Jun 182017
 

Such a nice terminal wall at the Utica Harbor Lock. So quiet over night with fire flies that literally dance by the millions in the grass. It looks like stars flickering. I’ve never seen such a dance by them. So glad we were able to see such a phenomenon.

We were off this morning with clear skies. We had 3 locks to do today. The winds were calm which is the best and easiest way to do locks. We were heading to Sylvan Beach NY today. It is in the mid 90’s so a beach day is in order. We will head to the terminal wall at the entrance to Oneida Lake and stay there. No power or water but access to the small town. We did meet up with at least 4 other Loopers here as well.

We head into the beach area just after lunch. We decided to take the dingy to the beach just for the heck of it. Walking would have been faster and easier by we wanted to anyway. The beach is well manicured with lots of locals enjoying Father’s Day at the beach. Just about every style of boat is already anchored and many more will come throughout the day. There is an old school amusement park here, still running Thursday to Sunday. A restaurant bar sits at the beachfront as well. The water is very shallow for a long way out so many kids are enjoying the warm waters of Oneida Lake while parents lounge around in their lawn chairs. A great family spot. No pups allowed though.

As we head back to the boat the winds have picked up a bit so crossing those big 1-2 footers in a dingy is always fun. Still we have fun with it. The winds stay and the rain starts just after we walk the small town and have an ice cream. We ended up running back as the rain had started and we had the tarps off. The vents open and electronics exposed. We got back in time to batten down the hatches. It was so hot though. We ended up running the gen all night with the A/C on just to stay cool. It rained all night with a lightning storm in the distance. We did end up going to bed early mainly because we knew we would have a longer run time tomorrow.



 Posted by at 8:54 PM
Jun 172017
 

By the time we woke up all the boats at Little Falls had left for the day. We were the last ones standing. We planned a short day today with only 2 locks.

We passed through both locks easily and arrived in Utica just after lunchtime. The city dock has a good Italian restaurant available right at the dock. There are 2 docks at canal level as well as a wall. Power and water are available. We don’t want to stay here but have our eye on a quiet terminal wall at the entrance to the Utica Harbour Lock that was decommissioned 15 years ago. It’s a quiet spot with a bike path. Long grass and bollards to tie your ropes. We’re too short to use 2 bollards so we use the sign and a bollard to tie the boat for our stay. Birds are chirping and there isn’t much boat traffic. It is isolated as well. Nothing around. This terminal wall is a great place to tie up. No power or water but the quiet serenity is really nice. It’s 14 feet deep water at the wall as well. We are here for a brewery tour at Saranac Breweries.

We are pretty excited to see our first brewery tour with samples of Saranac beers. We find grass paths on google to follow to the brewery to cut off several minutes of walking. We soon realize that the paths have grown over with 8 foot grasses. So we turn around and begin the trek to find an alternative path. The bike path is paved and we do see people on bikes. It’s a hot day of 90 degrees so it isn’t very popular. We run into a couple and start asking questions on the best way to the brewery. After several minutes we are offered a ride to the brewery. Sweet! It’s at least a 2.5 mile walk in 90 degree heat.

The tour consists of the history of the Matt Family that bought the brewery in 1888. It is still owned by descendants of the original owner. They brew Brooklyn beer, Blue Moon and Sam Adams were brewed here first before they became big enough to have their own brewery. They do tours of the brewery Friday and Saturdays with samples at the end of the tour. We sit down with another couple and start talking about adventures. They are here for the day from upstate New York just because they can. They offer us a ride back to the boat. Sweet!

 Posted by at 8:15 PM
Jun 162017
 

We decided to run in the rain this morning as the rain was not going to let up. We are cruising some of the Catskills today which is stunning to see. With this rain no pics and too much cloud. It’s a shame because this is what I remember from the last time we ran here.

