Thursday, October 8, 2009

New plan--- (we think!)

We've changed our minds about the Blue Ridge trip. We're going to stay home for a while, and enjoy it! I'm going back to yoga, perhaps Pilates, and Bob may come with me. We plan to visit the kids a lot more, and next spring, take off in the RV for the Canadian Maritimes...... with many stops in Maine, (Red's Eats!) for lobstah!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Ready to be hauled out.

Here we are, hanging in the slings, waiting to be lifted, washed, blocked, and put away for the winter. We drove to Ohio to visit Bob's folks on the way home. (You can tell I'm just a bit late getting this posted!)

It was a nice visit, and a pretty drive home. Now we're wondering what to do with all of this space, and enjoying Hollywood showers!

We're thinking of a month-long visit by RV to the Blue Ridge Parkway, to drive with the leaves. That will be beautiful! More to follow...

Monday, September 7, 2009

Big change of plan!

Well--- the "carpal tunnel" has us changing our plans. Evidently, Asian carp are a very damaging species of fish, and they are closing in on the Great Lakes. The Corps of Engineers has erected a barrier consisting of an electric charge in the Chicago Sanitary Canal in a place we have to pass. Presently, the only way to get through is to be towed by a Coast Guard approved steel vessel in what they call a "dead-ship tow"--- no electricity on your boat, all batteries disconnected, everything off, including you. Every person and pet must be on the towboat and inside.There must be no contact with your own vessel. The length of the barrier is seven-tenths of a mile. The current cost is $500 per vessel, which is a Great Loop Association discount price. We've decided to keep "Blue Moon" in heated storage up here in Grand Haven this winter until we can see if there are any ill effects on the boats that have been towed through, and also to see if the Corps of Engineers comes up with a new plan in the interim.

Grand Haven, Michigan

Wayne and Maggie joined us for a short boat ride on Lake Michigan over Labor Day weekend. There were only eight million boats out!!

Entrance to Grand Haven Harbor.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Breakwall at Frankfort, MI

This is the entrance to Frankfort, MI. Lake Michigan is not always this calm.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Pictures: St. Ignace to Frankfort, MI

St. Ignace Harbor at sunset. This is a very nice stop along the Great Loop, grocery, post office, restaurants, etc.

Approaching the Mackinaw Bridge after leaving St. Ignace Harbor.

This bridge is really remarkable!! The Mackinaw Bridge is among the longest suspension bridges built.

This newer Grand Banks 47 passed us as he cruised north. We do not go that fast!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

New boat decor!!!!

Sierra's stained glass decor brightens up our saloon..(along with Rosie's bucket!)


We finally found a day to get out of town! Started out just a little lumpy, and progressed to bumpy, but we're here in beautiful downtown Saint Ignace, Michigan. Made a grocery store hit up a too high hill ...... down was much easier. We're hoping to be able to move on tomorrow, but the weather liar isn't too encouraging.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

A Quick U-Turn!

The weather liar is at it again.... seas supposed to be one foot or less, for our first foray out into Lake Huron on our way to Mackinac. Turned out to be at least 3 feet, and on the nose. We were taking water over the flybridge. After five miles of that, we got smart, and came back. Of course, the ride back was a following sea, and not too bad. When we got back, a nice man named Ron from the Vessel Solitaire showed us a more protected and scenic route to try. Today we're glad we're back inside the marina!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

North Channel Views

Anchorage- dawn behind John's Island, North Channel.

Lighthouse at the entrance to Little Current.

Collins Inlet- beautiful winding passage

Rock wall along the Collins Inlet carved by glaciers in the ice age, and looks like a waterfall today.

Rocks meant to show the way.

There are many rock formations built to show the way-- (see above!) This one looks more like "Howdy, have a seat!"

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Back in the US of A

Had a great ride from behind John's Island Anchorage to Drummond, MI and cleared customs. Then went to DeTour Harbor in Michigan. Getting mail and regrouping here. Much more to follow!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Byng Inlet to Killarney

The weather gods were good to us, and our mostly outside run was calm and lovely. (OK-- it got less so toward the end--- but all in all, pretty terrific!) Killarney is on the "highway" to the North Channel which we will enter tomorrow. We spent the weekend here watching boats. There is no Wi-Fi here, and the air card is very slow, so no pictures for this post. Scenery is magnificent, and will post pictures as soon as I can.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Midland to Byng Inlet

After leaving Port Severn we cruised to Midland, Ontario. This mural welcomes boaters on their way into the town docks. We did some provisioning, boat and fender cleaning, and a ton of laundry.

Henry's Restaurant is only accessible by boat or float plane. I guess that is what gives it it's cache, because the food is ordinary. (But HUGE portions.)

Arriving by airplane for dinner at Henry's.

