Wednesday, September 29, 2010

New York City

Wednesday, Sept 29
Distance Traveled:  43nm
Total Distance Traveled: 542 nm

When we left Pollepel Island this morning at 730am, the sky was clear and you could see the shore easily.  We traveled down the Hudson River passing West Point Academy at about 9am.  It's pretty impressive from the river and looks like quite the fortress.

West Point on Hudson River

Then we got to Haverstraw Marina about 1030am.  We stopped to fill the tank with diesel and then tied up at the end of Red dock to go to the marine store for some items - chemicals for the head, a dock line and also to see if they have foul weather gear, which they didn't have.  While we were there, we got a book about tides and other nautical information and Phil also got a pair of over the glasses sunglasses.  This store had two friendly dogs for us to pet too.
Rosie and Molly
Also while we were at the dock, there was the S/V Clearwater getting diesel fuel.  It's a huge boat and Pete Seger, the singer, promoted the building of the boat to help be an ambassador to clean up the Hudson River.  Clearwater was built in 1969 and Phil knew all about it.

Since it was only about 11:15am and the winds and weather were holding good, we decided to go all the way to New York City and arrived there about 530pm.  Unfortunately, all the mooring balls were taken (50 are available) so we are at the end of a dock.  It is very rolly-polly here as you can see by this short video I took.

I'm glad that we are here as it's only a few blocks to Central Park and the subway system.  There is one shower here -not great looking, but as we took our shower in the evening, there was plenty of hot water.  Phil saw Mark - the Canadian that helped up raise the mast in Castleton, his wife and daughter.  They and Ebel on Bye Bye Blues have been on mooring balls since Monday.  Mark has our boat card and will keep an eye out for a yellow mooring ball to open up and will give us a call.  I'm glad that we decided to get here today, as you can see on the weather forecast on the blog - tonight thru Friday morning is not going to be very good weather with heavy rain and wind that's coming.  It's warm now - and since it's to be from SE - the winds will be coming across Manhattan first - so we'll be more protected.  We havethe forehatch cover on - not sure if we'll be able to have the forehatch open or not but if we don't have it on, then we certainly won't be able to get air on the boat.

Cliffs on NJ side close to NYC
We walked to the subway station to try to get a map of the subway system, but they are out of them.  Since the subway station was at W. 79th and Broadway, we decided to take a walk.  We came across the Staples I found on Google Maps and we did pick up one of the folding crates on wheels with the pullout handle.  Then we went to Cafe 82 for supper.  The food there is good and reasonable.  I wasn't able to eat all of minw, so brought back a doggie bag.  I'll warm it up in a ziploc bag in water another day.
Changes at W79th St Boat Basin, NYC
We came back to the boat and the waves in the marina were quieter, but there must have been some pretty good action while we were gone as the basket of toiletry items on the counter in the head was spilled on the floor.  There were also other items in the galley that were on the floor.

Our plans for tomorrow include taking the subway and walking to West Marine for Phil to get foul weather gear.  They are suppose to get a delivery tonight and to have a fairly large selection.  Then we'll see.  Lots of options to discuss - also depends on the weather and how much we feel like being out in the wind and rain.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Pollepel Island - Newburgh, NY

Tuesday, September 28
Distance Traveled: 33nm
Total distance traveled:  499.25

When we woke this morning, it was raining as we expected.  We left the dock at 728am.  Last night, a small tug boat rafted off a small ferry, M/V Lark  which didn't give us much room for leaving the dock so we had to do some maneuvering pointing Changes bow almost straight out from the dock for us to leave.  There was a young man from the Belle Aventure crew that came out and helped us, which was very neighborly.

Phil has lost his foul weather jacket.  He must have been wearing it and took it off when he got hot and forgot it.  We didn't realize until this morning when he needed it.  We're thinking it might have happened at Castleton on Hudson, NY.  It's a good thing that it's been pretty warm today as he did ok with wearing the Moonlight Race Jacket he got from George and Pat Schlauch.  It's not waterproof, but helped enough. While Phil was on watch, I did a search of locations for West Marine to see if there was one close enough for us to reach and there is one in West Haverstraw, NY which I think may be close enough to walk to (I hope so I can go too) or worse case for Phil to ride the folding bike.  We looked in NYC - but that's even further away from where we will be docked.  Sure wish that we had that extra foul weather gear we forgot at home. 
Today was not a fun day with the winds rising as the day progressed to the mid 20's and being SSE, they were pretty much on the nose. With the increase in winds, the waves increased to 2+ft.  These waves were very unpleasant and slowed us down so instead of our usual 6 knots - we were going about 4 knots. The favorable current from the tide also didn't last long.  Phil had the engine set to motor at 5.5 knots in flat water and asked me not to play with it.  He is still trying to determine what speed has the engine vibrating the least.  It sure was working hard today.

The first couple watches weren't too bad but during Phil's third watch, he moved Changes over so that we were hugging the East shore of the river which put us in the lee of the land and out of the 2 foot waves that we were pounding into when we were in the center of the river. Hugging the shore really helped a lot as the waves went down to about 1 foot. The Middle to southern portion of the Hudson River is very deep so even though we were only about 30-50 feet from land, we were in 35-40+ft of water.  The part of the Hudson River we traveled through today seems to be cut from rock as it was rare to be in less than 30 ft of water and more typical to be in 40-70ft with the max dept I saw at 137feet.  
Rock Cliffs on Hudson River
instruments on the Hudson River Poughkeepsie, NY area

On my third watch and we went past a gravel sorting and shipping operation.  You can see there aren't any cliffs and the river widened here so encountered increased wind and waves and prop wash from the tug.
Gravel loading and shipping operation with tug
Our speed slowed down to 2.5 knots.  The winds at this point were in the mid teens with gusts up to 24 knots.

