STAYED TUNED…

Hello All~

We have been home since the 6th of June. Just long enough for Brian to be given the opportunity to help as crew on a boat that is heading out down along the Mississippi. So, he gets to do the rest of the LOOP. POSH is being returned to Florida to be sold. Owner Terry Davison and Brian leave on Sunday to drive to Chicago to pick up the boat for the first leg to Kentucky.

The route can be followed at Live Ships Map – AIS Vessel Traffic and Positions by searching for AFEICA and you will see exactly where POSH is at along the route.

I’ll try to keep you posted.

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HOME!

Home! Slip W13 Windsor Yacht Club

I am writing the last entry of this Blog, while I am sitting looking out of our 12th floor condo balcony and gazing out down at the Detroit River and Belle Island with the Ambassador Bridge in the distance and sipping my morning coffee. No more locks, no more lift bridges. It is good to be here. Many of you who followed along with us on our adventure have seen us and listened first hand to some of our stories.

We arrived back in Windsor on June 6th around 1500 and we were met by a Welcoming Party, Steve and Judy Repmann, Chris Eagen, Alan Johnson and Carol Crooks, Jim McCloskey, Ken and Janet Crooks, Chuck and Anne McIntosh, Brad and Pat Somers, Tim Hardy WYC Dockmaster and John Shorten WYC Photographer. I don’t think I missed anyone. Any difficulties or traumatic experiences that we may have had along the way, that at the time and seemed an impossible task, are now memories that have become laughable and don’t seem as major. It is all part of the tale. It’s funny all of a sudden something will come back to you and it makes you smile. This still happens to Brian with memories of trips he made to the Bahamas previously with Chuck McIntosh, Jack Ouellette, Ted Illi, Richard Hunt and others. Eventually, all of the stories come out. Just keep listening. I am still going through pictures and will continue to add them to the site and will post them after they are captioned.

Brian, Chris Eagen and Rick Janisse logged 343 engine hours on the boat doing the delivery to Lighthouse Point, FL. Brian and I logged 347 engine hours on the delivery back to the Club. These hours do not include the hours put on the engine in the Bahamas.

It was our plan to make a trip to the North Channel this summer, those plans have changed. We don’t think that it will warm up in Manitoulin and surrounding waters this summer. We will probably do some overnight trips in local waters. For the most part you will find us in Assport. Sorry, you won’t find that on a marine chart or roadmap. For any of you that don’t know where that is, to quote our good friends the Repmanns. “We are keeping our asses in port”. Green Acres, WYC – Lat N42° 20’ 29” Long W82° 56’ 00”

Will we do it again? Answer: Never say never.

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ERIE, PA to SCUDDER, PELEE ISLAND CANADA

We had a long run from Buffalo Yacht Club to Erie Yacht Club. It’s about 72 miles; there were a couple of squalls that came through. By the time we got off of the lake we were both tired. Erie Yacht Club is situated at the end of Presque Isle Bay. This old Club established in 1895 full of traditions welcomes power and sailboats alike. They have an excellent sailing school and they enjoy a very good relationship with Port Dover Yacht Club.

We tied up at the fuel dock for fuel and requested an overnight dock. Brian and Chris stayed here on the trip south. We had a rather interesting experience here. When I registered with the dockhand and mentioned that we were from the Windsor Yacht Club and that we had reciprocal privileges. His response was “Oh, the Windsor Yacht Club. Unfortunately, I have the charge you $2.00 a foot for overnight dockage.” That is what the EYC reciprocal is with WYC. EYC has the same reciprocity arrangement as the member visiting from another Club. So the first night is always free and if the other Club charges $.90 per foot that is what EYC charges the visitor. If the visiting boater has no Club affiliation with any Club at all, the overnight charge is $1.50 per foot per night.

Sign in Dockmaster's office at EYC.

Sign in Dockmaster’s office at EYC.

There was no mistake, the dockhand called the Dockmaster and confirmed that WYC‘s overnight dockage is $2.00 per foot. We were tired and did not want to move elsewhere, we paid the $2.00 per foot. So much for WYC being the “Friendliest Little Club on the Great Lakes” we don’t have a very good reputation around here. Actually, we were very embarrassed by the situation.

We went for a walk to the Clubhouse. Erie Yacht Club is another example of a Club drenched in tradition and old school. It also has the usual amenities including a Laundromat and members make their vehicles available for a short 2 block drive to pick up anything you may need from the store.

Jack and Sue

Jack and Sue having dinner on AFEICA at Grand River Yacht Club Fairport, OH.

