Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Mast Raising and Lake Ontario

We left the Oswego canal Tuesday afternoon and headed to Fair Point Marina to meet Schyler Barnes to raise the mast.   This is a wonderful marina that feels like a yacht club.  The washrooms are clean and well kept, There is a small clubhouse with laundry facilities, kitchen and library/ games room.  As luck would have it Steve Pettingill from Hunter was there to rig a new Hunter 40 that just came in and Al got lots of pointers on how to tune the B&R rig on Quantum Joy.
What a joy to deal with a well run marina.  We will try to return for the Hunter Reunion this August if time permits.

Thursday  we head for Rochester and Friday or Saturday home likely depending on weather and winds.
Starting the lift

positioning the mast

Steve Pettingill,
  from Hunter happened to be at the marina commissioning a new 40 ft and helped me tune the B&R rigged mast on Quantum Joy.

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

NY Canal System

We started the trip up the Erie Canal under rainy and very cold conditions until Monday when the sun finally came out warming it up considerably.  Our trip across lake Oneida was very pleasant this time as there was only a light chop on the water. 
Overnighting on the wall before Lock 19

Town dock in Pheonix
We entered the Oswego canal just before dinner and stopped at the free dock in Pheonix for the night. What a lovely spot!  This town has gone all out to welcome boaters.  There are tables and chairs on the dock, free wifi, hydro and water, pump outs are also available.  In the summer the museum is open and complimentary refreshments are served.  Local school children are encouraged to volunteer to help boaters by walking dogs, cleaning boats and helping out wherever possible.  The town also puts on all kinds of concerts and events in the park by the dock.  There are restaurants, a bakery and coffee shops within steps of the dock as well as a very clean laundromat with large capacity washers and dryers.
Some of the wildlife seen on the canal

Lock emptying - with a few leaks - from the pressure of 35 feet of water behind the doors

Today we hope to complete the last leg of the canal system and get the mast put backup.  We were held up at Minetto town dock for a few hours awaiting the opening of lock 6 which was undergoing maintenance work. 

Sunday, 26 May 2013

Hudson River and mast stepping

Our journey up the Hudson River to Hop-o-Nose Marina in Catskill, NY was smooth with the current pushing us along at a good pace.  As we arrived at Hop-o-Nose marina we passed another sailboat on the way out of the dock, imagine our surprise, it was Pasquale on Hammertime II, who we met and sailed with last Fall on our way down the Erie Canal and on to Haverstraw where we weathered out the hurricane together.  We hope to catch up with him again on the canal.

The Hudson has the prettist lighthouses anywhere.

The mast was taken down this morning and we got on our way before noon.

Saturday, 25 May 2013

New York City

We are thankful we have AIS which show at least the commercial traffic. 
We arrived in New York on Sunday and dodged the freighters and ferries in the harbour but made it to the 79th Street Boat Basin. Who would guess you could anchor out down town New York.  Anchoring is a little scary as it is 30 feet deep and there is a 3 knot current that changes 180 deg every 6 hours which my Manson anchor had to reset at least 24 times during our stay.  I had out 140 feet of chain.
 It was cold and rainy but we ventured out, making the short walk to the subway and then on to Times Square where we met up with Dave's daughter Tia and her mom Laurie. We then toured Madame Tussaud's wax museum where we posed with some of the stars before heading out for dinner.

 Monday we walked a few blocks to the American Museum of Natural History where we spent most of the day exploring the exhibits before taking a walk in Central Park.

Times Square
New York subway

same size as the subway but underwater (Intrepid submarine)
We spent the morning and early afternoon Tuesday at the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum while we waited for the tide to turn (so we could take advantage of the current). We said our goodbyes to David as we departed New York, it will seem strange not having him along side us on this final leg of our journey.

