2012-05-27 - to Olcott Beach, NY

We left Sodus Bay at 8:00am ready for our last stop in the USA...Oak Orchard, NY.  The seas were great today - a little choppy just as we set out but it soon settled and we coasted along anxious to get home. There were several thoughts today about doing the full run back to home...but, it would bring us back to Toronto at about 1:00am and, the moon was not going to rise until 12:40am....so, we would be in complete darkness for the last 3-4 hours.  And, in the end, why do we really need to push it?

One exciting experience of the day was being approached by the US Customs and Border Protection boat.  Just west of Rochester we saw them in the distance.   They started to approach us so we slowed down to hear them as they shouted from their bow.  There were about 3-4 men on board in what seemed from different jurisdictions in the US Gov't.  They were asking for registrations and owners names, how much alcohol and money we had on board.  Where we are going today and where did we check in were other questions.  We quickly provided them with everything they needed.   As far as checking in..this has been discrepancy in what is expected.  Some cruiers check in at every port and swear that it was you have to do.  Some do what we do and check in as you enter the border for the first time.  We checked in at Port Canaveral when we crossed over from the Bahamas, but that has been all.  I thought we would hear more about that but all was well and they thanked us for being patient and gave us the 'all clear'. 

After that I continued to be busy with the kids - keeping them happy while Kerry was keeping us on course.  He poked his nose in just as we were nearing Oak Orchard and said, "I have some news".  Not knowing what to think as I was busy battling one of the bosses on Super Mario Galaxy 2 on the Wii (for Dylan, of course)...I listened in.  He said that he did a bit of 'math' and thinks that we should push on a little further to Olcott, NY.  This would take an extra 2.5 hours but would, of course, reduce tomorrows final run into Toronto by the same time.  The wind was predicted to pick up in the afternoon, according to Windfinder.com....so, we would want to be in by then.  So, the decision was made...Olcott it is.  I needed to finish up a few 'Galaxies' on Super Mario for Dylan so that was fine with me.  Dylan has become a huge fan of Super Mario and this is about the only thing he requests using his communication devices.   I would love to develop a way that he could play himself.  Not that I don't love playing it for him for hours on end....it would just be great for him.  So, we plodded on headed for Olcott.  I love the description for Olcott in the Ports Cruising Guide.  "Olcott has the feel of a resort town that has passed its prime and the harbour, particularly the marine facilities on the west side, looks a little down at the heels and down on its luck".  This description doesn't make you want to sell the farm and move here...but, it certainly makes me interested.  Our plan was to head over to Olcott Yacht Club as we have reciprocal status with them.  As we passed the club house several members popped out and were quick to direct us to a slip.  It was only 2/3 of our length, but several of them grabbed lines and tied us securely onto the dock.   They did have a restaurant and bar.  We figured it would be great to meet some of the members so we quickly jumped off and headed to the clubhouse.   We chatted with a few of them in the clubhouse - one if particular was Fred, a member of the Elks Club (charity) and was particularly interested in Dylan. He told us of the carousel and amusements at the beach.  Perhaps we will come back again for a visit. It was a great night to spend on our last night of the trip. 

So, our plan is to head out as soon a we can in the morning and arrive at our slip at QCYC around noon. 

2012-05-26 - to Sodus Bay, NY

Having fun at the park in Sodus Bay
 The mast is back on!  They started doing masts at 7am at Oswego Marina.  We were the second boat of the day to be done and it didn't take too long securing the mast and running all of our lines, etc. ready to sail again.  We headed out again and made a run for Sodus Bay.  It was a lovely, calm day on the water.

2012-05-25 - to Oswego, NY

The gates open on the last lock.  Lake Ontario just on the other side.  We are getting close now!

Kerry started up the engines at 7am...ready to head across Lake Oneida.  Brewerton Lock is just on the other  side and then we leave the Erie Canal to enter the Oswego canal.  The crossing of the lake often makes sailors nervous who have their mast attached to their deck as this mast may end up at the bottom of the lake if it isn't tied down well enough.  Luckily the lake was relatively calm and we weren't rocked by any other passing boats.  We arrived in the last lock at 3:00pm.  This lock was different as the wind had really picked up and was pushing us off of the lock wall.  Just after we grabbed the lines at the side of lock wall, the boat started too be quickly pushed away.  Kerry was at the 'end of his rope' (literally) and needed someone to start the engine and put it into reverse.  (if he lost his rope we could be sideways in the lock....not good!)  I couldn't do it as I was doing all I could to hold onto the line at the bow.  Kerry called Connor out to the cockpit.  He told Connor to start the boat and put both engine into reverse.  I was trying to scramble and think of another way that would work.  Kerry said in an even commanding voice.  "Connor do it NOW!".  Connor, very calmly, turned on both engines, put both throttles into reverse and brought the boat back to the wall.  He stood at the helm and continued to put the boat into reverse every time the boat was pushed off by the wind.   After we dropped about 3 feet in the lock...we were out of the wind and Connor (again very calmly) turned off the engines and went back inside.  I was just so impressed at how he handled himself under pressure and how he handled the boat in that time.  He has definitely learned a lot and grown so much on this trip.  We were both very proud of him.
We arrived at Oswego marina at 3:30pm, fueled up first and then headed for the docks.  They had already stopped doing masts so we would have to wait until the morning to start ours.  We pulled out the hammock and found a nice shady tree to tie to to pass the time. 