Tuesday was going to be another long day. We wanted to make it to Fairport, OH on the Grand River. When Brian was staying on Spa Creek in Annapolis for the month of October last fall he met some very lovely people, Jack and Sue. At the time they were moored near AFEICA on their Catamaran, Passage that they were taking back down to Florida. The catamaran has been stored in Florida. Here in the Great Lakes they have a Hunter 375, Journey. Jack is Past Commodore of Grand River Yacht Club and they made arrangements for us to have dockage there at the Club.

It turned out to be a very miserable ride but we endured it and made it the 60 some miles to Fairport. It was great to spend a couple of days with Jack and Sue. We also got to meet a few other people from GRYC, namely Pat and George. On Tuesday night we walked to a great little restaurant called Brennan’s Fish House http://www.brennansfishhouse.com/ where we enjoyed a great dinner. Wednesday night is race night at GRYC too; the boats did not race due to inclement weather. At 1800 Jack and Sue came aboard for cocktails. We talked them into staying for a pasta dinner with us. Earlier in the day, Jack mentioned that the next day was his birthday. I had even baked him a cake. It was a lovely evening and we got along just great. I think that we could have talked and talked but tomorrow was another long day. Destination Scudder, Pelee Island.

Jack and Sue helped us to cast off early Thursday morning. The wind was blowing. We met fishing boats coming back into the harbour that had tried to go out and could not. We wondered what kind of a ride we would have.

Crossing Lake Erie from Fairport to Scudder

Scudder Dock

AFEICA back in Canadian waters, Scudder Pelee Island, ON

Well, as it turned out, after travelling a few thousand miles, to the Bahamas and back up the ICW and the Erie Canal, Lake Erie did me in, about 1 hour out into the lake I went below to do something and my stomach did a flip flop. I was down for pretty much the whole day. I did not feed the fish but I was of no use to Brian. I went below and slept and finally after noon I was able to get into the cockpit and hunker down and sleep some more. The way the wind was blowing we thought that we would have to approach Scudder from the south passage, the long way around. The angle changed and we were able to take the Pelee Island Passage. We docked at Scudder just around 1600.

We cleared Canadian Customs and it was a very easy phone call. CBP in the United States really need to get all of their officers and jurisdictions on the same page. They really can’t continue to run the borders on how each individual officer interprets the law. But you are at their mercy and you jump through the hoops. As visitors/cruisers on a boat we had to call CBP each time we moved the boat, but anyone can cross the border in a RV and never be heard from again. What is up with that?

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BUFFALO YACHT CLUB, BUFFALO, NY

Around 1600 we pulled away from Wardle’s Boat Yard in North Tonawanda and headed to Buffalo Yacht Club. What a difference from being used to travelling in the calm waters of the canal for the last few weeks to the open water. The Garmin chose this time to not find satellites and it took a while to find the marks. Remember too that we still had some rigging to do.
Then somebody forgot that we still had another lock to go through and two more bridges. So we did have a few moments of panic. But all and all things went well and we got through the lock and a swing bridge and a lift bridge without too much incident. We passed under the Peace Bridge that crosses over the Niagara River from Buffalo, NY to Fort Erie, Ontario and took a slip about a quarter mile down river at the Buffalo Yacht Club.

We were done in for the day, it was about 1830. We went up to the Club to register and have a drink at the bar. After a couple of drinks we went back to the boat. We decided that we would not move the next day. We took that opportunity to finishing rigging the boat, main and headsail to be put back on the boat and some surface cleaning. We started around 0700 and we done by 0930. I made a frittata for brunch, and then we went and had a wonderful shower. Around 1130 our buddies from Petronella went by. They had just come through the lock and bridges and they were going to keep on going. We wished them well and thank them again for their assistance with the rig. As it happened they were lucky to get through the lock when they did. The lock shut down just after noon when a tree lodged under the gates and no matter what the lock tender with the assistance of the fireboat’s wash from their engines tried, they could not dislodge the log. The divers would not arrive until Monday morning to free the log.
Buffalo Yacht Club does not serve breakfast or brunch on Sundays but has an awesome Beer and Burger Special on Sunday afternoons. It is an 8 oz. flame grilled burger with hand-cut French fries, any kind of cheese (we had blue cheese) and a 20 oz. beer for are you ready for this? $10.45. It doesn’t get any better than this. It is available from 1400 to 1630 and then they have dinner service. The burger was the best we have ever had.

