We are back on the boat after taking our youngest son to college. As you’ll recall, we left Thalia in Toronto so it was a long drive home and back. Our dog “Journey” is now on board with us. Journey is a ten-year-old cross between a black lab, a blood hound and several other breeds. Journey has become less excited about being on the boat as he has aged. He gets anxious when we heal or if we are slamming through waves. While our son was home working this summer, it was nice to have Journey able to stay home; but with our son going to college, Journey had to come with us! This will be an adjustment for all three of us.
Our last post was from Mackinaw City just before we were to leave Lake Huron to pass under the Big Mac (the suspension bridge that connects upper and lower Michigan and also represents the line between Lake Huron and Lake Michigan). The waters here are called the ‘Mackinaw Straits’ and since this is a relatively small passage between two huge bodies of water the conditions must be considered before navigating through in anything other than a large ship! We passed under with sunny skies and light breezes which was just fine with me. This image shows our ports of call for this episode – our anchorage/dockage locations are marked by the stars and the arrows show our path of transit. Facts on Lake Michigan can be found at the end of the blog.
We have been in Lake Huron since our previous posting of 12 July 2017 and it has been almost 100% wonderful! We couldn’t ask for more than that – we always expect weather or water conditions that are less than fun or perfect; however, if most our time is comfortable then we are over the moon! To follow our progress, visit this site and follow our boat, ‘Thalia’: https://farkwar.com/boats/thalia
We have finished the Erie Canal and we’ve stepped our mast so Thalia can regain her pride as a sailing vessel as she leaves the Erie Canal in her wake and tips her bow into the first of the Great Lakes – Lake Erie!
Erie Canal by the numbers – The Erie Canal is 338 miles long, has 34 locks that lifted for a total of 420 feet of elevation, there are 16 lift bridges that needed to open for us (all from Fairport to Lockport in the western section), and too many quaint upstate New York towns to mention! We will mention our favorite, however, and that is the lovely Pittsford! Continue reading “Erie Canal Complete, Great Lakes Ahead”
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”
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”
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”
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!
This past week, the residents of Thalia participated in several activities and events which fell neatly into the “normal” range — something new for us! Although, with just over one month left of our adventure we are anticipating an abrupt return to lives filled with “normalcy”, day in and day out! I don’t think we are able to articulate — from our current perspectives — what this next major shift will mean to each of us. I, for one, have such a mixed set of feelings about our life back on land that I am truly perplexed with how I will respond. Time will have to tell this one.
Poor Thalia, she hasn’t seen open water in over a week and a half! She’s been livin’ in the ditch and is not too happy about it, since her hull at the bow is growing the “ICW mustache” from the murky/muddy water she passes through. As Tom mentioned last week, “The Ditch” is the name boaters use for the section of the ICW (Intracoastal Waterways) from Norfolk, Virginia, to Miami, Florida. Even cruisers from Australia call it by this name, as we heard from our friends aboard “Our Island” who so thoughtfully gave us a guide to these waters which they wouldn’t be having a need of. This waterway even looks like a ditch in many areas as you navigate narrow cuts made through marsh lands and along canals sliced deeply into hard rocky terrain! Yet what a tremendous asset this waterway is for all boaters along the Atlantic coast of the US. Continue reading “Life in ‘The Ditch’!”