2007 Departure

Leg 1: Departure

Sept 2007

Port Credit Ontario to Oswego NY state to New York City

Sept 29th 2007

Port Credit to Oswego:
Our trip down the Erie barge canal started this morning at around 9:30 am EST, the forecast called for light winds for the next 24 hrs with bright sunshine and clear skies for the whole 24 hr period. Temperatures should be mild around 20 Celsius during the day and 8 Celsius during the night ( we will have to bundle up)

This will be our first 24 hr run of our eastbound voyage and because the mast is laying horizontal on crutches above the deck we had to make sure we have very calm waters for the next 24 hrs.

Heading out from Port Credit

October 3, 2007

Still in Oswego NY:
We arrived here in 23 hrs; we tied up at the east wall in town at 08:30 hrs of Sunday morning. The trip was mostly fine except that it got very cold and rolly at around 02:00 hrs on Sunday. Daniel on the Formosa Ketch “PROST” came in at 14:00 hrs on the same day we arrived.

Why are we still here you might ask, well three times lucky comes to mind. On the way from Port Credit, I notice that the belt on the engine driven watermaker was a little loose. In Oswego I decided to tighten it up a little bit to my amazement I found that one of the engine studs that the watermaker mount is attached to, sheared off just above the nut.

After some consultation with a diesel mechanic, it was decided that it would be better to relocate the high-pressure pump to another location. So I decided to make a mount on the floor leading into the engine room, this location would be very easy for inspection and periodic belt adjustment. Now to do this I had to look around for a new belt (shorter than the previous and also a couple of strips of ½” thick aluminium flat bar. I found the belt right here in Oswego, at a Napa store but the aluminium, I was told to head down to Fulton where I might find some at a fabrication shop. Now I don’t understand how I would find it in Fulton and not in a larger town like Oswego, well we will find out today as we plan to head down to the smaller town.

Exiting one of the locks on the way south
Exiting one of the locks on the way south

All in all, it has been a nice time here in Oswego, the harbour has some charm to it with the so-called haunted lighthouse in the background and all the old churches and buildings. We took a bus to Lowes (like Home Depot) to get some fasteners, bus ride cost 60c each way and you get a non-narrative tour of the town as the bus zigzags in and out of the main road into the side streets, around shopping malls and around the box stores.

On another note the head has been fixed after three tries yesterday which almost drove me to drink, water was backing in and I changed all the necessary parts but it took three tries to get it working right, I should have done this in Port Credit.

October 3, 2007

Oswego to Fulton:
The day started not at all too good, Lillian had already let go of the bowline and pulled it onboard and I was doing likewise at the stern when all of a sudden the line I was pulling onboard decided to knot itself on its own (David Copperfield I know how you do all those tricks) and catch the cleat, Lillian saw this and with her quick thinking she managed to hook the bow cleat with the boat hook that she had close by. I jumped down to the dock unhooked the stern line hopped back on board and away we went.

The wind was just howling from the SSE at around 15 to 20 knots, imagine white caps in Oswego harbour.

We were having difficulty every time we enter a lock, the wind kept trying to toss us around and looking at the mast protruding out forward of the bow by about 8 ft it sort of energizes itself to be magnetized by the metal lock chamber, it was like fatal attraction of sort, “you can’t go I am going to pull you in and smash the living daylights against my hard steel walls.” At one lock that we entered, Lillian & I each grabbed a drop line and I could see Lillian straining herself to keep the boat from going to the other side of the lock, at one point she started yelling that she couldn’t hold on any longer when all of a sudden the bow came back to the port side.

The number 3 lock was the worst, as we had to go in on the starboard side, which is not the best side to tie up Maltese Falcon. The prop walk is to port on this baby so here we go, coming in slowly at reduced speed I tell Lillian to grab the second pipe and I will grab the first pipe, so Lillian grabs the second and I go to grab the first pipe and it is about 10 ft behind me, miscalculation of distance between pipes, I tried in vain to get the boat under control but the wind started to toss the stern and in the process hit the mast at the bow scraping the lock wall in the process, no we did not damage the lock wall, I don’t care much for the lock walls at this point in my life, remember these are steel walls. Well, we managed to get to the next pipes which were closer together, lifted up about 19 ft an exited the lock with no more mishaps. Tied up south of the lock at the town of Fulton NY and on inspection found that the only damage was to an old VHF antenna bracket that was bent a little, got it fixed in place and that was it.

We took a walk to the metal fabrication shop and picked up the material I needed for the water-maker bracket, went around town and then stopped at Price Choppers for some beer, bought 30 cans of Labatt’s Blue for $16.00, we love our government in Canada with all the taxes we pay him.

So, all in all, it was a hectic day but also ended on a good note.

The moral of the story is: Do not do the locks in high winds.

