Hastings Village Marina, Hastings Ontario to Peterborough Marina, Peterborough Ontario — June 27, 2013

We looked at the weather and it started out sunny and the clouds increased during the day.  There was a chance of rain and thunderstorms in the afternoon and evening.

We noticed when we came out for Candy’s first walk the catamaran Off Leash had already left.  They spent the night on the lock wall and I guessed that they left about 6:00.

This section was pretty interesting.  The first 5 miles or so was on the river and it kept getting a little wider as we went along.  At some point it is called Rice Lake and is approximately 20 miles long and maybe 3 miles wide at its widest part.  The wind was really calm so the water surface was flat.  We have had very few days like that since we left the Keys in March so it was really nice.  There were a lot of fisherman on the water and that was about the only thing we needed to keep an eye out for.  Near the opposite end of the lake is the remains of an old railroad bridge that has not been used in over 100 years so what is left is under water.  The channel is approximately 1/4 mile wide passing thru this area with a red and green buoy to mark the clear area.  We had no problem spotting it.  We crossed the lake in at about 22 mph.

From Rice Lake we headed into the Otonabee River.  It winds along and has several small villages and resorts along the way and one marina.  There are only a few problem areas on the river and that is where the buoys are.  Most of the shore line is lowland area that takes flood waters when the river rises.

I thought we would see the catamaran because they only travel at 6 to 7 mph and in the river parts we traveled at about 8.2 mph.  When we got to the Peterborough Lock (our only lock for the day) Off Leash was inside the lock and about 1/2 way up, so we never caught them.

We had travelled alone today but when we got to the lock. we had two other boats join us.  One boat was about a 26′ cabin cruiser and the other was a 21′ runabout.  The locking was uneventful other than we need to wait for them to turn around the lock for us.  This lock is still the original 1800’s construction with limestone blocks for the walls and the gates and valves are all manual.  The lift in the lock is only 8′ but the lock was pretty interesting.

The Peterborough Marina is pretty interesting with a lot of events for the holiday weekend.  The Marina has a park attached to it that is very well maintained by the city.  Everything is a lush green and that is a tribute to mother nature and the amount of rain they have had in May and June..  There is a concert Friday evening at the Holiday Inn that is just East of the Marina so we will be able to hear it.  Saturday there is another concert in the park at the band shell and then another one on Monday.  The fireworks go off on Sunday and there will be booths in the park for the local artisans and the restaurants.  The marina is full and I expect there will be a lot of people here by way of transportation other than boat.  I just hope they are not to noisy after about 10:00 (LOL).

We are staying here thru Monday, Canada Day.  That way the weekend warriors will be back at work when we get back on the water.

Old Mill Park, Campbellford Ontario to Hastings Village Marina, Hastings Ontario

Not a long travel day and the weather was pretty good.  We were traveling with a catamaran from Stamford Connecticut and a sailboat from the Rideau Canal Area in Quebec.  Both of these boats had their masts removed to clear the bridges along the canal.  The sailboat shipped theirs to Georgian Bay and the catamaran has theirs stored on deck.

The day was sunny and hot again.  The locks were not bad and there was a good breeze until they closed the lock doors.  There is no traffic on the canal.  We have passed maybe 2 boats moving south on the Trent Severn.  Things should pick up this weekend because July 1 is Canada Day, a Canadian Holiday.

I had not thought of the holiday and that was potentially an issue with where we wanted to stay.  When we were in Campbellford, Blue Skies ( a trawler from Connecticut)mentioned they called Peterborough and they were full and could not take them.  Peterborough was one of the stops I had planned so I thought that was out. I called Peterborough to ask but figured I would be out of luck.  They told me they were full but took my name.  I then called Lakeview and they said they were doing some juggling and may be able to take us and they would call back.  I had a call from Peterborough about an hour later and we got a slip for the entire weekend.  what a great break.

Hastings Ontario is a small village with a traffic signal.  There are several restaurants and we went to one next to the marina called Banjo’s.  They had sandwiches and entrees.  The food was good and they had a 3 berry bread pudding that was really good.  We did go to dinner with a couple off Daddy’s Home.  It is a 30′ Bayliner express cruiser and Kevin and Karen are a lot of fun.  They are from the Ottawa on summer vacation.  Lots of good talk and stories swapped.