On Phil's next watch, the winds built to a steady 20 knots with gusts to 26 knots as the rain continued to fall.  Phil had to go way out in the river and up the waves to go under a bridge.  At this point Phil had had it - saw some sailboats on mooring balls and pulled over to anchor.  But that wasn't easy either.  We got the anchor down, but then we were too close to a sailboat on a mooring. I had a hard time getting the anchor up as the anchor chair came off the roller and I wasn't strong enough to get it back on. Phil had to come forward to do it.  There was so much force on the anchor chain with the wind and waves pushing us back, that I had to put the engine in forward to get slack in the anchor chain to help the windlass raise the anchor.  We tried anchoring again, and were able to anchor while we ate a lunch of roast beef sandwiches and apple slices and discussed what to do next. I had the computer hooked up to internet to download to ebooks and audiobooks from the Library so we used the coordinates from the GPS and plugged them into Google maps and found that we were next to Beacon, NY across the river from Newburgh, NY and the Newburgh Yacht Club.  Our first stopping point on our list, Pollepel Island was 4nm away.  Where we were had anchored wasn't protected and as the winds had eased into the mid teens, we decided to raise anchor and go to Pollepel Island for the night.   It was my watch again and the conditions weren't much better as the wind blew a heavy drizzle under the hat I was wearing and collected on my eyeglasses -so I  had to repeatedly wipe them with a paper towel to dry so I could see OK.  The mists and clouds were so low and thick that it was hard to see the shore.  I saw an island up ahead, but couldn't figure out where the land ended and where the river went through.  There are a lot of hills here so was confusing.   According to the GPS there was water straight ahead, so kept on going figuring that as I got closer the way would become clear, which it did.
We got to Pollepel Island sooner than I expected and once we got up to the island, Phil took the helm as there is lots of shallow water around the island and a 200ft wide channel between the island and shore that is 12-20 feet deep depending on the tides.  In order to get to this channel, you have to go 3/4 of a mile past the island and make a U turn to go up the channel. Phil went real slow as we haven't been here before and we didn't hit bottom. We were going in on a rising tide, so we were in good shape if we would have hit.  We anchored first try and it's a good anchorage as the island has shielded us from the S winds and we are close to the land, so we are shielded from the winds in that direction also.   We are not bouncing around that much which is a relief.  There are many trains that are passing us here -it seems like 2-3 a hour or more especially during rush hour, but usually that are not blowing their horn, so they're quieter and go through quickly.
After I hung up the wet gear, I laid down for a short nap while Phil puttered around.  After a while I made supper of a Toasted Barley Pilaf, broccoli, and chicken.  The pilaf turned out good and even though I halved the recipe, we still have enough left over for another meal.  After supper, the rain stopped and the sun peaked out between the clouds to give us a wonderful sunset. It seems that the best sunset we've seen have been at the end of a rainy day.  Weather forcasted for tomorrow is to be in the high 70's and sunny.  Red at night Sailors delight they say.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Kingston, NY - rainy day

Hope you are having better weather day than we are.  It's been raining and in the 60's but not windy.  I haven't had to bundle up too much.  As were Mondays at GRYC, it's been quiet here down at the docks but it has been a busy day for us.  We had breakfast, I took at shower (was a good shower - had to use quarters but was very reasonable and lots of hot water) and cut my hair with the flobee.  I didn't cut the top but cut my bangs, the sides and bottom.  Feels much better and is easier to manage on a boat.

Phil and I wanted to wash clothes and take the bus to the grocery store and knew that we had to also move the boat since a cruise ship was coming sometime today and docking where we were.  Just before I got back from my shower, a woman from the Maritime Museum had come up to Phil to talk to him about it.  The S/V Belle Aventure moved back a few feet and with Phil's great skills maneuvering Changes, we were able to dock in front of Belle Aventure and behind this old wooden boat.  Not too many feet to spare.  We connected the yellow dock line (electricitycord), but that required Phil throwing me a line and then tying the other end to the yellow dock line to I could pull it across the 10-12' between the dock and the bulkhead where the electricity box was (floating docks).   We were debating what to do first and when to take a bus and decided to walk to the laundromat first and try to get the 135pm bus in front of the city docks.  After lunch of sandwiches, we made it to the bus stop with a few minutes to spare.  This bus looks like a trolly.  Good thing we took the bus instead of walking because it took about 20 minutes with a few stops in between to get there.  Hannahford is a good grocery store and we were able to get out of the store to make the 3pm bus.  We are on the lookout for a folding crate on wheels with a pull out handled, like the one I use for work.  I think it would be very helpful with all the walking that we do to carry laundry or groceries in this instead of in backpacks wherever possible. After we're done, we can fold it down and put it in the quarterberth.  We looked at a few stores that we had hoped would have it, but no luck.  We are back at the boat, the groceries are put away and I have got preparations in place to make brats in cabbage, thaw some beets from the freezer and cook some potatoes for supper. We got some chuck roast today, so I'm looking forward to making some vegetable beef & barley soup and to make a roast in the oven.  Phil wants me to make black carrots, but I have a hard time getting things burnt. 

Tomorrow is suppose to be a rainy day though a little warmer and will be a travel day.  We want to get to Haverstraw Bay about 47 nm away.  If it seems too far, than we can get to Pollepel Island which is 30nm.  It all depends on the positive current we can get from the tide.  We'll try to leave at 7am and see how far we feel like going.   Nyack is 55 nm and has mooring balls for $5 which is just before Tarrytown Marina.  Then we'll be 19 miles from the W79th St. Marina where they have mooring balls for $30/night and where we will be meeting Vicky.  We are hoping that the weather in the ocean will clear so that we won't have any lay days before we can start to Cape May and up the Delaware Bay.  I don't know if I'll be able to post tomorrow, but will post as soon as I can and will send out the OK message once we get to our stopping point.

