Magical Mackinac Island

Hello virtual crew members and fellow adventurers!

Welcome Aboard to gotogirlsblog, hope you enjoy the adventure.

The Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island

21.3 Grand Hotel

Summary of week:

Arcadia
The crew left Presque Isle on Monday and landed on Mackinac Island  (1) for three days.  They left the Island and anchored in Petoskey Bay (2) on Thursday.  They anchored Friday night also in a cove at South Manitou Island (3).  Then ended the week at Arcadia (4) on Saturday.

 

 

Click here to read the day-to-day travel log. This includes weather report, sea conditions, captain’s log, a summary of the day’s experience, and a few pics of the route.

One of our virtual crew members, Scott, asked an interesting question last week.  He submitted, Are there tides on the Great Lakes?  Well, per the NOAA website, yes there are tides on the Great Lakes.  However, the tide range is negligible, only about 2 inches.  However, two other phenomenon have a greater impact on water level. The change in water level due to consistent winds blowing in the same direction are actually more noticeable in a harbor.  Atmospheric pressure also may cause the water level to change as the pressure goes from low to high (or high to low) due to the large surface area of the lakes.

At the Box Office

This week’s video shows the crew of Still Waters II  take a bike ride around Mackinac Island, then enjoy a taxi ride to the Woods with Al and Ruth for a fun evening of fine dinning.  Enjoy!

To see past videos, click on the link to the Still Waters II Vimeo site.  The library contains videos of Still Waters II cruising America’s Great Loop.

Sunday, August 12th

The crew spent a wonderful afternoon bicycling about 10 miles around Presque Isle with the crew of Lucky Loopers, Deena and Jerry L.  The General Store across from the marina offers courtesy bicycles for visitors to explore the Island.   The store also has some good ice cream.

Deena and Jerry started their Loop Adventure just a few days ago from Lake St. Clair, but are waiting on some friends to arrive and complete the Loop before launching their Loop in earnest.  And who are they waiting on to celebrate their Wake Crossing?  Well, that would be the Getting Looped crew who are onboard a 43 foot Viking, and our crew last saw them in Cape May.

Riding around New Presque Lighthouse

25 New Presque Isle Light

Deena and Jerry L.

25.1

Monday, August 13th

The crew planned to cruise to a town named Cheboygan just south of Mackinac Island when they shoved off the dock.  However, they were unable to secure a reservation.  Turned out that Cheboygan was sponsoring a boat race and the area marinas were booked solid.

New Presque Light from the water

13.1

The skipper called Mackinac Island State Harbor to see if just maybe they could land there.  The marina was booked full by the Michigan Reservation System, but the Island keeps about 20% of the slips out of the reservation system for first-come-first-serve boaters.  The dockmaster said they had a few slips open but could not guarantee a slip would be available upon arrival.

Poe Reef Light just north of Cheboygan

14 Poe Reef Light

The crew was about 18 miles away from the Island, so they decided to roll the dice and see if they could arrive in time to snag a slip.  Two hours later, when they arrived in the harbor, they were informed that the marina was full.  The dockmaster did inform the crew that they would be able to tie up at the ferry dock if they called.  The Admiral made the call to the Ferry Line and secured permission to land on the dock because there was no cruise ship scheduled in.

Mackinac Island Harbor entrance

16 Mackinac Harbor Entrance

While the crew was making way over to the ferry dock, the crew noticed that the crew of Tortuga was at the State Marina.  After landing the boat, the skipper sent Al, the captain of Tortuga, a text message with a pic of their boat saying: “Guess where we are?”

26 Tortuga (2)

Al responded: “I give, where are you?”  The skipper had walked over to the other side of the ferry dock so he could see the back of Tortuga and text back: “I am on the ferry dock, look out the back of your boat and you will see me.”  Al walked out and waved at the skipper.  Al sent another text over inviting the crew for docktails.  The crew walked over and had an enjoyable evening with Ruth and Al.

Al is responsible for the skipper learning about the Great Loop.  It was fun to catch up with them and hear how their adventure has gone.  The two crews had last seen each other in Fort Walton Beach, Florida.  

Tuesday, August 14th

The first order of business today was to snag one of the first-come-first-serve slips when boaters began to leave the marina.  While the crew waited for other boaters to vacate their slips, they were entertained by watching the morning deliveries by horse drawn wagons.

19 Delivery Wagon

20 Morning Deliveries

At 0930, the skipper called the marina and secured slip 17.  The crew moved off the ferry dock and headed to their new home.  After getting settled in slip 17, the skipper got the bicycles off the boat and prepared for a ride around the Island.  The crew spent the afternoon bicycling the 8.5 miles around the Island, stopping to enjoy the views and take in the scenery.

The Arch

DCIM100GOPROGOPR0908.JPG

The clear water

22

Flowers every where (make sure you read the fine print on the sign)

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Later in the day, Al and Ruth joined the crew for a taxi ride out to the Woods where the two couples enjoyed a nice dinner together.  After the taxi left the marina, the skipper turned as white as a sheet.  Ruth noticed the strange look on the skipper’s face and asked him what was wrong.  He was busy checking all his pockets for his wallet when he finally answered that he left his wallet on the boat.  Well it looks like some one will be shoveling horse manure and washing dishes tonight.  Luckily, Al said he would cover the ride out (taxi is cash only) and the Admiral had her credit card to pay for dinner.  On the return trip to the marina, the taxi driver had to stop at an ATM machine so the Admiral could get the cash to pay for the ride back.

Taxi to the Woods

21.9

Al and Ruth on the way to the Woods

21 Dinner at the Woods

Approaching the Grand Hotel

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Thru the woods to get to the Woods

21.11

The after dinner group photo at the Woods

21.8

Wednesday, August 15th

Al and Ruth shoved off the dock and headed out this morning.  They plan to go down the Wisconsin side of Lake Michigan.  Our crew will stay on the Michigan side this year.  Both crews plan to go up the Upper Mississippi, so they hope to meet up again somewhere south of Chicago.

Our crew continued to take it easy and enjoy the Island.  The skipper got in two laps around the Island on his bicycle while the Admiral went around the homes to admire all the pretty gardens and flowers.  Did I mention two laps around the Island for the skipper, that was so he could devour 1.5 pounds of fudge from Joann’s (best fudge on the Island and the Loop).

28

The sun sets on another great stay at Mackinac Island

23

Thursday, August 16th

Leaving Mackinac Island

1 Leaving Mackinac Island State Harbor

The crew set out towards Lake Michigan and their next major goal, Chicago. The skipper has it planned for eight travel days, but with the weather on Lake Michigan, you just do not know how long it will actually take.  In 2016, due to weather delays it took them 15 calendar days to make the eight travel days to Chicago.

The ferries provide for a good wake until you get under the Mackinac Bridge

1.2

The weather was good today though, so they cruised under the Mackinac Bridge and entered big Lake Michigan.  They cruised to the Little Traverse Bay and dropped anchor at the end of the Bay.  The water was so clear that you could see the anchor on the sand bottom in ten feet of water.

Mackinac Bridge, now the third largest suspension bridge in the world

2.1

Abandoned lighthouse

3 Abandoned Lighthouse

Little Traverse Bay Light

4 Little Traverse Bay Lighthouse

Sand Dunes at end of bay where the crew anchored

5 Sand Dunes at Petoskey State Park

Friday, August 17th

With another good weather day, the crew weighed anchor and headed towards South Manitou Island.  Deena and Jerry recommended the anchorage, so the crew thought they would go check it out.

The cruise did start in fog, but by the time the crew reached the main body of water, the fog had lifted and the sun was trying to break out.  The auto-pilot sure worked good in the fog.  The skipper was usually doing crazy Ivan’s when he was trying to manually steer in the fog.  The auto-pilot stayed right on the heading, which allowed the skipper to better monitor the radar for potential targets (other boats).

6 Morning Fog

Running along the south shore of North Manitou Island

9.1

9.4

When they arrived at the cove at South Manitou Island there were already five boats anchored.  The first time the crew went to set the anchor it dragged, so the crew raised the anchor to see what the problem might be.  When the anchor came up it was covered in grass.  No wonder it did not set.  The skipper cleaned the anchor and then moved in closer to shore to make sure they dropped the anchor in the sand.  The anchor set and held the boat all night.

Anchor covered in grass

10.1

By the time the sun went down there were a dozen boats swinging on the hook.  And swing they did.  The wind was out of the north and the Island provided good protection.  However, the swells were coming from the east and rolled the boat all night.

Cove at South Manitou Island

10 Cove at South Manitou Island

Saturday, August 18th

The crew finds themselves squarely in the middle of the pack of the Looper flotilla.  This has caused some issues with marinas because they are all booked up.  The skipper could not secure dockage at the spots he wanted to stop at today, so he settled on a small little marina in Arcadia that does not see much transient boater action.  Mainly because the four block town has absolutely nothing to see or do.  Scratch that.  The skipper just found an ice cream store a half mile from the marina.  Time to take a break from blog writing and go check out the local creamery.

South Manitou Light

11.1

Point Betsie Light

12 Point Betsie Light

The skipper is pretty sure he remembers something about building a house on a solid rock, rather than building a house on a sand foundation.  These folks must not have gotten the word.

13 Sand Dunes

Boat name of the week

Varmint

17

Next Week –

The weather looks good to travel both Sunday and Monday so the crew will take advantage of the opportunity to make way and try to arrive at Grand Haven by Monday.  The forecast shows 25-30 mile per hour winds both Tuesday and Wednesday so the crew will stay in Grand Haven to allow the weather to pass.

If the Lake calms down Thursday, the crew will try to move to South Haven, then Michigan City on Friday, and make Chicago Saturday.  However, that is a big IF.  They will watch the weather and see what happens.

Loop On – Where the road ends, the water begins. The water goes on forever, and the adventure never ends.

Eric the Red

Moving on, Lake Huron

Hello virtual crew members and fellow adventurers!

A hearty Welcome Aboard to Two Lazy Trotters for becoming a virtual crew member by following the blog.

29.4

Summary of week:

Presque Isle

The crew spent Sunday and Monday in Cleveland (1) where they visited the Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame.  Tuesday, they planned to stop at some islands about half way to Detroit, but weather dictated that they keep moving so they anchored just south of Detroit (2).  Wednesday, they fought the currents of the Detroit River and the St Clair River before stopping for the night in Port Huron (3).  Thursday, they entered Lake Huron and stopped at Harbor Beach (4).  The weather was good to cross the big open water of the bay north of the thumb of Michigan, so they made way to Harrisville (5).  They completed the week by cruising to Presque Isle (5) on Saturday.  One drawback to this beautiful location is little to no connectivity to the internet.  This is a pretty remote area from civilization.

Click here to read the day-to-day travel log. This includes weather report, sea conditions, captain’s log, a summary of the day’s experience, and a few pics of the route.

The voyage of discovery did answer the following questions this week:

  1. What is a prison singer?
  2. What is the oldest lighthouse in Michigan?
  3. Where did President Truman and wife Bess honeymoon?
  4. What does Presque mean?

At the Box Office

This week’s video shows Still Waters II as she cruises thru the Detroit River, crosses Lake St Clair, and then shares the water with a few Lakers, up close and personal.  The poor internet access at Presque Isle has prevented uploading the video.  As soon as the crew can get a descent signal, they will upload the video.  Enjoy!

To see past videos, click on the link to the Still Waters II Vimeo site.  The library contains videos of Still Waters II cruising America’s Great Loop.

Sunday, August 5th

The crew has a philosophy of: If it is a good weather day on these Big Lakes, then you best be making some headway.  Sunday was a good weather day while Monday was questionable.  So they cruised to Cleveland and pulled into the Rock and Dock, which shares the waterfront with the Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame.

 

Cleveland by Night, Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame is the building to the left of pic

29.1

Monday,  August 6th

The crew spent the day exploring the Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame.  It was a surprisingly good experience.  The displays start in the 40’s and show how the merging of Folk, Blues, and Country Music spawned the unique sound of Rock-n-Roll that was birthed in the 50’s.  The history continued with an exclusive video about the life and times of Elvis Presley.

Front of Hall of Fame

29.3 (2)

The British Invasion was next as well as the California sound of the Beach Boys.  A very good film featuring Dick Clark and the American Bandstand was fun to watch.  The film showed Hall of Famers original footage playing on the ‘Bandstand’.

The Admiral and one of her Fav Four, he looks bigger than life

29.6

Scattered throughout every floor, they had kiosk set up so you could listen to your favorite artist on headphones.  Another neat display was video footage of your favorite folks during their performances and thank you speeches during their induction ceremonies.

29.8

Some of you might not know it, but the skipper is tone deaf.  He always wanted to learn to play the guitar, so his parents had him tested before they wasted the money on a guitar and lessons.  The fellow conducting the test told the parents to save their money and not waste it on the skipper because he could not carry a tune in a bucket.  Needless to say, the skipper is in awe of a good guitar player.  Several of his favorites are in the Hall, including Eric Clapton and Stevie Ray Vaughn.

Stevie Ray Vaughn Guitar

29.7

 

Did you know that the skipper is a prison singer.  That is right, he is usually behind a few bars and he never has the right key.

Tuesday, August 7th

The original plan was to cruise to the Middle Bass Island and anchor for the night.  However, when they arrived near the island, the skipper checked the weather forecast and saw that the weather was going to change overnight.  Rather than be stuck out in bad weather around the islands, the crew decided to make a long day of it and push on towards Detroit.  They arrived about dark and dropped the anchor at the first good place they could find.  Unfortunately, the next morning, they learned it was not such a good place after all.

Looking over into Canada

30 Canada

The first thing to appear on shore was the Fermi Nuclear Power Plant

32 Fermi NPP

Guiding the way into Detroit River

35.1

Wednesday, August 8th

The first thing the crew noticed was that it looked like someone set off a bug bomb on the boat.  If there was one bug there had to be 10,000 bugs all over the boat.  When the crew went to raise the anchor, they quickly discovered that it was wrapped in weeds.  It took 45 minutes to haul the anchor up and clean the chain, a task that normally takes less than 5 minutes.

With the chain and anchor back on board the crew headed north into the Detroit River.  It did not take long to figure out that this was going to be another long day.  The current was running between 2-3 miles per hour.  With the throttles set at a speed where they normally travel at 8.5 mph, they were barely making 5 mph.

Current around a navigation aide

36 Current in Detroit River

37 Detroit River

37.8

The cruise was interesting though.  The water was a very pretty turquoise color, and the scenery along the river was interesting.  After that slow go, the crew entered Lake St Clair where they crossed the lake and then entered the St Clair River.

St Clair Light in the middle of the lake

38.2 St Clair Light

More head current and more slow go as the crew headed north on the St Clair River.  This head current should not have been a big surprise.  All the water flowing out of Lake Superior and Lake Michigan combine near Mackinac Island.   These waters then combine with Lake Huron and flow thru both of these rivers into Lake Erie.  When the water leaves Lake Erie it flows into the Niagara River, where the crew saw the current as they went thru the Black Rock Lock.  They also saw the flow over the Niagara Falls.  All this water eventually makes it thru Lake Ontario and then out to sea via the St Lawrence River.

Lakers passing close in the St Clair River

38.1

Some scenery along the way

39.2

39.5

The crew finally reached their destination of Port Huron late in the day. After getting secured, the skipper spent some time trying to wash all the dead bugs off the boat.

By the time he was done, everything in town, except a DQ, was already closed, so the crew walked up to Dairy Queen and got something to eat.  While walking to DQ, they passed a Historical Marker sign stating that Harry Truman had honeymooned in the adjacent hotel.  He returned from WWI in May of 1919 and married Bess Wallace in June 1919.

The Hotel where Harry and Bess stayed

40 Port Huron Hotel (2)

Thursday, August 9th

The clear water is nice to look at but it also allows weeds and moss to grow thick in this area.  The crew awoke to another bug hatch, but it was not as bad as yesterday.

The crew left Port Huron and headed into Lake Huron.  As they left the St Clair River there was a nice looking lighthouse on the port shore.  Turns out this is the oldest lighthouse in Michigan.  Fort Gratiot Lighthouse was built in 1829.