The marina is right above the dam so there is a pretty good current thru the marina.  It has 3 main docks sticking out into the river with finger slips on either side.  We were on the T head of the middle dock.  There are mostly small cruisers at this marina.  They have the river area above the lock and Rice Lake and they can take trips south thru the lock. There was quite a unique houseboat that came into the marina in the late afternoon.  I took a couple of pictures of it.

We were going to stay 2 nights but decided we would check the weather because there is rain in the forecasts and we might as well travel on the better of the next 2 days.  As it turned out the weather the next morning indicted we should travel.

Fraser Park Marina, Trenton Ontario to Old Mill Park, Campbellford Ontario — June 24, 2013

There was an old car show in Trenton on Sunday evening.  It was nice to see a lot of the old cars and some were works in progress.  Not a huge show but nice just the same.  There was probably 24 or so cars at the show and it was only a block from the marina.

The winds were pretty still this morning.  We are going to start the Trent-Severn Waterway today.  A total of 44 Locks, 240+ miles to the Georgian Bay.  Seems funny to say the Georgian Bay because we have spent so much time cruising there in the past that in some ways it feels we will be home, but there is still a distance to go.

2 other boats from the marina left for the 9:00 lock opening with us this morning.  The Canadian Government tried to triple the fees this year for the Historic Canals and needless to say there was an uproar among the people along the Canals and the couple of tour boat operators.  They decided to rethink the fees with some increase next year but they shortened the hours.  In the past the locks were open in the summer from 7:00 am to 8:00 pm and now they are open from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. They also cut back staffing significantly.  Some of the operators take care of 3 locks and drive between them while the boats motor along.

We decided to see how far we could go today.  Some people said to figure 20 minutes per lock and the speed limit between locks in most places is 10 kph (6.2 mph).  Ontario has also experienced a lot of rain recently and the canal system is draining.  We experienced anywhere from 2 to 3 mph of current in many places on the canal and there is a lot of overflow at the dams.

The 3 boats from Fraser Park Marina locked thru Lock 1 and the lock master told us there was a sailboat that would join us for the 2nd lock.  The sailboat had arrived at Lock one last night when they were ready to close and they gave him a choice of the railroad noise at Lock 1 or the 401 Highway noise at Lock 2 and he chose Lock 2.  Each of the locks has a wall above and below the lock where you can tie up for the night.  Only 2 of the locks in the system have power available and that was because the local town/village put it in to attract boaters to stop for the night. You can tie up for 2 days and a few of the locks will allow a 5 day stay.

We stayed together as a 4 boat flotilla until just after lock 7 when one of the boats had an alarm going off.  He anchored so he could check it out but told us to go on.  The sailboat stayed with him but the trawler and Champ III went on.  It was close but we were able to make Ranny Falls, Locks 11 & 12, before they closed for the end of the day.  We only traveled about 33 miles but we did 12 locks and the heat was on with temps that must have been in the mid to high 80’s. There was a good breeze in most locks until they closed the doors.  We had rain for about 20 minutes to 1/2 hour and wouldn’t you know it started during a locking operation.

Most of the locks are about 18′ of lift but the Ranny Falls twin locks lift you a total of 38′.  At Ranny Falls you drive out of Lock 11 right into Lock 12.

You can tell along the waterway that there is high water with all the greenery right down to the waters edge and not a lot of bank height at the cottages along the shore.  We kept our speed down for the most part with a little higher speed on some of the more open parts of the waterway.

The first six locks are probably a total travel of 5 miles and 8, 9, 10 and 11-12 are probably 1.5 miles between each of the locks. The cottages are in the areas where there is distance between the locks.  Lots of smaller recreational boats for this area.  Campbellford is a larger town in this area so it affords more options for docking and eating and sightseeing. It is nice travelling during the week with most of these boats tied to shore.

We are staying at the Old Mill Park in Campbellford.  It is run by the Chamber of Commerce.  It is a park setting across the canal from the main part of town.  There is a band shell and a nice area for walking Candy. There is a drug store and food store just across the street from the park and I was able to find a pizzeria that delivered last night.

