboat "Urger" which we kept hearing about. She was built in 1901 by Johnson Brothers Shipyard and Boiler Works of Ferrysburg, Michigan. It is the flagship of the fleet of vessels operated by the New York State Canal Corporation. It's purpose now is to educate school children and adults about the importance of New York's historic Canal System and the role that inland waterways have played historically, and continue to play, in the lives of people who live along them.

Passed the two guard gates at Rome, NY. When the gates are lowered, floodwaters can be directed over the dam into the Mohawk River.

The two gates can be lowered into the water, blocking off the flow completely, preventing flooding during times of heavy rainfall. It is still raining now and it has been all day, the gates are still open thankfully for us. We passed through Lock#20 at Whitesboro, NY. This was the first lock where we started going down instead of up.

We made it to Lock#19 at Frankfort, NY and didn't have time to go through the lock, so we tied to the wall for the night. There doesn't seem to be much to do or see here. We had dinner and went to bed. There was one boat behind us call "Crowne Royal", with three guys on it, turns out one of them owns a 34 foot PDQ and the other two (Dennis and John) we met again in Hampton, Virginia for the Caribbean 1500 rally and got to know them very well.

Historic canal tugboat "Urger"

September 13, 2008 Frankfurt, NY to Amsterdam, NY 46.86nm

We went through lock #19 at Frankfurt, NY as soon as the locks opened at 0800. We tried to do school while we were motoring but there was so many disruptions it was pointless. We went through Lock #18 at Jacksonburg, NY which had a lift of 20 feet. Lock# 17 at Little Falls, NY with it's 150 ton door, Lock#16 at Mindenville, NY; Lock # 15 at Fort Plain, NY; Lock #14 at Cariajohari, NY and Lock# 12 at Tribes Hill, NY, where we had to wait 35 minutes before we could go through. In all we did 8 locks today.

Lock #1

Motoring down the canal

Lock #4

Lock #5


Lock #17

September 14, 2008 Amsterdam, NY to Waterford NY 33.03nm

We are going to attempt to go through the rest of the locks today. Andrea called the lockmaster on the VHF and then we were off. At 0915, we passed through Lock #11 at Amsterdam, where we ran out of charts on our chartplotter, however it is fairly easy to navigate down the canal through the red and green markers. We then managed to go through at 0950, lock #10 (Cranesville, NY); 1130 lock #8 (Rotterdam, NY);1200 lock #7 (Niskayuna, NY) and at 1600 lock #2 at Waterford, NY where we tied to the municipal dock for pump out and water and decided to rest here for a few days.

September 18, 2008 Waterford, NY to Catskills, NY -- 5.93nm

Last lock to go through is Lock #1 at Troy, NY (Actually there is no Lock 1 or Lock 31 on the Erie Canal. The place of "Lock 1" on the passage from the lower Hudson to Lake Erie is taken by the Federal Lock, located just north of Troy, NY, and is not part of the Erie Canal System proper). We had to wait in the lock for 20 minutes for it to fill with other boats. They are all headed for marinas like us to have their mast put back up. We arrived at Hop-O-Nose Marina and got our slip. Boy were they glad to see us, their whole marina office was completely full of boxes of stuff we had ordered to get the boat ready to go offshore, according to the Caribbean 1500 manual.

Putting the mast back up was easier than taking it down and with the help of the marina owner and staff (Holly) it was no problem at all. That night we celebrated by going out to dinner at the marina's restaurant.

We had a great time biking through town trying (with the new folding bikes that we just got) to find all the cats on the Cat’n Around Catskill celebration. 62 felines a mile long stretch the Main Street in Catskill from Memorial Day to mid September for the 2nd annual Cat’n Around Catskill celebration. Hand decorated by local artists and given whimsical names the fibreglass cats were auctioned off at a gala benefit. Here's a few pictures of some including Jean-Claude Kitty, Captain Kidd-e, and Cat-Fish to name a few.

New folding bikes

Mast is up. It's a sailboat again!

Catskills, NY

Cat’n Around Catskill

Cat’n Around Catskill

Cat’n Around Catskill

September 21, 2008 Catskills, NY to Esopus Island, NY -- 23.07nm

At 1130 a freighter passed us going north, it threw the biggest wake I have ever seen in my life. We have passed many freighters all through the Great Lakes and never had a problem. Unfortunately, our hatches were not locked and so Ryan and Cari’s bedroom got unbelievable soaked. I guess good things come from bad, a huge locker under Ryan’s mattress was discovered. Plus 4 filters for the watermaker!

In the afternoon, we saw who was floating around their motor had died, so we asked if they wanted a tow and they accepted, we towed them for about 15 minutes until the sheriff boat showed up and we passed the lines to them and they took them into the marina. We tied to a mooring ball and went over to check out the Poughkeepsie Yacht Club but there was nobody around.