1.2 Fort Gratiot Lighthouse

The conditions were good enough to make another long day and press all the way to Harrisville.  They had planned to anchor in the harbor, but when they arrived they found the harbor full of weeds.  Rather than fight the weeds and anchor in the morning, the crew decided to pull into the city marina.

Entrance to Harbor Beach

3 Enter Harbor Beach

Friday, August 10th

There must be something about this weather that is making the bugs hatch every night.  Unfortunately, the bugs were alive and well, and in the upper helm.  What a mess.

The crew set out towards Port Austin; however, when they arrived at the tip of the point, conditions were calm out in the bay so the crew decided to cross over to the other side.  They set their sites on Harrisville and made it across the bay with little trouble.  When they arrived at the marina, they once again found it full of weeds and moss, so they pulled into a slip rather than anchor.

Crossing over

4 Crossing over

The town did have a fudge and ice cream store so the crew took the 1.5 mile hike to enjoy the confectionaries.

Harrisville Marina

7 Harrisville Marina

Saturday, August 11th

The weather was good again for a cruise, so the crew set out for Presque Isle.  The skipper was not familiar with the term ‘Presque’ so he looked it up in the dictionary to see what it means.  Turns out it means almost an Island.  Well Presque Isle fits the bill as almost an island because it is still connected to the mainland of Michigan, but does jet out into Lake Huron.

On the way to Presque Isle, the skipper altered course to run closer to shore rather than out and around some islands.  As they passed Middle Island, the skipper was heard to say that the island was aptly named because they are out in the middle of no where.

Middle Island

9 Middle Island

On the approach to the marina, the crew could see two lighthouses, the old and new Presque Light.  Upon arrival, the crew took a walk to the old Presque Isle Lighthouse.

Old Presque Lighthouse

11.1

The lighthouse is one of the oldest on Lake Huron.  It was built in 1841 and operated until 1871.  The old lighthouse was only 30 feet tall and the trees grew up to obscure the light.  Rather than cut the trees down, they built a new light about a mile down the road.

Boat name of the week

Reel Blessed

Next Week –

The crew will head towards Mackinac Island and try to get a transient slip.  The marina reservations are sold out all next week.  However, they keep a few slips open for first come first serve transients.  The crew hopes to snag one of these slips.  If not, they will head to Mackinac City and take the Ferry Boat over to Mackinac Island for a day trip.  They will then go under the Mackinac Bridge and enter Lake Michigan.  They will cruise the Michigan side of the lake this trip, and will get as far south as the weather will allow.

Looks like the skipper has racked up some penalty minutes.  Hope he gets out in time to continue the adventure.  Would hate it if he misses ship’s movement.  Because you know what the skipper says, “If you are 15 minutes early, You are on time.  If you are on time, you are late.  And if you are late, you will get left.”

12 (2)

Loop On – Where the road ends, the water begins. The water goes on forever, and the adventure never ends.

Eric the Red

Falling Over the Falls

Hello virtual crew members and fellow adventurers!

Horseshoe Falls 

128.9

Summary of week:

Geneva SP
After the family left on Tuesday, the crew made three moves down the south shore of Lake Erie:

1- Stopped in Dunkirk on Thursday to hear a great band

2- Anchored in Presque Isle Bay State Park across from Erie, PA on Friday

3- Docked in Geneva State Park Marina on Saturday

Click here to read the day-to-day travel log. This includes weather report, sea conditions, captain’s log, a summary of the day’s experience, and a few pics of the route.

The voyage of discovery did answer the following questions this week:

  1. Who was the first person to go over the falls in a barrel and live?
  2. What does the Perry Monument in Erie Harbor memorialize?
  3. What did Platt R. Spencer base his script on?
  4. What is the longest covered bridge in the US?

At the Box Office

This week’s video shows Still Waters II as she enjoys the family vacation to Niagara Falls.  Enjoy!

To see past videos, click on the link to the Still Waters II Vimeo site.  The library contains videos of Still Waters II cruising America’s Great Loop.

Saturday-Monday, July 28-30th

The family made the trek to upstate New York to visit Niagara Falls.  The group bought a Discovery Pass which allows access to the following attractions:

  • Maid of the Mist boat ride128 Maid of the Mist
  • Observation Tower
  • Cave of the Winds

DCIM100GOPROGOPR0878.JPG

  • Aquarium

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  • Discovery Center
  • Trolley
  • Movie at the Visitor Center – the film was very interesting as it chronicled the falls from early Indian days to the present.  It showcased Annie Taylor, who became the first person to survive a trip over the falls in a barrel.  She made the trip on October 24, 1901, which also happened to be her birthday.  The film also discussed the youngest person to ever survive a fall over the falls.  He was 7 years old when he and his sister were knocked out of a boat in the Niagara River Rapids about a mile above the falls.  The sister was rescued just 20 feet from going over the falls.  The boy, with nothing but a life jacket and swim suit went over the falls and was rescued by the Maid of the Mist tour boat.

Annie Taylor

136.1

The park service also provides a free fireworks show Friday, Saturday, and Sunday night at 2200.  The fireworks over the luminated falls was very impressive.  This weeks video shows the details of the trip.

IMG_0984

Niagara Fireworks

Tuesday-Wednesday, July 31st-Aug 1st

The family departed early Tuesday morning, so it was time to turn attention to a needed water repair.  Last Friday, just before the family arrived, the skipper discovered that the potable water expansion tank had sprung a leak.  A stream of water the size of a pencil lead was shooting out of the tank.  The skipper isolated the tank which inoped the fresh water supply on the boat.  Timing is everything.  The boat was basically without water while the family was visiting.

So with the family gone it was time to repair/replace the tank.  The repairs with epoxy and JB Weld proved to be ineffective.  While looking on line to order a new tank, the skipper discovered that Home Depot had a similar tank.  With a Home Depot only 6 miles away, the skipper rode his bike and fetched a new tank.

With a new tank in hand, the skipper was able to replace the leaking tank and get the potable water system up and running again.  Now time to plan the next leg of the journey.

Thursday, Aug 2nd

The crew set out from Tonawanda and headed to Dunkirk.  A Harbor Host had come by the boat and left a note for the crew.  The Harbor Host suggested taking the Black Rock Channel in Buffalo and bypass the current in the Niagara River.  This turned out to be a good suggestion.  It looked like the current was flowing 3-5 knots in the Niagara River while the crew was in the Black Rock Channel.

Black Rock Channel leading to Lake Erie

3 Black Rock Channel

Entering Lake Erie

5 Enter Lake Erie

The view for the rest of the day

6 View for most of Day

After about 6 hours on the water, the Dunkirk Lighthouse came into view and the crew turned into the harbor.  The crew docked at the Municipal Pier.  While docking, the crew noticed that a crew of folks was busy setting up a stage.  Turned out that Thursday night is Summer Concert Night.  The main band was named Nickel City Pimp Choir.  They did a show similar to the Blues Brothers, high energy and very good.

Dunkirk Lighthouse

7.1

Nickel City Pimp Choir

9 Nickel City Pimp Choir

The band played for about two hours and put on a great show.  The crowd was also having a wonderful time on the pier.  The band was supposed to stop at 2030, but they brought the sun down and played until 2100.

The crowd

9.1 Crowd (2)

The sunset

10 Sunset Dunkirk

Bonus sunset and music video

 

 

Friday, Aug 3rd

The crew took on fuel before leaving Dunkirk, and then headed out towards Erie.  The run was about three miles off shore so not much to view but hours of water going by.

South shore of Lake Erie

11 South Shore Lake Erie

As the crew approached the channel to the Erie Harbor, another lighthouse marked the entrance.  The crew entered the channel and made way to the Presque Isle Bay where the crew dropped the anchor for the evening.  While on the way to the bay, they passed a monument to Perry’s Victory.  The memorial was established to honor those who fought in the Battle of Lake Erie, during the War of 1812, and to celebrate the long-lasting peace among Great Britain, Canada, and the US.  Well, the peace after the War of 1812 that is.  The memorial is just 5 miles from the Canadian Border.  Did you know that the US -Canadian Border is the longest unprotected border in the world?

Entrance to Erie Harbor

13 Erie Channel

Perry Memorial

14 Perry Monument

Saturday, Aug 4th

When the skipper tried to make a reservation for the Geneva State Park, the park staff said the marina was full and that Still Waters II would have to find another place to stay for the weekend.  The skipper decided to go another ten miles west of the State Park and anchor for the night.

However, when the crew was about 16 miles from the State Park, the skipper received a call from the Park.  Suddenly, there is a place available at the State Park.  The skipper said they would take the spot and altered course to head towards the entrance to the park.

View of Lake Erie from shore

19 Lake Erie from Geneva

After arrival, the crew took a walk to Geneva-on-the-Lake.  This was a happening place on a Saturday afternoon.  There must have easily been over a hundred motorcycles in town.  The strip is mostly T-shirt shops and fast food eateries.  Eddies seemed to be doing the most business.  There parking lot only holds three hundred vehicles though, or they probably would be doing even more business.

Eddie’s Grill from the side

20 Eddies (2)

Geneva makes claim for two things:

  1. The work of Platt R. Spencer, whose Spencerian Script is the foundation for our cursive writing.  Mr. Spencer lived in Geneva and is said to have modeled his curves and loops after the pebbles found on the local beaches.
  2. Covered Bridges – The longest covered bridge in the US is the Smolen Gulf Bridge.  The bridge is 613 feet long which also makes it the 4th longest covered bridge in the world.

Smolen Gulf Bridge

21 Smolden- Gulf Bridge

Boat name of the week

0F807577-4E52-432B-8D78-40783AE290D1

Next Week –

The crew will travel to Cleveland and visit the Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame.  The weather may keep them in Cleveland for a few days, but when they can leave, they will head towards the islands just north of Sandusky.  Then they hope to make it thru Detroit and to the south end of Lake Huron.

Loop On – Where the road ends, the water begins. The water goes on forever, and the adventure never ends.

Eric the Red

 

End of the Erie Canal

Hello virtual crew members and fellow adventurers!

The original Flight of Five Locks built in 1825 at Lockport

116 Original Lockport Flight of Five

Summary of week:

TonawandaThe crew made three short hops on their way to the end of the Erie Canal at Tonawanda (3).  On the way, they also made stops at Holley Canal Park (1) on Monday, and Middleport (2) on Tuesday.
Click here to read the day-to-day travel log. This includes weather report, sea conditions, captain’s log, a summary of the day’s experience, and a few pics of the route.
The voyage of discovery did answer the following questions this week:

  1. What was the name of the vessel that brought the first Norwegians to the US?
  2. How far did Lars Larson Geilane skate the Erie Canal?
  3. Why did they start in the middle and dig out towards the rivers while creating the Erie Canal?
  4. What is the name of the only road that crosses under the Erie Canal?
  5. How many locks were at Lockport in the 1825 Canal?

At the Box Office

This week’s video shows Still Waters II cruising the end of the western Erie Canal.  She goes under a few more low bridges and then completes the last two locks at Lockport.   She completes the week by watching fireworks over Niagara Falls. Enjoy!

To see past videos, click on the link to the Still Waters II Vimeo site.  The library contains videos of Still Waters II cruising America’s Great Loop.

Monday, July 23rd

Today the crew traveled 12 miles, but would be greeted by three low lift bridges.  This would not normally be a problem, except the lift bridge operators are roaming operators, and have control over two bridges.  Sometimes when you arrive at the bridge, the operator is at their other bridge doing an opening.

The Lift Bridge at Adams Basin

91 Lift Bridge

When the crew arrived at the Adams Basin Lift Bridge, the skipper noticed a NY Canal Work Boat tied to the wall.  When the skipper hailed the bridge operator, the Work Boat responded and said the Bridge Operator was on her way from Spencerport.  Sure enough, about 5 minutes later a car pulled up and a women jumped out and ran up the stairs.  The traffic was stopped and the bridge opened.

The crew continued down the canal towards Holley but first had to pass under two more lift Bridges in Brockport.  The first bridge was open for maintenance so when they arrived at the second bridge the operator quickly opened the bridge and allowed the crew through.

The crew docked along the wall and headed down a path to go see the local waterfall.

Path to the waterfall

94 Hike to Waterfall Holley

After walking around the pond, left turn down the hill

94.1

Half mile later, the waterfall

94.2

When the crew arrived back at the boat, they learned that the Lois McClure would be arriving in a short while.  The boat is a replica canal boat that gives out free tours along the canal route.

Modern day Canal Boat rental

97 Modern Canal Boat

The 1865 replica Lois McClure

98 1865 Canal Boat

98.1

Just beyond where the Lois McClure landed along the wall, an historical marker told the story about the Norwegians who initially settled in the area.

99 History Holley.JPG

The first Norwegians arrived on a vessel named the Restauration.  By US Maritime law, the vessel was only permitted for 16 passengers.  When the vessel arrived in New York City on October 9, 1825, there were 53 passengers on board.  The vessel was impounded, the Captain and spiritual leader, Lars Larson Geilane, was arrested.  The passengers continued on up the Hudson River and then took the Erie Canal to Holley.

Their leader sold the ship, solved his legal problems, which included a pardon from President John Quincy Adams, and headed up the Hudson River.  When he arrived in Albany, he found that the Erie Canal was frozen over and closed for the season.  He did not let that stop him from catching up with his passengers.  He strapped on some ice skates and made the 290 miles to Holley.

Tuesday, July 24th

About the time the crew was shoving off the wall, a rental Canal Boat went by and requested that the Holley Lift Bridge be opened.  The Bridge Operator responded and said that she would open the bridge as soon as she could see all three boats that were arriving.  The skipper requested to also pass thru on the opening and permission was granted.

The canal rental boats only run about 6 mph, so the skipper set the throttle at 6 mph and cruised to the next bridge with the three other boats.  The three rental boats are a Boy Scout Troop out of Falmouth, MA.

When the four boat flotilla arrived at the next lift bridge, the operator had arrived and had the bridge open to allow passage.  The skipper sped up and left the three Boy Scout rental boats behind after the second bridge.

The Dewitt Clinton

101 Clinton

While traveling along, the crew met a New York Canal Work Boat named Dewitt Clinton.  The boat was named after the Governor who was responsible for initiating the Erie Canal.  One smart thing the Governor did when they started building the canal back in 1817 was to insist that they start in the middle and work back towards the Niagara and Hudson Rivers.  His thinking was that if they ran out of money digging the original canal they would not have connected to water so the completed parts would be dry and useless.  To make the canal usable, he believed that the lawmakers would then fund more money to complete the canal.

When they arrived in Albion the crew had two lift bridges to clear.  The good news was that the two bridges are within eye sight of each other, maybe a quarter mile apart.  The bridge operator opened the first bridge and the crew just idled down to the second bridge.  After lowering the bridge, the operator hopped in his car, drove down the side street, hopped out of the car, and ran up the stairs to open the second bridge.

The West Albion Lift Bridge, second bridge

103 Albion West Lift Bridge

About a half hour later, the skipper heard the Boy Scout boats asking for the Albion Bridge to open.  The skipper sure was glad the Bridge Operator allowed our crew thru instead of making them wait for the three other boats.

The Admiral noticed that the crew was getting close to Lake Ontario, less than 20 miles.  A little later the crew passed a sign that stated that they were at the most northern part of the Erie Canal, how about that.

104 North Point

The crew has started to notice many Apple Orchards along the water in these parts.  Looks like Johnny Appleseed was busy in this section of western New York.

Apple Orchard

106 Apple Orchard

The crew then literally crossed something very strange.  They cruised over the top of a road.  The design of the canal built an aqueduct to carry the canal over Culvert Road back in 1825.  It is the only road that crosses under the canal.

The view of Culvert Road from the boat

108 Culvert Road under ErieCanal

108.1 culvert_cornersign

The crew then pulled into Medina where they planned to stay for the night.  The crew got lunch and were about to go explore when they noticed that the Boy Scout boats had arrived and docked.  The skipper noticed that the leaders were huddled up discussing something.  He got off the boat and noticed that one of the boats was not able to hook to a power stand.  He approached the leaders and asked how much trouble no power would be for one of the rental boats.  A man said that they were discussing their options but were thinking of continuing on.  The skipper offered up that he would leave and allow the boat to have his spot on the wall.  He thought it would be easier for one boat with two people to leave than three boats and who knows how many people to round up and leave.