Oswego Marina, Oswego, NY to Tenton Ontario, Canada — June 22, 2013

Good forecast for the winds today so we could make the crossing of Lake Ontario.  I checked my 4 different services and they all agreed that the NW winds of Friday would change overnight to South and then Southwest on Saturday afternoon.  Winds would be 5 to 10 mph with waves of 1′ or less.

My God, the weather men were right for a change.  We left about 8:00 and Lake Ontario had about a 1′ chop with the waves out of the west with the wind mostly from the South.  Some of the time we had no wind as there was a smooth surface to the water/waves.  The last 20 miles of open water was reasonably smooth.

We were headed to Trenton Ontario where the Trent/Severn Waterway (T/S) starts.  We went around the west end of the peninsula that sticks out into Lake Ontario, on the north side, into an area called Presquille Bay and then into the Murray Channel.  Murray Channel is a 5 mile long ditch that was dug many years ago to shorten the time to get to Toronto and points west from the Bay of Quinte.  From the east end of the Murray Channel we traveled about 6 miles on the Bay of Quinte to get to Trenton.

There were many swans on Presquille Bay and this included some young swans.  Mom & pop were taking them around and showing them how to forage for food.

We are staying at the Fraser Park Marina which is a City Marina.  Not a large marina but they had room for us and a few other big boats.  The dock hand was great and directed us right to where he wanted us and got us tied up in no time at all.

The Marina is located right downtown.  It is 4 blocks to the LCBO (busiest place in town), 1 block to the drug store, 4 or 5 restaurants within two block radius. The town is small enough that the traffic is not a problem with noise at the marina.

The weatherman was correct about the wind.  He also said that there would be more clouds than sun and he was right on that.  He said there would be a scattered thunderstorm in the afternoon.  Well we had several light sprinkles during the crossing and during the docking procedure it was raining.  After we were tied up and as I was getting the power corded hooked up we had a downpour.  The heavy rain lasted about 15 minutes.  After the rain was over the temps went up as well as the humidity making it really muggy.

We checked in with Canadian Customs and that went well.  They currently have a restriction on bringing beef, fruit or potatoes into Canada.  If you do, the waste has to go into an international waste receptacle at the marina or take it out of the country with you when you leave.  Lenore thought the beef was because of the Mad Cow disease and we have no idea why the fruit and potatoes.

We are here until Monday as long as Monday is a good weather day.  We will move up the T/S at 3 or 4 travel days per week with none being on the weekends.  We will let the weekend warriors have their fun without us in their way.

Ess-Kay Yard Marina, Brewerton, NY to Qswego Marina, Oswego, NY — June 21, 2013

Back on the water again.  The canal has been open for 2 days and we were getting work done.

The props were reconditioned, the shafts were checked, the seacocks on the mains were serviced and the zincs on the hull, shafts and trim tabs were changed. We did a sea trial after all the work was done and the vibration was gone and everything sounded great.

While the work was going on Lenore and I rented a car and went to the Finger Lake area on Wednesday.  We visited Canandiagua Lake, Seneca Lake and Cayuga Lake.  All the lakes are picturesque nestled in the mountains.  Cayuga and Seneca Lakes are connected by canals to the Erie Canal but I am not sure the marinas are suited for a Champ III size boat as the only boats we saw on the lakes were pontoons and runabouts.  The Towns of Canandiagua and Geneva on Seneca Lake were fairly large and had what appeared to be a thriving downtown area.  All the buildings were fairly old but well maintained. Cayuga lake on the other hand appeared to be a bedroom community with a blinker light but the Cayuga Township offices were right on the lake in a park setting.  The lakeside park we stopped at by Canandiagua Lake had some rather unique fishing houses.  They are all lined up next to each other and one side fronts on the water and the other side faces the next row of fish houses. The park we stopped at on Seneca Lake had an ice cream stand that had wine ice cream.  I had a raspberry chardonnay.  First thing you taste is the raspberry and then you taste the chardonnay.  The sign said 5% alcohol.  Check out the pictures we took.

