Silver Maple Blog

Retirement adventures Canadian style


Cruising the Chesapeake and into the ICW (Inter-Coastal Waterway)

TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 18th — DAY 28 (Waiting out weather in Annapolis, MD)

Overnight the winds pick-up and some nasty weather starts to move into Annapolis. Regardless, the Beneteau dealer has his repair guy at the boat first thing to repair the bilge pump (it was a faulty check-valve).  Carla, who Lee worked with at KPMG let’s Lee know that she, her husband, John, and Tracy will not be able to make it to Annapolis from DC since the weather is so bad (bummer!). In Annapolis, the heavy winds and rain, and high tide flood the city streets and the marina yard. We are wading up to our knees by the end of the day to get off the dock.

Leo thinks the docks are now part of his home — with toys in Annapolis, MD (before the storm hits)

Raining hard in Annapolis

Streets flooding

Leo’s evening walk is more of a swim

WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 19th, THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 20th — DAY 29, 30 (Annapolis to St. Michaels, MD and enjoying St. Michaels)

We have a relatively easy day from Annapolis to St. Michaels. The bad weather has passed and the sun is shining. The wind is good so we sail and race a few other sailboats on the way  into St. Michaels. Stepping onto the deck at one point, Lee twists her foot/ankle and spends the rest of the sail below deck with ice on it. Ouch!

Looking back at Annapolis as we leave

Quaint little cottages on the shore of the Chesapeake as we pull into St. Michaels

St. Michaels definitely lives up to the claims that it is the nicest place to visit on the Chesapeake. Lovely harbour. And, the Harbor Inn and Marina where we stay has a great pool and free loaner bicycles (saves us digging our’s out of the boat locker).  We have a rest at the pool once we are settled. Lee is still hobbling around with her sore ankle, but it feels better on the bike than walking so we ride into town to have dinner at a great restaurant called the Town Dock down by the water.  More crab cakes — Lee can’t help herself!

The Harbor Inn and Marina in St. Michaels

The next day we spend checking out St. Michaels by bicycle. The town is very nice, but the traffic through the main street is a bit hectic for bike riding since it is a main thoroughfare for the area. It is another gorgeous day of sunshine and 70-80 degree F. temperatures.

Morning coffee in St. Michaels

Morning view from Silver Maple

Lunch at Foxy’s Grill (named after restaurant in the BVIs)

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 21st, SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 22nd — DAY 31, 32 (St. Michaels, MD to Solomons Island, MD and hanging out in Solomons Island)

The trip from St. Michaels to Solomons Island is a long one so we are up and on the water by 7:30AM.  Unbelievable — another beautiful morning. Its cool, but sunny. We have had incredible luck with the weather!  We do a bit of sailing, but end up powering a lot of the day. As we pull into th Patuxent River inlet, we can hear the jets over head from the nearby naval base. They are noisy but it is very cool seeing them fly overhead. Like having your own airshow.

Fishing boats on a lovely morning as we head to Solomons Island, MD

Traffic along the way (passing us) — hey, Canadians!

Sailing to Solomons Island, MD

More (huge!) traffic

More traffic

Again with the traffic! Think they are following us?

Jets overhead in Solomons Island, MD

Saturday we spend hanging out by the pool at Zahnhisers Marina (where we are staying) and ride the loaner bicycles around the town. Not really much of a town, so it is a short visit.

Bicycling in Solomons Island

Nice pool with fabulous view at Zahnhisers Marina

Hanging out at the pool

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 23rd — DAY 33 (Solomons Island, MD to Deltaville, VA)

We hit the water just shortly after 7AM. We stay in Solomons Island Saturday not only because it was a really nice port, but also because we wanted to wait for the wind to change from the south (on our nose) to the north (at our back) which was forecast (correctly – thankfully).  Also forecast were 2 – 4 ft waves, which seem to be more on the 4ft side. Some of the crew feel a bit sea sick and we struggle to keep the boom from banging round with the waves.

The marina in Deltaville called Dossier’s is in a very nice rural spot and has a great field for Leo to run. We BBQ and eat outside on the boat with a beautiful sunset.