We went back to the boat and got an early night. Monday was going to be another long day. Destination Erie Yacht Club Erie, PA.

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SPENCERPORT to TONAWANDA, NY

After locking through Lock 27 within 1 mile we came to Lock28A there was no time for breakfast yet. Lock 28B follows pretty close at 4 miles. We managed to get some breakfast but the dishes would have to wait. Our destination today was Spencerport located after going through Lock 33. This was where it was a little confusing. The cruising guide and the paperwork get got from the NYCS did not show a Lock 31. Everything went from Lock 30 to Lock 32. Was there a misprint in all of our paperwork? No, everything was correct. Instead of a Lock 31 there is a lift bridge. Lock 31 does not exist currently. But there is a Lock 28A and 28B. Go figure.

There was another sailboat with us in Lyons by the name of Petronella from Bayfield, ON. They did not leave with us. It was their plan to do an oil change on the boat, a Roberts 41. Once again we seem to be out of sync with everyone else on the canal. We are travelling on our own. In one way it is not too bad because we don’t have to wait for another boat to lock through or go under the lift bridges.

It was a pretty uneventful day and we arrived at Spencerport at 1630. The Visitor Information Center was not open but there was a number to call the Dockmaster which Brian did so that we could get the key codes for the very nice showers. We had just finished tying up and plugging in when Jane one of the Bridgetenders came along with her rescue dog Anna to say hello and tell us that the Lift Bridges would be passable at 0700. That was a different time than the Locks at this area of the Canal. A short time later the Dockmaster arrived to make sure that we had everything we needed. We were the first visitors in Spencerport and the Tourist Center did not have regular hours starting until June. Spencerport was the first town to have a Dockmaster that we had come across.

There is a great grocery store in Spencerport a short walk across the parking lot of the waterfront. It is a TOPS Family Grocery Store, this is a huge grocery chain like Zehrs at home or Publix in Florida. Brian and Chris thought it was a large ladies support group or clothing store. They did not provision here. We topped up our provisions here for the rest of the trip home. You do it when you can because you never know when you will have the opportunity again.

Spencerport is where we met the Travelling Foxes, Julie Anne and Ken Fox. They are a couple from New Zealand cycling around North America. At the time we were entering the grocery store we noticed that Julie and Ken were on bikes with gear carts. Is was a sunny but cool day so we introduced ourselves and told them about the free hot showers at the canal front. They were aware that there are amenities along the canal. We told them where to find the showers and by the time we got back to the boat they had found them and were taking advantage of the hot showers. We spoke to them briefly when they came out and exchanged cards. They wanted to travel another 10 mile along the canal that night so did not delay to long before they headed out again it was around 1900 and they had a couple of more hours daylight before they set up camp for the night. Their destination the next day was Lockport then the next day they hoped to cross the Peace Bridge to Canada.

The Travelling Foxes.

The Travelling Foxes.

Travellingfoxes Epic Cycle Adventure USA 2014. You will find their blog at www.travellingfoxes68.wordpress.com. We thought we might see them in the next day along the Erie Canal, but sadly we did not. We wish them well and safe travels on their adventure.

About 2 hours after we tied up, Petronella arrived in Spencerport. Brian spoke to them and they were headed to Gasport, NY the following day. We would make a stop in Middleport, NY which is one lift bridge before Gasport. Their plan was to be in Tonawanda at Wardell’s to put up the mast on the boat on Saturday. That is our goal as well.

Friday morning Petronella got the first bridge opening at 0700, we were about an hour behind them when we left. We would probably see them at Wardell’s.

Our last stop on the Erie Canal was Middleport, NY. To me it was not my favourite stop.

Middleport, NY

Middleport, NY

Middleport, NY

Middleport, NY

They really don’t have anything to offer. They have showers available at the Public Works Department. A very nice laundromat, a coffee shop that closes at 4:00 and Pony’s a bar. That’s just about it. It was a good place for us to get a good night sleep before the job of rigging the boat tomorrow. That is just what we did.

We were on our way on Saturday morning at 0645 to get the first lift bridge at 0700. Well, we got there just around that time and we were too early. The Bridgetender did not start until 0800. So what time do the Bridgetenders start work? We still don’t know. We reached the last two locks on the Canal. Lock 35 and 35. These last 2 locks use to be a “Flight of Five” but now you are lifted up 52 feet in two locks and the gates to the locks are back to back. The current is quite swift and it is hard to hang on. In the second lock there were two baby ducklings that got separated from their mom and siblings. They just kept peeping for them. After we had lifted up the 52 feet and were ready to leave the lock, the gates failed to open. Oh no, that is not a good sign. The Locktender was able to troubleshoot the problem quickly and he determined that a fuse had blown. He went to the supply shed to retrieve a new fuse. On the way past us, told us that it was the first time in his 18 years working that lock that is had happened. Would this be the way our day was going to play out?