We had 8 locks today between Brewerton and Oswego, but not a lot of mileage, 33 miles.  The locks were all waiting for us with only one where we waited for the lock to come up with a boat and for the boat to leave the lock, maybe 15 minutes.  The weather was great without a lot of wind and sunny all day.  We were in the Oswego Marina by 1:30 so we had the rest of the day in Oswego.

The Oswego Marina is not real large but caters mostly to charter fishing boats.  We were out of place size wise as was the 45 Silverton aft cabin that came in late in the day.  The marina had good access to restaurants and shopping.

Lock 21, New London NY to Ess-Kay Yard Brewerton NY — June 16, 2013

Great morning today, Saturday June 15th.  It was a little chilly but the sun was out and the forecast was great.  The only problem was that we were sitting in a section of the Erie Canal that is closed.  Because of high water and currents they closed the canal from lock 2 to lock 29 and we are at lock 21.

Lady O showed up yesterday.  It was a sunny day and they decided to get 18 miles closer to their destination.  I stand corrected.  Lady O is a 74′ Azimuth Yacht with a height of 20′.  I talked to the Owner yesterday and in a way we knew him.  When Lenore and I first started cruising in the North Channel, 2 of our favorite places were the Sportsman Inn in Killarney and the Okeechobee Lodge located on Fraser Bay at the entrance to Bai Fine, a natural fjord.  We noted at the Sportsman Inn, so many years ago, a 60′ sport fisherman called “Wacky Wheatley from Halifax Nova Scotia.  The Okeechobee Lodge was a great lodge and marina, run by great people.  They had originally built a 1000 slip marina in Midland Ontario and then moved north and built the Okeechobee Lodge and marina.  The owner of Okeechobee, Gorde Blake, passed away unexpectedly and the Lodge ended up going up for sale.  Wacky Wheatley  ended up purchasing the property in 1999 and turned it into a private residence for his family and friends.  He sold it last year and he and his wife live in Jupiter Florida.  He is on his way north to visit with his son on Lake Erie and then head north to the Lodge.  He said he has become a friend of the new Okeechobee owner and he will tell him that we may stop by on our way thru the area.  The Lady O stands for Lady Okeechobee. It has another meaning also but I liked this one.

Back to the present.  I discussed with the Lady O the closed lock situation and that our head tank was getting close to full and we had less than 1/2 tank of water. There are no services at the locks other than a wall to tie up to.  I told Lady O I was going to the lockmaster and see if he could call someone to get us thru locks 21 and 22 to get to Brewerton NY to some marina facilities. Lady O was also having some issues and they would make a call to the Erie Canal Office in Albany to see if there was something they could do.  This discussion took place at 9:00 and by 10:00 we were in the lock going down.

It was a great ride.  We had about 4 miles in the canal to Sylvan Beach after lock 22 and then we were on Lake Oneida.  The lake is approximately 20 miles long and 4 to 5 miles wide and Brewerton is at the west end of the lake. There were a lot of boats on the water and most of them were fishing. The wind was light and there was a small chop but not a problem.

We were at the marina by noon and it was good to get things taken care of.  They had a courtesy car so I was able to go and do laundry and get groceries.

I am going to have the boat pulled on Tuesday to have the shafts checked.  We have a vibration in the starboard side when the boat is in gear.  The Ess-Kay Yard where we are staying has a good reputation and they seem very competent. Anyway we will be here for a few days and currently the canal is closed and thunderstorms are predicted for late this morning and this afternoon with another 1/2” of rain so the canal probably will not open for a few more days.

Little Falls, NY to Lock 21 Just West Of New London, NY — June 13, 2013

Strange day.  The Locks were closed from 07 to 19 and we were just above Lock 17, in the closed section.  They closed it because of the rain and high water with strong currents.  Todays forecast was rain with thunderstorms and as much as 1.4″ of rain.  So it looked like we were going to sit a few more days at the very least waiting for the rain to stop and the water to go down.

Candy and I were able to get the morning wall in at 6:20 between the first shower and when the continuous rain started.

Well about 9:30 the gentleman from the marina, Tom, came to the boat and said the Canal People wanted the boats out of this area and they were allowing them to move west today so they were “out of harms way”.  Well Tom gave me a ride to CVS to get the prescription squared around and then he along with the Dock Master Chris, helped us get off the wall.