Another beautiful morning leaving Solomons Island, MD

Leo settling in for another day on the boat


Happy Captain with good sailing

Motoring. 😦

Rocky ride and feeling a bit green

View at dinner from the boat in Deltaville, VA

MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 24th — DAY 34 (Deltaville, VA to Norfolk, VA)

The trip to Norfolk is shorter and the waves are down, so it is all-round a better day.  Just after noon, we see 4 dolphins swimming next to the boat. Our second siting on the trip!  They seem to be swimming along with us in formation. Incredible!

Heading for Norfolk, VA

Passing a lighthouse

Shortly after seeing the porpoises, the winds die so we motor in to Rebel Marina in Norfolk, VA. The marina is owned by David who had his boat, Condor,  parked next to us in Oswego, NY.  It is great to see him again.  Docked at his marina, we can see the aircraft carriers at the naval base in the distance.

Traffic as we enter Norfolk’s harbour — some of the guys on deck wave as we pass. Nice!

View of aircraft carrier from Silver Maple docked at Rebel Marina in Norfolk, VA

Leo on guard in Norfolk

David lends us his van and we head into town for some groceries and stop for a Chinese food fix.

TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 25th to THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 27th — DAY 35 – 37 (Norfolk, VA to Chesapeake City, VA with time parked in Chesapeake City at the Atlantic Yacht Basin)

Pulling out of Rebel Marina in Norfolk, we can see the US Naval fleet parked there. In the morning sun, even an aircraft carrier can look nice. They are huge and just amazing to see.  As we pass, we notice we have security escort following along side of us just off shore. The boat escorts us until we pass the fleet.  Near the naval docks, there is also a huge amount of ship building and support facilities. An incredible amount of activity.

Even aircraft carriers can look nice in the morning sun

Another US aircraft carrier

The fleet

We have a shadow escort along shore

By late morning, we are out of the Chesapeake Bay and start into the ICW (Inter-Coastal Waterway) which we will be on for a good part of the rest of the trip south to Florida. We hear that it gets a bit tedious from Georgia to Florida, so if the weather is good we may head back into the ocean. We will play that by ear.

In this first part of the ICW, we have to wait for a few bridges as they open and close. Some only open at certain times during the day, so we have to time arrival. We also do one last lock. It’s only a 3ft rise though — easy compared to what we’ve done on the Erie Canal. Piece of cake!

We are in the ICW!

Railway bridge raised so we can pass under

We clear some lower ones. Whew!

Our goal is to get past the Gilmore Bridge which we hear will be closed for repair early October. We don’t want to get hung up by that so we schedule a stop at the Atlantic Yacht Basin in Chesapeake City, VA. Randy wants to have a double anchor roller put on the front of the boat and a new fuel filter on the engine. It is recommended to us by our friend, Doug Wilkie, as a good place to get work done. We will be here until Saturday when we will be taking our rental car the five hour drive to Pinehurst Golf Resort & Spa for Lee’s Birthday.

Getting through the Gilmore Bridge

Atlantic Yacht Basin — where we will dock Silver Maple while drive to Pinehurst on Saturday and stay until Tuesday

Silver Maple at the Atlantic Yacht Basin in Chesapeake City, VA (at the back of the row)


Into Chesapeake Bay

MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 10th — DAY 20  (Brielle, NJ to Atlantic City, NJ)

When we head out on Monday morning, it is a beautiful day with the wind at our back — so we get to sail. Just off one of the points along the coast of New Jersey, we see a whale! Amazing. First time I’ve ever seen one in the wild.

Morning of departure from Brielle, NJ (with nearby draw bridge up)

The guys resting as we sail to Atlantic City

Sailing the coast of New Jersey

As we approach Atlantic City, the wind picks up and we are flying along. At one point, we hit 9 knots and break our speed record for the boat.  We are loving it!  Then suddenly, we get hit by a gust and a wave at the same time and we get knocked over. The auto-pilot that we were using at the time, kicks off. Apparently, as we discovered, there is a safety setting so when you hit a certain speed/pressure it will automatically shut off.  Good to know.

Sailing towards Atlantic City

Being relaxed and way too complacent

Approaching Atlantic City

We motor in to Atlantic City and settle at the marina at the Golden Nugget.  We are warned that crime is really high in Atlantic City so we don’t walk around. Just taxi. We have a great dinner in the restaurant at Revel (the newest casino in town) called Amada, but we are too tired to gamble (aren’t we just the party-couple!). We call it a night early.

TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 11th and WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 12th — DAY 21 and 22 (Visiting Cape May, NJ — Atlantic City, NJ to Cape May, NJ with a day in Cape May)

We leave early from Atlantic City as we hear the wind will we good at the start off the day and then fade. As we are pulling out, there is a boat just in front of us. As Randy likes to say, two boats make a race!  Just as we pass them, the wind dies. We start the motor and head to Cape May, NJ.

Leaving Atlantic City. Lovely morning!

Leo is now a full-fledged, ocean-going, boat dog

Competition in front — race is on!

Passing them

Happy Captain

Cape May, NJ is a very cute town and we enjoy some riding our bikes around, eating some great meals, walking in the pedestrian mall, and seeing the beach. Really fun.

Silver Maple docked in Cape May, NJ

Biking around town

At the Cape May beach

Dinner in town

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 13th — DAY 23  (The longest day: Delaware Bay — Cape May, NJ to Delaware City, DE)

Our earliest start ever, we head out of Cape May at 6:30AM.  We have a really long day ahead to make it up Delaware Bay, known for being very busy with commercial traffic and being a bit busy and wavy.  Just before entering Delaware Bay, we see 3 dolphins.  Very cool!

For us, the day is calm — and very hot. We don’t meet much traffic until the afternoon, when the freighters start coming by one after the other.

Leo Leaving Cape May (wearing his life-jacket as do all good boat dogs!)

Beautiful morning for our earliest (6:30AM) start

Delaware Bay traffic

How Leo passes his longest day

It is slow going. We have 3 knots of current from the tide against us the whole day. Our plan to make it up some of the C & D Canal (we think that stands for Chesapeake and Delaware) is adjusted, and we head to Delaware City, just past the mouth of the canal. After 11 hours on the water, we are exhausted — and Leo is ready to run around in the nearby field. Romping in the grass near the places we stop, has become his most favourite thing to do.

Settled in peaceful and friendly Delaware City

The staff at Delaware City Marina are the friendliest we’ve met yet. They invite us to join them at the local restaurant call Crabby Dicks for karaoke. We head there for dinner later, but manage to avoid having to do any singing.

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 14th and SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 15th — DAY 24 and 25  (The Chesapeake: Delaware City, DE to the Rock Hall, MD with a day in Rock Hall)

After the brutal day we’ve just had, we decide to take it easy and have a later start to make on our way to the Chesapeake.  We head up the C & D Canal and into the Chesapeake Bay. Goal is to reach the town of Rock Hall. Unfortunately, we mis-judged the additional distance we would need to go to circumvent some shallow areas in the bay, so we don’t get into the marina until after 7PM. But it is a beautiful evening and we have a great crab dinner at the restaurant called Waterman’s within walking distance of the marina.

Waiting for the railway bridge to raise on the C & D Canal

We arrive at the Chesapeake! Yeah!

How Leo passes the time until arrival (our latest)

View from Silver Maple settled in Rock Hall Harbor Landing Marina

Garlic crab feast at Waterman’s in Rock Hall harbor

The next day we move just a quarter of a mile across the bay to the marina called The Sailing Emporium. Wonderful, friendly people there. They invite us to their end of the season Dinner/Dance that night. Have a great time with our boat neighbours, Cyndy and Chuck, who helped us dock when we arrived (our first stern-in docking with pilings, no dock).

Rock Hall Harbor field for Leo

Happy to be on land!

Biking into the town of Rock Hall, MD

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 16th and MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 17th— DAY 26 and 27  (Rock Hall, MD to Annapolis, MD and hanging in Annapolis)

Leaving Rock Hall, we have a quiet and relaxed day. We have a very short trip to Annapolis, MD, so we sail most of the way even though the winds are very light. We aren’t in hurry.

Chesapeake Bay heading to Annapolis, MD

Are we there yet?

Entering Annapolis, there are sailboats every where. A beautiful sight!  We have dinner at a restaurant that Chuck and Cyndy from Rock Hall recommend, called Lewnes. It is fantastic! More crab cakes. Lee is becoming an expert, ordering them in pretty much every town.

Entering Annapolis harbor — Holy Sailboats!