We miss everyone back home and love getting the emails and comments.  Keep them coming.  It will be strange to not make it to the Clam Bake.  We sure did love those, but don't know that we'll get that here.  Are the leaves starting to change much at home?  They are just starting to change here.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Saugerties and Kingston, NY

Friday September 24
Castleton on Hudson, NY
Phil coming back at sunset in dinghy in Castleton, NY
Today is a layover day in Castelton on Hudson, NY after anchoring Thursday night.  Phil was able to get the same mooring ball that we had Wednesday night, so we spent another day on Changes.  We did take a dinghy ride into the boat club to take showers, but otherwise, it was a pretty lazy day for us.  I'm starting to have enough of the peace and quiet.
Saturday, September 25
Distance Traveled:  30.33 nm
Total Distance: 496.58

Now that we had the mast stepped, we decided to go to Saugerties, NY and anchor in the Esopus (S- long O- Puss) Creek.  We left at 715am to take advantage of the current for the outgoing tide - which gave us a 1 - 1.5 knot current advantage most of the trip which meant the GPS showed that we were going at least 7 knots while the knot meter on the boat said a knot less. We did follow Skipper Bob and anchored close to the protected area in front of a public park past Lynch Marina, though we didn't realize until later that it was a public park.  The winds were variable and light and it was in the mid-80's.  As we were traveling, the winds were from the north about 6-7knots and we were going south about the same speed, so had the diesel smell to contend with and as we anchored it went down below.  Phil put up the wind scoop and in just a few minutes, the diesel smell was gone.  I fixed sandwiches and fruit for lunch.  After we were settled for a while, Phil and I took a dinghy ride up the river until there was a dam with a nice waterfall, then we turned around to search for the public dock in the hopes to walk into town and some stores. 

Saugerties Lighthouse
We went to the Saugerties Lighthouse and docked there to look around hoping that we could find a place to walk into town.  We spoke to a woman from the area, but she didn't have any recommendations of a public dinghy dock besides to talk to one of the marinas to see if they would let us dock there if we paid.  Phil thought that he had seen one of the boats docked at Waterford, so e hdropped me off at Changes and continued up the river to see if they had anchored past us.  Guess they had turned around and went out to the Hudson River without stopping as Phil didn't see them.  We did see a couple sailboats one being S/V Water Walker docked at one of the marinas on the river, but didn't stop to talk to them.

Back at the Changes, I decided to try using the SunShower, so set it up by the fore hatch to warm.  Phil cooked a good supper last night of fried potatoes, pork chop and green beans.  I cleaned up.  I took my shower as the sun was going down and then Phil took his.  Unfortunately, Phil ran out of water and had to use cool water to rinse his hair.  We are going to pour 1 gallon of water at a time and mark on the bag where they come up to so that I'll be able to put enough water in for both of us.  I think that 2-3 gallons should be good.
It sure felt good to be clean and not sticky!!  The temperature for the night was to be cool, so Phil took the down wind scoop before we went to bed.  Good thing that he did as the night got very cool.  We have had about 3 days of peacefulness and just us, so I hope that when we go to Kingston, NY that there will be some people for me to talk to.

Sunday, September 26
Distance Traveled:  11.1nm
Total Distance Traveled: 507.68 nm

This morning Phil fixed pancakes for breakfast since we had only about 10 nm to go today.  We left at 830am and arrived in Kingston, NY, the former capital of New York, at about 1030am. 
It's an old town and we were able to dock at the Hudson River Maritime Museum.  This is the most expensive place so far at $1.50/ft plus $40 museum membership for us both.  The membership will last for a year, so I'm sure that we'll be docking here on our way back in May to get our money's worth. They do have a shower, water and electric and free wifi and the city dock next door has flush toilets so we are glad to have these amenities.   There was a Freedom 35 that was docked in front of us and later in the day a 96' old William Fife boat built in Scotland called Belle Aventure.  She's a beautiful boat made of wood, built in the early 1900's and is totally, beautifully restored.
Belle Aventure sign
S/V Belle Aventure 96' long
We will be staying here 2 days.  Currently we are on "A" dock, but will have to move to "B" dock as a cruise ship is to dock here tomorrow.  We'll see what tomorrow brings.  Phil and I talked to the owner of Freedom 35 sailboat that was docked in front of us.  This is his first boat and he's grew up close to Manchester, England. Phil has been to Manchester England so they had something to talk about.   He has quite the good accent and lives in New Jersey.  He and the woman he was with came up yesterday evening and have already left this evening to go back home.  After paying for dockage, we walked on a path next to a multi-lane road and came to a convenience store to buy a few groceries.

On the way back we went to Broadway street (which is the downtown part of Kingston) and visited the wine and liquor store and a small whole foods market.  Wouldn't you know they had the Ezekial 4:9 bread that I like and I just finished the loaf we had today so I bought one!  We had sandwiches and fruit for lunch and then went to the Maritime Museum. 
John D. Rockefeller's Ice Boat Icicle
Icicle running board 26' wide

It was a nice museum, had a video about the Hudson River and exhibits of antique ice boats and a video about ice boating on antique stern steerers on the Hudson River.  They also had an exhibit about cutting ice from the river.  We went to the Trolley Museum, but it's under construction and we couldn't find how to get in. 

In between going to museums and taking walks we did a boat chore of letting out all the anchor chain on the dock, stretching it out and measuring the marks Phil had made previously.  He use to have 217' of chain, but he cut 125' off, so the remainder chunk is 92'.  We needed to measure to make sure what we had.  It's easy for Phil to remember that the first mark is 17ft, then 2nd is 25 feet more or 42 feet and then the next mark is another 25 feet or 67ft  and the last 92 feet.  TOO MUCH for me to remember as we are letting out the anchor chain.  So using the BIG Sharpy marker from Virginia that Phil kept on the boat, we marked the 50', 60', 70', 80', and 90'  lengths on the chain.  We were glad to have the permanent marker and will see how long it lasts as we don't have any paint to use.  Then we fed it back in the chain locker using the windlass.