2012-05-24 - to Sylvan Beach, NY

The first lock this morning was clogged with large trees and debris just before the gates.   There was one other boat (the only one we have met so far on the canals) that would be travelling with us in the lock.  They too had to coast through the debris.  I stood on the bow and used the boat hook to send some of the bigger ones moving. Kerry stayed at the helm and guided us in with little use of the engines so that our props wouldn't get damaged.     The picture above shows the mass of debris that was trapped under the hull of the boat.  When we stopped to tie onto the side of the lock, this square mass of debris came floating out.   The rest of the day went very well.  We have really been timing the locks well.  Kerry calls ahead and gives them just enough time to drain and open the doors - we just coast in, tie on, and away we go.  We arrived at the last point before Lake Oneida at 5:00om at a place called Sylvan Beach.  It's a 'seaside' resort complete with an amusement park.  This park is different, however.  It looks as if it is a place time forgot.   Everything look original from the 1940-50's.  At first, it didn't look open but Connor was thrilled it was when we told him.  He ended up doing all of the rides including his first time on a big roller coaster and bumper cars!  We basically had the whole park to ourselves as only a handful of people were there.  There were 4 workers for 7 rides.  They just followed him around and ran the rides for him.  He had such a good time.

Connor 'stuck' to the wall of the "Rotor"

2012-05-23 - to Ilion, NY

docked on the wall at Ilion Marina and RV park

2012-05-22 - to Amsterdam, NY

At 7am the Erie Canal opened for the day.  With several boats on the docks for the night, we had expected a rush of boats all jockeying for position on the canal wall.  No one seemed to be awake and ready to go this drizzly morning.  Kerry hailed the lock master on channel 13 to request an opening.  The lock master said that he would prepare the lock for us and open the gates.  On queue the doors creeked open and the green light illuminated.  It was time to start the 'Waterford Flight'.  The Waterford Flight includes Locks E-2 to E-6, providing a total lift of about 170 feet.

We rescued this little guy from being trapped in the 3rd lock...


2012-05-21 - to Waterford, NY

The mast is down!  We were first in line this morning.  By noon, we headed up the Hudson with mast secured to the deck.  We headed to Waterford, NY, the beginning of the Erie Canal system. Tomorrow we start the first of 29 locks to reach Lake Ontario.  Home here we come!

2012-05-20 - to Catskills, NY (Hop-o-nose Marina)

We arrived at Hop-o-nose Marina at 2:30 pm.  We were hoping that they could have stepped our mast today but, they were a bit behind and we would need to be done in the morning.  We took that time to carefully pull and tie off all of our lines and have everything ready first thing.  We also needed to build a stand for the bow to stabilize the mast forward.  Kerry went off in search of scrap lumber.  Within a few minutes he returned with a smile on his face.   He had located our stands that we left here on our way down.  It was hard to believe that it wasn't broken down for someone elses stand!  So, all was set.  We would take our mast down tomorrow and be off to start the locks in the Erie Canal system.

2012-05-19 - to Poughkeepsie, NY

2012-05-18 - in New York City, NY

We pulled anchor at 9:00am and headed over to the 79th Street Boat Basin.  As we began to enter the Hudson River adjacent to Manhattan, Kerry called me up.  His words were, "can you come up and take a look at something."  We stopped the morning school session and poked our noses out.  Coming at us and extremely high speeds were 50+ power boats - all heading in our direction.  We just stayed to course and watch these boats fly past us.  What we figured was it was boats from a fishing derby and time was a factor.  It was truly a bizarre sight. 
We docked the boat and headed into
 the city.  The subway on 79th street brought us straight to Times Square.  Connor had been dying to go to the Toys R Us since we left last - so that was first on the list. After that we ended up at a large kids park in Central Park. We just wandered around Central Park taking it all in.  We finally ended up at the Museum of Natural History.  It is such a great museum.  We could have probably spent another day in their as there is just so much to see. 