Silver Maple at the Annapolis Yacht Club

Leo happy in the field at the Annapolis Yacht Club

Plan is to stay in Annapolis until Wednesday morning since some bad weather is moving in. Additionally, Randy would like to get some work done on the boat under warranty and Annapolis seems to be the center of the boating universe, so a good place to get work done. Sounds like that will happen tomorrow. While we are here, we are hoping to connect with Carla and Tracy from KPMG for a visit.


Our first experience with the Atlantic (New York City to Brielle, NJ)

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 7th — DAY 17 (Liberty Landing, NJ, across from Manhattan, to Brielle, NJ)

When we pulled out of the Liberty Landing Marina, across from Manhattan, the city had soft haze over it.  It gave the skyline an eerie feel and was quite beautiful. As we entered the harbour, we turned south and passed Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. It was just before 8AM and we were on the water. Once again, the ferry traffic was intense. But, the winds were calm and the waves on the harbour were low (other than the wake from the large number of boats of all sizes — freighters to small pleasure craft).

Morning coffee overlooking the New York skyline

Passing the Statue of Liberty as we go through the New York harbour

Staten Island Ferry on a beautiful morning

Managing the traffic

Heading towards the ocean!

As we pulled further from the city, the boat traffic abated. The winds began to pick up a bit and turned from being directly on the nose of Silver Maple, to something we could sail.  We put up the sails. Unfortunately, there wasn’t enough wind to move much, so we went back to the motor.  As the day progressed, the winds picked up, but unfortunately they were again directly on our nose.

Finally, we are sailing!

Checking the rigging — all good

Seas start to get choppy

We figured we had about a 5 hour trip to Hoffman Marina on Manasquan inlet in Brielle, NJ.  But the head winds continued to build and the seas got rougher and rougher as the day progressed. By the last 2 hours, the waves were pounding us. Poor Leo was hanging his head over the side of the boat feeling sick. Randy took the boat off autopilot so that he could turn Silver Maple and slide sideways down the back side of the waves instead of pounding the nose of the boat into the trough between swells.  Lee sat at the back of the boat holding on to the dinghy to stop it from swinging around too much with one hand and  Leo with the other hand to keep him sitting in one place. It was intense, and although it seemed to go on for hours, it was probably just a couple of hours at its worst.  Unfortunately, along that stretch of the New Jersey coastline, there are no harbours we could fit into other than the on we were heading to in Manasquan (Brielle, NJ).

Leo doesn’t like the big waves (neither do we)

By the time we reached the opening to the inlet, were well-jostled and worn-out. But the boat functioned well and nothing seemed to be seriously out-of-place. The generator we had sitting on the bench at the back of the boat fell off the seat (no damage), but other than that, we were in good shape.

As we entered the inlet (which Randy did an incredible job threading the needle given the waves we were in), a small boat was fishing in the middle of the channel. We couldn’t believe that we were now having to manuever around them. Ugh!

The Hoffman Marina has nice new docks, but they don’t float so we got some pointers from the staff on how to tie up to them to allow the boat to go up and down with the tides. After settling Silver Maple into her spot, we sat for a bit and settled our nerves (a glass of wine for Lee and beer for Randy, rounded out with some potato chips for comfort food).

Weather the next day, was expected to be horrible with thunderstorms, so Jacquelyn and Dave drove down to get us to stay with them in Whippany, NJ for a couple of days. With Friday night traffic, the trip was an hour and a half. Ugh!  We picked up sushi at their local place and had a great evening with them. Leo, enjoyed playing with their dog, Sam’s toys.

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 8th — DAY 18 (Jacquelyn and Dave’s in Whippany, NJ)

Very nice visit with our friends, Jacquelyn and David, son James, and dog Sam. We took the pooches for a walk through their neighbourhood on Saturday morning. It was hot humid and thunderstorms were rolling in. We watched the weather channel and saw that tornadoes were hitting New York. The rain pounded down. But, on the bright side, the forecast for Sunday was looking good for us to continue south and make our next stop, Atlantic City, about 8 hours away.

Out for a walk with the pooches

Great hosts, Jacquelyn, David and Sam at their home

We had a fabulous home-cooked Saturday dinner with Jacquelyn and David, and then they drove us back to the boat so that we could get an early start the next day. When we got back to the boat, there were no issues. It survived the storm fine. Before bed, Randy checked the weather forecast for the next day. Unfortunately, the prediction was now for 4 to 6ft seas. Wasn’t looking good.


SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 9th — DAY 19  (Brielle, NJ)

When we got up today, there was a small craft advisory, so we decided to stay put and work around the boat.  When we were in Haverstraw, Randy noticed that the bilge pump that pumps any water out of the bottom of the boat wasn’t working. So, he spent the day trying to decode the issue with that and the stereo, which also seemed to quit around the same time. It is now Sunday afternoon.  We are going to head out to an Italian place for dinner, recommended to us by the marina. Then, fingers crossed we will be able to get out tomorrow.


We made it to New York City!

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 6th — DAY 16 (Half Moon Bay Marina, Haverstraw Bay to New York City)

Although overcast and a few sprinkles during the day today, we made New York without incident.  The New York habour was incredibly busy with boats, ferries, helicopters overhead, sailboats… so the number of AIS signals on Silver Maple’s navigation system was crazy.  By 4PM, we were settled in the marina at Liberty Landing, very close to the Statue of Liberty.  Jacquelyn and David came in from Whippany, NJ and met us for dinner.

Lee points out first glimpse of New York skyline

Randy enjoying the view

Coming into town

New York with Manhattan on the left and New Jersey on the right

First view of the Statue of Liberty

Arriving in New York

Settled at the marina in New Jersey. Leo enjoying a rest on the deck.

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Escaping Haverstraw Bay (we hope)

TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 4th – WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 5th — DAYS 14, 15 (Half Moon Bay Marina – Haverstraw Bay)

On Tuesday, we moved from Haverstraw Marina across the bay, to Half Moon Bay Marina. Thunderstorms in the area, which are apparently the remnants of Hurricane Isaac, are making us hole-up here. Moving to the east side of the river allows us to take the train into the city, so we decide to meet up with Sandra Lee for dinner on Tuesday evening at the Grand Central Station Oyster Bar.

Moving from Haverstraw Marina on the west side of the Hudson River to Half Moon Bay Marina on the East side

Wednesday, we spend puttering around the boat. But now, after 3 days waiting on Haverstraw Bay on the Hudson River just north of New York City, it looks like we are getting our weather window.  The skies have finally cleared and the thunderstorms have stopped. Plan is to have a late morning start from Half Moon Bay (just north of Sing Sing – somehow fitting) tomorrow morning (Thursday) and head south to Liberty Landing Marina in New Jersey across from Manhattan. Woohoo!  After that, it is on to the ocean for the first time (that should be Friday, weather permitting).

Storms in Half Mood Bay

Rain stops long enough for a walk to breakfast and groceries

Just pouring down rain

Skies cleared this afternoon! Yeah!

Lovely evening — finally (but heat and humidity persist)

Nice enough for bike ride into town (Croton on the Hudson) for dinner

Lovely sunset — fingers crossed for fair skies tomorrow!!


Heading to Haverstraw Bay in NY

Exciting Schenectady, we passed the GE Research facility on the bank of the river. Another cool and clear morning — but it will again heat up and be a hot day. We stopped in a town called Waterford for lunch. Jackson and Randy needed a pizza fix. After lunch we had one last lock to do, this one on the Hudson River. We were through the canals!! Woohoo!

Nice trip to Albany

GE Research facility in Schenectady, NY

Randy and Jackson in Waterford

The last lock!!

Entering Albany, NY

In Albany, we had dinner at sketchy looking steak and seafood place behind some vacant industrial buildings nearby. Food was surprisingly good!!

Chillin’ in the evening

THURSDAY, AUGUST 30TH — DAY 9 (Jackson heads back home — Lee and Randy go on to Catskill, NY)

Randy and Jackson got up early to do a scrub down of the boat before we head off to the station to catch Jackson’s train back to Toronto. Very sad to see him go. Randy and Lee head back to the boat for the trip to Catskill, NY where we will spend a few days getting the mast put back up and the boat back together.

Jackson ready to head to the train station

Saying goodbye at the station


Getting on the train for Toronto at the Albany station

Unique lighthouses on the way to Catskill, NY

Lovely day

Passing our first freighter

Settled in Catskill, NY

FRIDAY, AUGUST 31st — SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 1ST — DAYS 10, 11 (Catskill, NY — Putting the boat back together)

Friday is spent getting the mast put back on the boat (Randy) and doing laundry and groceries (Lee).  It is very hot and humid. Brutal day for doing anything. Saturday is equally hot and we spend it re-rigging the boat.  Mid-deployment of the sails, we get yet another visit (#2) from the police/border control. Apparently we look suspicious.


