Wednesday, October 4, 2017


On 8/02/17 we got a slip at the Buffalo Launch Club (BLC) on Grand Island and stayed for 8 days. The first evening we met Juli’s two cousins, Mary and Sue and their husbands, Joe and Bill. We had a delicious meal and enjoyed reminiscing. The following day we, along with Skipper and Sadie, became guests of Juli’s friends, Pat and Dave Crockett.  The dogs really enjoyed having a fenced yard to roam.  Pat generously lent us her car and we visited the renovated Buffalo waterfront area. We took a boat tour of the Buffalo River (highly recommended by Juli’s cousins) and learned about the history of Buffalo as a grain storage and transshipment port. We saw many remaining grain silos and smelled the sweet aroma of the Cheerios cereal facility. We did some sightseeing by car including Red Jacket’s grave in historic Forest Lawn Cemetery.  Juli also showed John around her former neighborhoods in Tonawanda and North Tonawanda.  We visited the American side at Niagara Falls and although it was not new to us, it was still beautiful and enjoyable.  John got to try some real Buffalo food – beef on weck and a custard sundae for dessert at Anderson’s.  We met Juli’s friends, Janice and Jim for a delicious fish fry.        
On 8/10/17 we left BLC and motored to Tonawanda and the entrance of the Erie Canal. Then we proceeded east on the canal to Middleport where we tied up to the free wall for the night. They request a donation for the electric and wall and we left $15.00.
On 8/11/17 Dutchess continued on the canal to a stop in Spencerport. They were having an October Fest so we locked the dogs in the boat and went to the Fest. John had some Bratwurst and Juli had Cheddar Brat. All was served with German potato salad and then dessert and of course BEER.
On 8/12/17 we travelled east on the Erie Canal to Newark, NY passing thru locks 33, 32, 30, 29. We had stopped in Palmyra free wall but there was no space due to their Pirate’s Day Festival. Newark was a good FREE stop with showers, bathroom.
On 8/13/17 we passed thru locks 28B, 28A, 27, 26, 25 and passed the entrance to the Cayuga Seneca Canal and stopped on the free wall in Baldwinsville at 1819, a long day. There was a bit of excitement late that night when John heard a man and woman screaming for help.  It turned out that a paralyzed woman in a wheelchair was fishing along the canal around midnight and fell about 8ft into the canal.  John called 911 and gave the police his rope to keep her from going under!
On 8/15/17 we proceeded east on the Erie Canal and thru lock #24. We crossed  the Three Rivers area which is where the Seneca, Oneida and Oswego Rivers join. The Oswego River is also the Oswego Canal which takes you to Lake Ontario. The Seneca River flows from Lake Seneca to this junction and is part of the Erie Canal, the Oneida River flows to Oneida Lake and also is part of the Erie Canal. Then thru Lock 23 and a slip in the Esskay Marina in Brewerton at 1355.
On 8/16/17 we left Esskay Marina and at 1235, entered Oneida Lake and exited the lake at 1500. At only 1520 we tied up to the free wall in Sylvan Beach. There are no electrical plugs here so we lived on batteries that night, (when we stop the batteries are charged by solar panels and when the engine is running the alternator, a 100 amp Balmar, charges the batteries).
On 8/17/17 Dutchess motored further East on the Canal thru lock #22 and #21. We tried to stop at the free wall in Herkimer but ran aground 20’ from the wall. By gunning the motor and using the bow thruster we were able to twist out of the muck and proceed down the canal. We arrived at lock 18 by 1645 but the operator said he closes at 1700 and would not lock us thru. We and another sailboat spent the night at the free lock wall, again without electric.
On 8/18/17 Dutchess passed thru locks #18, #17, #16, #15, #14 and tied up to free docks at a very nice park in Canajoharie. John took Skipper for a long walk in town and when he returned to the park there was a lady there with a Dalmatian. The two dogs got along famously and we let them both loose and they ran around at full speed getting some needed exercise. Sadie was not interested in cavorting with the hooligans! Juli and John had dinner at Gino’s in town. John had Lasagna and Juli had Baked Ziti with meatball. Juli had leftovers to take to the boat but John ate it all.
On 8/19/17 Dutchess went all the way to Schenectady Yacht Club passing thru locks #13, #12, #11, #10, #9, and #8. SYC is a nice club stretched along the Mohawk River which is part of the Erie Canal.
On 8/20/17 we motored down the Mohawk to Waterford and passed thru locks #7, #6, #5, #4, #3, and #2. The last 5 of these is called the flight of 5, since they are very close together and each drops about 40 feet. We arrived in Waterford at 1300 and we decided to stay at their free dock and rest for the remainder of the day. We had dinner out at McGreavies.
On 8/21/17 Monday (Eclipse Day) we proceeded down the Hudson to the Poughkeepsie Yacht Club (PYC) Dutchess’ home port. At 1038 Dutchess locked thru the Federal Lock at Troy which is also lock #1 on the Erie Canal and we were in tidal waters again. The Indians called the Hudson the river that flows both ways downstream and upstream. The current was downstream when we exited the lock but quickly changed to upstream current and as we proceeded downriver the tide changed again. Against the current we only did about 5 knots but with the current we hit 8.1 and 8.5 knots. It took us 9 hours which is good timing.
We were now completely done with locks and Juli was not sad about that. She tends to the lines when in the locks and after doing approximately 100 locks on this trip, she has become a lock expert!
We stayed at Poughkeepsie Yacht Club until September 29 doing lots of work on the boat. We first tanked 60 gallons diesel and pumped out the holding tank. Then with the help of Ernie Klopping, John made a mast cart similar to the ones we saw in Toronto at the Mimico Cruising Club. The cart makes it much easier to transport the mast from the storage barn to the travel life well.  The actual transport was easy -- we loaded the mast in the barn onto the cart using the Case loader. Then we tied one end into the Case bucket on an old boat cushion and Richie backed the Case down the hill across the railroad tracks and into the PYC boat yard on the level. John rigged the mast with all the lights and spreaders. With the help of some club members we rolled the mast on the cart to the boat. The boat was brought into the travel lift well and the travel lift crane hoisted the mast vertical and the members guided it into the mast hole. John guided the mast below deck into the mast step and then we all attached the cutter stay, the stern stay and the upper shrouds. Now the mast was stable and the boat could be moved before the tide dropped and trapped Dutchess in the well. Once back in the slip John adjusted and attached all the other shrouds and the bow stay with the Schaefer Furler .
Then it was time to set the sails which Juli and John did together. The roller furled jib went on first which was enough work for one day. The main sail is a Doyle Stackpack and is a heavy assembly of the Main Sail, Sail Cover and Lazy Jacks all sewn together. We needed the help of the winches to haul it up to the boom to get the boom slugs slid in and then use the halyards to pull the mast slugs into the mast track. We had to wait for a quiet day to do this since a large sail is tough to handle, even a light breeze. Once the Main was up it was only a question of tuning the rigging and other minor lines. In order to attach the Lazy Jacks, John needed to ascend the full height of the mast – 56 ft!! Another club member helped with this process.