We left the last lock and Brian had me take the helm. Immediately, he started to remove the straps and undoing things that included taking down the bimini in preparation of putting up the mast at Wardell’s Boat Yard in North Tonawanda. We would be a sailboat again. We pulled up to the fuel dock at Wardell’s at 1115. Brian had called the day before to say we would be there around 1100, not a bad ETA. Petronella was already at the ginpole wall. We fuelled up and Dennis Wardell told us to tie up at the wall across the river. We got tied up and Brian scarfed down some lunch and ran over the bridge to see if he could lend a hand to the crew of Petronella putting up their mast and maybe just maybe they would return the favour. That job didn’t take too long so Brian came back and we switched places with them. After Petronella tied up on the wall, the guys did come over to lend a hand. They were there to help as long as it took us to drop the mast in and went back to their boat to finishing rigging it. We finished rigging the backstay and forestay and shrouds Brian went into pay the bill. Surprise, surprise the cost had gone up a dollar a foot since last September. Dennis told us we could stay on the wall overnight. Gee thanks. It was hot and noisy and lumpy so we decided to get out of there and head to Buffalo Yacht Club and finish our job there.

 

 

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“THE PEPPERMINT CAPITAL OF THE WORLD”

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Tuesday night the Locktender walked down the dock to Ricochet to let Denis and Ron know that we could leave a 0700 the next morning. Beside Ricochet and AFEICA there were 2 other boats that had tied to the wall on Tuesday a trawler from Minnesota and an old wooden Richardson. Dennis was asked to pass along the message. But, for us not to leave before 0700 because the next Locktender at Lock 27 knows how long it takes to travel from 26 to 27.

We left at 0645 and the others soon left and passed us. They were all going as far as they could get. We wanted to stop in Lyons, NY. That turned out to be a great plan.

The ride along the canal was again very scary. The current was swift, we were fighting it and sometimes SOG went to under 4kts and the debris unnerving. We both had to be on the watch at all times. Many of the buoys were still off station and some underwater or just gone. The other thing is, no wonder the Erie Canal is referred to as “The Ditch” it is just like one big mud puddle.

We had the good fortune to meet Bob Stopper. Bob is a retired school teacher. He is very knowledgeable in all things local. He is one of the volunteers who greet visitors who are travelling along the Erie Canal and stop in Lyons, NY. Lyons was once known as “The Peppermint Capital of the World”. http://www.lyonsny.com/ Communities along the canal are encouraged to promote the Erie Canal to boaters, kayakers, and cyclists by offering amenities, such as electricity, free pumpouts, showers, water and in some instances Wi-fi. Improvements can be made to the waterfronts by applying for grants to help maintain this piece of American History. It is unfortunate that many of these beautiful little communities have been lost due to the end of the barge traffic along the canal. The old historic buildings and architecture really are something to see.

Bob met us as we were tying up and told us that we were the first boat to stop going west. When we first pulled up to the wall we could not believe what a mess there was. Bob explained that it was at Lock 27 where most of the flooding was. The flood waters were over the walls and seven feet higher over the past week than where they were at the present time. At this time the water was still 1.5 feet higher than normal. No wonder the walkways along the docks were littered with corn cobs and straw. The debris had come out of the farmers’ fields. The electricity had just gotten restored earlier that day. Bob made sure that we knew what was available in the village, where we could find a place to eat and where we could get a shower. Two of the restaurants had closed since Chris and Brian had stopped here on the way south and Lyons is the place where you can get a shower at the Fire Department, which is a short walk up to the road, maybe 100 feet. The facilities are spotless. Bob stopped by later on in the evening to see if there was anything we needed and came to bid us safe travels in the morning.

The locktender that was on shift in the morning was John. It was a beautiful morning, we got the first passage at 0800. As we were waiting to exit the lock, John even offered me a bouquet of flowers. Lyons, NY is a great place to visit and you must make it a stop when cruising on the Erie Canal.

The pictures on this page were taken by Bob Stopper and emailed to Brian and Leslie. Thank you so  very much!