Freighter throwing massive wake

Towing stranded motorists

Handing boat off to Sherrif

Completed soaked

Poughkeepsie Yacht Club

September 22, 2008 Esopus Island, NY to Bear Mountain, NY 57.46 nm

Motored past the United States Military Academy at West Point and saw an army military training exercise in progress. Thought it was a group of tourists until I looked through the binoculars and saw that both groups of people were holding sub machine guns! At 1215 we arrived in a beautiful anchorage surrounded by mountains and a bridge. We are the only boat here.

We visited Bear Mountain State Park. This was the Trailside Museum and Zoo which is home to rehabilitated wild animals. The animals they care for have permanent injuries or are rescued pets. Therefore they cannot be released into the wild. We saw coyotes, foxes, bears , Bobcat, red fox, porcupine, river otter, beaver and white tailed deer as well as various birds, amphibians and reptiles.

Trailside Museum and Zoo

Only boat in anchorage

September 23, 2008 Bear Mountain to New York City, NY! -- 36.87nm

We arrived at 1130 at the 79th Street Boat Basin – established in 1937 as the “Recreational Boating Gateway to New York City” and is served us well for $25US a night, you can’t beat it. The Basin has 74 moorings and we were lucky to get one of them. When we first arrived we called on the VHF and they told us that there were no mooring balls available so went to the gas dock to pump out and get water and the dock master said he would give us a mooring ball from the power boat side. By 1430 we got to our mooring ball and moved in! The current is so strong here that our mooring ball has waves going over it. Nobody better fall out of the dingy. We are so excited to be here.

We got a terrific deal to see the Broadway musical "Hairspray". We got last minute front row tickets for $25.00 each. A kind New Yorker told us that if we go around the corner after the show, the performers will come out for autographs and photos. So we did just that and the kids got their autograph and photos taken with them.

We took the subway all over the city, we saw Chinatown, Little Italy, but mainly we stayed in the west end. We will have to come back sometime to see more of NYC.

When we received our life raft that we had ordered in, we unpacked it and found that it was not packed right so we had to return it, very awkward trying to get it back in the dingy and to shore.

We thought we would try to get another deal on a Broadway show but no luck, we had to pay full price to see Mary Poppins. The weather has not been very good here it has been very windy and rainy, which is why so many boats are here, we will probably leave with the next weather window.

New York City in the distance

"Hairspray" on Broadway

Meeting the performers after the show

Meeting the performers after the show

Meeting the performers after the show

Trying her hand at busking

M&M World, of course

Fast flowing water past the mooring ball.


The Juillard School!

Late show with David Letterman

West end brownstones


Children's Museum of the Arts

On the subway to Chinatown

79th Street Boat Basin, NYC

Pretzels on the street, NYC

The Merry-go-Round in Central Park, NYC

Central Park, NYC

September 29, 2008 - New York City, NY to Cape May, NJ -- 134nm

Overnight sail to Cape May, New Jersey. There are lots of waves from boat traffic. Ambrose Channel is very heavy with ship traffic. Lots of boats left this morning because of the good weather window. We had to redirect a few packages to Cape May --the life raft and antennae never arrived to NYC. We left after lunch, sailed by Ellis Island and Statue of Liberty. Thought we would go to Utsch’s Marine so we could have a few nights at the dock but they wouldn’t answer the VHF and it was very shallow so we decided to go to a mooring ball, take off all dock lines, tie mooring lines, mooring area at Yacht Club is too shallow so back to beginning of channel entrance, had to anchor, take off mooring lines get anchor and bridle ready. Anchored in 15 feet of water, finally.

The dingy died in middle of channel so got a tow into South Jersey Marina. Chris had no shoes nor sunglasses walked around to 3 different shops but no one works on Nissan motors, fixed dingy at Utsch’s Marina, they gave us an idea and it worked. Lady at Utsch’s Marina refused our package. Ahh!

October 2, 2008 - Moved the boat as think the anchor must have dragged at some point and really close to pilings so got a slip at South Jersey Marina. Our friend Miles from Ottawa came to visit us for one night. We went to the beach, to the Lobster House for dinner twice. He plans to come again and visit.

Cape May is reputed to be “the nation’s oldest seashore resort” The entire town has been proclaimed a National Historic Landmark. Cape May likely has the largest collection of Victorian period houses in the country. The beaches are legendary, its dunes still nearly pristine. Gorgeous. We went almost every day and could of for weeks more, but had to move on..........

Sailing by the Statue of Liberty on our way to Cape May, NJ

Lots of big freighters in these waters

Gorgeous beaches! in Cape May, NJ

Gorgeous beaches! in Cape May, NJ Can we just stop our trip here!

Cute heritage homes. Cape May, NJ

Can't get enough of these Cape May beaches

Lovely quiet tree lined streets in Cape May, NJ

Everyone so excited to see Miles! at Lobster House for dinner. Cape May, NJ