No one was running today. We left behind all but 1 boat who also wanted to move on. The Perch followed us all the way. Interesting tidbit about The Perch. We’ve seen dogs and cats on board with our fellow Looper boats. The Perch has a cockatiel named Margo. Margo has a personality that everyone loves. If you say hello she will say hello back. If you wave at her she fans her beautiful white feathers on her head and waves them at you. Every time. She can say many words and walks around on a leash, with her human. He brought her to docktails the other night on Gypie’s Palace while at Waterford. The dogs sat at her feet looking up at her where she was feeling quite confident.

There was a lot of debris today on the canal. We felt like frogger criss-crossing around the channel. At times we slowed to a crawl due to the abundance of debris, especially around bends in the canal. We did manage to do 7 locks today bringing us to Little Falls, NY. The last 2 without rain. Lock 17 is a lock that lifts overhead your boat. The lock wall is cantilevered above you while you go into the lock. It drips on you and your boat. Then to close it, it slides down to close the gap and the lock fills. It is a good 41 feet. It has the most lift of a lock in the Erie Canal. It takes a long time to fill so if you have to wait for it expect a long delay.

Little Falls, NY is just after lock 17 heading west. Around the bend and past the industrial wall you will find a lovely spot with restrooms, on your honour laundry, showers, power and water. Its very convenient to a small town a short walk away. We walked to the little falls where you can see history and the buildings of the day. Some have been abandoned but some have been upgraded. Antique shops and small retail are available.

We remember this spot back 6 years ago when Apt Sea !! was here and we spent some time on the wall together. Scott and I talked about that time at length remembering the laughter of that 1 night with “the guys”.

Scott found a plaque that mentioned Moss Island and its sink holes. It would be a dingy ride and a hike through the forested area of the island, but its 7:00. Down goes the dingy and we’re off. Moss Island is just near the lock. We parked the dingy on the rocks and tied Low Voltage to the tree at the water’s edge. The small island has walking paths that lead to rock formations made by fast moving deep water. The contours are significant and easily seen. The oak leaves lay around the area in droves. Pine needles sprinkled on the ground and the damp musty smell of the rain from this morning. Glorious! Within the rock formations are “pools” of stagnant water. These pools are the “sink holes” that the island is known for. Mainly they are made from rocks and fast moving water. We leave there by 8:30 but were able to take some fascinating photos. Scott is loving the new camera and its abilities in the low light. It paid off tonight.

 Posted by at 7:26 PM
Jun 152017
 

Our first official lock of the Erie Canal was today. There is a flight of 5 locks within a couple miles that had to be locked through. The good thing is that the lockmasters coordinate the openings with each other to get you through. We had to get out of the way of a passing barge and tow coming out of lock 4. We were locking through with 3 other boats for the entire flight.

Each lock that we go through is a little different than the last. Ropes are supplied for you at each lock but sometimes you can grab a cable with your own rope and just ride up the cable. So much better than touching the slimy ropes available to you after sitting in water most of the time.

After Lock 6, then 7, then 8 we were certain that we would be done. We had 3 jet skiers following in our wake loving the big size for jumping. 3 young fellas that never seemed to quit. One asked to give me his email and text so I could send him the photos and videos we took.

Then lock 9 and finally 10. We went 34 miles today but it seemed like 134. Between 7-9 there isn’t really much in the way of an anchorage or wall. Lock 10 decided to break down just as we were approaching it and after a tow and barge came out. Something to do with lock doors not closing. So we tied to the wall there. It has steel corrogated walls but our fenders were placed in such a way as not to slip between. There is current fairly strong as well. We were told that someone was coming to look at it and that it could be a long wait. It was about an hour and a half of a wait. Then the doors opened and off we went.

It was our intention to find an anchorage around lock 7 or so. Scott wanted to push forward. The day wasn’t too hot and the winds were kind. We decided to stop at Riverlink Park in the City of Amsterdam, NY. A wonderful marina, free laundry, restrooms, showers, restaurant, and a liquor store and hardware store about a 5 minute walk away. The park is well groomed and tidy. We tied up with power and water as well. It’s a quiet and cute town other than the constant train traffic on a very busy track directly adjacent to the park and marina.