Arrival in Medina

109 Mediina

So the Admiral and skipper shoved off and made another 5 miles down the canal to stay at Middleport for the night. If nothing else, they are 5 miles closer to their destination on Wednesday.

Wednesday, July 25th

Under the banner of ‘No good deed goes unpunished,’ the crew ran into a few delays as they traveled the canal today.  The first one happened before the crew could even get started.  The three Boy Scout boats passed by and got thru the lift bridge before the skipper could get off the wall and get going.  This caused a 45 minute delay as the bridge operator left and went to open the Gasport Lift Bridge.

Gasport Lift Bridge

110 Gasport LB

Interesting mural in Gasport

111 Gasport Mural

Things seemed to be going just fine as the crew continued down the western Erie Canal.

112 Western Erie Canal

Well, until they arrived at the Lockport Lift Bridge about 1140.  After getting under the bridge, the Lockport Lock Operator hailed the skipper and directed him to stop and tie up along the wall.  The operator said they were on a reduced operating schedule due to some herbicide treatment upstream and the next lock opening would be at 1230.  The skipper did as directed and stopped at Upson Park.  The crew enjoyed lunch at the park.

View while waiting on Lock E34/35 from Upson Park

114 Lock E34

While waiting, the skipper discovered that there is a cave and under ground boat tour that starts in Upson Park.  The skipper will work out a way to come back here and take the tour.

115 Erie Canal Cave

About 1230 the skipper noticed two tour boats headed to the lock.  The Lock Operator called and told the skipper to follow the tour boats into Lock E34.

Entering Lock E34, up 25 feet

114.1

After exiting Lock 34, the boats immediately entered Lock E35 and went up another 25 feet.   Once out of the Lock the tour boats ran down the canal for about 10 minutes and then turned around and headed back to the locks.  The U-turn was pretty impressive.  The skipper hailed the Captain and told him good job once he completed the turn around.  The Captain said thanks and added that there was nothing to it, well as long as nothing went wrong.  Nice commentary on how life works.

Tour boat making the U-turn in canal

117 U Turn

 

After getting passed the tour boats, the crew overtook a guy in a kayak.  The skipper slowed down and talked with the guy.  His name turned out to be Rich Brand.  He left New Orleans on Jan 3, 2016 to complete the Loop.

Rich Brand in his kayak

120 Kayak Looper

Now that is doing the Loop the hard way.

Thursday, July 26th

The skippers son, AKA AMF Delivery Service showed up in Tonawanda in the afternoon.  You may recall that the skipper left two props in Brunswick, Georgia to be repaired.  The repair took much longer than expected, and when the marina called and said that the props were ready to be picked up, the crew were in upstate New York.

The skipper called his son to see if the boy could swing by Brunswick and pick up the props.  His son is an over the road truck driver.  He agreed and managed to get a load to Orlando, Florida.  On the way down to Orlando, he stopped and picked up the props.

He then secured a load back to Kansas City, where he transferred the props to his car.  He then delivered the props to the skipper in Tonawanda.  He will also stay thru the weekend and enjoy the area.

Thanks, AMF Delivery Service!  Free Delivery…….better than Amazon Prime.

The repaired props

123

Friday, July 27th

With the boy on the boat with a car, the skipper and the boy set out o run several errands.  First of which, was to buy a few youth lifejackets for the arrival of the grandkids.  While on that mission, they also bought a throw ring.

When the dinghy is on the swim platform davits, approaching boats cannot see Still Waters II name on the transom.  The throw ring fixed this problem.  The boy supervised the skipper putting the boat name on the throw ring.

After shopping, the boy also helped the skipper clean the ‘moustache stain’ off the bow of the boat.  So another shout out thanks to the boy.

124

The crew ended the week by going out to Niagara Falls to see the falls illuminated and watch a short fireworks show over the falls.

Niagara Fireworks

Saturday, July 28th

The Lathers crew arrived around midnight Saturday morning and went straight to the hotel.  Our crew did not see them until Saturday morning though when the grandkids arrived at the boat.

Boat name of the week

A boat went by with Remax Realty advertisement on the side.  The name of the boat was:

Smooth Selling

Next Week –

The extended crew will visit Lockport and Niagara Falls over the weekend.  The grandkids will be on their way on Tuesday, and our crew will head out on Lake Erie on Wednesday.  They hope to make the Rock and Dock in Cleveland to visit the Rock-N-Roll Hall of Fame by the weekend.

Loop On – Where the road ends, the water begins. The water goes on forever, and the adventure never ends.

Eric the Red

Still Waters II, by Shan Miller

IMG_0009We arrived in St. Augustine around 6 o’clock

Still Waters II was moored and docked.

Captain and 1st mate welcomed us aboard

David and Claudia, two people we adore.

 

Supper was shrimp and corn boiled just right,

Key Lime Pie for dessert, my, my, what a sight.

A glass of white wine really hit the spot

Could I be dreaming? Are we really dining on a yacht?

 

7.2The following day the touring began

A ride on the Red Train told the history of the land.

We watched cannons fire while at Fort Matanzas

A chocolate shop & factory was my David’s bonanza.

 

 

Easter Sunrise Service was held on Crescent Beach

So many people gathered, we couldn’t hear the preacher preach.

Even though we could not hear, we knew the point of the sermon

Jesus died and rose to give us life and take away our burden.

 

IMG_0077At Merritt Island we were excited to see

Quite a few VERY large Manatee.

You may have heard them called a Sea Cow

All I could say was “My Gosh” and “Oh Wow” !

 

 

Next stop was Titusville, not very far to travel

A missile launch was taking place at nearby Cape Canaveral.

We watched in awe and wonder as the missile traveled higher

The oohs and aahs from the crowd around us sounded like a choir.

 

9.8

The Captain and 1st mate thought we might like to cruise

Marineland was 2 hours away, we were ecstatic at the news.

Cruising on Matanzas Bay was in every way a treat

We recognize our blessings and this one was unique.

 

Oh! Don’t forget the lighthouse on Anastasia Island,

219 steps. We grew tired of climbin’.

Nothing would do than to have the Captain stand

Posed like the lighthouse was resting in his hand.

 

IMG_0099

Thank You David and Claudia for being so very kind

For sharing your lives with us and weaving memories that bind.

We love you and we know that God continues to keep you safe

As you navigate His waters and proclaim His name is Great.

Who Do I Pay?

Hello virtual crew members and fellow adventurers!

One of the many waterfalls at Watkins Glen State Park

51.8b

Summary of week:

Spencerport

The crew moved around most everyday during the last week, though many of the moves were short distances:

  1. Sunday afternoon, the crew moved down to Sampson State Park on the east shore of Seneca Lake
  2. Monday, the crew made it down to the south end of Seneca Lake, where they visited the Watkins Glen State Park on Tuesday
  3. They returned to Seneca Falls on Wednesday, after a stop at Belhurst Castle for lunch on the western shore
  4. Newark was the stop on Thursday
  5. Followed by Fairport on Friday
  6. And they ended the week in Spencerport on Saturday

Click here to read the day-to-day travel log. This includes weather report, sea conditions, captain’s log, a summary of the day’s experience, and a few pics of the route.

The voyage of discovery did answer the following questions this week:

  1. When and where was the first road race in the United States following World War II?
  2. Who built the walkways and archways at the Watkins Glen State Park?
  3. Who designed Belhurst Castle?

At the Box Office

This week’s video shows Still Waters II as she works her way up the 19 Watkins Glen waterfalls.   Enjoy!

To see past videos, click on the link to the Still Waters II Vimeo site.  The library contains videos of Still Waters II cruising America’s Great Loop.

Sunday, July 15th

The crew decided to put a few miles on the water after Church.  They headed towards Sampson State Park about a third of the way down Seneca Lake.  After they got docked another transient boat showed up and provided the evenings entertainment.  The couple on the boat were easily in their late 80’s.

A few wood carvings along the Cayuga-Seneca Canal

38

40

While trying to dock the boat, the man was pulling into the slip, stern first.  He could not turn around to see, so his wife was standing at the back of the boat providing the following information:

Wife, “You are about to hit a post, YOU ARE ABOUT TO HIT A POST.  YOU HIT THE POST!!!”

Husband, “Did I hit something?”  As he pulled forward.

The skipper got off Still Waters II to see if he could lend a hand.  As the man started backing up again, he headed straight for the post, again.  The skipper was able to shove the 25 foot boat away from the post to prevent another collision.  The skipper then grabbed the handrail of the boat and help guide the boat back.  The skipper was looking for a line to tie the boat up with when he noticed they had no lines or fenders ready to deploy.  The skipper just held the boat for about ten minutes while the couple got some lines to tie down the boat.

The view looking south down Seneca Lake

42 Seneca Lake looking south

Once the boat was all secure, the skipper noticed that the hailing port was Marathon, Florida, down in the Keys.  That got the skipper’s attention so he asked if they had brought the boat up from Florida.  The man responded’ “Sure did!  Put her on a trailer and drove her up here at 70 miles per hour.”

The man grew up in Nova Scotia during the depression.  He said that he moved to the states when their potatoe crop came in but they were unable to get them to market.  Because of the Depression, there was no infrastructure to move the potatoes to the starving people in the cities.  He mentioned that his father moved the potatoes into the barn and they just walked away.  He said that was why they called it the Depression, because it was depressing.

There are several more stories to tell that would make you laugh, but I will stop here.  The skipper and Admiral are just impressed that the couple are still going strong, good for them.

Sunset from Sampson State Park, looking west across the lake

43.2

Monday, July 16th

The crew set off this morning for the southern reach of Seneca Lake, and the village of Watkins Glen.  The dock master had asked that they arrive before noon so he could meet them and not be late to his doctors appointment.  The crew obliged and arrived about 1120.

Bloomer Creek Vineyard on the east shore of Seneca Lake

45 Bloomer Creek Vineyard- East Shore

After getting secured in the marina, the crew walked around the Village.

47.1

One of the first things they noticed were the motor speedway plaques in the sidewalk.  The town has a Drivers Walk of Fame that was started back in 1993 to honor drivers who have competed at Watkins Glen.

49.2

Racing seems to be a big thing in town.  In fact, racing has been a big deal in town for a long time.  The first post-WWII road race in the United States took place here on October 2, 1948.  The 6.6 mile circuit ran through the existing roads in town with spectators watching from the sidewalks.  At the town Visitor Center, you can pick up a road map of the original course and drive the original circuit for yourself.

Start Finish Line of the Watkins Glen road race

49 Race Way

A few murals in town about racing

48 Race Mural

48.1

Another big attraction in town is the Watkins Glen State Park.  The park contains the Gorge Trail that runs along Glen Creek for 1.5 miles and 19 waterfalls.  The crew walked to the park entrance and looked around the Visitor Center and Gift Shop.  They plan to do the Gorge Trail in the morning when it will be cooler and less crowded.

The crew found this Bear eating ice cream so they went inside to give it a try.

50 Bear

Tuesday, July 17th

Well, it poured for most of the night, so the waterfalls should be running well today as the crew hikes the Gorge Trail.  This weeks video highlights the waterfalls, so here are just a few pics to encourage viewing of the video.

51.3b

51.6a

51.8c

The walkways, steps, trail, and archways in the above pics were all originally built by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), which was a public work relief program for unemployed , unmarried men during the depression.  Like the falls, they have stood the test of time.

There was a heavy rainfall back in 1935 that caused some serious flooding of the Gorge.   The water level rose nearly 80 feet through the canyon.  The locals claim that the water rose within five feet of the arched bridge in the below pic.

51.3a

After returning to the main entrance, the Admiral went in the Gift Shop to look around.  The skipper found a place in the shade to relax.  While waiting on the Admiral, he witnessed a real live ‘Who’s On First” episode.  But this time the confusion centered around the word ‘Park.’

To set the stage for this conversation, one must understand that there is an $8 parking lot fee to park your car in the State Park parking lot.  Entrance to the State Park and hiking the 1.5 mile Gorge Trail is free.

So, while the skipper was waiting on the Admiral, a man walked up to a volunteer and asked; ‘Where do I pay to get in the Park. The volunteer answered, “It is free to get in the Park.”  The man said, “No, I paid $8 to get in the Park yesterday at the other entrance.”

The volunteer countered, “No you paid the attendant $8 to Park, but there is no entrance fee for the Park.  The Park is free.”

Man, “No I paid $8 to get in the Park, where do I pay to get in the Park here?”

Volunteer, “The Park is free.  But here, there is no attendant at the parking lot, so you put your money in that machine right over there (pointing at machine), you will get a Parking sticker, and you put it on the dash of your car.  Then you walk up there (pointing at the walkway up to the Gorge Trail) and go take the hike,….. it    is    free.”

Man, “No I paid $8 to get in the Park yesterday.  Where do I pay today?”

Believe it or not, this circular conversation went on for nearly 15 minutes.  Finally, the skipper could not take it any longer and asked the volunteer if he might assist him in providing the man an answer to his questions.  The exasperated volunteer said sure.

The skipper looked at the man and said, “For the rest of this conversation, you are not allowed to use the word ‘Park’.  As this volunteer has been trying to explain to you, yesterday when you entered the area, you came to an attendant guarding the lot where people leave their cars.  You payed the lot attendant $8 to get a pass to leave your car in the lot.  You placed the $8 pass you bought on the dash of your car.  After you got out of your car, you walked around and did not pay anybody to see the sights, because it was free to look around. Today, you need to go to that machine over there and pay $8 to buy another pass to leave your car in the lot.  Then you can walk around here all day long and not pay anybody because walking the Gorge Trail is free.”

About the time the skipper finished, a lady walked up and said, “Honey, I found a place to park the car for free, and I learned that the Park is free also.  Isn’t this place great!”  She grabbed his arm as she was walking by and headed up towards the waterfalls.

I am not sure if the man ever got it, but the volunteer did thank the skipper for the intervention.

After returning to the boat, the crew learned that there would be a free concert in the Park about three blocks away from the marina, starting at 1900.  The crew grabbed some chairs and enjoyed the music.  The band played a wide range of music: Texas Swing, Charlie Daniels, Merle Haggard, Beatles, Eagles, and some lesser knowns.

Concert in the Park

51.16 (2)

 

 

Wednesday, July 18th

When the crew first visited the Watkins Glen Visitor Center, they were told that the area is known for four things:

  1. Seneca Lake
  2. Original Road Racing Trail
  3. Waterfall Trail
  4. Wineries/wine trail

The crew had experienced three out of four, so the skipper thought he would look for a winery that had a boat dock large enough for them to land and explore the winery.  After using Google Maps to search the lake shore line, he noticed that the only opportunity might be the Belhurst Castle.  The website for the winery did not mention the boat dock, but the skipper found a phone number and called.  The person on the other end of the phone did not know the depth of the water at the dock, so she put the skipper on ‘ignore’ to see if she could find the answer about the depth of water at the dock.  When she returned, she still did not have an answer to the depth question, but she did say people land on the dock all the time.

Overhead view of Belhurst Castle grounds and the boat dock

IMG_0671 (2)

With that scant bit of info, the crew decided to give it a try, so they shoved off from Watkins Glen and headed towards Geneva to visit Belhurst Castle.  While the skipper was researching the Castle, he learned that the architect was Albert Fuller (1854-1934).  Turns out Albert designed many of the landmark buildings in Albany.  The castle is built in the ‘Richardsonian Romanesque’ style from the 11th century.

52 Belhurst Castle

Another interesting story the skipper unearthed was about a man named Henry Hall.  Henry arrived in the area in the 1830’s in a cloud of mystery.  He bought the property that Belhurst sits on today, but put the property in a Deed of Trust to an Isabella Robinson.