While at the club, we attended a pig roast, the 125th Anniversary Party, and a breakfast. We also took John’s granddaughter, Haley, and her boyfriend out to dinner and met up with John’s sons.  We visited John’s sister in Unadilla, NY and his brother came to visit us at the club. Pat Smalley lent us a car for the duration of our stay making it so convenient to get around town- thank you Pat!

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

On 7/25/17 Dutchess traveled from Cobourg Municipal Marina to Port Whitby Marina. We had a nice ride in Lake Ontario, with the wind blowing off the land we had almost no waves. This made Skipper very happy.
On 7/26/17 motored to Mimico Cruising Club
Mimico Cruising Club

Toronto Skyline from Lake Ontario
(located in Etobicoke, a suburb of Toronto) following the northern shore of Lake Ontario. Mimico C.C. is west of Toronto proper. We passed Toronto and saw the beautiful and impressive skyline immediately as we started out. It started out a bit rolly with the waves on the stern, but quieted down about halfway. Juli walked about a mile to get a mani/pedi/facial in Etobicoke and Sadie also had a day of beauty at the groomer.  We also toured Toronto on a bus – what a huge, friendly, vibrant city!  We especially enjoyed the St Lawrence Market where food, Juli finally found Nainamo bars at a huge bakery (a sweet Canadian bar cookie from her childhood).
On 7/30/17 we sailed across Lake Ontario to St Catherines Marina.  We had a good quiet crossing of 4.2 hours traveling around 22 NM with the wind dropping to zero. This marina is very tight to maneuver in for a 44’ boat and they put us all the way in. This is the only marina near the Welland Canal. John found a long black hair in his Mexican dish that we got at the small food shop in the marina!  (other than that, the food was good – lol) We walked the dogs and then went to bed early because of an early start the next morning.
On7/31/17 we got up at 0530, started the engine almost immediately, left at 0600 and proceeded around the breakwater towards the Welland Canal. About a mile in there is a free wall for recreational vessels to tie up and wait for clearance to enter the canal. We arrived at the wall at 0645 and our helper, Bob Neff, drove up at the same time. We had hired Bob to help us thru the canal because they require a crew of at least three on each boat coming up the canal. The Canal goes from Lake Ontario to Lake Erie basically to get around Niagara Falls. The canal cost $200.00 CA if you book on-line and the guide costs $250.00CA or $200.00 US -- a short cut that costs $450.00CA! Bob called the Canal control and was given no time of transit. We hung out at the wall with a small racing sailboat until 2000 when we were given permission to enter lock number #1. These are huge locks for ocean going ships and “Lakers” with about a 40’ rise.
Welland Canal Lock Doors