Along the wall we found that The Perch was here along with Last Call, Lab Partners, and several other Loopers. Some of us wandered into the restaurant for a dessert after dinner. We shared some stories and laughs til the day caught up to us all by 9:00. We’re like that….the party crowd.

We are looking at heading out later in the morning due to incoming rains overnight and into the breakfast hours.



 Posted by at 6:29 PM
Jun 142017
 

We noticed that a lot of Loopers had left when we woke up. We’re faster to get to a destination than most so we grab a breakfast and get ready for the last run of the Upper Hudson River.

All the mountains are gone now leaving a clear path of deciduous trees that line the banks of the Upper Hudson River. It’s going to be a hot one today.  The winds are already upon us which causes ripples and difficulty seeing the debris that is inevitably there.  The debris on the Hudson is everywhere from large cut logs to expansive brush.  The ripple just aggravates the vision so both of us are watching for debris.  There seems to be less today.  A lot of it must have traveled with the tide to the New York Harbour.  It takes 120 days for something to travel from the Upper Hudson to the New York Harbour.  The rains have subsided lately but the aftermath of the high tributaries and runoff are evident.

We pass a lot of traveling boats. Most came from the same marina but there are more from the other marinas as well.  They are heading to the same place as we are in Waterford.

It’s a short run for us today with only about 25 miles to Waterford, NY. As we pass through Albany and its port there are several barges getting ready to move.  Their tugs are there anticipating the movement.  We pass by slowly and give space.  The Port of Albany isn’t as large as some of the ports we’ve seen but it still has the industrial services that those large ones do.  Many ocean tankers come here to move wares to and from the NY Harbour.

Entering Troy, NY we are at our first lock of the Erie Canal. We are feeling lucky as the gates are open and another boat is entering.  One is behind us so the 3 of us will lock up the 8 feet together.  This lock is a mid ship tie on bollards.  Super easy to do single handed but Scott helps out with a push or pull of the engine so I have less to pull.  The dock at Waterford is about 3 miles up from the Troy Lock.  We turn the corner to find Gypies Palace just finishing up her tie.  There is another gold Looper here as well that we haven’t met.  We all snugly tie to one end of the dock so to leave the rest of it for the other boats that are coming in.  By the end of the afternoon we have 11 Looper boats here.  Gypies Palace, One Eyed Dog, The Perch, Ellis Island, Last Call, and the rest that I don’t know the names of all had docktails on Gypies Palace.  She’s a beauty Catamaran of 47 feet x 25 feet wide.  So much space and perfect for 35 people.

Scott went to the park on the other side of the waterway, over the single laned bridge.  It’s a beautiful park with picnic facilities, He came out of the path in the forest to find 5 deer having dinner.  They didn’t see him as he clicked the camera but knew he was there.  It wasn’t until he came out of the forest that they finally saw him and tore off.  Scott also found rock cliffs and bluffs to the water’s edge.  There is a waterfall and rapids  that kayaks were running in.  We should have taken the dingys over and had a Looper docktail there with the others that love nature. 

Tomorrow we continue the Erie Canal and run the Flight of 5 here in Waterford, NY. Hopefully the temps will drop in the 80’s for awhile when we make the run.

 Posted by at 6:13 PM
Jun 132017
 

Continuing our trek north along the Hudson River the Pallisaides are becoming less and replaced by small hills. The mountains remain in the distance for the majority of our journey but we will say goodbye to them today. They are stunning to cruise by with the similarity to the North Channel.

We will pass several lighthouse that lit the way for the sailors to find their way into the small tributaries that feed the Hudson River. Most are over 100 years old. Some are museums and some are being preserved with no ability to tour them.