He built a home on the property that the locals nicknamed Hermitage.  As you might gather, Henry was a bit of a recluse.  Upon his death the truth finally came out. Henry was actually William Henry Bucke.  In the early 1830’s, William was the treasurer for a London Opera House.  He emptied the coffers of the theater and started a new life in America.  Isabella was an Opera singer, who could have guessed?

But back to our crew.  They arrived at the boat dock and made an approach to check the depth.  Of course the charts did not show the depth at the dock.  When they got within 10 yards of the dock the depth alarm went off (3 feet under props).  The water was clear and you could see the bottom.  It looked like mud, so the skipper inched the boat forward so the Admiral could get a line around a post.  (Depth now showing only 1 foot below the prop.)  The skipper made a high risk decision to go ahead and swing the stern of the boat around and land on the dock.  The depth hung in at 1 foot below the props as they landed safely.  They did kick up a large bit of mud in the water though.

Still Waters II at Belhurst Castle dock

52.2

The crew headed up to Belhurst Castle to enjoy lunch and some wine tasting.

Modern day addition to the Castle

52.3

After lunch, the crew made way back to Seneca Falls for the night.  While on the wall, the crew was surprised by a knock on the boat.  Mike and Jen arrived and the four spent the evening swapping stories.  Mike and Jen will cross their wake when they return to Milwaukee, after departing in the fall of 2016.

Thursday, July 19th

This was not a very long route day, but turned into a long day due to passing through eight locks.  They had an unusual long wait (40 minutes) at the Cayuga-Seneca Lock 1 due to the Canal workers moving a couple of barges.

The train of equipment leaving C-S Lock 1

53.1

After passing through C-S Lock 1 the crew quickly arrived at the Canal Junction with the Erie Canal.  The crew turned to port and headed towards Buffalo.

Canal Junction, back on the western Erie Canal, mile 201

54 Canal Junction

The locks are no longer the challenge on the western Erie Canal.  The new challenge is ensuring that the boat can safely pass under the multiple low bridges.  Todays stretch consisted of five bridges that were 16 feet or less.

Approaching a high 17 foot bridge

63 Low Bridge

But today was only practice for tomorrow.  The crew will pass under the lowest bridge on the Erie Canal sometime tomorrow.  Hope they make it, because if not, they will be turning around and doing the Great U-Turn rather than the Great Loop.

After seven hours of cruising, the crew pulled onto the wall at Newark.  The area is known for its many murals painted on bridges and buildings.

Newark mural on bridge as you approach town

65 Mural in Newark

Friday, July 20th

Today would be another day of five low bridges under 16 feet.  The skipper kept thinking of the old adage, $1K for every knot of speed to repair the boat if you hit something.  The last thing the skipper wants to do is tear the canvas enclosure off the flybridge on one of these low bridges.

They practiced using the air draft tool several times as they approached the low bridges.  The Admiral would take the PVC pipe to the bow pulpit, and the skipper would slow to a crawl.  They would then pass under the bridge.  The 10 foot PVC pipe is 5 feet 8 inches above the water when sitting on the bow pulpit.  This gives a total height then of 15 feet 8 inches at the top of the PVC pole.  If the pole makes it under without hitting anything, then the boat will pass safely under the bridge.  The boat clearance is 15 feet with the radar dome taken down and sitting behind the skipper in the helm.

On station at the bow pulpit as they approach a 16 foot bridge

78 Air Draft

The slow approach

78.2

And the moment of truth, they can make it under this one

78.3

Not sure what the skipper was worried about, he had at least 3 inches of clearance to the tip of the pole on that one above.  As with many things on the Loop, the lowest bridge turned out to be a non event.  The two railroad bridges before the ‘lowest bridge’ were actually lower than the ‘lowest bridge’.  The lowest bridge is advertised to be 15.6 feet at normal pool level.  The skipper asked the lock operator what the pool level was when they entered the pool with the lowest bridge.  The lock master said it was a half inch high.  So that should not make much difference for getting under the bridge.

They finally arrived at the ‘lowest bridge’.  There was a home and dock just past the lowest bridge on the starboard side.  A lady was sitting on the dock watching as the crew approached and passed under the bridge.  After the crew slid under the bridge, she clapped and said, “Great Job.”  It would probably be fun to sit and chat with that women.  I bet she can tell a story or two about boats hitting that bridge.

About 8 inches to the bridge from top of GPS, Clearance at the ‘lowest bridge’.  What was the skipper worried about again?

78.4

After they had that non-event behind them, they pulled into Fairport.  Most of the dock space was taken so the skipper was thinking about going on past the bridge to see if there was room west of the Lift Bridge.  The Bridge Operator radioed the skipper and told him he could stay down at the end of the wall in the reserved space because there would be no tows in town tonight.  The skipper said thanks and backed the boat down to the reserved spot.

Fairport Main Street Lift Bridge

81 Fairport Main St Lift Bridge

The crew landed on the wall, but soon discovered that there was no power at this location.   The temperature was 90 and air conditioning sure would be nice if they could get some power.  The skipper walked the docks east of the lift bridge, but there was no spot with power there either.  While returning to the boat, he saw a dock master.  The skipper asked if they could tighten up three boats to make room for Still Waters II on the wall.  The dock master agreed and pulled the three boats closer together.  The hole on the wall was just big enough to land Still Waters II.  The dock master said he would hold the spot, but the skipper needed to hurry because possession is 9 tenths the law on the wall.

The skipper fired up the engines and the crew moved the boat to the open spot.  It would be a tight fit, but the skipper managed to shoehorn the boat in the hole. The Admiral said her heart was pounding but looked up and saw that the skipper was as cool as a cucumber.  However, it was a tight squeeze.  Even the rats on the boat behind them were nervous and about to abandon ship.

The stern gap

80.4

The bow gap

80.5

Saturday, July 21st

Today the crew had two locks to rise up 50 feet and 5 more of those pesky 16 foot bridges.  The crew had no problems with those obstacles and enjoyed the cruise today.

Much of the canal today had the Canal Bike Trail running along side where the old mule tow path used to be.  In fact, there were many places along the canal today that you could see the tow path on both sides of the canal.

The flat area is the old tow path

83 Tow Path along canal

The mules had to pull the barges 362 miles from Buffalo to Albany back in the original canal days.  That would be a long hard walk.

Mule in Village of Fairport

80.2 Sal the mule

While passing south of Rochester, there were many interesting arched briges across the canal.

86.1

Then the crew passed through a four mile area named the ‘Rock Cut.’  During the expansion of the canal in 1918, the canal was moved south of Rochester.  To accomplish this task, the builders had to cut through the solid rock in the area.  Hard to imagine cutting though this area with out the modern day earth moving equipment.

The Rock Cut

88 Rock Cut

88.1

The crew finally stopped in a village named Spencerport.  They will stay here through the weekend and head further west on Monday.

The Admiral liked the flowers in the yard today

90.1

Next Week –

The crew will move the 68 miles to Tonawanda over three days next week and complete the western Erie Canal.  They will stay a week there and visit the surrounding area, including Niagara Falls.  The grandkids and kids are also expected to arrive late next week, so it should be a fun week ahead.

Loop On – Where the road ends, the water begins. The water goes on forever, and the adventure never ends.

Eric the Red

It’s Not All Fun and Games

Hello virtual crew members and fellow adventurers!

So what do you do with spare pump casings and impellers you ask?  Well the Gould Pump Company of Seneca Falls sponsored this sculpture on the Ludovico Sculpture Trail.

24.9

Summary of Week:

Seneca Falls

The crew travelled four days last week making the following stops along the way:

1 – Monday, they stayed on the Lock E20 wall near Marcy, NY

2- Tuesday, they travelled to Winter Harbor Marina in Brewerton to get some work done on the boat

3- Thursday, they officially entered the western Erie Canal and stopped at Baldwinsville for the night

4- They then started a side trip to the Finger Lakes Region and stopped at Seneca Falls on Friday

Click here to read the day-to-day travel log. This includes weather report, sea conditions, captain’s log, a summary of the day’s experience, and a few pics of the route.

The voyage of discovery did answer the following questions this week:

  1. What is the highest point above sea level of the Erie Canal?
  2. When was the last time the Lock E23 power plant was used?
  3. When and where was the first Women’s Rights Convention held in the US?
  4. How did the Haudnosaunee Nation influence the Convention?
  5. What is the ‘bridge scene’ in A Wonderful Life based on?

At the Box Office

No new video this week, the skipper has been busy with other boat projects.

To see past videos, click on the link to the Still Waters II Vimeo site.  The library contains videos of Still Waters II cruising America’s Great Loop.

Monday, July 9th

The Admiral was off to the Post Office to mail the youngest granddaughter her birthday gift. While she was off on her errand, the skipper pulled down to pump out the holding tanks.

The forward holding tank vacuum pump has developed a leak and human waste has dripped into the forward bilge. After pumping the forward tank out, the skipper ran the hose through a window, through the salon, and down into the bilge and got that stuff out of the boat. (Probably a good thing the Admiral was not present to witness this activity.) He will have to repair or replace the pump upon arrival in Brewerton. Now there is a task to look forward to.

When the crew shoved off the wall, there was another boat approaching.  The skipper allowed the other boat to pass and then fell in behind them and followed them to Lock E19.  When they arrived at the lock, they learned that Island Time had just entered the lock, so the crew would lock thru with two other boats this morning.

Arrival at Lock 19, port gate was broken, lift up 21 feet

46 Lock E19

After exiting the lock, the trio of boats were off towards Lock E20, ten miles away.

47

The crew decided to pull off the canal at Utica for lunch.   The dock side restaurant was closed so the crew hiked about a mile into town and found a Denny’s open  After lunch they had one more lock to negotiate and then they stopped for the afternoon.

Lock E20, letting out water, lift up 16 feet

49.1

After exiting Lock E20, the boat has climbed to 420 feet above sea level from New York Harbor. This is the high point on the Erie Canal.

The crew stopped in front of Governor Roosevelt for the evening.

50 Gov Roosevelt

The skipper got the bikes off the boat and the crew rode the Canal Trail for a little exercise.  The Canal Trail could be an adventure in itself.  The Trail consists of just over 220 miles of paths along the canal.

Tuesday, July 10th

Today the crew had two locks to negotiate and then needed to get across the open waters of Lake Oneida before the afternoon winds picked up.  The morning was calm though and made for glass like conditions on the canal.

Mirror reflection of bridge over canal

52

Arrival at Lock E21, step down 25 feet

53 Lock 21

There was a little excitement upon leaving Lock E21 though. The port main engine decided she would not start. The skipper had to leave the lock on the starboard engine which made getting off the lock wall a bit difficult.

A virtual crew member, Scott, asked last week, how do you normally get off the lock wall?.  The short answer is that we shove off the wall to get some space (about 1-2 feet) then use the engines to move further off the wall and get underway.

However, with only the starboard engine running, and the boat up against the lock wall on the port side, the skipper delicately bumped the starboard engine a few times to get some forward momentum while steering to starboard.  Once some water started to flow by the rudder, he was able to steer the boat to the center of the lock.

After they exited the lock, the skipper went down in the engine room and checked the cables to the starter on the port engine. He managed to get about a half a flat turn on one nut. When he got back up in the helm, the port engine started right up.

Passed this little canal work boat on the way to Lock E22.  Do you see the guy riding the tow?  If that tow line breaks, he is in the ‘line of fire.’

54

Safely in Lock E22

55 Lock 22

There were no issues exiting the second lock. The crew made way to Sylvian Beach and then into Lake Oneida. The lake runs east to west for about 20 miles and is not all that wide. The crossing of the Lake went well. The Lake was fairly calm except for the occasional boat wake, but the waves did build to one foot as the wind started to blow from the west. The crew exited the lake and entered Oneida River before conditions got to bumpy. They then docked at Winter Harbor Marina with about eight other Looper boats.

Hopefully the marina has the breaker the boat needs to replace the failed Main Line 2 Breaker.

Wednesday, July 11th

Today the skipper had several projects to complete around the boat as well as have the marina replace the Main Line 2 Breaker.  The electrician found that the breaker had a loose connection that had arced and sparked.  The arc caused some of the breaker’s molded case to break off and also burnt some surrounding wires that will be replaced.

The bad breaker and wire

IMG_0001

The skipper finally managed to get the radar dome down so that the air draft of the boat is now 15 feet. This will allow the crew to slide under a 15.5 foot bridge on the western Erie Canal. He also built a measuring device to put out on the bow to verify they can clear the bridge. We shall see how it works in a week or so.

The skipper also replaced that forward head vacuum pump. Let’s just say that was the nastiest job completed on the boat to date. Where is Mike Rowe when you need him?

With the projects around the boat complete, the crew took a courtesy car to town and bought a few provisions for the next leg of the journey, The Cayuga-Seneca Canal.

Thursday, July 12th

After topping off the fuel tanks, the crew initially headed towards Syracuse where they had planned to visit the Erie Canal Museum.  After a few miles they arrived at Lock E23. The lock master made them wait for a second boat because the first lock on the Oswego Canal had a problem with the 7 foot lift bridge. They are having to manually open the bridge.  The crew mentioned that they were not going to Oswego, but they got to wait for the second boat anyway. While waiting the crew did learn some interesting things about Lock E23.

Lock E23, step down 7 feet

1 Lock E23
This lock is the busiest lock in the entire system because of its proximity to the eastern Erie, western Erie, and Oswego Canal Junction. The lock master said he locks about 100 boats on a Saturday. On July 4th, he said he locked 132 boats.

Power House for Lock E23

1.1 Power Plant

Another interesting feature of this lock is that its original power house is still onsite and available.  The generator is maintained and ready to supply power if required as a back-up. However, the lock master said they had not fired up the power plant since the Northeast Blackout of 2003.  There were four boats trapped in the lock when the power went out in 2003, so they started the power plant up to operate the lock equipment and let the boaters out of the lock.

Looking out of Lock E23

1.2 View Looking down

The crew soon arrived at the Canal Junction and officially entered the Western Erie Canal.

Canal Junction

2 Canal Junction

They were not on the western Erie Canal long though, the skipper diverted toward Syracuse across Lake Onondaga. However, when they arrived at the entrance canal to Syracuse a RR Bridge, which shows to be 17 feet on the charts, turned out to be less than 15 feet. The crew could not get under the bridge so they headed back to the Erie Canal and decided to stop at Lock E24.

Nope, not getting under that bridge

4.3

While making way to Lock E24, the crew saw several swans.  Including one cygnet, or baby swan.

4.2

5

Upon arrival at Lock E24, the Admiral spotted a Cake and Ice Cream store.  They agreed that they would make that the first stop while exploring the town of Baldwinsville.  A little historical tidbit, Lock E24 was the first lock completed during the modern Barge Canal era of the Erie Canal.  The lock opened May 9, 1910, almost eight years ahead of the canal completion.

Lock E24, Lift 11 feet

6 Lock E24

After clearing the lock, the crew found a spot along the upper lock wall to moor for the night.  The skipper did find the ice cream store.  He bought a big kahuna, two peanut butter cookies sandwiching vanilla ice cream.

6.2

Friday, July 13th

With the crew unable to make Syracuse, and the unscheduled stop at Lock E24 in Baldwinsville, the skipper had to recalculate the next few days moves.  He has decided to head to Seneca Falls for the weekend.  The crew headed down the western Erie Canal to the Canal Junction with the Cayuga-Seneca Canal at mile 201.

A few sights on the western Erie Canal

10

11

One surprise caught the crew a bit off guard.  However, it did give the crew a chance to use their new air draft tool for getting under low bridges.  The skipper was approaching a 17 foot bridge, which should have been no problem.  However, he noticed a bunch of cables dangling below the bridge.  As they approached closer, he could tell there were people on a platform working under the bridge.

12 Men at Work

The skipper slowed to a near stop, had the Admiral go raise the air draft tool, and then proceeded slowly towards the bridge.  Turned out the crew still had a foot of clearance to the dangling cables below the bridge.  The skipper did notice that the work platform the guys were working on was really an extension ladder.

12.1 A few more miles down the canal, the crew crossed the remains of the Montezuma Aqueduct.  The Aqueduct was built back in the 1862 expansion when the canal designers were having issues with the canal crossing the Seneca River.  The solution was to build this 900 foot long Aqueduct over the Seneca River.