Welland Canal Lock
Two sailboats were dwarfed in these dark canyons. Because the lock is so large it takes a while to fill to the next level and they fill them fast with roiling water and currents bouncing the boat around. Being on deck was a bit scary for Juli as the boat rocked back and forth in the dark. Juli handled the line on the bow, Bob was on the stern line, and John stayed on the engine controls to keep the boat stationary. It was very dark and difficult to find the lines that were lowered to us.  The locks are close together which kept Juli on the bow until after Lock 7. After lock 7, around 1400, Bob was paid and he left the boat to return home. We proceeded to lock 8 which took about 2 hrs. We were told to tie to the wall and wait for a Laker to come out of lock 8. We waited for 30 minutes and we got the green light to proceed under the bridge and into the lock. In lock #8 we did not have to be controlled by lines and simply drifted around because it is only a 4’ lift. They extended a basket to us and Juli placed the proof of payment papers and a completed questionnaire in the basket. We had The Active Captain information showing a free wall to tie to once out of the Canal. Juli lassoed a bollard to stop the boat which only gave us one dock line. The wall was 5’ above the deck so John climbed up to tie the boat and rappelled back down into the boat - working on pure adrenaline now! We went to bed at 1630 with our clothes on, dead tired and very cold – but we made it!
The next morning at 0900 we were awakened by a shout and found a 200’ Canadian Coast Guard Cutter next to us. We were informed that we were in his spot. We untied immediately and got away from there – lol.
On 08/01/17  we took a short ride to Sugarloaf Marina in Port Colborne. They gave us an easy long dock to tie to. Still tired we napped most of the day. Then got some showers and dinner at the restaurant in the Marina. We both had Lake Erie Perch and a nice cold beer.

On 08/02/17 Dutchess reentered the USA at Buffalo NY, an easy trip on Lake Erie. We first pulled into the Erie Basin Marina to connect to US Immigration and report in. We saw a green uniformed US Customs officer but he could not help and told us to use the video phone on the wall. You guessed it – the phone did not work!  We left the marina and proceeded on to the Buffalo Launch Club where we had reservations to dock. To avoid the currents in the river, we took the Black Rock Canal and the Lock which parallels the river. We had a speedy transit under 2 bridges that opened for us and thru the Black Rock Lock (say that 3 times on the VHF!). At the BLC we tied to C dock which is a short walk to their beautiful club house complete with dining room, bar, pool, tennis courts, a dog walk area, and nice outdoor seating areas. We reached Customs from here via cell phone – quick and easy.