Putting the mast up


Police visit us again! Second time.

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 2ND — DAY 12 (Catskill, NY — Poughkeepsie, NY)

A very short day to Poughkeepsie, NY on the Hudson River. This is a very sleepy little club, but one of the friendliest we have visited.  We eat on the boat as the sun sets. Beautiful!

Heading to Poughkeepsie, NY

Very nice evening and dinner outside

MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 3RD — DAYS 13 (Poughkeepsie, NY to Haverstraw Bay)

The trip from Poughkeepsie to Haverstraw Bay, where we will see the widest point on the Hudson River, goes through some lovely areas. The Hudson River has been a real surprise.  It is overcast and cool, and you can feel the rain in the air, but it holds off. Again we get pulled over by the police (#3), this time the Westchester County police. They recommend a good marina and place for dinner though.  The Haverstraw Marina is the largest fresh water marina in the continental US.  It is huge!  The walk to the shore from where we have Silver Maple docked is about 1km. Crazy!  But we have a great dinner in the restaurant and welcome swim in the cool pool.

Lovely river

Leo is still bored, but settling into the routine

One of the small cottages on the bank of the river

Lovely view

More freighters

Passing West Point

Dressed for rain and making reservations at next marina

Police stop #3 — we must look suspicious!

Huge marina!

Pool time at last

Nice dinner out


Travelling through the Oswego and Erie Canals in New York State

Finally… we are back in a location with internet!!!

THURSDAY, AUGUST 23rd — DAY 2 (Rochester, NY to Oswego, NY)

The trip from Rochester, NY to Oswego, NY along the south shore of Lake Ontario is 50 miles, which would take us about 8 hours. So, we got an early start from Rochester. Still eating breakfast as we pulled away from the dock, Randy commented that it looked calm so we could finish our morning activities on the water.  Famous last words.  That day, Lake Ontario had the biggest swells we’d ever seen.  I commented that the lake was prepping us for being on the ocean. On the bright side, we had enough wind to sail for a few hours. We even flew the new red and yellow gennaker.

Gennaker on the front of Silver Maple

Leo, the boat dog, in his lifejacket

As we approached, Oswego, NY, the dominant feature was the view of the nuclear cooling tower. The marina in Oswego, NY was virtually invisible until you were next to it.  It was tucked away in a small bay just off the river/canal and was almost entirely filled with local fishermen.

Jackson pointing out the nuclear cooling tower as we approach Oswego, NY on Lake Ontario

Most others at the marina were sailboats like us, waiting to have their masts stepped (taken down) in order to get down the canal and under the low bridges along the way.  As soon as we arrived, Randy began eyeing the mast support structures on the other boats.  These wooden supports would hold the mast on our deck as we travel through the canal and locks.  Although he had already built much of it before we left Cobourg, he was concerned that it wasn’t ‘beefy’ enough compared to others he was seeing at dockside. Randy and Jackson worked late into the evening building new supports using lumber left from other boats.

Randy and Jackson building the support for the mast to travel with us — so we fit under bridges on the canal

FRIDAY, AUGUST 24th — DAY 3 (Oswego, NY — Stepping the Mast)

The day started early as the fisherman in Oswego started up their diesel engines around 5:30AM to head out for the day.  By 7AM, Randy and Jackson were back at the construction of the support structure for the mast.  It was a brutally hot day at 80 to 90 degrees. By mid-day we were ready and the removal and placement of the mast in the supports went off without issue.

The crew hard at construction of supports

Mast coming down

Putting the mast on the supports

Nearly done!

SATURDAY, AUGUST 25th — DAY 4 (Oswego Canal — Oswego, NY to Pirates Cove Marina, near Clay, NY)

We were up early again (thanks to the fisherman), so Randy and Jackson did final preparation and securing of the mast and lines and we were off.  The first lock on the canal and was a bit scary, but we handled it without incident.  It took us up in elevation 10 feet.  We did 7 locks our first day, lifting us in elevation in total around 117 ft.