There are more Looper boats now. A few fishing boats and local cruisers but mostly us travelers are making our way north to the Erie Canal. Most of these Loopers will continue north, half way through the Erie Canal, to the Oswego Canal. They will cross Lake Ontario and head toward the Trent Severn Waterway with the idea of getting to the North Channel by July and August.
We decide to stop at Shady Harbor Marina. A large number of Loopers are staying here. We thought it would be a good idea to meet up with some of them. We’ll do laundry, have a swim in the pool there, clean out the salt water. We have been in fresh water for a couple days now, since Moon Bay anchorage. Scott cleans out the engine compartment of the salt spray and washes the boat.

We pull up to the fuel dock at Shady Harbor and are greeted by 2 other Looper boats that knew us from the Great Loop Association website. They congratulated us on crossing our wake in New York. We meet at least 6 other Loopers.

We had docktails on their boat and answered some questions regarding the next leg of their journey to Canada. It was nice to stop where so many others are accomplishing the same journey with the apprehension and anticipation that we had when we were seeing things for the first time.

 Posted by at 12:53 PM
Jun 122017
 

A leisurely morning and a cool dip in 74 degree water was the bonus for today. This anchorage beside Moon Bay Marina is a great quiet spot to wake up to in the morning. There were 3 other boats anchored with us in this anchorage with room for over 50 boats. There were at least that many here yesterday being a Sunday but they were day trippers at the beach.

We again started north as the Hudson River runs basically north and south after NYC. WestPoint Military College is along the shore. It’s old, distinct buildings are reminiscent of a 200 year old structure. The entire site is massive.

The sights that await you as you head along the Hudson River, where Henry Hudson the explorer and namesake once sailed, is stunning. The large bluffs and cliffs, which are called The Pallisaides, stand above the water’s edge. A train runs along the bottom of the bluffs along the water. Cities are connected by extensive bridges, many of which are being replaced by twin bridges. The Tappan Zee Bridge, the Bear Mountain Bridge tower above the boat. It’s difficult to show the size of these structures in Pictures.

The Hudson Highlands are ancient mountains where their tops have been sheared off by the winds of time. Some of the oldest mountains lay beside the Hudson River. They were born before the Rockies and the Appalachians, carved by a massive glacier.

We will be stopping in Kingston, NY. A small community of 20,000. There is a free dock available overnight if you have a meal at the restaurant along the waterfront. Ole Savannah offers a dock without water or power. The dock has a wooden deck that leads to a private entrance to the restaurant. There is wifi available however we could connect only in the restaurant. Our meals were very tasty and the bevy as well. A reasonable price as well. It’s cheaper than most marinas and the opportunity to go ashore is better than anchoring.

Ole Savannah Restaurant is a completely renovated old factory. Wrought iron, old brick, wooden beams with comfortable outdoor and indoor seating, with moderate pricing is within steps of your boat. The depth at the dock at low tide is approx. 10 feet, a 4 foot tide in the Rondout River. Kinston town center and the restaurant are within 1/2 mile from the Hudson. Easy in and out. In fact there is an NFL player’s 120 foot yacht is just down from the restaurant at the City docks.

The town is a sleepy town with restaurants, old architecture, antique shops and cafes. There is a maritime museum here that has the history of the Hudson River as well as Kingston. We did go in and it was worth a look even with the $7.00 charge. There is a trolley museum as well and a wooden boat restoration museum here as well. It is worth the stop on your way north.
Tomorrow we head to a marina. Laundry has piled up. We need some diesel. The last stop for diesel before the Erie Canal is Castleton. At $1.00 a foot with a 50 gallon fill or more, it’s worth stopping along the way.



 Posted by at 12:51 PM
Jun 112017
 

Now that we are running with gold looking out the front window to the symbol of the gold flag is providing us with some reflective moments.