Monday, July 24, 2017

On 7/4/17 We left Smith Falls for Newboro and stayed on the lower wall of Lock 36. On the way, we went thru detached Locks 31 and 32, and thru Rideau Lake. We thought it was deep when we saw depths of 240’ but then it went to 409’ and then 476 ‘ thru lock 35 and lock 36. Locks 33 and 34 are on the Tay Canal which is a side channel. (Juli’s picture) The view here was nothing short of idyllic. This is a beautiful canal trip with some narrow canal-like sections connecting various lakes. It was designed for steam boats and therefore does not have tow paths. In Newboro we had a problem leaving because of heavy weeds and shallow water. Dutchess would not back up, so I made a U-turn and almost got stuck but plowed thru the weeds and mud to deeper water. It helps to have a 24” motor boat propeller and 65 horsepower diesel.
On 7/5/17 we traveled to the upper wall at Jones Falls Lock 39. We passed thru Newboro Lake, Clear Lake, Indian Lake, Chaffey Lock 37, Murphy’s Bay on Opinico Lake, Davis Lock 38, and Sand Lake. At Davis Lock we were told that the Jones Falls Locks had problems and therefore we could not travel to Kingston that day. We tied up at the upper wall because we were told the lower wall was already full. We old people took a nice afternoon nap. Later I walked with Skipper and found that there was plenty of space, and even a small marina with power and a restaurant, near the lower wall. Oh well . . .
On 7/6/17 we proceeded to lock thru all of Jones Falls locks # 39, 40, 41, 42 and finished them by 1140. Then into White Fish Lake, Little Cranberry Lake, Brass Point Swing Bridge, Cranberry Lake, and decided to stay at the gray line dock at the upper wall of Brewers Lock #43 with power! The docks with a gray line painted on them are overnight docks provided by Parks Canada; the docks with a blue line painted on them are designated for boats awaiting clearance to lock thru. Parks Canada does a superb job with these areas – they are clean and planted with beautiful flowers and grassy areas and include park benches, grills, and lovely scenery.  Restrooms are available 24/7.
On 7/7/17 we locked thru the Brewers Mills Lock #44. As the biggest boat, Dutchess enters first followed by the others. We promptly enter a lock when the gates open and grab the ropes available to hold us steady and then wait for the others to come in. In Brewers Lock we waited ½ hour for 2 small cruisers to untie from the gray line and come into the lock. Amateurs! Annoying to be held up unnecessarily. We passed thru Lower Brewers Lock #45 into the River Styx, very shallow and weedy, (We hit a submerged log but no damage),  and into Colonel By Lake (he designed the Rideau Canal) and finally thru Kingston Mills Lock. We were now done with the Rideau Canal.  It was sad to leave the peaceful, gorgeous scenery behind and find a super highway just off our starboard side!
To get to Kingston we had to pass thru a causeway that has a lift bridge and a fixed bridge. The Bascule bridge would not open for an hour so we carefully tried the fixed bridge and only slightly touched the VHF antenna on the concrete over head. WHEW!
We stayed in the City of Kingston Confederation Marina for 3 nights. They charged for 50’ at a cost of $124.70 per day. The annual Bruskers Rendezvous was underway on closed streets and in the waterfront park in front of City Hall. It included jugglers, acrobats, food, music, and street performers of all kinds. On the second day we took a bus tour of the city and stopped at Fort Henry where we had lunch, then back on the bus to the marina.
On 7/10/16 we left for Gananoque. As I backed out, the bow of the boat quickly swung to the left where a new Beneteau was parked. My anchors slightly bent two of his stanchions. At first, I thought that the wind had turned Dutchess but then Juli informed me that the rear ball fender had been caught on a cleat which rotated Dutchess to port. The blue ball fender has a 1” indent where it was impaled on the cleat, a freak accident that I could never repeat, I hope. We exchanged information with the Beneteau but have not heard from him since.
We arrived at Gananoque Municipal Marina and stayed for 3 nights at a cost of $268.49Ca. We enjoyed brick oven pizza one night at a funky little place called the Purple House.  It was far superior to other Canadian pizza we have tried. We finished it off with some local brews that were excellent (actually had a bit too much – lol) We took a tour boat to the Thousand Islands and Boldt Castle.  The castle was originally being constructed as a gift of love to Boldt’s wife, Louise. When she died unexpectedly just prior to completion, he halted construction and was so heartbroken that he never returned to the island. The castle fell into disrepair and was even vandalized. More recently the Thousand Islands Bridge Authority (USA and Canada) has taken ownership and is meticulously completing and restoring the grounds and structures according to Boldt’s architectural and decorating plans. It is gorgeous. He was a well-known New York and Philadelphia hotel entrepreneur and popularized Thousand Island dressing!
On 7/13/17 we crossed back into the USA at Clayton NY. I was running low on my medicines and could not refill on Canada. I found Kinney Drugs in Clayton and rode there on my bicycle twice. Twice because we had to wait for authorization from the doctors. When you cross to the USA of course you have to check in with US Customs which we did using a video phone. We only had the slip for one night because the marina was fully rented to “poker race” participants. (a charity fundraiser for owners of high speed boats) But I managed to get my drugs and vacate our spot on time! Stopped at RJ Marine for diesel and tanked 53 gallons at $3.34 per gallon - total $181.56 -  good USA pricing.
On 7/14/17 we cruised back to Kingston Ontario and stayed one night. I told them that Dutchess is 46 feet overall and was charged for that length, not paying for the dinghy overhang and the clipper-style bow. This time the cost was $115.52 Ca for the slip. (Have to beat them at their own game!)
On 7/15/17 Dutchess motored to Picton, Ontario on a beautiful day on the North Channel of Lake Ontario and into the Bay of Quinte and then into Picton Bay -- a nice 5-hour run. We secured a slip at the Prince Edward Yacht Club, a very friendly place, but due to flooding the hydro (electricity on the docks) was not operational. The unusually high temperatures resulted in sticky, hot weather in the boat when the A/C could not be used They charged $25.00 for the first night and zero the 2nd and then 1.65/ft x 44’ total $170.18Ca. We stayed an extra day for $81.40.
John met a fellow Dutchman and his wife, Martin and Rita Weiland, who have been in Canada since 1958. They spent some time reminiscing in Dutch and then he offered the use of his car for the next day. Juli had ancestors from Picton, a maternal great- grandmother and great-grandfather. We managed to find the family gravesite and the stained-glass window in St. Gregory the Great Catholic Church that is dedicated to Susan O’Hagan, Juli’s great-grandmother. We restocked the boat with consumables and brought the car back to Martin. Martin and Rita also took us out to dinner in Picton. The plan was for each couple to cover their own bill, but when it was time to pay, he informed us that the bill was paid. He would not hear of me paying anything. We also visited their lovely home and gardens and were given a bottle of homemade wine. We made some good friends with Martin and Rita.
On 7/20/17 we sailed to Trenton, Ontario by going through the Bay of Quinte. It started out a nice day but then turned windy with heavy rain for 2 hours before finally clearing and becoming a beautiful day. So goes the weather on the Great Lakes!