Entering our first lock on the Oswego Canal

Silver Maple in the Lock (photo taken by the boat behind us)


Between locks, Jackson piloted the boat along the canal, giving Randy a bit of a break. Leo was bored. Our plan was to stop at a town called Phoenix, NY, but when we got to the dock it was full, so we carried on.  We settled on a marina called Pirates Cove. It was still horribly hot (around 90 degrees F) as we arrived at the marina, so the guys hit the pool for a swim. Then, dinner in the marina restaurant outside on the patio.

The ‘Nautiboy’ and ‘Nautigirl’!

Quiet canal

Leo is bored

Jackson at the helm

GPS keeps sounding alarms because it thinks we are on ground

Silver Maple at Pirates Cove Marina

Dinner at Dox, at Pirates Cove

SUNDAY, AUGUST 26th — DAY 5 (Clay, NY to Lock 20)

At 6AM, Lee and Leo went for their daily run. Another cool morning. The days have been starting cool and then heating up hard and fast.  By the time the run was over and we were cleaned up, it was time to head out.  We were careful pulling away from the dock, since the owner had mentioned the day before that there was a sand bar just near the mouth of the bay.  The boat was very sluggish as we pulled out. The bay was very weedy, and although Randy made a number of attempts to get the weeds off the keel and prop by reversing the boat, the thumping of the engine made it clear that we were still covered.  Jackson ‘took one for the team’ and went into the murky green water to clean off the prop under the boat.  Yuck!  But, it worked and we were underway again. We did one lock and then headed across Lake Oneida. Although the lake was a little rough when we started out (we’d been warned to avoid rough weather on the lake with the mast still supported on the boat), the winds died down as we crossed. The lake was busy with weekend boaters from the cottages that jammed every inch of the shore. At the far side of the lake, we passed through busy Silverton Beach, with boats, people, carnival, rollercoaster. You get the picture.  We headed on to Lock 20. It was in a quiet area with a good wall to tie up and a nice park area for Leo.

Crossing Lake Oneida

Using the KPMG Government team gift. Thanks!!

Busy day on the Lake Oneida

Silver Maple settled at Lock 20

MONDAY, AUGUST 27th — DAY 6 (Lock 20 to Little Falls, NY)

We decided to have a short day, and stop at a town called Little Falls that was referred to in our guide books as the ‘jewel of the Erie Canal.’ Again the day started off cool but got hot and sticky. Hurricane Irene that came through the area last year, severely damaged many parts of the canal which was closed for repairs for months. We passed dredgers along the way, who were continuing to do repairs.

Dredging the canal

By 1pm we were in Little Falls, NY . We walked into town in the over 90 degree F heat only to find that many of the business close on Mondays. So, we did some grocery shopping, made a short stop at the hardware store and headed back to the boat a bit disappointed.  By 8PM it started to rain, a welcome relief from the heat.  It rained all night.

Little Falls visit into town

Little Falls

TUESDAY, AUGUST 28th — DAY 7 (Little Falls, NY to Schenectady, NY)

When Lee and Leo headed out for the morning run, the rain had stopped. But by the time they got back, the rain had started again.  We decided to wait for the weather to clear before heading out. Handling the boat in locks standing on a slippery deck wouldn’t be safe.  But, by 8:30AM the sun was shining so we pushed off. The first lock we hit, just outside of town, was the largest change in elevation we’d done at 40ft.  But going down is much easier than going up, and since we were now dropping with each lock as we approach the Hudson River, the locks were becoming pretty routine.

Leaving the ‘big’ lock at Little Falls

Along the way, we passed more dredgers. We passed Fonda, NY (where Henry Fonda was born) and Amsterdam, NY (where Kirk Douglas was born). All the towns along the way seemed like they had seen better days. The area appeared fairly depressed and experiencing hard times as much of the manufacturing has moved out.  We pushed on and did a long day in order too hit Schenectady, NY which was recommended to us by one of the lock masters. The yacht club in Schenectady was cute, with some stone cliffs across the river. It had a pool, but after the long day, none of us had the energy to use it. we ordered Chinese food from a local restaurant that delivers to boats and recommended to us by the marina manager.  Yummy!

Leo is still bored

On the way to Schenectady

You know you are moving slow when the running on the path next to the canal is keeping up!

GE sign as we enter Schenectady, NY

Settled in Schenectady, NY