Saturday, July 11, 2009

Wrinkly Crew, Lockin' Through and American Hospitality

Well we are back home, arrived a few hours ago. That's the first leg of the trip finished with a transit across Lake Ontario, 30 locks on the Erie and Oswego canals, plus another 30 miles down the Hudson River. After meeting up with Grandma Annie and and the man she is living in sin with (now referrred to as Bob) at Riverlink Park in Amsterdam, New York, we set off once again heading East towards the Hudson. While we are talking about Riverlink Park, we'd like to thank the owners who were kind enough to drive us to their house so we could leave our car there after an overzealous mall cop insisted we would be ticketed if we tried to stay in his lot. This is a family run operation so if any boaters are reading this, they offer cheap dockage ($1.00/ft), very clean washrooms and showers and reasonably priced food, in addition to very helpful and friendly staff/family members.

This section of the canal is very picturesque, continuing down the Mohawk River Valley towards Albany. Although at times we were travelling right beside I-90, you'd be surprised at the beauty of the area (just try to ignore the train noise!).The kids have been keeping track of wildlfe, in particular birds. So far they have seen loons, cormorants, Kingfishers, lots of Blue Herons and an Osprey. On Wednesday they were treated to the sight of an American Bald Eagle swooping down and plucking a fish out of the canal!! They then saw a second one a couple of days later on the Hudson River . The days on the canal are pretty laid back, and we were treated to some really nice weather.

After coming to the end of the canal at the Hudson River, we turned right/starboard and actually started going SOUTH!!!! We went about 20 miles down the river to the Castleton Boat Club in Castleton -on-the-Hudson, NY. This is a spot Lisa and I first visited 11 years ago when when we went south on Connemara II. They have a gin pole and for $50.00 (I think that's what we paid back in 1998 as well) you can use it to put up or take down your mast. We took our mast down last fall in Bath since it has to be down to transit the canal, but now that we are on the Hudson we can once again turn Charlotte-Ann back into a sailboat!

Bob was a great help with putting the mast up, much better than the two Mexicans I hired to help me 2 years ago when we brought the boat home from New Jersey!!

By the way, if Jorge and Julio are reading this, please note the newly installed electric control for the crane hook!!! It was harder than it looks, my thumb kept cramping up!! Thankfully beverage prices remained unchanged from 2007. After an excellent Italian dinner at a local restaurant (American Hospitality number #2, the owner drove down to the boat club and brought us to the restaurant, 2 trips to get all 6 of us there, then drove us all back after we had supper) we returned to the boat and had a good nights sleep before our last run down the river in the morning.After Castleton, we moved another 8 miles down the river to the Coxsackie Yacht Club. This will be home to Charlotte-Ann for the next 5 weeks while I go back to work. This is another case of American Hospitality, with an offer from the Commodore of the Club to allow us to keep our boat at their club with a small donation (it's a working club, non-profit). Everyone we met while there was super-friendly, and the Commodore, Sal, couldn't have been more helpful or accomodating. The club actually owns an island just off the shore of the main facility. They have set it up with a gazebo, BBQ's, Johnny-on-the-Spot and bonfire pit. They have even created a beach on the river side!!

After hanging out at the beach for the afternoon, we later joined a couple of families from the club for a bonfire and, of course, toasted marshmallows. We got back to the boat around 10:00pm and no one stirred until after 0900 the next morning.

Unfortunately it was then time to back the boat up and get ready to drive home.

We'd like to thank Tara for mowing our lawn and leaving dinner in the fridge for our arrival!! Thanks also to Taya for feeding and cleaning Maceo.

The trip will be on hiatus for a month while I go back to Newfoundland. Lisa has a couple of weeks to go before our tenant moves in, plus the kids have a 2-week sailing camp here in Port Colborne.

The next leg of the trip will include a stop-over in New York City, an offshore run on the Atlantic from Sandy Hook, NJ to Norfolk, Virginia, then the ICW to Oriental, NC with a stopover in Cape Hatteras to (finally) get some kiteboarding in!!!


Mark, Lisa, Delaney and Mitchell

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Still Going East and Unconditional Love

As you can tell by our sporadic posts, free wi-fi on the Erie Canal is hard to come by. Might be because we are being cheap and stay away from marina's, preferring to spend nights tied along free walls and docks. We miss our nights at anchor, but it's a bit tough to do on the canal. Anyway, things are going well. The weather has been hit and miss, but for the most part it has been sunny and warm.
We have covered about 230 miles since leaving Bath, averaging about 30 miles on the days we are moving. The days are pretty relaxed, the locks are simple to go through and the kids are doing great at keeping themselves busy. The have their chores on the boat, and are also getting quite good a helping lock the boat through. A couple of times it would have been nice to have the dinghy available (it's rolled up on the foredeck right now), just to go out and do a little exploring.

No problems with the boat either, although we did catch a submerged log between the engines just as we came off of Oneida Lake (we were going slow, just backed up and it released). The new engines have been great, we average just over 5kts on one engine at 2/3 throttle. Did a little test yesterday and hit 7.8kts with both engines at around 80% throttle.

We spent 2 days in Conajahorie, home of the Beech-Nut factory (you know, they make gum). Visited a local art gallery and Count Olaf's house (of Lemony Snicketts fame). O.k, it wasn't really the Count's home, it actually belonged the inventor of the train sleeper car. It must have been stunning when it was new, unfortunately it is now in a very sad state of repair. We stayed in a park along the canal, played badminton and hung out.

Today we are sitting in Amsterdam, New York, waiting for mom and Bob to arrive. We'll then drop one of the cars off at the Coxsackie Yacht Club on the Hudson River. We have another 3 days travelling to get there, then we will secure the boat for a month and head home, the first leg of the trip over with. Lisa needs to get the house ready for our tenant and the kids have 2 weeks of sailing camp (as if living on a boat for a year isn't going to be enough sailing for them!?!).

Oh yeah, the unconditional love part?? So I am driving the boat the other day and Mitchell comes up to me and says, "Dad, you have a booger in your nose". He then proceeds to stick his finger in my left nostril, remove the offending booger and flick it overboard!! Thanks for the help buddy!!

Well this connection is acting up so I'll stop now. There is a function on the satellite image here on the Blog, click for a larger image and you can see some more pics tagged for the location taken.