On 7/23/17 we motored to Cobourg, Ontario. This trip was thru the Murray Canal which has no locks but does have two swing bridges that need to be opened. They were promptly opened as we approached. Then into Lake Ontario proper with 10 to 15 knot winds over the stern. We were followed by 2 to 4-foot waves which helped to push us along, surfing down the waves. (Poor Skipper did NOT enjoy this portion of the trip!) We entered the narrow entrance of the breakwater with following seas and found our slip, G200.

Sunday, July 9, 2017


We stayed 12 days at St Lambert but only were charged for 10 total cost $440.00. We had a nice long rest here particularly trying to rest my left knee and it got better. Paul took us on a day trip around Montreal in his car and he also joined us for a bus tour of the city. He also took us shopping to stock the boat. Paul insisted that we try the Montreal specialties Smoked Meat Sandwich which is similar to Pastrami and Poutine which is French fries with Gravy and Cheese Curd all delicious. We also spent some great time with John’s Canadian/Dutch cousin, Gerry Doche. We went out to dinner twice and she had us over for a delectable dinner at her house. One of the dinners was for Juli’s birthday, she had Filet Mignon, and Gerry and John had Rack of Lamb and we all enjoyed Profiteroles for dessert. Gerry also took Juli for a pedicure and grocery shopping when we first got to St Lambert.
We left St Lambert on the 6/17/17 and headed for Lachine Marina which is Paul’s home base. It cost us $273.24ca for three nights. We enjoyed a long walk with the dogs and John had his first bike ride of the trip. Paul took us for a beautiful ride along Lac St Louis to St Anne De Bellevue where we each had a huge portion of Fish and Chips in one of the many waterfront restaurants.
On 6/20/17 we sailed Lac St Louis (a wide section of the St Lawrence) to St Anne De Bellevue on the Ottawa River and tied to the wall before the lock. John paid for a season mooring pass for all Canadian park facilities at the cost of $391.60 ca--we hope to make good use of the pass.
On 6/22/17 we sailed up the river to Carillon, a very deep lock that lifts boats over 40’. We stayed the night at the lock wall in front of the big lock door and adjacent to a huge Hydroelectric Plant. Incidentally, Canadians call electric power “Hydro” because it all comes from waterpower. The next morning, we entered the lock with a number of other boats. We were rafted to a large power cruiser and they had to handle the lock ropes for both boats. Dutchess had to leave first because we were in the middle, then all the power boats had to pass us once outside the lock with large wakes rocking us each time. Later we passed the big cruiser which appeared to be dead in the water???
On 6/23/17 sailed to Marina Kitchissippi. Unfortunately, the marina was undergoing major repairs following recent flooding. The lower floor was completely gutted which resulted in a lack of laundry facilities and only old showers with exposed wooden walls, standing water and little privacy – YUCK! No discounts despite the decrepit facilities. Thankfully other boaters were friendly and one even took John into Ottawa to do some much-needed grocery shopping. Because of St John de Baptiste holiday all Quebec stores were closed, therefore we went to Ontario for groceries.
On 6/25/17 we proceeded up the Ottawa River to the city of Ottawa, Ontario – the capital of Canada.  Along the way we were afforded beautiful views of the city including Rideau Falls and the Parliament Buildings and Peace Tower. We turned towards the Rideau Canal and up the Flight of Eight – eight locks in a row in the city center. Navigating the Flight of Eight takes about 2 hours and we were exhausted when finished.  There were dark skies and thunder when we began, then the skies cleared and we were greeted by  sunshine and high temperatures, then another change to thunder, lightning, and heavy rain when we finished!    
On 6/28/17 we motored up the Rideau Canal to Hurst Marina in Kars, ON. On the way, I made an error in navigation and went under a bridge that only had 10’ clearance on the chart and must be raised to clear boats. I had read about a bridge to be raised but this bridge did not look like a movable bridge. It is a stone arch that looks solid but is actually on a steel frame, so I assumed that it must be at the 22’ that is normal on the Rideau, NOT! I aimed for the center of the arch and scraped my Radar off, broke a flag pole and busted the welds on the Solar Stick that holds some of my solar panels.  Only $3000 worth of damage if I fix it myself. Hurst Marina is one of the largest on the Rideau Canal with sales and service. The cost was $198.88ca for dockage, $81.82ca for 80.2 liters diesel and $20.00ca for pump out. There are also laundry facilities, showers and a pool. The rain was almost continuous while we were there, but we walked to a nearby restaurant, The Swan, that has a warm, English Pub-like atmosphere.
On 6/30/17 we proceeded up the Rideau Canal to Merrickville, Lock 21 and stopped on the lock wall. The small town is well-known for its many small and unusual shops and restaurants.  The weather cleared in the afternoon and we walked the dogs in town.  We stopped for home-made ice cream and Juli found a wonderful souvenir – a glass bowl formed to a piece of driftwood that was crafted in Bali.  Let’s hope it makes it to New Bern intact!
On 7/1/17 went up the canal to Smiths Falls and took a slip at Victoria Park Marina. Cost $1.46 per foot plus $8.84 for hydro total $82.60ca. per day and we stayed 3 days. It is a very nice park with a concession stand, swim dock, laundry, and shower facilities.  We were invited to “docktails” one evening with a couple we had met in Ottawa – fellow Loopers.  The weather finally cleared and we enjoyed plenty of warmth and sunshine!  Several stores are located about ½ mi. away and we were able to do some shopping at WalMart.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Lake Champlain to Montreal