We did go on a longer walk to the other end of the dock and then a round about way to Broadway St coming out close to the wine & liquor store.  Of course we had to buy something.  Then we went back to Changes.  They do have a bus that gets you to the Uptown Kingston area that has a good grocery store, but unfortunately it doesn't run on Sundays.  So the plan is to take the bus to go to the grocery store tomorrow to provision.  They do have a laundromat next to the convenience store, so I'm hoping that we'll be able to take the bus there instead of walking.  Phil's was bragging that he's a senior citizen and can get the $.50 rate instead of $1 that I'll have to pay - and that's one way which we think is not bad.

This evening we had leftovers finishing up the chicken paprika, the green beans and rutabaga. I'm feeling like Mexican food and roast beef so we'll see what we can find at the grocery store tomorrow and see other sites to see.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Castleton Boat Club, Hudson River, NY

Wednedsay, Sept 22
Distance Traveled:   14.25nm
Total Distance Traveled:  466.25nm

We traveled from Waterford, NY to Castleton Boat Club on the Hudson River in one trip.  We went through Federal Lock #1 at Troy,NY and we didn't like this lock at all.  They had only pipes and no other ropes hanging down the lock for me to grab to keep the bow in.  Phil was constantly pushing the stern off the lock wall.  We're glad that's it for locks for a while.  After we were coming up to the Troy Docks, we decided that we didn't want to stay after all.  It was very much in the city and they charge $1.50/ft for docking. So we continued through a couple rain showers until we got to Castleton Boat Club just south of Albany, NY about 2pm.  We had lunch of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, which according to Captain Dave, we should save until there isn't anything else to eat.  We got a mooring ball for $5 a night which includes showers and restrooms and free wifi. 

After lunch Phil and I were sitting in the cockpit relaxing and then watching a couple of boats from Canada step their masts (both are French Canadians from Montreal).  The first boat didn't have any trouble.  Then the 2nd boat owned by Mark (don't have the name of the boat) had his turn.  The captians were helping each other.  We saw the crane raise and lower the mast several time and the crane boom went down. It was obvious to us they were having problems especially as Ron at Castleton Boat Club (CBC) told Phil this was the first time they have stepped their mast.   I encouraged Phil to take the dinghy over to offered his expertise, since he's taken the mast off Changes and put it on 30+ times and has also help with other boat's masts.  He was hesitant at first, but after awhile, he decided that he would offer some assistance and he got into the dinghy and motored over.  After over a hour and  with dusk nearing it's end, Phil came back.  It turns out the mast was backwards (facing the wrong direction - the back of mast was facing the bow) and it had to be rotated around so that the back of the mast was facing the back of the boat.  They didn't know how to rotate the mast, but Phil has experienced this before and knew what to do to fix it.  So once they got the crane boom raised high enough, Phil walked the base of the mast around the boat to show them how to do it for next time.

After Phil returned, we took the dinghy over and had showers.  It was good to take a shower and their showers are pretty good. Strong stream and lots of hot water except for a time or two that the hot water disappeared, but it came back again. On our way out to the dinghy, Mark and Ebel, the owners of the 2 boats, mentioned to Phil that if we wanted to step our mast tomorrow, they would be glad to assist us.  They were very appreciative of him providing them help.   Phil said that he would think it over.  After Phil and I discussed the options, he decided that we would take them up on their offer of assistance.  Phil was worried that the crane boom would hit the wind instruments at the top of the mast but thought that there would be a way to do raise the mast and not have the instruments affected so much.

Thursday, Sept 23

Next morning, a Beneteau 475 was docked in front of the crane.  Phil dinghied over and told them our plans to step the mast and Phil waited while the French Canadians woke up.  While we were waiting, Phil talked to Chet Slabinsky, from New Hartford, Conn about when we were going to see him.  It turns out that after he talked to his wife Carol, they were to arrive today at about 12 noon.   After a couple hours, the Beneteau had their mast up, so Phil and I brought Changes to the dock.  It wasn't long before Mark and Ebel (S/V Bye Bye Blues) dinghied over to assist us.  I ran the remote control for the crane boom and with the 4 of us, we got the mast stepped and the shrouds, back stay, and forestay connected.  Then Chet and Carol arrived.  It was great for me to meet them and I know that Phil was glad to see them again after so many years.
Yesterday was a busy day for having sailboat step their masts.  There were 2 other sailboats that came up to the dock (both Canadians), so we had to move Changes down the dock so they could have their turn at the crane.   Then 3-4 more sailboats (also Canadians) came up a little later.  Chet and Carol are new owners of a older Catalina 30' sailboat, so pitched in to help with taking the wood used to support the mast off the boat and help with some of the other items that needed to be done like put up the Farouk since it was hot.  They have offered to save the wood for us for when we come back in the spring and also delivered us some mail that Virginia forwarded to us.  Also came was the head rebuilt kit.  We thank them very much for their assistance!!!

When we got to a stopping point, we left Changes docked at the CBC and went to lunch at the Village Inn which is on Main Street just on the other side of the RR tracks that the Amtrac high speed passenger train travels on. The Village Inn is a bar/Tavern that is run by one gentleman.  We think that he is a one man operation taking the orders, cooking and serving.  One item of note is that with this restaurant being right next to the train tracks, it's quite a surprise if you're not aware of what happens when a train goes by. What happens is that there is a change in air pressure that we felt as we were sitting at the front of the tavern when the train goes by at the back of the travern. The curtains MOVED and there was quite the noise to go along with it. Needless to say, we were all startled when this happen and the owner asked "anybody blow away?" We had a good laugh and when the train went by again during our meal, we know what to expect.

The food was good and on our way out I asked about a board that had numbers on the left and guy's names on the right.  Turns out it's lottery for Nascar races.  Each man puts down $.10 a race and has the chance to get $4.90 if the car they pick out of the jar gets first place.  They have this lottery going every race so by the end of the season, there is a chance to win $500, $250, $125, some amount for being in the middle and last.  We don't really remember all the details, but it sounds like the guys have fun. 