We leave Lady Liberty and begin the journey home which is now the start of our 2nd loop. We travel slowly past the city of New York with its skyscrapers, industrial and historical influence. We talk about the last time we were here, with Aiden at the age of 8. Passing Ellis Island, where hundreds of thousands of immigrants first came to America. The train station that brought those newly landed immigrants to the mainland to start their new lives. Downtown Manhatten, then Midtown and finally Uptown is left in our wake. The USS Intrepid aircraft carrier with the CR-71 which is now under a cover. When we came through it was fully exposed to the elements. We see Harlem from the river with its beautiful buildings and park like setting. Not the Harlem one thinks of. Passing under the Tampanzee Bridge and seeing that the old steel bridge of yesteryear is being replaced by a new cement twin cantilever bridge which is surrounded by large trees and a country-like setting. Finally going north to find the Hudson River in all her glory. She runs with high cliffs and bluffs with deciduous trees standing along the shores. The large cliffs and valleys are a complete opposite from the big city only about 15 miles away.

We are anchoring in a very large popular anchorage where a beach, park and a couple marinas (Moon Bay and Croton Yacht Club) are available if wanted. The Haverstraw Bay anchorage is perfect. Lots of room, lots of local boaters, people and kids enjoying the beach and sheltered in all but a north wind. The afternoon is spent enjoying the swimming off the back of the boat in this 90 (30C) degree, clear sky Sunday. Watching the locals is always a fun afternoon.

We take the dingy into Moon Bay Marina to run into CVS for a couple cases of water. It’s a nice ½ mile walk or so. There is a $5.00 charge for dingy docking but being its later in the day and we are heading to get water the dockmaster charges us $3.00. Most people dingy to this marina, leave their dingys for the day and take the train to the Big Apple only 24 miles away. The train station is just down from the marina. It is more money than heading in from Great Kills on Staten Island because the train fare both ways runs around $12.00 per person and the ferry is free to and from Staten Island. Still worth it if you wish a second look at the city but want to move on with your boat.

Coming back before dusk we watch another sunset. Looking west over the bluffs and cliffs of this area, not a cloud in the sky, the translucent oranges, pinks and reds closes our day.

 Posted by at 8:50 PM
Jun 102017
 

6 Years, 11 days in the making.
9,247 miles including side trips.
10,394 Gallons of Diesel.

WE’VE COMPLETED THE GREAT LOOP




Today is the day that everything up to this point has meaning. We cross our wake. We go GOLD.

In November, 2010 we bought Conductance and left her for the winter in her home port of Boston. In May of 2011 we started to bring her home. On May 30, 2011 we were in awe at the sight of the Statue of Liberty. At that time we didn’t know that we would be back to visit her 6 years later. There wasn’t even a notion that such a thing as A Great Loop was an adventure we ourselves would be heading on.

We saw the Niagara River, Lake Erie, The Trent Severn Waterway, The Rideau Canal, The Finger Lakes, as summer excursions. Loving the adventures of cruising and its wealth of knowledge and history in every port we often wondered if there was more. What next? Scott was commissioned to work in Nashville. We both looked at each other and asked, “Can we bring the boat?”. Research showed that there was this thing called The Great Loop that takes you through 4 of the Great Lakes, to Chicago down the Mississippi to the Gulf and then around Florida and up the east coast back to the Hudson River and then the Erie Canal to home. Still not convinced that we would do the run past Nashville we set off in June of 2015 to Nashville. The North Channel, an extension of Georgian Bay north of Manitoulin Island is the most stunning cruising on the Loop we have done. The Illinois River past Chicago not so much. The Mississippi again isn’t beautiful but the history is second to none. We turn east on The Cumberland River to Nashville.