We stayed two days at Chipman Point Marina because of the predicted high winds on May 25. Of course neither the winds nor the rain materialized and we felt sort of cheated by the Weather Bureau, but found out later that Burlington did get the weather which made our decision to stay prudent. CPM is an economical place to hang out at $1.25/ft./day or 55.00 plus 10.00 for pump out. The views of the mountains from the Marina were beautiful. The facilities are adequate with clean showers and $1.00 per load for washer and/ or dryer.
On May 26 we sailed north on Lake Champlain to Burlington, VT. It was a rainy day and we traveled with radar to check for other boats. The system worked perfectly in that the radar image fell exactly on the chart image. This is not always the case because the electronic charts are not always accurate while the radar shows exactly what is there. Our CMAP charts running in the SIMRAD chart plotter produced strange results. The buoys at one zoom level were reversed, the reds were on the green side and visa versa but when we zoomed in they were correct. I need to complain to CMAP. Lake Champlain is very deep and we saw one place with 452 foot depth. We stayed at the Ferry Dock Marina which was listed in Active Captain at $1.75/ft. but when we talked to the dock master they had changed the rate to $2.25/ft. The sign on our dock 10’ from the boat still showed the old rate but the DM would not honor that rate. I told him it was false advertising that didn’t help either. He blacked out the old rate while we were there. The on-site restaurant was being re-constructed, there were no showers, the restrooms were only open until 5 pm, and the docks were not completed making it necessary to jump over a 2-3 ft. gap in order to get onto land.

Despite all this we stayed 2 nights and thoroughly enjoyed the City of Burlington. There was a festival atmosphere since the Vermont Marathon was scheduled that weekend. Sadie and Skipper both took a dip in the lake at a small beach along the city walking trail. Skipper and John walked to a dog park where Skipper could run loose. It was warm so Skipper only lasted 30 minutes running at full tilt. Juli and John took the free shuttle bus to the end of the line at the University of Vermont.  It is a lovely campus.  We returned by bus to Church St. – the main pedestrian walkway which is full of interesting shops and restaurants.  The area is lively and full of people.  Burlington is clean with beautiful flowers everywhere – it is well worth a visit if you ever have the opportunity.
On Sunday, May 28 we filled up with diesel at 35.6 gallons for $93.98, the lowest rate until we return to NYS. Then we proceeded North on the Lake to Gaines Marina at Rouses Point, NY. They charged us for the length of the dock rather than the length of the boat at $1.50/ft. x 50-10% AGLCA discount =$69.98. It was a calm, sunny day with almost no waves.
On May 29 Dutchess sailed into Canada. We approached the Canadian Customs Dock in a gale and had to make a u-turn to approach facing into the wind. The customs officers were helpful in tying up the boat. The entry process went smoothly despite the fact that Skipper escaped to land – thank goodness Paul cornered him quickly. John had all the boat and dog papers in folders and asked to go inside the office to keep them from flying away. We showed our passports and discussed ship’s stores and then were sent on our way, an easy peasy process. We can only hope that entry back into the USA goes as smoothly! We proceeded to St Jean de Richelieu Marina. The marina has been totally refurbished with a new restaurant attached. The next day the wind was gusting up to 30 knots and John decided not to attempt to approach the bridge/canal. Therefore, we stayed 2 nights at the marina at a cost of $101(Canadian). Two of Paul’s nieces met us at the boat and took Paul and Juli on a grocery shopping expedition.  We really appreciated their help with transportation since some supplies were running low.  Merci beaucoup! The next morning we were told that the Bascule bridge Number 12 on the Chambly Canal was not operational and it has a very low clearance. Dutchess moved to the village dock to await word on the bridge. The dock was free because the bridge was stuck. We were promised that a crane would come at 1500 to lift the bridge but no crane showed until the next day. At 0930 on June 1, the crane moved onto the road and pulled the bridge up enough to clear the assembled boats.


Six boats passed under the bridge, two entered ECLUSE #9 and 4 of us tied to docks to await the next locking. Then two more locked thru and then the final two. They required that we all stay together so they could open the many bridges just one time for the group.
Finally, by 1430 we tied up at Chambly above the last 3 locks. All of the locks on the Chambly Canal have a nice well maintained park adjacent and this was no exception. We stayed here at Paul’s request because he has relatives in the area and the dock is level with the downtown. They charged $39.80 Canadian for the night. Paul thought we would do the last 3 locks in the morning at 0900 but they made us wait until other boats came down and we locked thru at 1330. Why??? No idea.
On June 2 we proceeded thru the last three locks of the Chambly Canal and down to St. Ours Lock where we were too late to go thru. We tied Dutchess to the wall before the lock for the night. They charged $0.90 Canadian/ ft. plus taxes it totals $39.80 for the night on a concrete wall with no services. In Canada everything has two sales taxes added national and provincial.