Chet and Carol stayed until 8pm, so they helped us get Changes back in order topside, dock to get diesel fuel and then anchor.  We put the main sail and head sail on. 
Phil and Chet Slabinsky raising the Main Sail

Carol tailing to raise the Main Sail

Chet and Carol Slabinsky
We missed out on a mooring ball as didn't mention we wanted to have one for another night and after 4-6 sailboats arrived, the mooring balls were gone.  It was a warm day yesterday.  First time in a long time that I was wearing shorts and a T-shirt.  We had a nice dinner of a rice dish I cooked in the pressure cooker and butternut squash with apple crisp for dessert.  They have offered for us to rent a car and visit them and stay overnight this weekend, but there is the problem of where to leave Changes while we do that.  The Castleton Boat Club doesn't want any boats left on the mooring unattended. 

The wind rose last night and it was a warmer night than we've had in a while.  I didn't sleep well with the movement of Changes at anchor.  Phil also got up to attach a line to the anchor chain to tie it to a cleat to take the pressure of the anchor chair off the anchor windlass.   I also got up to take a look as I didn't know about it and had to see for myself what he was doing to understand.  We finally got back to sleep.

Friday: Sept 24

Soon after Phil woke, he got going with the last jobs to finish with stepping the mast while I continued to sleep.  He attached the mast ring hold down bar on the inside, put the electric connections for the mast back together. By this time I woke so helped him with putting another layer of plastic bag at the bottom of the mast to prevent water from dripping down the mast when it rains.  He also went in and got a mooring ball for tonight, to we weighed anchor and moved to the same mooring ball we were on before.  It was more challenging as the wind was from the south 11 - 16 knots, so when we came up the mooring ball I missed hooking the loop with the boat hook.  Phil came up and we were able to get it as the mooring ball went along the port side.  We had to take down the Farouk due to the above mentioned winds.  At 411pm it's still windy - about 10-13 knots and very warm, about 85F.  After breakfast of cereal, we went and took showers, had sandwiches and plums for lunch.  I'm a little bored, - tired of reading - so got out my sewing machine and have been working on stitching down the appliqued numbers and letters for Calvin's quilt.  We were too busy to post yesterday, hence the 3 day posting today.

Tomorrow we are planning on motoring to Middle Ground Flats about 16 nm away.  We will anchor there for the night and then continue on to either Saugerties which is about 15nm away or Kingston an additional 10 nm.  I feel the need for civilization, but we also need to see where we can anchor as we are getting in the part of the country that paying for dockage gets expensive. Two other locations where we can anchor is Pollepel Island and Haverstraw Bay which are on the way to E79th St Marina.  These last two locations were recommended as good anchoring locations by Dick of M/V Ladyhawke.  We hope to get to the 79th St Marina in NYC Sept 30 and Oct 1 for meeting Vicky and see some of the sights in NYC.  Then we will be pushing it to go up the Delaware Bay to the C&D Canal and the Chesapeake Bay to Annapolis for the Sail Boat Show Oct 7 - 11.  We look forward to Vicky's visit.

Wednesday, late afternoon, we saw a Bald Eagle flying around and landing on a tree not too far away.  I took some photos, but not sure yet how well they turned out.  I think he's too far away.  We didn't notice the Bald Eagle yesterday, but saw him flying around as I was posting this message.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

On the Move today

Yesterday, we stayed in Waterford.  We first went to Ron and Paul's Coffee shop for breakfast.  Their 2 eggs, toast and coffee is a whopping $1.75.  Ann is one of the waitresses that has been in this area for 11 years. She is originally from Maryland. The scenery was real nice and I noticed there is a predominately male clientele at this restaurant.
Ann, Waitress at Ron & Paul's Restaurant
Ann Serving Coffee
We walked around Waterford on the other side of Broad St and saw many old homes.  Some are right next to each other and others have unique architectural details.  We have seen a couple home that the drain spouts going directly into the street - see pictures below.  There are a lot of homes that are 2-family plus homes.  They seem to run into one another. One side touching the back of another around the corner.  I figure that's because this is an OLD town for the United States.
Houses close together in Waterford, NY
Drain spout into the street
Nice house in Waterford, NY

Multi family home touch another home. Waterford, NY
Lorraine sewing Calvin's quilt
Since we had electricity and time on my hands, I got out my viking sewing machine, iron, and my cut & press pad and started working on Calvin's quilt. I have to say that I took up most of the space doing it.  I have found that the top of the companionway step is great to have the cut & press there - just the right height for ironing seams.   I was able to cut the sashing strips and sew them to the blocks to put the blocks into rows.  I also started on sewing the appliqued Numbers and letters down to the block.  Am happy with what I got done.

So today we are planning on going to Troy Dock after we fill the water tank.  Phil said that there are 4' tides in Troy, so will be my first experience sailing with tides.  We'll also be pumping out the head soon.   Not sure if we'll spend the night or not in Troy.  We may stop next in Castleton.  Our plans are very fluid except for being in Catskill, NY Friday morning to have the mast stepped. 

We have been enjoying talking with the other boaters here.  The couple behind us are from Toronto and David made his boat, launching it in 1986.  He made it of concete and it's very nice - has two cabins in it.  They are going down to South America - currently have another couple on board that will be leaving them soon.  They came down the Oswego Canal to the Erie Canal and have done this trip many times before.  I didn't get a photo of their boat, but expect that we'll see them again along the way.  We did exchange boat cards.