Our boat at Henry's dock. (We're the lovely one on the far left.)

Narrow channel along the waterway. This is common up here--- that's the only way through the rocks. Gets your heart going!

The lighthouse at Pointe au Baril.

The barrel means that the channel is clear for passage. (I believe that "baril" is French for barrel.) These were early channel markers.

After all of this lovely scenery, we decided to anchor for the night in Sandy Bay. We tried a few different nooks, and crannies, and then decided to go farther back into the Bay, and anchor back there. I bet you guessed it again.... the only possible wind direction that would make us uncomfortable was west, and west it was! We rocked and rolled all night, and by 3PM the next day--- (I guess we're slow learners!) we high-tailed it out of there. We had to backtrack 5 miles or so, but were glad to do it. By that point, we had twenty knots of wind sustained, so we came up
Byng Inlet to Wright's Marina, and here we are. We are out of the wind, watching it rain, doing laundry, and using electricity like crazy!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Orillia to Port Severn

To say that the trip here was eventful is an understatement! The night before, we stayed on the wall above Swift Rapids Lock. The outflow from that hydro dam is amazing!! The drop in that lock was 47 feet.Then our next "lock" was the Big Chute Marine Railway. This is a "new-fangled" kind of portage-- carrying a vessel over a small land area to reach the water on the other side. It's usually done with canoes and such.. We drove Blue Moon into a "car" and we were put into slings that held us steady while the car rode over land on rails, and brought us to the other side, and back into the water. We have some pictures of "Y-Knot" a GB36 loaded in the car right before we went. We took some pictures from the deck while we were in the car, and one of the Parcs Canada guys was kind enough to take some pictures of our running gear to check how we're looking. (Fabulous, as usual!) Although, there is a little "swoop" on the leading edge of our starboard prop. All in all, not bad at all!

One more lock, and we're out int
o the Georgian Bay! The rocky part is intimidating, but lack of locks will be nice! Pictures to follow!

Incredible outflow from Swift Rapids Dam.

Y-Knot (GB-36) is on her way from Cocoa Beach, FL to her new home in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. After cruising through Lake Superior she will be loaded on a truck for the balance of the trip.

Y-Knot on her way up and over and then back to the water.

This fifty-eight foot cruiser is coming off the railway on the return trip.
Amazing that the railway can move such big boats!

Here we are at the top of the railway.
I'm trying to be cool. So far, so good.

Here we are traveling down hill back to the water. (Still being cool.) I resume breathing as soon as we resume floating!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Bobcaygeon to Orillia

Had a good ride across Lake Simcoe, which we heard can really kick up. We're happy to have found a calm day. Part of the trip was through the very narrow and shallow (hey that almost rhymes!) Trent Canal. We were seeing .9 feet- that's "point nine" under the keel. A bit hair-raising and nerve-wracking! All of the locks from here on are going down, which is much more pleasant and less turbulent.

We stopped for the night just above the Kirkfield Lift Lock. It's like the lock at Peterborough with two pans, except that here, since we're locking down, we go out to the end at the top! Holy cow---- we were hanging out there!! The lock tenders were walking all over the structure 49 feet in the air. I was hyperventilating! It worked out well, as you can see, I'm still here!

The weather turned rainy, so we're using this stop as a provisioning, laundry, and rest stop. They are having a bass fishing tournament here... small, low freeboard boats with big giant engines.... catching fast fish!

This cottage sits all alone on an island along the waterway on the way to the Kirkfield Lift Lock.

Standing at the top of the Kirkfield Lift Lock looking down. This lock lowers you 49'.

Here we are entering the lift chamber. We decided to stay in the middle of the chamber, rather than go all the way to the front where it looks like you could fall the whole 49 feet!

Half way down. Notice the other chamber going up.

On our way safely out of the lock at the bottom. Note the wall behind us-- that is 49' that we rode down.

This is an original waterway bridge built in 1905.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Doing boat maintenance in Bobcaygeon

A special Thank You to Ken from Home Hardware in Bobcaygeon who saved the day. While doing some normal engine maintenance today, I ran into some very inconvenient situations. Thanks again Ken.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Lakefield to Bobcaygeon

Airplanes are a common sight along the Trent-Severn Waterway. Pretty cool to be cruising along, when a plane lands nearby!

Church services by land and sea.

The channel goes between the rocks, around this island and cottage. Check out the markers. One must leave the green on the left, and the red to the right. Here it's like a slalom course! Click to make the picture larger for a better look.

This "Glass House" sits along the banks of Buckhorn Lake. You can see everything that goes on in there! Hope the bathroom has a solid door! (Insert your own joke about stone-throwing and glass houses here.)