On June 3 we went thru the St Ours lock and into the lower part of the Richelieu River to Saurel Marina in Sorel on the St Lawrence. Going down the Richelieu River we encountered two cable ferries, the first did not see us and he started across when we were 100 ft. away. Paul was driving and he immediately stopped the boat by going into reverse and revving the engine then the cable ferry reversed to drop the cable in front of us and we coasted across the cable. They can be dangerous because the cable hangs below the water surface. At Saurel Marina we did pump out and topped up the diesel. The diesel costs 1.15/liter for 45.9 liter it cost 52.79, pump out was only $5.00 for both tanks. The Marina dockage was $98.65 for the night. We each had a hamburger for dinner at the attached restaurant “Le Belvedere.” It turned into 3 hour dinner?!?!? Why did it take 2 hours to burn 2 hamburgers? Juli did sneak out with a souvenir Stella Artois glass however. She had cleared it with the bartender.
On June 4 we left Sorel with the intention of going thru the St Lambert Lock and to stop at the St Lambert Marina. However, the heavy current in the St Lawrence Seaway slowed us to 4 to 5 knots and we arrived at the lock just before 1700. They require that pleasure boats tie to docks provided and call them on a phone mounted on the wall. But the steps leading to the phone were under water! They also do not answer the VHF so we had no communication. We untied the boat and proceeded to the lock entrance and floated around hoping to attract attention. The lock gates were open but the light was red. Finally an employee showed up in a pickup truck and told us that the lock is closed at 1700 to pleasure craft. Now we went down river and entered Marina Real Bouvier in Longueuil QC and begged them for a slip. They were full but they allowed us to stay at the fuel dock with no electric but at the full price of $96.12 - nice of them.

The next day June 5, we motored to the lock and again tied up to the dock with another sailboat and a tour boat. We waited about 15 minutes being given the all clear to enter the lock. It was an easy process as we rose up in the lock. They provide the ropes which they throw down to the boat, you need gloves because the ropes are rough. When you get to the top they require payment of $30.00 Can. in cash. Each of the Seaway locks charge the same. After leaving the lock we motored only about a mile and into the St Lambert Yacht Club. They only charge $1.00 per foot per day and we pay when we leave. It is now Sunday June 11 and we are still here resting up and visiting John’s cousin Gerry Doche and the City of Montreal. Our crewman Paul Berthe, who has been with us for 2 months, is a resident of Montreal and he has left the boat to return to his life. 

Thursday, May 25, 2017


We stayed at the Poughkeepsie Yacht Club April 30 through May 17. The sails and mast were removed in preparation for our upcoming travels under low bridges, through locks, and narrow canals.  Thanks to help from club members, the mast was safely stored in the club barn.