Aqueduct remains

17 Aquaduct

Just a few more miles and the crew reached the Canal Junction with the Cayuga-Seneca Canal.  The crew headed south (left) to start their side trip into the Finger Lakes Region of New York.

Canal Junction

18 C_S Canal Junction

18.2

The crew traveled along the Montezuma Wildlife Refuge where they saw many birds and a deer along the bank.

Osprey Nest

20 Osprey

Bald Eagle in flight

16 Bald Eagle

The crew then arrived at Lock CS1 which raised the boat 7 feet to be the same level as Lake Cayuga.  The crew made a right turn upon exiting the lock and headed towards Seneca Falls where they would encounter Locks CS2 and 3.

Lock CS1, lift 7 feet

21 Lock CS 1

Locks CS2 and 3, combined lift of 49 feet

22 Lock CS 2

23 Lock CS 3

The first sight of Seneca Falls is this Episcopal Church along the Canal front.

29.1

After making the bend, the crew saw the village walls and found a spot to moor for the weekend.  The skipper noticed a Sculpture Garden Trail Head that was near the boat, so the crew headed down the one mile trail to see the sights.

24 Ludovico SculptureTrail

24.3

24.6

24.7

Saturday, July 14th

Seneca Falls turned out to be an interesting stop.  The village has a rich history.  There number one claim to fame is the location of the first Women’s Rights Convention at the Wesleyan Chapel on July 19-20 1848.

Wesleyan Chapel

33 NP of Women's Movement

It was here that the Declaration of Sentiments was signed and eventually led to the 19th Amendment to the US Constitution in 1920.  The Women’s Rights National Historic Park tells the story of how women fought for equality and the right to vote.

33.2

Of the 300 folks in attendance at the Women’s Rights Convention, only 100 signed the Declaration of Sentiments.

32 Seneca Falls Visitor Center

The town also houses the National Women’s Hall of Fame, which showcases great American Women.  Of the women inducted there, the skipper has to admit that he did not know many of them by name.  He did recognize Susan B. Anthony, Lucile Ball, Clara Barton, Amelia Earhart, and Betty Ford, to name just a few.

He did discover a Margret Fuller in the Hall of Fame.  She lived 1810 – 1850.  From 1839 to 1844 she held a series of ‘Conversations’ for women of Boston, encouraging women to think and talk together about ideas.  These dialogues led Fuller to write her most important work, Women in the Nineteenth Century (1845), considered a classic work of American feminist thought that had a profound influence on the Seneca Falls Women’s Rights gathering in 1848. (From the National Women’s Hall of Fame)

Future home of the National Women’s Hall of Fame (under remodel)

26.1

One of the interesting back stories that the National Park told was of the Haudenosaunee (ho-dee-noe-sho-nee) or Iroquois.  The six nations make up the oldest living participatory democracy on earth.  Their government of unity and equality go back over 800 years.  The chiefs of the Haudenosaunee were invited to speak at the Continental Congress on June 11, 1776.  Many of their ideas of unity and equality made it into our Declaration of Independence.

33.5

There was still a presence of these tribes in central New York in the mid 1800’s.  These Native Americans had an impact on the women of Central New York.  The women began to take notice how the native women already had the rights that were denied by the laws of the United States.  For example, the native women had a Council who actually picked the Chief for the six nation Confederacy.  Then the six nations individually voted (both men and women) on the choice.  The nominee had to carry all six nations to become the Chief of the Confederacy.  If the nominee did not carry all six nations, then the Women’s Council would select a second candidate.

The Quaker and Methodist women of Central New York took notice of the rights of the Native Women and used their observations to form the backbone of the Declaration of Sentiments that was edited and approved at the 1848 Convention in Seneca Falls.

The Iroquois Women would tell the women fighting for equal rights, We

  • Own the Land, the Lodge, the Children
  • Ours is the right to adoption, life or death;
  • Ours is the right to raise up and depose chiefs;
  • Ours is the right to representations in all councils;
  • Ours is the right to make and abrogate treaties;
  • Ours is the supervision over domestic and foreign policies;
  • Ours is the trusteeship of tribal property;
  • Our lives are valued again as high as man’s.

These ideals drove the American Women forward towards the right to vote and buy property.

Statue capturing the meeting of Susan B Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton

34 Susan B Anthony meets Eizabeth Stanton

On another note, It’s A Wonderful Life Museum is also in Seneca Falls.  The locals believe that Seneca Falls was the inspiration for Frank Capra’s script.  He is known to have visited the area while working on the screenplay.

30 It's A Wonderful Life Museum

Some similarities between Seneca Falls and Bedford Falls of the movie:

  • Both are located in western New York
  • The film makes reference to surrounding areas such as Buffalo, Rochester, and Elmira
  • Originally, Harry Bailey attended Cornell University, in nearby Ithaca
  • The steel bridge in the movie is very similar to the bridge over the canal, down to the detail of the color of the paint
  • The movie has a scene where Harry is contemplating suicide and performs a rescue.  In real life, a lady jumped from the bridge and was rescued; however, the rescuer died.

35 Bridge (2)

All in all, Seneca Falls was an interesting stop.

Boat name of the week

8

Next Week –

The crew will head into Seneca Lake and then move over to explore Cayuga Lake.

Loop On – Where the road ends, the water begins. The water goes on forever, and the adventure never ends.

Eric the Red

Happy 242 America

Hello virtual crew members and fellow adventurers!

Ski show in Scotia started with the Star Spangled Banner

25.2

Summary of week:

Ilion

The crew put in four travel days during the week, setting up a pattern of one travel day followed by one day to explore the area:

1- Started the week out at the Waterford Visitor Center at the beginning of the Erie Canal

2- Travelled to Scotia on Tuesday and celebrated the 4th with the locals

3- Made way to Canajoharie on Thursday

4- Ended the week on Saturday by stopping in Ilion for the weekend

Click here to read the day-to-day travel log. This includes weather report, sea conditions, captain’s log, a summary of the day’s experience, and a few pics of the route.

The voyage of discovery did answer the following questions this week:

  1. Where is the shortest canal system with the largest lift in the world?
  2. What is Cohoes Falls?
  3. Where are 5 barges, made of concrete during WWI?
  4. What is a ‘Boiling Pot’
  5. When and Where did Remington start his ‘Arms’ Factory

At the Box Office

This week we have two videos to share.  The first features Sea Horse as she navigates Erie Canal Lock E2.

The second feature shows Still Waters II on the dock with other Looper boats.  Then she watches as they leave the dock and pass through Lock E2. She enjoys a ski show off her bow in Scotia, and explores Canajoharie Creek.  Enjoy!

To see past videos, click on the link to the Still Waters II Vimeo site.  The library contains videos of Still Waters II cruising America’s Great Loop.

Sunday, July 1st

The crew broke with tradition and decided to travel a short distance on Sunday, and take a rest day on Monday. The main thing which drove this decision was the heat wave that has descended on upstate New York. The temperatures and heat index will be more comfortable on Sunday, than on Monday, to be out on the boat motoring around and locking..

First site of Albany from the water.

41 Albany

The crew traveled only a short 26 miles to arrive at the Waterford Welcome Center before noon. The 50 amp power locations were already taken along the dock. But the skipper noticed that the first power pedestal at the end of the dock had an available 50 amp plug with his name on it. He swung the boat around and backed up to the end of the dock and tied up along the concrete wall. The crew managed to deploy the power cable over to the dock and secured 50 amp power which means they can run both air conditioners as the temperature rises to 100 degrees.

5 Waterford

The Federal Lock just before Waterford

43 Federal Lock
Upon arrival at The Welcome Center, the skipper noticed they had a Farmers Market that was in full swing.  However, he quickly learned the Market would close at 1300. After the boat was secured the Admiral was off in search of fresh farm raised tomatoes. She procured some tomatoes and some strawberries for the crew. The skipper, well he purchased some maple syrup coated pecans.

There are five Looper boats at the Welcome Center. Three of which are from Texas. The crew hopes to meet them all before they launch the Erie Canal Cruise on Tuesday.

Monday, July 2nd

The crew plans to travel from Waterford to Buffalo – on the New York Canal System, a distance of 352 miles. However, there are 524 navigable miles of waterways in the System. The canals that make up this System are the Erie, Cayuga-Seneca, Oswego, and Champlain.

1 Canal System

The crew has navigated the eastern Erie, Oswego, and Champlain Canals. This year they will run the eastern Erie again, then the Cayuga-Seneca, and then complete the western Erie. When they arrive in Buffalo, they will have completed all 524 miles of the system.

The present day Erie Canal has three distinct periods. The original canal was begun in 1817, and opened for commercial navigation in 1825. You may recall that last year when the crew cruised the Champlain Canal, the system was celebrating their 200th birthday, and the state of New York gifted the recreational boaters with free access to the canals.

Original Erie Canal with mules pulling the barges

2 Mule train

The second period began in 1862 and is referred to as the Enlarged Erie Canal. By 1918, the mules and tows were no longer needed, and were replaced with motorized vessels which required deeper wider canals.  The modern canal abandoned many of the old canal routes and locks, and used existing rivers.

3 Abandoned Canal

And guess what, the system is celebrating the 100th Birthday of the modern canal system during 2018. And yes, once again the state of New York has gifted free access to recreational boaters for the 2018 season.  FOG!

The Erie Canal by the numbers:

  • 524 navigable miles of waterway
  • 34 National Historic Landmarks
  • 24 New York State Parks
  • 11 State Wildlife Management Areas
  • 9 New York State Historic Sites
  • 4 National Park units
  • 4 National Natural Landmarks
  • 2 National Wildlife Refuges
  • 2 New York State Bike Routes
  • 1 National Forest
  • 1 National Scenic Trail

So much to see and do,………. so little time.

Tuesday, July 3rd

Ever heard of Cohoes Falls? Probably not. However, believe it or not, it is actually larger than its big sister at the other end of the Erie Canal, American Falls at Niagara Falls.

Cohoes Falls at full flow

4.3

Cohoe Falls in late Spring

4 Cohoes Falls

Comparing Cohoes Falls to Niagara Falls:

Width
Cohoes – 1,000 feet
Niagra – 830 feet at American Falls
Height
Cohoes – 75-90 feet
Niagra – 70-110 feet
Water Flow
Cohoes – 0 – 90,000 cubic feet per second
Niagra – 5,000 – 21,000 cubic feet per second
Tourism
Cohoes – no tourist industry
Niagra – tops 28 million tourist per year

The Cohoes Falls were a major obstacle for the planners of the Erie Canal back in 1817 when work began. The original 1825 Canal went through the town of Cohoes. Back in 1862, when the Enlarged Canal was developed, the canal continued to run through Cohoes.

In 1918, during the Modern Barge Canal Era of today, the canal was moved to bypass Cohoes and run through Waterford. However, there was still vibrant industry due to the mills in the area of Cohoes. During the Great Depression, the mills closed down and the city leaders were desperate for cash. They leased/sold the water rights to power companies and the Canal System.

Cohoe Falls in summer

4.1 Cohoes Falss

Consequently, the falls run strong following the fall rains, but dry up by late spring/early summer due to water diverted to the power companies and to the Canal Locks. Leading to the no tourist industry for the town today.

Speaking of today, the crew starts their official passage through the Erie Canal when they enter Erie Canal Lock E2 at Waterford.  Lock E2 is the first lock of the Waterford Flight of Five, Locks E2-E6. These locks make it possible to bypass the Cohoes Falls, and complete the largest lift in the shortest distance of any canal system in the world.  The five locks will lift Still Waters II 169 feet in just a little more than a half mile of distance. This will surely be a workout for the crew.

A fleet of six Looper boats all decided to leave together and travel as a group today. They got off the dock around 0700 and headed for Lock E2.  Our Crew stayed back to do one of the skippers favorite tasks, pump out the holding tanks. After the dirty, nasty task was complete, the crew shoved off the dock and headed to Lock E2 to start the Erie Canal Adventure.

Looper Fleet entering Lock E2 at Waterford to begin the Flight of Five, up 34 feet

10.1

After they exited the Lock, the Lockmaster informed the crew that the Lock E3 operator was pulling double duty today and was operating lock E3 and E5. The Lockmaster told the skipper to pull up to Lock E3 and tie along the wall, it might be a while.  He was right, an hour and half later, the skipper got a radio call from the Lock E3 operator saying he would be opening the gates in about 15 minutes.

While the crew waited to enter Lock E3, Almost There showed up and joined the wait party.  Our crew managed to tie along the wall under a bridge so they were in the shade while they waited.

12.2 Almost There
The crew got the green light to enter Lock E3 at 1030. By 1145, they had completed Locks E3-6. They had completed the 169 foot rise around Cohoes Falls, but now it was time to find some electricity.

Lock E3, Waterford, up 35 feet

12.1

Lock E4, Waterford, up 35 feet

13 Lock E4

Lock E5, Waterford, up 33 feet

14 Lock E5

Lock E6, Waterford, up 33 feet

15 Lock E6

From there, it was about ten miles to Lock E7, so the Admiral got lunch together for the crew. When they arrived at Lock E7, they were informed that they would have to wait for some eastbound boat traffic to lock down before they could enter the lock. When the gates opened, there was a sailboat under tow by BoatUS. It was a narrow squeeze to get three boats abreast as they passed Still Waters II. When they passed the crew got the green light to enter the lock.

Almost There entering Lock E7, Vischer Ferry, up 27 feet

22.1

The dam at Lock E7

21 Dam Lock E7

After exiting Lock E7, it was 8 more miles to the town of Scotia where the crew tied up for the night at the municipal dock.  Upon arrival though, they learned that a ski team puts on a show every Tuesday Night, about a hundred yards north of the dock.

25 Ski Team Show

At 1900, the crew wandered down and joined the crowd that had gathered to watch the ski show.

25.1

This was the 50th anniversary of the ski team, so they were doing a montage from past competitions and shows.  They had skiers from all generations of the ski team performing, also. A few pics from the show:25.4 25.10

25.20

The Bare footer

25.13

25.14

25.15

25.16

25.17

The Grand Finale, 4 tier pyramid

25.28

Wednesday, July 4th

The crew decided to spend a second day in Scotia.  They did not do much, but they did enjoy grilling burgers and dogs at the Freedom Park next to the docks.  Unfortunately, the second line of power went out on the boat in the late afternoon.  The skipper has exhausted his troubleshooting and will have to find a marine electrician to fix the problem.  It looks as though the Line 2 Main Breaker may of failed. The main consequence though, loss of air conditioning during the New York heat wave.

Off to go see the local fire works demonstration.  The casino is footing the bill, so the crew hopes it is a good show.

Thursday, July 5th

The crew set a goal to make Canajoharie by the end of the day.  In 2016, when the crew wished to stop here the docks were full and people were rafted two abreast.  The crew skipped this stop and went two locks further west.

To arrive at Canajoharie, the crew would have to pass through six locks.  These would be smaller locks, so much easier than Tuesday.  Also, the heat index is near one hundred again today, so it will be necessary to stay hydrated while locking through.

With calm conditions predicted all day, the Admiral decided she would practice her boat handling skills by motoring off the lock walls once the lock operator opened the gates.  She did an excellent job.

The winds were non existent when the crew shoved off the dock.  The water was like a mirror. 

26 Mohawk River Like Glass

Lock E8, Scotia, up 14 feet

27.1

The crew entered lock E8 with a boat named Patricia Ann.  After the gate closed, the lock operator started to raise the water level in the lock, but then stopped.  The skipper noticed the lock was draining, and then the gates swung back open to allow a third vessel in the lock.

Today’s lock buddies

29 Today's Lock partners

Lock E9, Rotterdam, up 15 feet

28 Lock E9

Lock 9 has an interesting piece of history.  While the skipper approached the Lock, he noticed that the charts plotted a total of 5 sunken vessels, above and below the lock, just to the side of the channel.  The vessels are concrete barges that were built in WWI.  Following the war, the state of New York gained control of the barges and used them as approach walls for the lock.