While in Nashville the concept of returning back up the Mississippi is quickly realized that it isn’t feasible. There is a 250 mile stretch with no provisions or fuel. Going against the 5 knot current in that stretch would take so much time. We decided to run to Florida and the East Coast. So after Scott’s work is mainly complete we make a dash for Florida, on Christmas Day 2016. Leaving Conductance in Indiantown, FL as we head home til we can run again. March Break of 2017 we take a vacation on Conductance and enjoy the sunshine of Florida for a week. Leaving her again in Cocoa Beach, FL we head home hoping to be back to run the east coast. That journey begins in May 2017. So today June 10, 2017 we are back at the Statue of Liberty holding our gold flag and enjoying a celebratory red wine in the shadow of the Lady. New York City and its glory towers over us as we watch a gorgeous sunset and the lights of the city turn on.

Our bucket list did not include a sleepover at the Statue of Liberty but now that we have done so it should have been. The end of a perfect day. An end to an experience that only a few hundred a year have completed. The start of the new journey toward a platinum Great Loop flag as tomorrow we begin our journey.



 

 Posted by at 4:23 PM
Jun 092017
 

Great Kills Yacht Club is a basics only marina. Restrooms and showers are available. There is a bar onsite but no food. The docks are clean and the harbour host John makes the ease to get to the city easy. It’s reasonable in cost for New York City.

Today is the day we discover New York City. The marina here at Great Kills Yacht Club is unique because one of their members is a harbour host who greets all the Loopers who stay. He’ll drive us to the train station in Great Kills, about a mile away from the marina. Then We’ll hop on the Staten Island Ferry. The train ride is reasonable at $2.75 per person and the ferry is free to all passengers both ways. Great way to get to The Big Apple without the hassle.

John drops us off around 10:30 at the station. It’s everything you know an outdoor train station to be. Peeling paint, a woman calling Scott a pervert for taking her picture and I’m the Biotch with him. Gotta love New York. It’s about a 20 minute ride to the ferry. The ferry runs every 15 minutes or so so we don’t wait long. The ferry carries approximately 1400 people on each of her 2 main decks. Leaving St. George Station on the ferry we head across New York Harbour to the piers in Manhatten. The Statue of Liberty invites us into the harbour.
New York City towers over the harbour, with the new World Trade Center standing tall. The Chrysler Building, Empire State Building are all visible. Brooklyn stands to the right side of the harbour as we approach the piers. New Jersey to the left on the far side of the Hudson River.

For the day we visit the 911 Memorial Reflecting Pool. Each of every person who was killed in the 911 attacks including service men and women, the Pentagon, and the Flight 93 have their names engraved. The interesting thing about the names isn’t that they are in alphabetical order. Before the memorial was completed the 911 Memorial Staff sent letters to all the family members. In that letter they requested information on their friendships, romances, relationships with others that had passed on that day. The 911 staff put together very meaningful insight when choosing where the names shall be on the memorial. They put names of people who had the closest relationships together. That is why names of the people are not simply alphabetical or strickly from where they worked or served. On each of their birthdays the 911 memorial staff place roses in the groves of their names. We have to remember when we visit this memorial that this is where family members have been buried and never found. That surviving family members still visit often to stand where their loved one is.

We decide to jump on a tour bus to see the sights of Downtown Manhatten. We will travel from the Staten Island Ferry to Times Square. In between we will see the various cultural area such as Greektown, Chinatown, SriLankatown, Indiantown, and so many more. Authentic foods are found in these areas. We’ll pass Wall Street, the street that never sees the sun. Those extremely tall buildings are barely a car’s width apart on the renowned Wall Street. A tour bus cannot drive on it because it is so narrow. Times Square is an overindulgent paradise. Sights, sounds, people, lights, massive displays. It’s an overindulgent paradise.

At the end of the day we’re back on the ferry heading back to St. Georges and then Great Kills by train. It’s our plan to stop at “Nonna’s Pizza” and enjoy authentic New York style pizza. We are not disappointed as we are treated like royalty. It was after 11:30 by the time we made it back to the boat. I suppose if you’re going to be up late the best place to do so is in New York.

 Posted by at 10:10 AM