Lenore had called her doctor on Monday and had a prescription faxed to the CVS in Little Falls.  This prescription was for some arthritis medication.  It turns out that the State of New York has this medication on a list of controlled substances and without the original written prescription all they could do was give Lenore a 5 day supply.  Well the prescription showed up in the mail this morning but if the Little Falls CVS fills the prescription then the refills have to come from them, the prescription cannot be transferred according to NY law.  Well I had it filled and Lenore can call her doctor from Canada and we can get the next one filled there.  For our situation this is not a good regulation and I told the pharmacist that.

Just as we were departing another boat, The Lady O, was going by so we fell in behind.  The Lady O is a large, probably 55′ to 60′ Azimuth with a height of approximately 19′-6″.  We called them on the radio and found out they were going as far as they could for the day.  We said we would follow.  I got a good reading on their height as they went under the bridges.  On the 20′ bridges they just cleared.  They had a guy right up at the radar arch getting a good look while the captain inched forward until he was sure he had clearance.  They were not sure where the water levels were and how they would effect the clearance.

Lenore and I talked about where to stop today and because of the late start we thought we would stay with our plan of going to a marina in Rome NY.  The first 2 locks went well and as we were between the 2nd and 3rd we found out that the Canal was closed down at lock 21 which was the lock after Rome NY.  When we were in lock 20 the lockmaster came over and talked to the Lady O and Champ III.  He wanted us to know our options with the next locks closed.  We could stay on his wall, there was a free dock in Rome or we could stay on the wall at the next lock, none of these options had shore power.  I mentioned the marina in Rome and he said I probably wouldn’t get anybody by phone.  When I tried the number the recording came back that it was disconnected.

We did find out that Lock 20 is the highest point on the Erie Canal and we will be locking down from here to Oswego.  We are actually in a manmade canal now and the Mohawk River is much smaller and meandering around south of the canal.  The last 5 miles today was straight as an arrow.

We finally decided to go to lock 21 and tie up to their wall because there was no railroad in the area and it would be quite.  We arrived at 5:00 and  talked to the lockmaster at 21 and he had no idea when they may reopen the canal.  He had just been talking to his boss trying to find out.

The radar looks like the rain is just about done but I did not see if there is anything west of us.  We will get a good nights sleep and worry about it tomorrow..

Straight Creek to Alligator River Marina, NC — May 4, 2013

(FOUND THIS BLOG IN THE ARCHIVES AS A DRAFT SO I THINK IT WAS NOT PREVIOUSLY POSTED.  SORRY FOR THE SLIP-UP)

The winds did not seem to be blowing quite as hard in the morning.  Candy and I were up about 5:00.  Still no luck on the swim platform.

Talked to the bridge tender before 6:00 and found out that the winds were not the problem but they had a maintenance crew working on the bridge.  They could not project the time it would open but he would announce it on the VHF an hour before they were ready to open.  Not much to do except clean the boat and do some reading. Candy finally had a “accident” about 9:30.  She had held it for about 27 hours.

We finally got word about 12:45 that the bridge would be opening at 1:45.  We pulled the anchorage and got underway.  Took some time to get from the anchorage to open water but the waves were better and we were able to get on plane to make it to the bridge on time.  The bridge finally opened about 5 minutes late and there were about 12 boats waiting to go thru.

We debated going on to Elizabeth City NC or stop at the Alligator River Marina that is just on the North side of the swing bridge.  We thought if the water on the Albemarle Sound was like the Alligator River we could make Elizabeth City in about 2 1/2 hours.  Everything was fine for the first 4 miles or so as we navigated thru a shoal area.  Once out from behind the shoal area the waves were the worst we seen since Lake Michigan as far as height..  They were is the 4′ to 5′ range with some that looked even bigger.  The real bad part is that because of the shallow water there is no space between the waves.  It is like those shallow lakes, St. Clair and Erie.

We turned around and went back to the Alligator River Marina.  The Marina is actually a gas station/marina on the side of the road.  No place to walk to that is close.  It has about 20 slips and a long dock for fueling and general tie up.  Inside the store is also a restaurant that has a grill and a deep fryer and I must say the food was pretty good.