And why would the US government build barges and ships out of concrete you ask?  During the war, metals such as steel were at a premium, so they used reinforced concrete rather than steel to build the barges and some ships.  Twelve concrete ships were commissioned during WWI. The government did the same thing during WWII, and commissioned 24 concrete ships.

Lock E10, Cranesville, up 15 feet

30 Lock E10

Lock E11, Amsterdam, up 12 feet

32 Lock E11

The Admiral managing the bow line in lock 11

32.1 (2)

Lock E12, Tribes Hill, up 11 feet

33 Lock E12

While in Lock 12, the skipper struck up a conversation with the Captain of the Patricia Ann.  They are from Alaska, and will also be doing the western Erie Canal.  The crew will probably be seeing more of the Patricia Ann in the days ahead.

The Patricia Ann

33.1 Patricia Ann

Lock E13, Randall, up 8 feet, last lock of the day

34 Lock E13

After exiting Lock E13, it was seven miles to the Riverfront Park in Canajoharie.  On the way, the crew passed an empty building.  Back in the early 1900’s, there was not local power available to operate the locks, so the Canal Authority built local power plants to power the locks.  They contained two 50 KW turbines.

31 power Plant

Upon arrival, there was no dock space with electric power.  However, there was space on the terminal wall where the crew tied up.  With no power, there will be no air conditioning which will make for a long hot afternoon.  And probably a long hot night.  Makes you wonder how people survived the summers down south before the invention of air conditioning.

Friday, July 6th

The heat wave finally broke.  It is only supposed to get in the mid 70’s today with a low in the 50’s tonight.

With the temperatures moderated, the skipper decided to set out and explore the name sake of Canajoharie.  The name is Mohawk for ‘Boiling Pots.’  The Canajoharie Creek bed is lined with soft shale rock.  As the water cascades down the river bottom it has eroded the shale rock into round holes, called ‘boiling pots.’

The creek bottom looked very much like walking the dinosaur tracks in the Paluxy River back in Glen Rose, Texas.

Canajoharie Creek

36.2 Canajoharie Creek

A small boiling pot, only 1 foot in diameter

DCIM100GOPROGOPR0836.JPG

Larger Boiling Pot, 10 feet in diameter, maybe 5 foot deep

DCIM100GOPROGOPR0837.JPG

On the way back to the boat the skipper passed two interesting things.  One was a reference to the hot temperatures over the last few days.  The other was a traffic light that is placed directly in the middle of the intersection.

Church Warning 

DCIM100GOPROGOPR0838.JPG

Traffic Light in the middle of the road

38 traffic Light

The skipper decided to do some more troubleshooting on the Main Line 2 bus and breaker.  After taking multiple voltage readings, it looks like the Main Line 2 Breaker has failed.  The skipper cycled the breaker open and shut several times, but still no power getting to the individual component breakers.

Saturday, July 7th

Headed out today towards Ilion Village Marina, just past Lock E18.  The crew would get stepped up 196 feet through five Locks, including the largest step on the Erie Canal.  They would also end the day with a great discovery.

Lock E14, Canajoharie, up 8 feet

39 Lock E14

Lock E15, Fort Plain, up 8 feet, most western Lock that is directly on the Mohawk River

40 Lock E15

Lock E16, St Johnsville, up 20 feet

41.3

The Mohawk River turns to the right just before the Lock.  During construction of the modern Erie Canal, the designers dug a 3.6 mile ditch along side the old Erie Canal and the Mohawk River.  Lock E16 is the entry into this man-made canal that was dug in 1907.

The view of the man-made canal

42

Lock E17, Little Falls, up 40 feet, being drained so the crew can enter

44.1

Lock E17 was a design challenge for the engineers back in the early 1900’s.  The lock was built into solid rock and needed a unique solution to fill the chamber.  Part of the design was building a pond that would be used to fill the lock.

Also, this lock is the largest lift on the Erie Canal.  Part of the design was a guillotine lift gate that the boater goes under.  There are only two such locks in North America  The other one is located on the Ottawa River in Canada.

The guillotine gate being lifted

44.2

Sea Horse in Lock E17

44.5 Sea Horse

The solid rock that was cut for the Lock

44.7

Lock E18, out in the countryside west of Little Falls, up 20 feet

45.2

On the way up in the Lock, the skipper noticed a large ship on the other side of the east gate waiting to get in the Lock.  The low profile allows the ship to get under the low bridges on the Erie Canal.

45.3

While exiting the lock, the Admiral asked the folks where they were headed on their cruise?  They answered New York City.  Well, they have about 240 miles to go.  The skipper looked back and noticed that the design of the ship allows a snug fit in the lock.

45.5

After Lock E18, the crew motored just a few more miles and pulled into the Ilion Village Marina.  You probably would never guess that Ilion is pronounced “E-lee-on” rather than “I-Lion,” but it is.  The skipper is having a hard time remembering how to say the name of this place.  I have head him refer to it as the town that starts with an “I”, and then the other person says the town name for him.  A great coping strategy.

In a more positive note though, after arriving at the marina, the skipper plugged into the 50 amp service.  When he went in the boat, he cycled the Main Line 2 breaker numerous times, and cha-ching, the air conditioners came back on.  FOG!  A great way to finish the week.

Historical Note – Ilion is the home of Eliphalet Remington, who created his first gun and started the Remington Arms Company back in 1816.  The factory and museum hire 1,300 folks in town making it the village’s largest employer.

Boat name of the week

Gettin’ Looped

gett'n looped

Next Week –

The crew expects to complete the Eastern Erie Canal early next week.  They will then take a side trip on the Cayuga-Seneca Canal into the ‘Finger Lakes.’  They hope to be in Ithaca, at the southern tip of Cayuga Lake by the end of the week.

Loop On – Where the road ends, the water begins. The water goes on forever, and the adventure never ends.

Eric the Red

Friends, New and Old

Hello virtual crew members and fellow adventurers!

I would like to welcome Gideon A. aboard as our newest virtual crew member.  As a dear friend, Big Dave S., used to say, “It is an SOS (scoot over some) kind of day.”  It might be a little crowded on this 43 foot boat, but there is always room for more.

13.4

Summary of week:

The crew met an interesting host of people during the past week.  These folks have definitely enriched the crews lives.

Hudson

The first half of the week was spent making way from Cape May to New York City, with the following stops:

  1. Anchored across from Atlantic City in Rum Point Basin
  2. Anchored in cove by Tilton Point about 10 miles south of Manasquan
  3. Lady Liberty Marina in NYC

The second half of the week was spent running up the Hudson River with the following stops:

  1. Anchored in Haverstraw Cove just south of the town of Haverstraw
  2. Stayed at Hyde Park Marina which is walking distance to the Culinary Institute of America where the crew will grab an evening meal
  3. Shady Harbor Marina just north of New Baltimore because it was too hot to anchor

Click on the link to read the day-to-day travel log. This includes weather report, sea conditions, captain’s log, a summary of the day’s experience, and a few pics of the route.

The voyage of discovery did answer the following questions this week:

  1. Who is buried in Grant’s Tomb?
  2. Who made the above question famous?
  3. Why isn’t General Grant buried at West Point or other military cemetery?

At the Box Office

This week’s video shows Still Waters II leave Cape May and run up the New Jersey coast to Atlantic City.  She then runs inside on the NJ ICW where she encounters a train at Manasquan.  She then runs back outside in the Big Pond to NYC, and begins her voyage up the Hudson River.  In Poughkeepsie, she listens to Bridge Music.  She ends her week watching fireworks off her bow over the Hudson River.  Happy Birthday America!         Enjoy!

To see past videos, click on the link to the Still Waters II Vimeo site.  The library contains videos of Still Waters II cruising America’s Great Loop.

Sunday, June 24th

The skipper noticed another Viking Motor Yacht had arrived at the Marina in the early afternoon. He also noticed that the Viking was flying a White Looper Flag, signaling that they are ‘In Progress” on the loop. The name of the boat, Gettin’ Looped.  The crew of Gettin’ Looped , Mike and Jonell, invited our crew onboard for a tour. Then later, Mike and Jonell came down and toured Still Waters II.

The boats are still very similar, even after 30 plus years of additions and modifications to each boat.

Mike and Jonell aboard Still Waters II

Gettin Looped

Mike and Jonell stopped by the Viking Manufacturing Facility just north of Atlantic City.  They sent a message that the tour was fabulous.  Our crew will put this on the ever growing ‘Next Time’ list.

Monday, June 25th

The ever changing weather has opened a window to cruise three straight days to New York City. So this morning the crew set off on the first leg of the journey up the Jersey coast by heading towards Atlantic City.

Leaving Cape May Harbor

1 Leaving Cape May Harbor

The crew ran about three miles off shore for much of the cruise and did not have much of a view of anything but miles and miles of water.

Atlantic City in the distance

2 Atlantic City 15 miles out

The skipper out getting video for this week’s film

3.1

When the crew arrived at the anchor spot they had a bit of trouble. On the first try the anchor did not set. While pulling the anchor back in the chain got stuck in the windlass and tripped the breaker. After resetting the breaker, the skipper un-lodged the stuck chain and dropped the anchor a second time.

Again the anchor did not hold. This time when the anchor came up it had a big ball of grass stuck on it. The skipper cleaned the anchor off, then dropped the anchor a third time. This time the anchor held, but it seems the brake may have broke on the windlass because the chain was just free wheeling into the water. Just another thing to troubleshoot and fix.

The crew did make arrangements to stay at Liberty Landing Marina in NYC on Wednesday. They plan to meet Geof, the Captain that originally trained the crew three years ago.

Geof (far left) and the crew on the last day of training, three years ago

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Then they made reservations at Hyde Park further up the Hudson River so the Admiral could make reservations at the Culinary Institute for Friday. The Dance Card is filling fast this week.

Tuesday, June 26th

The crew completed the second leg of the journey to NYC. They decided to run on the inside route via the NJ ICW. To get past the worst spots of shoaling, they needed to leave about 2 hours ahead of high tide. This just happened to be 0600 today.

New Jersey ICW

4. NJ ICW

The skipper got up and completed his morning routine and had the engines started at 0545. The Admiral got up when the engines started and made her morning coffee. She then went to the helm and helped get the anchor up from the helm while the skipper was out on the bow pulpit. The windlass seemed to work fine and the anchor came up clean.

They made their way out the basin and headed north on the ICW at mile 66. The first two hours had several spots of shoaling and the water low level alarm went off frequently. The good news was that the skipper never saw less than two feet of water under the props. Other than a few tense moments in low water, all was well with the cruise.

As the crew approached Tilton Point to drop anchor, the tide was ebbing and they found themselves once again in some shallow water. They managed to keep five feet of water under the boat though. When they rounded Tilton Point, they pulled into the cove and dropped the anchor. The windlass performed as designed and the anchor was set on the first try. Strange after all the problems from yesterday.

View across the ICW from the anchor spot

7 From Anchor Spot

The crew is set to make New York City tomorrow. Always a fun trip to take your own boat into New York Harbor past the Statue of Liberty and Lower Manhattan.  Only issue is the weather, looks as though a storm may build in the early afternoon and carry some 20 plus mph winds.  The skipper will evaluate the conditions in the morning.

Wednesday, June 27th

Got away at the crack of dawn this morning. The conditions in the morning were marginal, but the afternoon conditions would be a no go.

The crew uses the following matrix for deciding to travel or not:

Wind          Waves           Go-No Go
0-10              <2 ft                Go
11-15            <2 ft                Go
15-20            >2 ft                No-Go

The winds were predicted to be 20 + in the afternoon with 3-5 foot swells only 4 seconds apart.  That would not be much fun.  However, the window to get around Sandy Hook looked good if the crew left early.  When they reached the Atlantic Ocean, the wind was 11 mph with 2 foot swells at 6 second period. The wind slowly picked up energy as the crew headed north. Conditions were 13 mph winds with 2-3 foot swells as the crew rounded Sandy Hook and made way to the Verrazano Bridge.

Abandoned Lighthouse in Lower Hudson Bay

9 Light in Lower Hudson Bay

As the crew neared the Verrazano Bridge, conditions seemed to weaken and the waters calmed down. After passing under the bridge and thru ‘The Narrows’ into the Upper Hudson Bay, the skipper checked conditions out at Sandy Hook and the winds were up to 20 mph..

Looking towards Manhattan from below the Verrazano Bridge

10 Manhattan from under Verrazano Narrows Bridge

The crew swung by the Statue of Liberty for a few pics, and were surprised to find they were the only boat there. As they pulled away from the Statue, a tour boat loaded with tourists arrived..

13.5
The crew made way over to Lady Liberty Landing and got docked. As the skipper was checking in at the dock office, a 32 foot sail boat arrived on the fuel dock to check into customs. The boat and 4 crew were landing after a four day cruise from Bermuda. The skipper asked how the sail went and the Captain of the sailboat launched into a story of 26 foot waves and a hail storm. The skipper assumed it was not that good of a trip.

After that story, the skipper checked the wind conditions out at Sandy Hook and found that the wind was well over 20 mph.  Sure glad they left early and missed that mess.

The view of Manhattan from the boat

16 View ftrom Boat

As mentioned earlier, the goal for today was to make NYC and meet up with Geof.  It has been too long since the crew has seen Geof, and they are eager to learn what he is doing working in NYC.  Geof had a business associate with him, Shawn, so they both arrived at the boat around 1730.  After introductions and some good story telling the group set off to find some food to eat.

New and old friends aboard Still Waters II, Shawn, the skipper, Geof (left to right)

16.4

The food was ok, but the price included a charge for the view.

16.2 Shawn and Geof

Thursday, June 28th

The skipper looked at the tide and current charts for the Hudson River and determined that the best time to leave was 0800, so that they would get a 1.5 mph push from the current.

Unfortunately, there was a steady downpour while the crew shoved off the dock. The crew donned their rain gear, unhooked the water and electric, then slipped the lines, and finally left the dock in the rain.

After motoring out into the Hudson River, the rain abruptly stopped. This would happen two or three times throughout the day. All at the most inconvenient of times.

Goodbye NYC

17 leaving in the rain
The crew caught site of Grant’s Tomb overlooking the Hudson River. This begged the question, Who is buried in Grant’s tomb?

18 Grant's Tomb

Well, that is a trick question, or maybe even a riddle. How can that be you ask? Well, for starters, technically no one is buried in Grant’s Tomb. However, both General Grant and his wife, Julia, are ‘entombed’ there above ground in matching sarcophagi.
18.1
The skipper wondered why the General was not buried in West Point, or some other military installation. The answer turned out to be because the General’s only request upon death was to be laid to rest beside his wife. Back when he died, wives were not permitted to be buried in military cemeteries.

His wife choice New York because the site of the memorial was only blocks from where she lived and she could go visit her deceased husband. When Julia died in 1902, she was placed next to the General, granting Grant’s last wish.

Some give credit for the old question, Who is buried in Grant’s Tomb? to Groucho Marx. He hosted a quiz show, ‘You Bet Your Life,” in the 1940’s and 1950’s. Marx did not like participants to go home empty handed, so if a contestant had not won anything, he would ask this question which would lead to a winning answer.  Maybe Marx is also the inventor of the modern day participation trophy.

The crew continued north on the Hudson River to the Haverstraw Marina where the skipper planned to top off the fuel tanks.  The skipper noticed that fuel at the Haverstraw Marina was only $2.92/gal, fuel in the surrounding area was priced 3.50-4.00. Yes, just as they were docking the rain began again. And yes after they pulled away from the dock, the sun came back out. It has been one of those days.

After the fuel stop, the crew dropped anchor in the Haverstraw Cove.  The cove is well protected from winds in any direction and is out of the river current.  While in the cove, a couple of swans swam by.  The skipper also spotted two deer feeding along the shore.

Views from the cove.

22 Swans in Haverstraw Cove

23 View from the Cove

23.2 Deer

Friday, June 29th

Today the crew weighed anchor and headed towards Hyde Park where they have reservations to eat at the Culinary Institute of America.

Along the way, they passed some of the best sights on the Hudson River, which make this leg of the journey one of the better cruising days. The weather also decided to cooperate and bring out the sunshine.