Monday, September 20, 2010

In Waterford, NY

We are into our first full day in Waterford.  Phil woke me.  We had showers.  The water had a good force, but there must have been many who had the same idea earlier than us and the water was just lukewarm.  But we are clean and it wasn't cold water so all is well.  We gathered together the laundry as the Clinton Laundromat is on 4th street and Broad and half a block from Ron and Paul's Coffee Shop where we had breakfast.  Our plan was to put the clothes in the washing machine and eat breakfast while they washed and it worked out great as we were back in time before the washers had stopped.  It's my opinion that anytime we have a laundromat that's in close walking distance, we should take advantage of it.  We ate at the counter for breakfast since we came at a busy time.  Who would have figured that 930am on a Monday was a busy time?  The gentleman next to me drives a school bus, so this was the time that he was finished with the morning route.  He and many others are regulars there  as it's also across the street from City Hall.

After we returned, we moved Changes to in front of the Visitors Center away from the Lock and most of the bouncing from the current.   Phil called Interstate Batteries about 1115am and after they found out that we live on a boat, they were able to deliver the 4 new 6 volt golf cart batteries to us by 130pm.  The following data is for the techies that read the blog.  It turns out that they are more heavy duty, 232 amp hours per battery than the old ones which were 210amp hours per battery and have a lower profile. The old batteries are six years old placed in service Aug 2004 and Mike from Interstate Battery Co expects these new ones built Aug 2010 should last us 10 years.  Phil thinks if we're living on the boat the whole time, that we would be lucky to get 5 years out of them.  Time will tell.  While Phil took out the old batteries and put them on the dock I decided to work on knitting my sock.  I'm working on the gusset part after turning the heel. 
Phil and Mike of Interstate Battery Company, delivering batteries
New batteries have green top
These batteries are heavy!  3#'s more

After the batteries were delivered and installed, we had lunch of sandwiches and cut up Apples.  Phil had gotten the dinghy ready for us to go to the grocery store earlier, so off we went.  We went to a wooden dock that had to boats from Montreal Canada at dock.

Went to a store that had discounted bread products and cookies, got in the dinghy and went down to the Price Shopper Grocery Store Dinghy dock, which is where we were headed to in the first place. 
Dinghy at Price Shopper Grocery Store Dinghy Dock
Entrance into Erie Canal
Changes and Leeway II in front of Waterford Visitor Center

We came back and now I'm doing the blog and Phil got products to start cleaning the hull as Changes is very dirty.  I may start to clean off the life lines with this new vinyl cleaner.

The weather is warm enough that for the first time maybe since we left I'm in the convertible pants and T-shirt.  No Layers!!  The sun is shining - no clouds in the sky and there is a breeze from the north.

Cindy from Leeway II ( is a yawl type sailboat) said they have reservations at Riverside Marina in Catskill, NY on the Hudson River to have their 2 masts raised on Wednesday, so they will be leaving early tomorrow morning.  Riverside Marina is 40 miles away.  They are charging $2/ft of mast to step the mast (raise and put it on the boat for non-boaters) plus $1.25/ft to dock per night.  At that price, Phil's thinking of us going there also and hope to get reservations to step the mast on Thursday. That would give us one day in Troy, NY.

Dinner will be left overs- maybe the tuna pot pie as it's taking up a lot of room in the refrigerator.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

End of Erie Canal - Waterford, NY

Distance Traveled:  21 nm
Total Distance: 452 nm
Days on Erie Canal 10

Hi, well we made it to Waterford, NY about 115pm.  Was a good day.  We went through Lock 8 @ 8am and then Lock 7 about a hour later.  We had to wait in Lock 6 which starts the 5 step locks to get you to the Hudson River for about 30 min until a guy kayaking on the canal, Todd, and a boat Leeway II arrived to go down the lock steps together.  That was ok - we tied a couple of the lock ropes to Changes and the lockmaster took me through a gate and to the end of the lock to show me the view.  It was wonderful view.
View from top of Lock 6 towards Hudson River

We went 177 vertical feet in 20.9m 6 but 166 of these were in the 1.1 miles of the "Step Locks" which Locks 6 thru 2 are called.  It takes between 1.5 to 2 hours to go through these locks and once a boat starts these locks, you're required to do them all to get to the Hudson River.  There is 1 more lock in Troy, NY.  Also the location where Mike O'Callaghan went to college for his bachelors degree as fyi for Rachel and Katie.  The Lockmaster said that they usually get a frost by mid-September, but haven't gotten one this year and that they seem to be coming later in the year.
Lockmaster Lock 6

They do get boats and sailboats that come through the lock on the last day the locks are open which is November 15.  Can't imagine doing this trip that late in the year? Not me - Not Phil.  Then in the winter time, they do maintenance on the canals.  This lockmaster has already retired from his first career and is into his 2nd as lockmaster and takes his vacation time down in Florida in the Winter.  They have seasonal help when the lock is open until 10pm, but otherwise it's 10 hr days.   As I mentioned before, there was a young gentleman named Todd who came down the locks with us (Lock 6 -5 & 4).  We had a nice time chatting and he took some photos of Changes from his point of view while we were in the lock.  I gave him a boat card in a ziploc bag, so hope he emails me some photos.  He was helpful in giving us tips of places to go while we stay here for 2 days.  He recommends Troy, NY
Todd from Albany, NY in kayak
After you come out of Lock 2, the dock in Waterford is right THERE.  In fact when the locks are running and water is coming out of the lock, there is quite a current that rocks the boats around.  We docked just behind a commercial tug boat and canal tour boat.  The Captain Dick Powell was very helpful giving us information about which restaurants are must sees and where essentials are, such as the laundromat, grocery stores - one that has a dinghy dock and other information.  We exchanged boat cards I'm glad to say.

At Waterford, you can dock at this dock for 2 days free and then it's $10 a day.  They have electricity, water, restrooms and showers.  You give them a $5 deposit for the key to access the showers and restrooms after hours.  When we arrived here about 115pm, there was a Farmer's market going on, but closed at 2pm.  I was able to browse the markets and got fresh green beans, tomatoes of varying ripeness, a rutabaga for Phil, and apple dumplings at a discounted price because he didn't want to take them home with him.  There was squash available, but I didn't buy any to stay within the budget I asked for.