The sails are stored in Ernie Klopping’s workshop until our return. It was a helluva lot of work!!  John and Paul spent two days sewing new heavy-duty zippers on the boat’s vinyl cockpit enclosure. The zippers were worn out after John’s 6000 mile loop trip around the USA  --  and his sail-maker’s sewing machine helped get the job done. They also crafted a canvas closure in an attempt to keep Sadie, the wandering dog, on board. She had jumped off the boat and followed Juli’s scent along two docks, into the club, and down the basement stairs to the laundry where Juli was doing wash. (Dogs are not allowed inside the club – whoops!) We travel with two dogs Sadie is Juli’s dog (20lbs) a Cavachon (Cavalier King Charles Spaniel + Bichon Frise) and Skipper is John’s dog (60lbs) from the Poughkeepsie ASPCA he is a Lab Boxer ???? mix. Normally Sadie needs to be lifted on and off the boat while Skipper can leap on and off with ease.
We finally left the Club on May 18 and made a short trip to Kingston.  John wanted to stop there in remembrance of his career as City Engineer.  The stop was costly, however, at $2/ft in the Kingston Municipal Marina. There was another CSY parked nearby. It appeared to be the original layout as opposed to Dutchess which John redesigned and upgraded over 8 years under a tent at PYC.
On May 19, we cruised to Catskill and got a free slip at the Catskill Yacht Club under the reciprocity agreement among members of the Mohawk Hudson Council of Yacht Clubs. Juli and John had a good dinner of fish and chips at the Creekside Restaurant located next door. Skipper and John spotted a beaver eating weeds along the shore of the Catskill Creek.
On May 20, we cruised to Waterford NY via Federal Lock #1 on the Hudson River where the Erie and Champlain Canals begin.  We happened upon CANALFEST celebrating the 200th anniversary of the Erie Canal. There were many vendors, music and food on the Village docks. It was very crowded and festive with beautiful weather. We ate at a Greasy spoon in the village and John and Paul returned for breakfast the next morning (Juli declined). We stayed two nights on the free docks and spent our time walking the dogs and enjoying the scenery.
On May 22, we travelled on the Champlain Canal and passed thru Locks 1C, 2C, 3C, 4C, 5C, 6C to Fort Edward. Juli learned how to secure the boat in the locks using the ropes or pipes which are part of the lock; Paul was the teacher. We tied up on the free wall in Fort Edward which includes free electric. Free is good. It was a dreary day but Juli and John walked to Stewarts for ice cream after supper. We walked the dogs in the rain- not pleasant to have wet dogs on board.
On May 23, we sailed to Whitehall NY by going thru locks C7, C8, C9 and C11 (there is no lock # 10 ????). We tied up on the free wall in Whitehall. Whitehall claims to be the birthplace of the US Navy (Boston might have an issue with this designation) because Benedict Arnold assembled his fleet here in preparation for the Battle of Valcour Island.  He lost the battle but succeeded in delaying the British for a year which gave the States the upper hand to win the war. Juli met Elizabeth, a volunteer with the Chamber of Commerce. She graciously offered a ride to a nearby market for provisions. We saw a statue of Sasquatch and Skipper growled at him.
On May 24, we went thru the last lock of the Champlain Canal #C12 and motored on to Chipman Point Marina near Orwell, VT. It has very old stone buildings still occupied by the female owner. Paul took the loaner car and bought 2 beautiful big steaks which he grilled outdoors – YUM! The weather report said we were to get high winds in the afternoon of 50 to 60 mph. This delayed our planned departure for Burlington. All the dogs here run loose so Skipper took his freedom seriously and went to visit the neighbor’s chickens but did no harm. Paul caught up with him and brought him back to the boat.

                                                                  Writing the blog

Friday, May 5, 2017

Despite the chilly, rainy, foggy weather Apr. 23-27, we did some exploring of Atlantic City and enjoyed a wonderful dinner at the Chart House.  John and Paul walked the Boardwalk on a very rainy day while Juli got soaked to the skin and frozen while walking the dog. A couple of days later, John and Juli went to the Boardwalk as well. John had trouble with his left knee on both outings and is concerned about being able to continue with the trip as it was planned. There was rough weather outside with small craft warnings which kept us in the marina longer than we had expected (5 days).  None of us cared to gamble so it was a quiet visit to AC.  Of course, the extended stay in an expensive marina added to the cost ($459 total).  The facilities are good and clean however.
On April 28 the offshore reports were greatly improved so we headed towards Manasquan, NJ.  We made excellent time, however, and the waves were lessening so it was decided to travel on to Sandy Hook (Atlantic Highlands), NJ.  We arrived at 1845 after 11hrs 35 min on the water. The engine reached exactly 2000 hrs of operation on this run (Lotto anyone?)  We took a mooring but were unable to reach anyone at the marina.  Evidently it was too early in the season so we lucked out with a free mooring for the night!  John met a fellow Dutchman, Johan , who was moored nearby.  He visited our boat and learned he would be  leaving soon and his next stop would be the Azores on his way home!  We wish Johan and his crew fair winds and calm seas.  (His wife is flying home – smart lady) 

We left at 0630 on Apr. 29 in heavy fog. We carefully navigated by radar and avoided shipping channels. We travelled under the Verrazano Narrows Bridge and could only see the bridge towers until we were virtually under the bridge deck. We were then greeted by a total white-out of fog and we utilized the fog horn. Therefore, we crossed through the anchorage for large ships knowing there would be no traffic. We passed at least 5 or 6 ocean-going ships at anchor.  The fog soon began to burn off and we had excellent views of the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, Manhattan, and Freedom Tower. The current changed here and we rode it almost all the way to Poughkeepsie. On the way we passed Hoboken, NJ where John stepped off the boat as a 12-yr-old immigrant from Holland in 1953.  We passed under the George Washington Bridge (where we saw the Little Red Lighthouse), the Tappan Zee Bridge, the Bear Mountain Bridge, Newburgh/Beacon Bridge, and the Mid-Hudson Bridge. Other sights along the way included West Point and Constitution Island, Indian Point Nuclear Plant, Culinary Institute of America, Marist College, and Pete Seeger’s boat, “Clearwater,” a replica Hudson River Sloop.  We rolled the jib out in heavy west winds (20-30 knots) and travelled 8 – 9 knots with the engine at only 1600 rpm’s. After 12 hrs 45 min. we finally arrived at Poughkeepsie Yacht Club - this is Dutchess’ home berth.  The dogs were so happy to see grass after being onboard with no relief for 36 hrs! John addressed the knee issue here and was given a cortisone shot and some anti-inflammatory meds which has given him great relief – the trip will proceed!