Cruised by Bear Mountain.  You can actually see NYC from the three story overlook on top of Bear Mountain, on a clear day.

The Bear Mountain Overlook, from the water

26.1 Bear Mountain Overlook

Bear Mountain Bridge

26.3

Cruised by West Point

28.1
Cruised by Bannerman’s Castle

31 Bannermann's Castle
Cruised under Poughkeepsie Bridge while listening to Bridge Music.  Only other place in the  world you can get this experience is in France at the Eiffel Tower.  A local resident, Joseph Bertolozzi, recorded sounds made from hitting the bridge with different objects, and then composed a dozen songs from the recordings.  

bridgeopen[1]

Click here for the New York Times Video story.

32.4

The skipper also had several radio conversations with the crew from Almost There.  They are on the Loop headed to the Erie Canal, and then into Canada.

27.7

After landing at the dock at Hyde Park, the dock master informed the crew that the CIA would conduct a fireworks show after dark. He pointed to some rocks and said the barge will be just past those rocks so you will have a front row seat.

33 Hyde Park Marina

Fireworks barge getting setup for the show.

33.1

Watch the video above for a little bit of the fireworks show.

Saturday, June 30th

The best time to leave the dock to catch the current north was around 1100 this morning.  The crew shoved off and had a good day of lighthouse viewing.

The Esopus Meadows Lighthouse, nicknamed ‘Maid of the Meadows’, was first lit in 1872.

34 Esopus Lighthouse

The Roundout Lighthouse, first lit in 1917

35 Kingston Lighthouse

The Saugerties Lighthouse, first lit in 1869

37 Saugerties Lighthouse

The Hudson City Lighthouse, first lit in 1874

38 Hudson City Lighthouse

Boat name of the week

Texas 2 Step, this boat was docked in front of Still Waters II at Shady Harbor Marina.  The skipper talked with the Captain of the boat and learned that they are traveling with a couple of other Texas Looper boats.

IMG_0084

Next Week –

The crew will arrive at Waterford on Sunday, and launch the beginning of the Erie Canal.  The Erie Canal is made up of the Eastern, Western, and Finger Lakes sections.  The crew has cruised the Eastern Erie to the Oswego Canal, so they will travel thru this area as quickly as possible and hope to arrive at the endo of the Eastern Erie Canal by the end of the week.

Loop On – Where the road ends, the water begins. The water goes on forever, and the adventure never ends.

Eric the Red

Cap the Week in Cape May

Hello virtual crew members and fellow adventurers!

We have had two new virtual crew members jump aboard in the past week by following the Blog. Welcome aboard Big Dave S. and Life at 5 mph!

Point Comfort Lighthouse

10 Cove Point Lighthouse

Summary of week:

Cape May

The crew experienced good and favorable cruising weather which allowed them to put in 5 solid days of travel:

  1. Crossed the Bay to Solomons at the Calvert Marina
  2. Back to the Eastern Shore where they docked at the Jetty Restaurant
  3. Continued up the Eastern side of the Bay to the Sassafras River where they stayed two nights to re-provision
  4. Crossed thru the C&D Canal and anchored off Reedy Island
  5. Cruised down the Delaware Bay and ended the week at Cape May in the Utch’s Marina

Click on the link to read the day-to-day travel log. This includes weather report, sea conditions, captain’s log, and a summary of the day’s experience.
The voyage of discovery did answer the following questions this week:

  1. What is a Lucky Bone?
  2. What day of the week did sailors never set sail?

At the Box Office

This week’s video shows Still Waters II  journey up the Chesapeake Bay, Cross the C&D Canal into the Delaware River, and then cruise down the Delaware Bay to arrive at Cape May, NJ.  Enjoy!

To see past videos, click on the link to the Still Waters II Vimeo site.  The library contains videos of Still Waters II cruising America’s Great Loop.

Monday, June 18th

The week did not get off to a very good start.  The skipper moved the boat over to the fuel dock so he could pump out the holding tanks. Unfortunately, when he got done and was putting the hose and nozzle back up, he broke the valve handle. This has basically rendered the valve inoperable. He went in the office and told the dock master what happened and agreed to purchase a new handle.

The fuel dock at The Wharf

4.1 The Wharf

With a blunder like that, one needs some comfort food. So the skipper headed up the street to the Corner Bakery to get some of their melt in your mouth donuts and donut holes. He consumed the donut holes as he walked back to the boat. After boarding the boat, the crew shoved off and headed towards the Solomons.

18.2.JPG

The cruise was uneventful, which is a first for this area. Seems that in the past, these waters have been particularly unkind to the crew. With light winds and following seas, the day turned into an enjoyable day on the water.

A hard days work at the office

6 Boat in the Bay
Well, except for the heat and humidity. By the time the crew arrived at the anchor spot, the temperature had climbed to 90, and the humidity was in the 90’s also. The skipper looked at the weather and the temperature was not going to fall below 80 until about 0400. And then it would only drop to 78. The crew talked it over and decided that a marina with air conditioning sounded like a good idea.  The skipper called Calvert Marina and secured a slip for the night.

Pulling into Calvert Marina

8 Solomons

Tuesday, June 19th

The winds continued to be favorable, so the crew made way to Kent Narrows today. Along the way they saw numerous Sting Rays. Some were feeding on top of the water, while others were swimming in groups of two, three, and even five.

Sting Rays are hard to catch on film

13 Sting Rays

13.2

Keeping an eye out for Sting Rays helped make time go by as the crew continued north on the Chesapeake Bay. The winds continued to be under 10 mph which made for some calm conditions.

The crew did not see much as they were crossing the Bay again and land was far off. However, when they entered the Eastern Bay they began to encounter a steady stream of boaters headed out to the main Bay.

15
One boater ran into some trouble though. The engine of the vessel in distress just stopped working. Once they lost their engine, they also lost their electric power so the radio would not work. To top off the trifecta, nobody on-board had a cell phone so they had no means to call for help. They did manage to wave down a passing vessel and get some help.

The skipper laughed when he heard the name of the assisting vessel……. Surprise.
After Surprise got the Coast Guard involved, Tow Boat US was called to pull the boat in distress to St Michaels. Listening to the radio transmissions, the skipper would not be surprised that the vessel in distress only ran out of fuel.

After listening and confirming that the vessel in distress was going to be ok, the crew made way to the Jetty Restaurant where they docked and dined. The restaurant agreed to allow the crew to spend the night on the dock, so the skipper plugged in the power cord and the Admiral fired up the air conditioning units.

17.4

Wednesday, June 20th

Late last nite, a fishing boat pulled in with two small boys aboard, perhaps ages 4 and 5. The crew watched them play on the docks as their Dad worked on the days catch. It appeared that the boat sold their catch directly to the restaurant and then spent the night on the dock.

This morning the fishing boat was prepared to leave about 0630. Only one of the boys was up moving around. The skipper noticed the second boy had managed to crawl to the doorway from the cabin, but was still laying on the deck. The skipper waved and talked to the man a few minutes. He said he would stay out today and fish, then be headed back home with the boys. He had been out since Sunday, Fathers Day.

The skipper asked about the sleeping son. The man mentioned that the boy had a hard time getting going in the morning, but once he got started, he was full throttle all day. The scene reminded the skipper of many fishing trips he took with his dad and brother back in the day.

The skipper (dark hair) and his brother on a camping/fishing trip, Circa 1967

Camping 67

Fishing 67

The cruise today took the crew thru the Kent Narrows, Chester River, Chesapeake Bay, and then up the Sassafras River. This was the fourth day in a row with favorable cruising conditions and calm seas on the Bay. These could just be a record for the crew. Usually they have had more than their fair share of rough days on the Bay.

The crew stayed in Georgetown Yacht Basin on Thursday to take advantage of the courtesy car.  They drove to Middleton, Delaware to re-provision for the next leg of the adventure.  Stopping here and shopping in Delaware has the added bonus of no sales tax.

Friday, June 22th

The crew woke to a dreary grey overcast morning with the winds blowing hard out of the east.  The run of fair winds has come to a stop.  Oh well, it was good while it lasted.  Because they would be travelling north along the eastern shore, they decided that they would go ahead and cruise even though the winds were 15-20 mph out of the east.

Turns out the shore kept the waves from building up and the crew had an ok day cruising thru the C&D Canal.  When the crew first entered the Delaware River though they found some 2-3 foot waves.  They made way south down the river till they found the marked gap in the jetty leading to the Reedy Island anchorage.  They safely passed thru the jetty and the waters calmed down.  They then pulled up along the west bank of Reedy Island and anchored to use the Island to block the east winds.

This was the first and possibly the last time the crew anchors at this spot.  They dropped the hook here so that they would save an hour off their travels tomorrow.  However, it was a rolly night due to the winds, and waves coming over the jetty at high tide.  Also, their is some risk entering into the anchor spot due to the narrow gap in the jetty.  Local legend has it that at least two boats are lost here each year because they run aground on the rock jetty.

The Ghost Rider on the rocks after tide went out, 2016.  This link explains how the Ghost Rider came to land on the jetty and become a total loss.

90f7dee1-6dcb-4d11-a5c3-aaac5381988d[1]

Saturday, June 23rd

The crew woke early and passed back thru the jetty and headed to Cape May.  The winds had died off about 0500; however, there is another storm which is supposed to blow in late in the afternoon.  The crew wants to be secure in the slip before the storm hits.

Conditions continued to be dreary.  Cloud cover was low and a light fog and drizzle kept visibility under a mile for much of the day.

Low cloud cover at the Salem Hope Creek Nuclear Power Plant

25 Salem Hope Creek NPP

Was a bit hard to see the lighthouse, but the fog horn was working well.

26 Ship Johns Lighthouse

After arrival in Cape May, the crew went over to the Lobster House to have a late lunch and celebrate three years living aboard Still Waters II. After lunch, the Admiral went walking around town.  She found a restaurant with an interesting story on the menu.  The following is from the Lucky Bone Restaurant in Cape May………

The Lucky Bone traces its name back to the days when Cape Island was a whaling village and when superstitious sailors never set sail on Friday.  These brave watermen would stow away good luck charms to protect them from the perils of the mighty sea.  The Lucky Bone refers to the odd hook-like claw found only on the male horseshoe crab.  It was worn by these men to keep them safe between the wind and the frightening mighty water, so they might return safely to their loved ones at home.

Horseshoe Crab

2013-05-Horseshoe-Crabs-web[1]

Boat Name of the week

Happy summer solstice.

21 At GYB

Next Week –

The weather will continue to be an issue until the crew gets up the Hudson River.   Wednesday looks like a no travel day up the Jersey coast with winds greater than 20 mph.  Normally the crew takes three days to travel from Cape May to New York City.

The skipper is planning to make a 100 mile day on Monday and then complete the run to New York City on Tuesday so they can avoid the wind.  They will then set their sites to at least make Hyde Park by the end of the week.  If things work out well, they may even arrive at their summer cruising destination, the Erie Canal.

Loop On – Where the road ends, the water begins. The water goes on forever, and the adventure never ends.

Eric the Red

Fabulous Fisherman Finale

Hello virtual crew members and fellow adventurers!

Norfolk is that-a-way

3 Mermaid near Norfolk

Summary of week:

The crew had six good travel days this past week: 1 – travelled to Belhaven and took a slip at River Forrest, 2- Anchored just north of the Alligator River Bridge to stage for an early morning crossing of the Albemarle Sound, 3- Stayed at the Dismal Swamp Visitor Center Free Dock, 4- took a marina slip at Top Rack, 5- anchored off the shore of Hampton, 6- took a slip on the eastern shore of Chesapeake Bay at Onancock Wharf.
Onancock
Click on the link to read the day-to-day travel log. This includes weather report, sea conditions, captain’s log, and a summary of the day’s experience.

The voyage of discovery did answer the following questions this week:

  1. Who won the Big Rock Blue Marlin Fishing Tournament?
  2. How much was the purse for the first place finish?
  3. Why did the third place finisher win the Fabulous Fisherman contest?

At the Box Office

This week’s video shows Still Waters II meet a shrimp boat in Adams Creek, cross the calm Albemarle Sound, transit the Dismal Swamp, and get a few lessons on how to blow a conch shell. Enjoy!


To see past videos, click on the link to the Still Waters II Vimeo site. The library contains videos of Still Waters II cruising America’s Great Loop.

Sunday, June 10th

A follow up to the ‘Big Rock” Fishing Tournament:  Interesting enough, the fisherman take a break on Sunday and do not wet a hook.  The crews were all onboard their respective boats prepping for the big week ahead.

24.11 Ready for tomorrow

While the fisherman were busy rigging lines, the crew had Sunday Brunch with Satisfied Frog at The Spouter Inn.  The food was exceptionally good.

The restaurant from the water.

24.12

Following Brunch, the crew took a tour boat to learn about some of the local history of Beaufort, North Carolina.

24 Beaufort Whale Tour

Much of the colorful history started with Blackbeard the Pirate.  He had a home in Beaufort overlooking the inlet into town.  His home also just happened to be next door to the county tax collector, interesting arrangement.

The Pirates Revenge tour boat

24.6 Pirates Revenge

The governor of North Carolina once pardoned Blackbeard, but he did not stop his pirate ways.  He just shifted his tactics to attack ships headed to Virginia rather than North Carolina.  The Virginia government eventually killed Blackbeard after they petitioned the North Carolina governor for help with Blackbeard, and got no help at all.

New born colt spotted from tour boat

24.9

Monday, June 11th

The day got off to a good start as the crew made good time thru Adams Creek.  While transiting the Creek, the crew met a shrimp boat who had their nets down.  There must have been several hundred gulls following the shrimp boat looking for an easy meal.

27 Shrimp Boat and Birds

After exiting Adams Creek, the crew ran north along the Neuse River and eventually came to Gale Creek.  At the right angle, looking at the shore in the distance along the Neuse River, the trees and shore seem to form the looks of an alligator.

The tree alligator

28 Tree Alligator

After the Neuse River, the crew entered Gale Creek.  The name of this creek would soon become an omen.  The skies began to darken as storm clouds began to form.  The temperature dropped about ten degrees in front of the pending storm.

The calm before the storm on Gale Creek.

30 Gale Creek

Just after passing under the bridge in the above pic, the rain started with just a sprinkle.  Within just a few minutes, the rain was falling so hard that visibility was down to less than a quarter of a mile.  Then the winds hit.  The skipper put the boat in neutral to allow the winds to push the boat backwards into both deeper and wider water.  Once the boat was in a wider part of the channel, the skipper turned the boat to face the wind.  Visibility had dropped to about 50 yards, and it was difficult to see the shore and Satisfied Frog.  The skipper had turned the radar on when he noticed the heavy rain headed their way.  The radar helped the skipper keep the boat in safe water.

The skipper also checked the weather radar and watched a red cell pass directly over them.  The weather radar showed 40 plus mph winds (gale force winds)  After about 5-10 minutes of these high winds and heavy down pour, the winds died back off and the rain slacked back to a sprinkle.  The skipper looked over at the Admiral and said, “Well, that was exciting!”

The weather predicted more storms for the rest of the afternoon and thru the night.  Rather than anchor, the crew decided to call it a day and pulled into the River Forrest Marina in Belhaven.

Tuesday, June 12th

The original cruising plan was to make Elizabeth City on Tuesday and the Dismal Swamp Visitor Center on Wednesday.  But due to the high winds (20 mph/ plus or minus 5) coming from the east, the skipper did not believe crossing the Albemarle Sound on Tuesday was a good idea. Instead, they choose to anchor just north of the Alligator River Bridge along the eastern shore to get protection from the east winds.

The first half of the voyage was relatively calm as the crew passed thru the Alligator River-Pungo River canal.  After coming out of the canal, the crew entered the Alligator River and ran north along the eastern shore.

Canal conditions were flat

31.1

Conditions in Alligator River were about one foot waves

32 Alligator River

As the crew navigated towards the bridge, they met a sailboat headed south.  The skipper picked up the radio and hailed the sailboat.  After a short conversation, the skipper’s decision to NOT cross the Albemarle Sound was confirmed.  The sailboat captain reported that the waves were 3-5 foot and because of the wind direction, the waves were hitting the beam of the boat.  He reported that the waves broke over the bow of his sailboat several times as he crossed.  The skipper reminded the Admiral that this is supposed to be ‘recreational boating’, and fun.  Three to five foot waves are not fun.