We walked around town and saw some interesting sites.  Next to Lock 2 there is a park for the 1860's part of the canal now called the Bypass Locks.  They are the way they were except there are no wooden gates for the lock part.  They are used for water overflow for the current locks. At the top of these locks you turned left to get to the Erie Canal and right to get to the Champlain Canal.
Looking up the Bypass Erie Canal Locks
We also walked by some of the restaurants that Captain Dick Powell recommended.
Don and Paul's Coffee Shop is the green building.
McGeivey's Restaurant

After walking around town, we talked to Dick of M/V Ladyhawke and met Wayne and Carol of Leeway II that went thru the Step Locks with us. 
Dick went over the charts of the Hudson River and NYC and  we found out that there is a ferry that comes from somewhere in NYC out to Sandy Hook semi close to a dock/mooring/anchoring area we could go to.  We will have to check out if it will work when Vicky visits us in October.   
I also talked to Carla and John who are volunteers in the Waterford Visitors Center.  I enjoyed talking with them and John told me how he took the train from Jamestown, NY to (I think to NY) to see Joe DiMaggio hit 3 home runs in a baseball game.  This was before he graduated from high school in 1949.  Carla asked me if I was a nurse. 1st person today.  What gives me away?

After we had docked, I fixed sandwiches for lunch and then after talking with people on the dock, I fixed pork, potatoes, and sauerkraut in the pressure cooker along with some of the fresh green beans from the market. Phil said it turned out really great, the potatoes were cooked just right for him, mushy. Phil now says that the beans mixture keeps you alive, but they are not good.  BUT, we can't throw it out.   

As we walked down the dock, we met a nice couple, Pam and Richard Schuler on their Lund power boat.  Pam asked me if I was a nurse today also.  Why??  :)  I wasn't talking anything medical at all!!  Pam is also a nurse and came down to Changes after the sunset and signed one of my quilt blocks. We had a nice chat which Phil bailed out and walked down to the other end of the dock.  The sunset was beautiful and we had to take pictures.  What do you think?  Of course not as good as being there.
Sunset in Waterford, NY

I wanted to include a photo we took using the self timer on my camera.  We have been eating with our plates in our laps so far, but I've had enough of that.  So tonight we put the table up for dinner.
Dinner in Waterford
Tomorrow we will practice with the dinghy going to the grocery store, do laundry and Phil needs to get 4 Interstate Batteries for the boat.  He's not surprised thinking that we would have to replace them sometime on this trip.  There is a Interstate Battery place in Troy, NY 5 miles away and Phil hopes that they will deliver them to us.  At this time, we are not going to take a taxi to get them.  I understand that if we dock at Troy Docks, they provide a shuttle to West Marine and other places.  Something to check out if what we want to do doesn't work.

We plan to stay here our 2 free days, then go to Troy NY and then we have to get the mast put back on Changes.  We have until October 1 to be in this area  until we pick up Vicky.  Maybe I'll have some time to work on Calvin's quilt.  It would be nice if I could get it finished, but we'll see.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Lock 8 - Past Amsterdam, NY

Distance Traveled:  32.01 nm
Total Distance: 431nm
Days on Erie Canal:  9

This morning I woke to the smell of coffee, which is a pretty good smell even though I don't like the taste of coffee.   The other boats had left except another power boat.  It was chilly - and Phil had the heater on since we had electricity.  We left at 8am and went through the locks we set out to go through.  The first two lockmasters were pretty nice and talked to us most of the time that the water was going down.
Lock Master  13
Lock Master 12

E`ole  and Sunset had gone through the locks before us, which is good as otherwise we would have slowed them down.  I can tell that it's Saturday, as the boat and especially fishing boat traffic has really picked up.  We had a beautiful day somewhere in the low 70's though we did start out at 52F.  Below is a view Phil asked me to come up to take.  I love the one below. 
View we had early this morning.
There is a beautiful stone house that has been renovated and just recently was turned into a museum at Lock 11.  The museum was located in another location and was recently moved to this building.  If we had known, we would have stopped above Lock 11 - toured the museum and then continue on with our trip.  Will have to save for next time.  I made a note in our Skipper Bob book and that's what we get for not getting the latest edition.

We have docked along a wall just before Lock 8 which has a bike path on the hill above us for the night.
View of Changes from the bike path

There is also a port a potty - but after using it one time - have decided the head is better.  Talking about heads - Phil told me this morning that he has ordered a rebuild kit for the toilet - as we have been having bubbles come up and also some liquid.  It's not from the Erie Canal as Phil turned off that valve.  He said that it's to be delivered to Chet Slabinski's home and that I get to rebuild the toilet - has directions I can follow - and I don't think he's kidding.  Doesn't sound like something I'm looking forward to, but at least we have lots of disposable gloves left from the locks and I guess that if I do have to do this that I can't leave all the fix it jobs to him.

Talk about fix-it jobs - after the rain a couple days ago - we had some more water dripping on to the chart table.  Phil took down the overhead panel and he finally found that the main sheet winch was where the leak was.  Today he took off the winch and we-bed it with 5200.  It takes 24 hours to have skin on it and 7 days to cure.  I lot of times we have the farouk up and so couldn't determine where the leak was.  One job done.
Applying 5200
Screwing down the main sheet winch