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PHOENIX TO BALDWINSVILLE, NEW YORK

Phoenix, New York

When you arrive at a junction going west on the Erie Canal you have reached Three Rivers. This is where the Oswego, Oneida and the Seneca rivers converge. This is we are told, is where a major part of the flooding on the canal is a problem. Phoenix is on the Oswego Canal about 2.5 past the junction. Oswego Canal Lock #1 is at Phoenix. This is where you take the locks to Lake Ontario if you are heading in that direction. There had been some discussion about doing that but they have a requirement at the Welland Canal that you need 3 people on the boat to transverse the locks. That would have meant hiring someone. We would stick to our plan and wait for the Erie Canal locks to open.

Phoenix is home to the Bridge House Brats a Kid to Kid program. http://www.bridgehousebrats.com

The kids are there on the wall to help out the transient boaters. They will tie the boat up, get your water, bike to the store for you, clean your boat and do tours of the museum in the old Bridge House. When we were there though the kids were not around since school is not out yet. It could also be because the weather is about 3-4 weeks behind. There is water, electricity and free Wi-Fi in Phoenix but no showers.

On Sunday morning we went out for breakfast at Larkin’s Family Restaurant. Beside the booths they had an old fashioned lunch counter. Something else I noticed that I thought was pretty neat. There is a wall of matching coffee mugs on each end of the counter with their regular customer’s names on them. That reminded me of when WYC had a wall of beer mugs on the wall for our members.

Kaboom! Kaboom! Kaboom! That sure gets you out of the bunk in a big hurry. Memorial Day, Monday, May 26th. We woke up to the sound of gun fire. Henley Park where we were docked also have a War Memorial. Then there was the playing of the “The Last Post”. At around noon we made a beer run to the convenience store, like a Macs, it is  a couple of streets from the waterfront. Then we attended the Memorial Day parade. We decided to leave Phoenix and travel to Lock 26. Always the optimists. When we reached the junction at Three Rivers the mileage sign showed that we were 192 miles to Buffalo, still around 400 miles from home. Maybe the locktender will open it for us. Well, you guessed it. We were a no go.

The Village of Baldwinsville is located at Lock 26. Known in the area as B’Ville. It was late Monday afternoon when we arrived. This is another settlement along the canal that has been devastated by the demise of the barge traffic. We were nearly out of propane again, so after tying up on the side east of the lock we went for a walk to see if there was a place to refill the tank. No luck with that, however the Chamber of Commerce office was over the bridge on the other side of the lock. We would check with them in the morning.

We spent the night tied up on a concrete wall, with concrete all around us. It was hot and there was no breeze to speak of. The local fishermen were out fishing, so besides being hot it was smelly since they would clean the fish along the wall too. Just around 0800 in the morning I heard a boat call the locktender for a passage. The boat calling was Ricochet. I responded on the VHF that the lock was closed. They thanked me and said that they would tie up behind us. I thought it couldn’t be the boat from Edison Boat Club, could it? By the time I got off of the boat Brian who was out for a walk had already made his way down to them. Well. Yes it was. Dennis the Menace aka Dennis Turner and Ron Ziemba Past Commodore 2007 same year as Brian were on the return trip to Detroit after spending the winter in Marathon in the Florida Keys. It was going to be an interesting day after all.

Around 1000 a small canal corporation work boat tied up between the tow boats. One of the workers asked how long we had been held up in the canal. He said that they were going through the lock to put all of the buoys back on station. I asked how long that would take. They would be done after 1300. But it was up to the NYCS whether we could leave. We then asked if we could at least be allowed to go through the lock and tie up along the wall where there is a very nice park and a Visitor Welcome Center. At least it would be much more pleasant at that location. The work boat went through and the locktender refilled the lock for us to pass through, but the locks were not open and we had to remain in B’Ville. At least we could leave the cement and smell behind.

After tying up Brian and I walked up to the Chamber of Commerce to ask about propane. There was nothing within walking distance. Sharon Reiser, Executive Director for B’Ville, offered to drive us for propane but it had to be before 1400 that is when the office closes. Brian and I went up to the pharmacy for a couple of things. When we got back to the boat I grabbed the tank and took Sharon up on her offer for a ride. The tank took 2.4 gal. of propane. Indeed we were very close to running out again. Many thanks Sharon. Hopefully, this will get us home. If they ever open the locks.

Wednesday morning we woke up to clouds and drizzle. There was a silver lining though. The Erie Canal was open. NYCS has given the okay. The hostages were finally released.

4 nights in Rome

2 nights in Brewerton

2 nights at Lock 23

3 nights in Phoenix

2 nights at Lock 24

 

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