Checking out the dinosaurs at the Museum of Natural History

2012-05-17 - to New York City, NY

We are heading today for NYC!!  This is our last jump on the outside and then we will be in the protected waters of the Hudson River and Erie Canal.
later on..........
New York Skyline - New Jearsey (on the left), Manhattan (on the right), the Statue
of Liberty is now in view (on the New Jearsey side)...look closely
It was a great day on the water.  The seas were so calm that you could see fish swimming and jumping on the surface.  This is a stark contrast to the time we left New York City on the trip down.  The seas were fine, but the fog was so thick that you couldn't see the honking ships going by.  We also went on the smaller ship channel instead of the major 'Ambrose' channel.  Kerry had studied the charts and picked this one as it was out of the way of potential cargo ships who use the channel.  This made for a very calm enterance to a very busy harbour.  We anchored in the same anchorage behind the Statue of Liberty.  Tomorrow we will head over to the 79th Street Boat Basin to dock the boat and explore the town once more. 


2012-05-16 - to Manasquan Inlet, NJ

surrounded by shrimp boats at the Shrimp Box Restaurant
This morning we were all set to make another attempt to leave Atlantic City.  The winds were calmer, but we did not know what the sea state was looking like.  A large power boat pulled into the fuel dock so I ran over to ask him if he just came from outside.  Sure enough, he did.  He said the sea state was fine...but, the fog was very thick.  He was going to wait it out.  We decided to head out anyway.  We move a lot slower than power boats so we could keep a clearer eye out for boats in the area.  We also had radar that was buzzing away.  We really only had a few boats that we had to track.  Without even being able to see them, they passed about a mile in front and were out of site.  After a couple of hours the fog lifted and we could see clearly again.  We landed at Manasquan Inlet late afternoon and tied to a restaurant dock called 'The Shrimp Box'.  We were here on the way down and the manager was fine with us staying on the dock if we ate there.  It's a great way to spend dock fees! 

2012-05-15 - in Atlantic City, NJ

The food court upstairs had these great chairs in sand.  It gave
a great view of the ocean and beach front!
lots of crashing waves today!
We tried to break free of Atlantic City today.  Kerry had checked the weather and he thought that we would be stuck here today due to the higher winds.   A sailboat pulled into the fuel dock that came in from the outside.  Kerry ran over to ask them what the sea state was.  They said that it was fine and they were just going to fuel up and head back out.  We were skeptical, but thought that we would give it a try.  Well, I am not sure what part of the North Atlantic they are from, but the sea state was not good.  It was very rough.  Leaving the Atlantic City channel is always difficult when the current opposes the tide.  Sure enough the tide was opposing the current making for a very rough ride to the outside.  We thought we would push through the channel, make the turn to the north and give it about 3 minutes.  If things were not settled we would turn around.  It wasn't at all dangerous...just very bumpy and it started to really pour down.  It was a good decision not to proceed.  We turned the boat around and secured ourselves to the dock again after 30 bumpy minutes.   We ended up taking a taxi downtown again to enjoy the boardwalk.  We ended up spending most of our time at the Ceasars Pier (a very large pier with upscale shopping) since it was still raining.  The best thing was a fountain show to music that was on every hour.  We all loved that.  It also gave us a great view of the ocean from 3 floors up.  Lots of waves out there!

Our view from the docks at Kammermans marina - quite rustic!


2012-05-14 - to Atlantic City, NJ

We left the anchorage at Cape May this morning at 7am heading towards Atlantic City.  Overall, it was a great day.  We arrived at Kammermans marina at 12:00pm.  It didn't take us long to check in, grab showers, and begin our walking journey downtown.  It was a great day checking out the boardwalk.  We walked for miles up the boardwalk, stopping to explore the shops and sites.  When we had enough we jumped on one of the small buses in town called a Jitney.  We didn't really know the route we needed but after a quick chat with the driver we figured on a good spot that he could stop which got us fairly close to 'home'.  It was a very long day but we all faired very well.  Tomorrow the weather isn't looking good for leaving, but we will check it out tomorrow.

2012-05-13 - to Cape May, NJ

We left the anchorage at the top of the Delaware River at 7:30am.  We lew with the current and favourable wind for about 5 hours.  The last 2 hours our speed went from 9-10 knots to 4.5-5 knots.  We arrived in Cape May, NJ at 2:30pm - got fuel and water and then anchored for the night outside the Coast Guard Training Centre.  We remembered this from the trip down where they do chanting (while jogging, I am assuming) until about 11pm.  We were glad to have that part of the trip out of the way.  Tomorrow we head out in the ocean again towards Atlantic City