Firetruck parade at Waterford

October 4th 2007

Fulton To Waterford on the Hudson River:
The weather has been great with plenty of sunshine and sometimes, unbearable heat. For this time of the year, it has been above normal temperatures.

The locks have been friendlier these times than the previous and the new paint on the Maltese Falcon is still intact.

We stopped and tied up for the night at the free dock at Sylvan Beach on the east end of Lake Oneida. The lake was very calm but hazy on that day and we had to keep a good lookout for the markers as the haze was blanketing our vision.

The next day we headed out early and then stopped for the night at the new town dock just west of lock #17 in Little Falls, showers and a nice dock cost $10.00 per night, you can also opt for water and power for an extra fee.

Here in Little Falls is the most amazing lock, this is one of the highest locks in the world with a drop or lift of 40.5ft (12.34m), The East door lifts up out of the way with a concrete counter balance and you drive the boat under this contraption, just an amazing piece of engineering work.

The next morning we got to the first opening of Little Falls Lock 17 at 7:00 am, we both stood in awe as we went through it, carried on in some fog till about 10:00 am.

The weather was still hot and muggy when we got to Amsterdam, tied up for free at the town dock west of lock # 11 for the night, it is a little noisy here with all the train traffic passing by within a hundred yards from the dock, I was awakened a few times thinking another boat was coming crashing into us.

Amsterdam used to be the carpet capital of the USA but since the free trade with Mexico, all of the manufacturers moved out, leaving the town empty. But progress is being made in the tourism sector so there is some hope.

The next day we got into the lock at 7:00 am in the company of Dream Catcher both of us heading to Waterford. We passed through some beautiful settings and also a few large estates with waterfront properties.

What an amazing site from the top of lock # 6, this is the first lock that takes you down the “flight of five” as it is known. Five locks within a few hundred feet of each other with a total drop of about 200 feet ending down at Waterford where the Mohawk River feeds into the mighty Hudson River.

We tied up at the town dock and spent a week there, a great place to provision as two large supermarkets are within walking distance letting you bring the shopping cart to the marina and then the supermarket employees will pick them up once a week.

On our last day in Waterford, we were treated to a heritage show a parade consisting of marching bands and a number of old fire engines some of them over 200 years old and also the first steam-powered fire engine built by the Button Fire Engine Co. in 1871 and still in working condition.

In The Big Apple

The weather has turned a little dryer and cooler making it more comfortable.

October 15th 2007

Waterford to New York City:
We let go of the lines and headed out of Waterford at 0640 hrs to get to the last lock, # 1 is in Troy NY for the 0700 hrs opening. The plan was to head down the Hudson River to Catskill Creek and spend the night at Hop-E-Nose Marina, where the next day in the afternoon the mast will be stepped.

As it turns out the tide was with us all the way and so we made really good time, we arrived at the Marina at 1330 hrs. and were told by the marina operator that he would step our mast as soon as he finished with the other boat he was working on.

By 1500 hrs. the mast was stepped, so Lillian and I proceeded to tune the rig, install the sails and running rigging. All was complete by 1800 hrs. so we headed for the showers and then went to town for a nice Sicilian pizza.

The next day we headed down the river with very nice weather, not too hot and not too cold. At 1500 hrs. we got permission to tie up the New Hamburg Yacht Club at the town with the same name. This time of year most yacht clubs let you stay free, as they are mostly empty.

The next day we headed out early, as we had to stop at Haverstraw to pick up new fenders from a marine store. We got the okay to tie up for a couple of hours at the Haverstraw Marina from where we took a taxi to the marine store got our goods back to the boat and headed south towards the Big Apple (New York City). Past by the amazing area of West Point. While under the George Washington Bridge the tide flow was reading 3.5 knots all the way down to the 79th Street Boat Basin where we picked up a mooring at 1745 hrs. After we settled down we opened a bottle of South African Shiraz and had some cheese and crackers, a perfect end to the day sitting in the cockpit of our home watching the lights come on in NY City and the ferry traffic up and down the Hudson. Sleep was not that easy here as the motion from the ferries and the current made for a rolly night so the next day we decided to head down the river to Great Kill Harbour on Staten Island, this is a well-protected harbour with very good holding. On the way down we passed many large merchant ships with containers way above deck level. We anchored at the NE of the harbour at 1100 hrs.

Here we pay $5.00 a day to the Great Kills Yacht Club for the use of the dingy dock and showers.

From here we made several visits to NY City and to the town of Great Kills. We made contact with Herb Hilgenberg our weatherman in Canada for the first time on October the 25th to look for a weather window as of this writing on October 28th, we are still looking at tropical depression developing near the Mona Passage in the Caribbean so I think we will be here a little longer. Until then enjoy the pictures. Next time we will be writing about our second led to Bermuda.

Heading south of New York City