Today we had some of the bean mixture doctored up with dried green pepper and seasoning over bread.  It was ok - till need some flavor according to Phil and more water.  Well, we have more left to try again!  Maybe some chili powder will do the trick.  We finished eating lunch just before a lock.  For supper I fixed Tuna pot pie (recipe from my Mom) except instead of the pie crust, I made half a recipe of the butter biscuits and put that on top like a lid. Sure do like my nesting Stainless Steel cookware set and would recommend anyone cruising to get a set. Once again, we have half of it left over for another meal, but this time we left it in the pan and put one of the Tupperware type lids on it as I didn't want to biscuit crust to get soggy.  We can have that on Monday.  Tomorrow I'm going to make pork and home made sauerkraut with potatoes before the pork goes bad.  We weighed ourselves this morning.  Phil weighs under 160 pounds and I weigh 128.5 - so I haven't lost any weight.  No need for Mom to worry :).  While we were eating supper in the cockpit, a 4yo boy Jacob, and his mother were walking along the dock area.  They stopped to talk to us with Jacob's mom translating sometimes as Jacob talks fast.  He was wearing a Spiderman shirt and I told him about how my grandson, Henry, is almost 4 and also likes Spiderman.  I guess Spiderman is "IN" with the young set these days.  We talked about where we were traveling to and as J's Mom seemed interested, I gave her a boat card so she can follow the blog.   Talking about boat cards, there has only been 2 other boaters we met that have them.  Some when we passed them out say that they plan to get some.  I hope so! and am glad that we stocked up before we left.

Now that we are old hands at going through lock, I will tell you what our routine is.  As soon as we see some indication that there is a lock ahead, we slow the boat down.  The off watch person comes up to see why the other slowed down.  On go the disposable gloves.  At some point, Phil calls the Lock Master on Channel 13 and lets him (usually a man - met one woman in this job) know that we're coming. Sometimes they answer and sometimes they don't.  If we're lucky, the lock master says that he'll have the gates open for us.  If we're not lucky then we have to wait which usually takes about 20 min while the lock fills with water.  We're looking to see if the green light is on, which means we can move into the lock - or if the red light is on and the gates are closed, which means we have to keep moving around (forward, not moving, reverse, making circles) waiting until the gates open.  Phil always helms the boat.  I get the boat hook which is telescoped out to it's full length. I also make sure that the outer sleeve of my foul weather gear is pulled up some towards my elbow so that the dirty rope doesn't rub on it getting the edge of my sleeve dirty. (I know that Sue Brannan had suggested that I bring an extra set of foul weather gear that could get dirty - good idea - and we thought we did, but we didn't - in Fairport Storage).  Phil guides Changes to the side the lockmaster is on to give them our number assigned to us on a bright pink card - 11229-1.  Sometimes the previous lockmaster has called it ahead for us.  Then Changes is guided to the middle of the lock and we decide which 2 ropes we are going to pick up on the port side- this is determined by how far apart the ropes are and if someone else is in the lock or coming in the lock.  Phil steers Changes to the port wall and since yesterday, I have started picking up the rope for the stern, Phil's rope,  hanging off the lock wall with the boat hook and then laying it over the lifeline at the boarding gate, so that as he slows down and stops the boat, puts the engine in neutral, and then fiddles with pulling up the dinghy, he doesn't also have to rush to get the line (which has entailed getting the boat hook from me so that he can reach it and then return it back to me while I'm trying to keep the bow away from the wall).  Then after I get Phil's line set - I walk quickly forward towards the bow and reach - reach - reach out to get my line.  I hold my lock rope in my left hand and have the boat hook in my right hand usually horizontal, pushing the bow away from the wall.  With the mast sticking out 6'+ over the bow, we don't want it hitting the side of the lock walls as we are going down.  As we are going down, we each hang on to the dirty rope and then are pushing off the wall to keep Changes off the wall.  We prefer to keep her enough off the wall so that the fenders aren't even touching.  If there isn't much of a current - there is this dance of Changes drifting away from the wall - drifting towards the wall- stop the drift and pushing off again to repeat. Once the water is down - the gates start to open.  That's our cue to drop the ropes, for me to push the bow off the lock wall with the boat hook, and Phil to put the engine in gear to slowly drive out of the lock - then we speed up to the fast (sarcasm there) speed of 6 knots, which is Phil's preferred cruising speed.  We take off the gloves and depending on how dirty that particular lock was, either toss the gloves or put them under the boat hook to dry for next time.  We had a 5 lock day for the gloves today.   I was told today to keep it down to 6 knots to save fuel. My preferred cruising speed is up to 6.5 knots so I behaved today.
Lorraine at helm with many layers
Phil at helm with a lock and dam behind him
The Erie Canal on the eastern portion is along the Mohawk River and there is a dam at each lock which can cause strong currents.  Here are some photos of what the dams look like from the up river side and then the down  river side.  Each lock also has signs to let you know how big the drop is for this particular lock and how far to the next Westbound and Eastbound lock. 
Dam on Eastern Erie Canal upriver side
Dam down river side (Lock 13)
Sign posted at each Lock giving information
On our trip today, we saw some parachuters jumping in the sky and landing one after the other.  I think they were after Lock 10  past Amsterdam, NY.  I can't remember how many as I was at the helm, but I think there were 5-6 and all had the same colored parachute.
Parachutist after Lock 10
We also saw Kayakers a couple times, as I said earlier - you can tell it's a Saturday and a warmer fall day as there were many more people on the Canal and also on the bike paths. 

Usually I read the blog aloud to Phil for him to ok and add his 2 cents, but he's in the V-berth sleeping, so it's just me today.  We seem to have a 2 hr difference of when we like to go to bed.  

Tomorrow is our last day on the Erie Canal.  Lock 8 has a 14' drop, the rest are between 27' to 35'  in a  21 miles stretch of the canal before we get to Waterford. What happens then, I don't know yet.  But that's ok!

We had friends call tonight - it was good for Phil to talk to them while I cooked supper.  They asked if I was happy - and I am.  Did I miss work - NO - not yet.  Maybe later, but I could see how it might be hard for me to return.  Time will tell.  Are you counting your dollars Grant???  I hear he has a bet out on me for either to come back soon - he'll loose on that one - or that I won't come back at all. Time will tell what really happens.  But so far I'm really glad that we're doing this and I'm much more relaxed and not as irritable.