After passing thru the Alligator River Bridge, the crew followed a couple of other boats over to the eastern shore and dropped the anchor, along with Satisfied Frog.  Another indication that this was not the day to cross came when the Coast Guard announced that a 16 foot sailboat had capsized in the Albemarle Sound and asked boaters to keep a look out for the boat.

Passing thru the Alligator River Bridge

33.1

Wednesday, June 13th

What a difference 12 hours made.  The winds died off over night as predicted, and the Albemarle Sound calmed down also.  In fact, this was the 6th time our crew has crossed the Sound, and this was the smoothest crossing to date.  The light wind had shifted out of the south and caused less than one foot following seas across the Sound.

The crew made good time to Elizabeth City, but decided not to stop for lunch because it had started to rain.  However, after passing thru the Elizabeth City Bridge, the weather abruptly changed again.  The grey dreary clouds gave way to a beautiful sunshine afternoon.

Elizabeth City Bridge, dreary conditions

34 Elizabeth City Bridge

Entering the Dismal Swamp

37

An interesting tree ornament 30 feet above the water

41

After 18 miles at idle speed (6 mph) the crew arrived at the South Mills Lock.  The lock raised the boat about 8 feet.  After the lock is a bridge that must be opened, and then only a couple of miles to the Visitor Center.

48 South Mills Lock

The Dismal Swamp Canal is not very wide so when you have a situation with boats meeting, it gets a little tight.

Meeting a boat in the swamp

51.2

When Satisfied Frog arrived at the Visitor Center Dock there was only room for one more boat.  Once Satisfied Frog was safely landed, the skipper pulled up and rafted off Satisfied Frog.  Then another boat arrived, a 32 foot PDQ catamaran.  The skipper got two other boats to adjust their position on the dock which opened a 36 foot spot on the dock.  The  PDQ managed to slip in the tight spot.  Eventually, a 32 foot Nordic Tug also showed up.  The tug rafted off the PDQ motor cat, so there were 6 boats along the dock for the night.

Boats docked at Visitor Center

52 Dismal Swamp Free Dock.JPG

Thursday,  June 14th

Today would be another short day to cruise.  It was about eighteen miles to the Deep Creek Lock and then just a few more miles to the Top Rack Marina where the crew would stay the night.

The Corps of Engineers reopened the Dismal Swamp in the fall of 2017 after dredging the canal.  The controlling depth is now around 6 feet.  With the draft of Still Waters II at 4 feet and only 2 feet of water below the keel, the skipper was a bit nervous.  The depth alarm was sounding almost continuously, so the skipper finally just turned it off.  Luckily the crew made it thru without hitting bottom or a deadhead log.

The water was glassy smooth on the way to the lock.  The reflections on the water looked like a mirror.

5 Reflection in Dismal Swamp.JPG

The Deep Creek Lock experience turned out to be the best lock experience ever.  Robert, the Lockmaster, gave a demo on how to play music on a conch shell, as well as gave a brief history of the Dismal Swamp.  Watch the video to see Robert do his thing.

The Admiral was so impressed, she left one of her prized Bahama conch shells on the lock wall to add to Robert’s conch garden collection.

1100 o’clock opening of the Deep Creek Bridge

10 Deep Creek Bridge

After the Deep Creek Lock, it was time to head towards the Top Rack Marina.  Our crew will stay the night.  However, the crew of Satisfied Frog is off to Hampton where they have work scheduled on the boat to start on Friday.  It has been a blast cruising up the ICW with Berrlin and Debra.

9 Debra and Berlin

Friday, June 15th

The skipper struck up a conversation with a couple that are on a sailboat.  The skipper has passed this sailboat almost daily for the last week.  The sailboat is crewed by Howard and Sue from England.  In fact, they sailed the boat across the Atlantic Ocean.  Their story was a bit surreal.

After leaving England and heading for the British Virgin Islands, they ran into a large storm that raged for a few days.  Howard commented that the waves were in excess of 15 feet.  After the storm passed, their engine failed, day 4 of their crossing.  They raised the sails and soldiered on.  Then they found the doldrums.  For ten days they basically drifted in the Atlantic Ocean because they had no wind.  The winds did eventually return and they completed their crossing in a total of 22 days.

Howard and Sue aboard Sundowner

12.1 Crossed Atlantic in the boat

Today the crew only traveled to the north side of Norfolk so they could stage to cross the Chesapeake Bay on Saturday.  The weather, wind, and waves are much more favorable on Saturday to make way across the Bay to the Eastern Shore.

There were many more US Navy ships at the Naval Shipyard than in years past.  Looks like the Navy is putting those new tax dollars to work.

A sub in for overhaul

14 Navy Shipyard

Even saw the Ike in for maintenance

14.1

OK, only one more ship, but how about that dry dock

14.2

The Waterside Marina also had a new addition.  They have added a Ferris Wheel to the waterfront.

15 Entertainment District

After passing thru Norfolk, the crew completed the Atlantic ICW leg of the Loop.  The crew anchored in Hampton Flats for the night, prepared to weigh anchor and cross the Bay early in the morning.

Mile Zero of the A-ICW

16 Mile Zero AICW

Saturday, June 16th

The crew woke to very calm conditions so they attempted to bring the anchor up and set out for Onancock.  However, the anchor brought up some garbage off the sea floor that the skipper had to untangle before they could get started.  It was only a short delay, and the crew still managed to get underway by 0630.

Never a dull moment

IMG_0015

It was about 70 uneventful miles across the Bay.  About the only excitement occurred when the crew passed thru the large ship anchorage near Cape Charles.

IMG_0016

A helicopter came and landed on one of the ships to drop off a navigation pilot.  Then a boat pulled alongside another large ship and the navigation pilot had to climb some stairs to get onboard.

Helicopter

IMG_0017

The run up Onancock Creek was pretty with many nice homes which line the River.

IMG_0025

Fabulous Fisherman Final update, from the Big Rock

In the Big Rock Fishing Tournament, the boats can enter as many as 9 different contests.  Total cost to enter all 9 events was $23,000 this year.  One of the events is called the Fabulous Fisherman.  The cost to enter the event is $5,000, but the payout was $500,000 to the first boat to land a 500 pound fish.  Well, sorta.

The first 500 pound fish was a blue marlin weighing in at 518.5 pounds caught by Honey Hush on Tuesday.  Unfortunately for them, they did NOT enter the Fabulous Fisherman event so could not claim the prize.

bigrock500_1528833939855.jpg_45257709_ver1.0_640_360[1]

In fact, the prize remained unclaimed until the last day of the contest when Carterican landed a 500.9 pounder and claimed the cash.  The fish put them in second place for the overall contest, for the moment.

IMG_4407[1]

However, the final results would not be known until the last weigh-in of the day.  Fender Bender landed a  large fish and eventually won second place with a 514.3 pound Blue Marlin.

p1529207671[1]

With only three 500 pound fish caught all week, and two of those on the last day, you might understand why Honey Hush did not enter the Fabulous Fisherman contest.  However, since they ended up winning the overall tournament and the $753,875 purse, I think they are just fine with the outcome.

Next Week –

The skipper has looked at the weather forecast for next week, and the Bay looks to be calm all week with winds under 10 mph.  If these conditions hold, the crew will attempt to cruise 8 hours each day.  With fair winds, they hope to make Cape May next weekend.

Loop On – Where the road ends, the water begins. The water goes on forever, and the adventure never ends.

Eric the Red

A Fishy Week

Hello virtual crew members and fellow adventurers!

We picked up two more virtual crew members this week.  Welcome aboard Debra and Picklesnan.

A ladies team first day catch in the fish tournament.

18

Summary of week:

Map

The crew had their traveling clothes on this week as they made way from Beaufort, South Carolina to Beaufort, North Carolina.  They anchored out all but one night, and spent the week travelling with a buddy boat, Satisfied Frog.  They made the following stops along the journey:

  1.  Monday, just south of Charleston on Stono River
  2. Tuesday, north of Georgetown off Butler Island in Waccamaw River
  3. Wednesday, just inside the Bird Island Inlet on the Carolina state line
  4. Thursday, took a mooring ball at Carolina Beach
  5. Friday, in Mile Hammock Bay on Camp Lejeune
  6. Saturday, At Town Creek Marina in Beaufort, North Carolina

Click on the link to read the day-to-day travel log. This includes weather report, sea conditions, captain’s log, and a summary of the day’s experience.

The voyage of discovery did answer the following question this week:

  1. Where is the largest fishing tournament in the United States?

At the Box Office

This week’s video shows Still Waters II traveling with a bow escort of dolphins and following Satisfied Frog thru a swing bridge.  Enjoy!  (Watch for the dolphin to surface twice for a breathe of air.)


To see past videos, click on the link to the Still Waters II Vimeo site. The library contains videos of Still Waters II cruising America’s Great Loop.

Monday, June 4th

The crew set out for an eight hour cruise this morning.  They were in the process of making time towards New York City as quickly as the weather will allow them, so they can spend the summer cruising the Erie Canal.  They arrived at an area just south of Snows Cut which leads into Charleston.

Along the route, they were greeted by several dolphins which are always fun to watch.

8 Dolphins feeding

The skipper also noticed this gator practicing his backstroke.

7 Gator practicing the back stroke

The crew travelled with Satisfied Frog this week.  This is her passing thru Fenwick Cut.

4 Satisfied Frog exiting Fenwick Cut

The day ended with a beautiful sunset.  Ahhh, the beauty of burnt orange.

11 Sunset at Charleston

Tuesday, June 5th

Today the crew met favorable tide and current conditions and were able to knock out almost eighty miles thru the last of the salt marsh that the ICW offers as scenery.  The crew arrived at their pre-day anchor spot way ahead of the anticipated time, so they decided to push on to the north side of Georgetown.

Somewhere along the route, the two boat flotilla grew to three boats.  The third boat transited some very skinny water by McClellanville.  There are seven shoaling hazards in just under two miles of travel.  The skipper was glad they came thru at high tide, but the low water level alarm still went off several times, making for a nervous skipper.  After the safe passage, the third boat peeled off and docked at Georgetown.

Our two boats continued and dropped the anchor off the Waccamaw River near Butler Island.

However, the skipper found time to take only a few pics to document the days travel.

The Battery of Charleston in the background.

12 Charleston

There were many Pelicans out flying today.  The skipper enjoys watching them glide just above the water.

13 Pelican Glide Pattern

At the end of the day, the crew got to witness another beautiful sunset. Red sky at night, sailors delight.  Should have good weather again tomorrow.

14 Sunset Butler Island

Wednesday, June 6th

The crew weighed anchor and headed into the Waccamaw River which winds its way thru a swamp just south of Myrtle Beach.   The run thru the swamp and Cyprus trees was a welcome relief from the days of salt marsh.

A look at the swamp.

15 in Cyprus Swamp

Saw these ladies out for a morning row.

16.1

Cruised by this Osprey nest to see a baby chick.  Looks like mom was giving a speech about ‘failure to launch’ on the chicks first flight.  What is the worst thing that can happen mom?  Oh nothing to worry about darling, there are just alligators down there swimming in the water.  They mean you no harm.

18.1

After cruising thru the swamp, the crew was greeted by the numerous boat docks that line the waterway heading into Myrtle Beach.  Most of the docks have signs warning boaters that they are responsible for their wake and the damage the wake may cause.  So it is a slow go thru the area.

This guy has a strange since of humor I suspect.

20 OK

At the end of the day the crew anchored near Bird Island Inlet just on the North/South Carolina state line..

23

Thursday, June 7th

Today the goal was to make Carolina Beach and take a mooring ball for the night.  The skipper was hoping the timing might work out to stop at Southport for a quick lunch at the Dead End Saloon.  However, upon arrival at Southport, the best decision was to press on and take advantage of the current going up the Cape Fear River.  Just have to put this stop on the ‘next year list’, and try to make it on Tuesday for half price burger day.

There were several inlets that had to be passed by on the journey today.  These inlets present hazards due to shifting sands and shoaling.  The skipper slows down and honors the markers because the Coast Guard seems to be moving them all the time to mark the safe passage.  Sometimes the charts and the actual marker placement are not the same.  In these cases the skipper always honors the actual marker placement in the water.  So far, this strategy has always met with success.

The Lockwood Folly Inlet

6 Lockwood Folly Inlet

The Carolina Beach Inlet

9 Carolina Beach Inlet

After both boats were moored, they decided to dinghy ashore and walk around town.  They learned that Thursday is summer concert and fireworks night, what a deal.

Headed to shore.

16

There was a small donut shop in town, supposedly known for great donuts.  The skipper said they were pretty good for an afternoon snack.  He did not let the snack get in his way for the fried flounder and shrimp he shared with the Admiral for dinner.  After eating they  headed back to the dinghy dock and witnessed a few boats pull in with their catch-of-the-day.

Looks like this boat had a good day fishing.

 

 

They all played a couple of games of Joker on Satisfied Frog, and then ended the day with a short fireworks program.

19

Friday, June 8th

The challenge for the run today was to negotiate timing three bridges to minimize waiting.  The skipper adjusted speed frequently to make the bridge openings, and at the end of the day they only had to wait about fifteen minutes for the bridges.  Most of that time was wasted at the last bridge at Surf City.  The crew was getting a little worried when the bridge finally opened eight minutes late with the bridge tender apologizing for the late opening.  Seems he could not get the bridge to cooperate and open.

They passed thru a few more of those hazardous inlets again.  But because the path was well marked the crew had no issues.

The New River Inlet

11 New River Inlet

There was a bunch of shallow water to work thru today, also.  This is a good example of why you want to stay in the channel.  This boat was probably only 50 yards off the marked channel.  If you did not know better, it looked safe to travel over there.

Some shallow water

12 Kinda Shallow

After a successful journey, the crew dropped anchor at Mile Hammock Bay.  The crew took the dinghy over to Satisfied Frog to play a couple of more games of Joker to round out the evening.

Saturday, June 9th

During the week, the crew was not sure if they would be able to stop in Beaufort, North Carolina or not.  The Big Rock Fishing Tournament is in full swing.  Who knew this was the largest tournament of its kind in the U.S.  Along with the Big Rock, there is also the Keli Wagner Lady Angler tournament running.  There are 130 boats in the Big Rock and 38 entered in the Ladies tournament.

22

With a little help from our friends, we were able to secure Saturday and Sunday night dockage.

On the way to Beaufort though, the crew took an unscheduled stop in Swansboro.  After weighing anchor and clearing the Onslow Beach Bridge, the crew was about an hour ahead of schedule for their arrival in Beaufort.  To kill a little time, the crew docked at the Swansboro Free Dock and walked to Yana’s for some fruit fritters.  To their surprise, the annual arts festival was gearing up.  Berrlin and the skipper had fruit fritters while the ladies shopped the art festival.

Debra and the mermaid

15

After getting back on the boat, it was off to Beaufort, for a hopeful no current dockage experience near 1300.  As it worked out, the crew arrived just in time to experience slack current and the easiest dockage in these waters ever.  The current can really rip thru here and the skipper wanted no part of that after last years bad experience.

All in all a good day and a good week of cruising.

The Admiral did witness some ladies bringing in their catch for the day. A 16.5 pounder.

17

Boat name of the week:

5 Boat

Next Week –

At this point, the weather looks good for Monday and Tuesday to cruise some of the large open waters such as the Neuse River, Pamlico Sound, Pungo River, Alligator River, and Albemarle Sound.  Therefore the crew will make two long days to travel to Elizabeth City and get that open water behind them while the weather window is open.  Then they will cruise the Dismal Swamp Route to Norfolk.  They hope to cross the Chesapeake Bay on Friday, and end the week in Onancock on the eastern shore of the Chesapeake Bay.

Loop On – Where the road ends, the water begins. The water goes on forever, and the adventure never ends.

Eric the Red

 

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