Peterborough Lift Lock

Here we are, approaching Peterborough Lift Lock. We had to wait about an hour while they repaired a valve. OK by me-- if we're getting into that, I want it in perfect condition! The "drill" was this--there was a gate at the entrance to each "pan." We drove our boat into the lower chamber, (locking up) when the gate lowered, and once we were in, they raised it behind us.

Here we are, entering the lift chamber (140' x 33'). We tied to a rail at the side of the chamber. Note the hydraulic ram under the chamber on the left. It provided a very smooth rise. When the gate closed behind us, they added one foot of water to the other chamber- and the added weight of the water lowered the other chamber, and raised the chamber that we were in. And the ride up is FAST. It was over before I could faint!

And then, there we were at the top, after being raised 65 feet! They opened the gate, and out we went. We turned around to look, and couldn't believe it. I know it's trite to say, but it IS a marvel of engineering. It was built over 8 years... 1896 through 1904.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Lock #19, Scott Mills

This is us three on Blue Moon at the top of Lock #19 near Peterborough, Ontario. We're stopping at Peterborough Marina for a day or two to do a little maintenance on the boat. And also because it is SO windy, that we're getting blown around in the locks, so we figure that we'll get some preventative maintenance done, and then, like magic, the wind will die down. (I love fairy tales!)

Lock #3 Glen Miller

Looking south from Lock #3, Glen Miller, Ontario.

Friday, July 10, 2009

We start the Trent-Severn Waterway

We really started this leg of the trip with a "bang!" Windy in the very first lock, and there we were, sideways. Not at all pretty... we straightened up,(after a small collision with the opposite lock wall,) and began the first of six locks that we'd do today. We improved in our locking skills by smaller increments than we would have liked. Our new swim platform now has a small bit of "character" on the port side. We did six locks in 7.3 miles, then we pulled over at the only place on the waterway, (so we hear) that has electricity included in the seasonal moorage fee we paid to Parcs Canada... in addition to electricity, (always a plus) it's quiet and lovely here just above lock 6. Tonight, there will be a blues concert in the park across the way. Ahhhh... moored in the shade, in a quiet place, with the blues in the background! Fabulous!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Kingston, Ontario

Finally made it after a not-so-lovely creaming on Lake Ontario. The weather forecasts all agreed that the seas would be light... and, you guessed it... four foot rollers on the beam with a very close interval. It took about four hours of that before we could get behind some land for protection. And, here we are! We cleared customs with no problem, and you can see our courtesy flag in our rigging. We're resting up today, and tomorrow it's on to the Bay of Quinte, which is supposed to be lovely. From here on, we're in all new territory for us.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Up on the edge

The edge of Lake Ontario-- Wow! We left Brewerton today, and came all the way to Oswego! (That isn't so many miles, but it is eight locks! When we got here, we put ourselves back together-- mast up, fenders stowed, ready for Lake Ontario. There is a fishing fleet here, and they offered to let us know how it is out there tomorrow. They are expecting a good day, and NOAA is too. (I'd trust the fishing guys before the NOAA robot!) It appears that there will be a flotilla leaving here tomorrow, and we will be among them. Pictures to follow!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Winter Harbor Marina, Brewerton, NY

We left early in the morning to get across Lake Oneida before it got rough. More rain is forecast for this afternoon. We're getting waterlogged! The ride was smooth, and uneventful. (The best kind!) Bob is currently installing the new VHF radio that was waiting here for us--and having a terrific time. My job is to sand and varnish the teak that will surround the radio.The people here at Winter Harbor are the best! Our plan is to stay here an extra day to finish the radio installation, and then go grocery shopping.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Erie Canal Lock #17

And here it is--- the famous Lock 17. When we were secure against the wall, using the icky slimy ropes hanging down, the lock tender let the door drop behind us, and raised us up 40'.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Along the Erie Canal

There are a lot of beautiful wooden boats up here docked along the canal. Picture on the left is an example.

We are at the terminal wall (sounds final!) in Canajoharie. We found the two places that are essential-- the Post Office and the Ice Cream Store. We have passed through 13 locks and under a lot of low bridges. Our highest lift so far has been 35 feet. Yet to come is Lock 17, the highest on the Erie Canal, at 40'. So far, we've only looked like newbies one time!

Monday, June 22, 2009

The Entrance to the Erie Canal

No mules named Sal in sight, but here we are, ready to begin locking through. As soon as our mail and prescriptions arrive, we'll be westbound toward Lake Ontario. From here, and for a long while, we will be seeing very small towns, and reminders of the industry that used to flourish along the Canal. We're doing well, and waiting for some sun!

As you can see, the boat is ready for transit-- mast and antennas (antennae?) down, a million fenders on each side. Also pictured is the gate on the lock. The lockmaster will empty the chamber, and we will go in and grab some lines to secure the boat. Then he will close the doors and raise the water level, (and us) to the top. Pretty cool!