Go West, Young Man!

The Erie Canal is divided up into three sections – Eastern, Central and Western.   Quite a few boaters do the Eastern canal, and then head north at Three Rivers Junction to the Oswego Canal, which takes you into Lake Ontario. There were a number of tricky shallow areas in the Eastern portion and we had considered this Oswego route to get us out of the canal and into the expanse of Lake Ontario, and thus avoid even shallower areas further west in the canal. But we had heard from multiple sources that the Western section was the most beautiful and we didn’t want to miss it. I was able to get ahold of the head of navigation and dredging at the NY State Canal Authority, which by the way is an amazing organization that deserves a whole blog post of it’s own. He quickly talked me into continuing west on the canal, all the way to its terminus at Buffalo. He put me at ease, letting me know that the shallow areas I saw on the charts had just been dredged, and that if we took it slow in sections, we’d have no problem. He re-affirmed that the Western Erie Canal is not to be missed. He added that if we headed to Lake Ontario, we’d have to uplock the Welland Canal (which circumvents Niagara Falls), and in the process have to hire crew to handle the lines, all while jockeying for position in the locks with lots of commercial traffic. Simply put, in his words, we’d be ‘second class citizens’ if we did the Welland. The Welland is actually in Canada, and I didn’t have the heart to tell him we weren’t citizens there, but his point was well taken. I couldn’t help but hear a bit of pride in his voice, implying that the Erie treats their pleasure boater citizens with first class, white glove service. Which they really do! But again that’s a story for another day. Continue reading “Go West, Young Man!”

Circles, Loops, Triangles – Popular Inland Cruising Routes in North America

‘Loops’ Involving One or More of the Great Lakes

I love that you can’t help but learn something new whenever you travel or try different things. I long ago learned about the [boat cruising] route called ‘The Down East Circle Route’ which is the one we are taking two summers to complete (we’re adding in extra exploration of the Great Lakes). I recently learned that there also is the ‘Great Loop’ and the ‘Triangle Loop’ that are popular with boaters and also involve one or more of the Great Lakes. Who knew? Continue reading “Circles, Loops, Triangles – Popular Inland Cruising Routes in North America”

Embracing the Erie Canal

Above, we transit the Erie Canal as it narrows to pass under a railroad bridge (complete with passing train!) and then right into a lock!

We have been in the Erie canal for five full days now and in the 152 miles we have traveled in the canal, we’ve experienced 22 locks for a total lift of 419 feet and a drop of 51 feet. The first 20 locks were all up-locks … we experienced our first down-locking at locks 21 and 22 to drop us down to the height of Oneida Lake. The highest lift in a single lock was 40 feet and this lock (lock E-17) had so much water flowing into it that the boats were only allowed to secure themselves against the southern wall. The water flow from north to south as the chamber fills is so significant that boats are not able to hold themselves against the north wall. Continue reading “Embracing the Erie Canal”

Up, Up and Away

We are docked in Waterford, NY today, at the confluence of the Hudson River and the Erie Canal. We’ll be doing a big left turn and starting up the Erie Canal tomorrow. There’s no training wheels on this excursion. The first day involves the transiting of 5 locks, each rising about 33ft for a total of 159 ft above the Hudson River. It’s indoctrination by fire! Check out this drone-based video of the area. Please make sure your seat belts are fastened and tray tables locked in the upright position!

 

A New York State Of Mind

I apologize to our friends in Rhode Island and Connecticut. We had every intention to visit your waters, but fate had other plans. I can hear you already. “But we are the Ocean State!” say you Rhode Islanders. And yes, the charming Connecticut shore is hard to miss as one works their way down the New England coast. But we got pulled into that powerful vortex that is New York – first, the city, and then the countryside. Continue reading “A New York State Of Mind”

Shake(down), Rattle and Roll

We knew this first week would serve as a good shakedown, as it does for any boat splashing in the water at the beginning of the season. Thalia had not seen a lot of use in the last 2  years. Therefore, we expected to have a few unexpected things come up. What was unexpected about the unexpected was the fact that we, more specifically I, was not ready. It all started off fine. We moved aboard Thalia at Great Bay Marine on Thursday, May 25 as planned, and had a real pleasant visit with our friends Don and Shelly (including a little tasting trip at nearby Stoneface Brewing Co). Don drove our car back home, so at this point we were committed! All good, until 4am that is. Continue reading “Shake(down), Rattle and Roll”

No Turning Back Now

The long awaited day has finally come. After many months of hard work, and a short drive from the boat shed to the launch ramp, Thalia is now back in her watery home where she belongs.

She launched today, thanks to the able hands at Great Bay Marine. It’s been 12 months since she saw water, and back then it was for just a short few days as we moved her from her previous winter home to Great Bay. I have been doing work steadily on the boat over the last year, especially since leaving my job last October. There were many weeks in the dead of winter that I’d pull into the yard and trudge through the snow and ice with my various projects lists, tools and boat parts to climb the ladder to a cold Thalia.

Continue reading “No Turning Back Now”

Count-Down to Launch

Our last post was in February of this year (2017) and it shared our plans to return to our adventures at sea. However, we have not been idle, so this post will share what we have been up to!

I completed my last couple months of full time employment at the end of April – at least for the short term! I loved my job and my co-workers so this was a hard decision and my last week was certainly bitter-sweet. Here are a couple shots of going away gifts and team dinners! Continue reading “Count-Down to Launch”

Back to Sea

This August 2017, it will be 10 years since we returned from the 14-month sailing adventure we took with our two young sons. Our oldest son will graduate from college this spring and our younger will enter – time passes too quickly! My husband said a final good-bye to his remaining parent last year and these life events have us evaluating the finite time we each spend on this earth. Certainly, Tom and I are still young by several measures but the exploration we long to do requires a physical strength and vitality that will not always be as readily available to us as it is today. So, we’re headed back to sea, at least part-time … for now!

Continue reading “Back to Sea”