Needless to say Candy was happy with lots of grass to sniff and we were able to go for a nice long walk.

The winds are supposed to be less tomorrow.

 

Riverlink Park, Amsterdam, NY to Little Falls Canal Harbor, Little Falls, NY — June 9, 2013

I wanted to get started early today because the weather for Monday and Tuesday are not good forecasts.  We need to make 7 locks and approximately 42 miles today.  Hard to predict how well the locks will go.  Early is kind of a misnomer because the locks open at 8:00 and the first one was 1/2 mile up river.

Well we did not start well.  We arrived at the 1st lock and he was having electrical problems and it took him 1/2 hour to resolve the issue.  All the rest of the locks were expecting us and had the doors open and the green light on when we got there.  The locks went well and we were on the water for a little over 7.5 hours.

We decided to stop for the night in Little Falls New York at the Little Falls Canal Harbor because Skipper Bob Publications indicated that many Loopers think this is the best stop on the Erie Canal.  Lenore had trouble getting to sleep last night because of the train traffic.  She said there were 10 trains the first hour she tried to fall asleep.  They came into town with their whistle blowing for the crossings. With that in mind we decided Canajoharie was out because it was listed as having train and road noise.  The train tracks follow the north bank of the Erie Canal (Mohawk River) for the entire length we have been on it so far.  I slept thru the train noise but was aware of it when I was awake.

We had dinner last night at the R & B Café at Riverlink Park.  A unique restaurant in that all the tables are outside and 1/2 of the tables are under an awning and the other 1/2 are out in the open. The tables under the awning were also protected by drop curtains from the wind.  They have linen table clothes and I had a chance to talk to some of the staff, including the R & B ( Rene and Bob).  The food was great and Lenore agreed.  The menu was not extensive but included fish, shrimp, chicken, pork and steak along with a variety of burgers and salads.  A nice surprise for a small town riverfront restaurant.  They are obviously only open for the summer season and it was a little chilly by the time we finished dinner and were ready to go back to the boat.

We will stay at the Little Falls Canal Harbor for at least 2 days and probably 3.  This will give us a chance to go to the grocery and to CVS for prescriptions.  Tom, one of the dockmasters will take us for the shopping.  He volunteered without any hesitation.  It is about 5 miles for groceries and CVS

Schenectady Yacht Club, Rexford, NY to Riverlink Park, Amsterdam, NY — June 8, 2013

It has rained for the last 2 days and although I am not sure how many inches of rain fell the Erie Canal is up about 10″‘  The sky looked threatening this morning but it was not raining and the radar did not show any rain moving our way.

We did not have a long run today because we are trying to space out the locks we need to pass thru in one day.  Today is 3 locks so it should be easier than the first day on the Canal.  A little bit of wind but a lot of current because the Canal drains naturally to the Hudson River so we are going against the current.

The high current almost caused us a problem at one of the locks, E-9.  We were trying to avoid some wood in the water and the current and wind almost put us into the lock entrance wall but I backed the boat out and made another entrance attempt and was successful the second time.  For the most part the river was smooth between the locks and the only boats we passed were the rowing sculls.  They appear to be very popular in the Canal. We saw no other boats on the Canal or in the locks.  The 2nd and 3rd locks were waiting for us as the lock master from the 1st lock called and told them we were on the way.

We stopped at Riverlink Park in Amsterdam NY.  It is a floating dock alongside the river and a very nicely landscaped park.  There is a restaurant here and they cater different types of events in a large tent they have set up on the east end of the grounds.  The restaurant also manages the docks, showers and restrooms.  The only drawback to Riverlink Park is the railroad tracks immediately to the north of the park. This is a tradeoff because the next two stops were also docks along the river but they had no electrical hookup for the boat.  The park does have a bridge over the railroad tracks so the access to town is good.  There just seems to be a lot of train traffic.  I hope it is limited to the daylight hours.

Tomorrow is supposed to be bright sunshine and high 70’s so we will be moving.  We will see how well things go before exactly where we will stop tomorrow night.  We may need to sit Monday and Tuesday because of rain and thunderstorms that are forecast for the area.  They have had a wet spring around here so the ground is pretty well saturated and most of the new rainfall runs off in to the Canal.