Al putting the ROCK in his place

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Chesapeake and Delaware

We have spent the last few days on the Chesapeake and Delaware.  We spent two days in Annapolis getting sails restitched and browsing through the many marine stores there.
Downtown Annapolis
We then motored/sailed up to the D&C Canal and over to the Delaware ending up at Cape May.  Unfortunately we didn't get a lot of sailing wind on this leg of the trip but the weather was mostly sunny and it warmed up the last couple of days.
We got quite a push from the current on the Chesapeake which brought our speed up considerably

Tug and power plant on the Delaware

Lighthouse on the Delaware
Last night we arrived in Atlantic City so we went ashore and had dinner and played the slots for a minute or two - and left, while our luck was still with us, over $50 richer.  Today we are making the long trip to New York City, under grey skies and light winds. 

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Dismal Swamp

Dave and Jancie talking with paster Ben and Hans
As we continued to make our way north we finally experienced some great weather.  We set out from Oriental, NC and sailed most of the way to Elisabeth City where we spent two nights tied up to the free public dock.  Wednesday morning we were welcomed by Rev. Bob, a Pentecostal minister.  Rev. Bob drove us to the laundromat and then to Walmart for groceries.  We joined Bob and his wife Jan for dinner at an Italian restaurant before attending a service at his church. The service was much different than Dave, Al and I had ever experienced.  After the service we went for frozen yogurt and then stopped by the law firm where Jan worked to see her boss's extensive collection of mounted big game heads.  What a day!  
Lots of Turtles along the Dismal Swamp

Canal was originlly dug by hand in the mid 1700's

Yesterday we spent a lazy day motoring down the dismal swamp enjoying the sunshine.  We rafted up with Dave at lunchtime and awaited the opening of the first of two locks we will go through on the canal.  Tonight we are rafted up with two other boats just outside the second lock awaiting the 8:30 am opening.  Al and Dave visited the auto supply and grocery stores before we went to dinner at the Mexican restaurant all within a short walk of where we were docked.

Today we had another beautiful day as we completed the remaining miles on the Intercostal Waterway and are now headed up the Chesapeake on our way to Annapolis.  The above video is at a lock where Robert Peek (the Lockmaster) shows us his talent on the conch horn.

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Back in the USA

The 460 mile (3 day) trip began under blue skies and moderate seas on Saturday. Sunday was another good sailing day and Monday started out well. We hoped to make it into the Cape Fear entrance late in the afternoon, before the storms hit.

Along the way a fan belt that Al replaced before we left the Bahamas broke and Al replaced it with a spare. A couple of hours later the replacement belt broke. We tried getting another from Dave who was sailing next to us, but the seas were too rough and we lost the one he tossed to us. Al found the old fan belt that, thankfully, he had not thrown out and put it on. We were hopeful that it would hold out until we got into the harbour.

Look close on left, that's us
The winds died out and the storm hit when we were about 60 miles from shore. We lost some time trying to run around the outside of the storm but eventually decided to punch through. Amazingly the storm clouds separated in front of us and we made our way along with storm clouds and lightening striking on all sides. We experienced some high winds and rain, but missed the worst of the storm.

Radar view of storm splitting for us so we can safely proceed to Cape Fear, NC

As we got closer to shore, Al tried to raise TowBoat US on the radio to see if we could get them to bring us out a replacement fan belt. There was no answer to his hail so he called the Coast Guard and had them relay a message. Within a couple of hours we had a replacement part delivered to the boat (at no charge). It was a huge relief to get the part as it was getting dark. We were then able to speed up a little and as the seas calmed we finally reached the first markers. The Coast Guard stayed in touch with us all the way in to make sure we were safe.

When we arrived we called Customs and they sent an officer out to clear us an hour later. We had a quick celebratory drink with Dave and Corinne after we cleared customs then fell asleep as soon as our heads hit the pillows, exhausted after 3 days with only short naps between watches.

We spent two days in Southport before beginning our up the Intercoastal Waterway. So far we have each grounded out once (briefly) and Dave experienced some engine problems. The weather has been wet and cold and winds and current always seem to be against us. All of these factors are affecting our progress.
Janice getting her hair done in Wrightsville Beach, it has been a while.

We pulled into Oriental, NC early Sunday afternoon rather than continuing on slamming into wind and waves on the Pamlico Sound. Dave and Al went into town and picked up a few bargains at the marine consignment store.