Thursday, July 13, 2017

July 6-13, 2017 St. Jean sur Richilieu to Ottawa

We have not posted for a while because we have had no WIFI.  Photos will be added later.

I am beginning this week by adding to the song that I started on May 7th. 

MATUSKAS’ FATEFUL TRIP (to the Tune of Gilligan's Island)
Just sit right back, and you’ll hear a tale
A tale of a fateful trip.
That started from Dunedin port
Aboard this tiny ship.

The mate was a woman who’d cruised before
The Skipper brave and sure
The two of them and their dog named Duke
Took off for a 5 month tour
Took off for a 5 month tour.

They ran aground and hurt their prop
Were towed and on their way
They crossed Okeechobee  for St. Augustine
For a Rendezvous days away.
For a Rendezvous days away.

When they arrived St. Augustine
they learned their prop was bad.
So Ron drove to Dunedin
Where replacement part was had.
Where replacement part was had.

The Gen went out, the switch was bad
Jan’s watch went overboard.
What more could happen to this crew?
They’ll just trust in the Lord.
They’ll just trust in the Lord.

At Brunswick Landing, docking
 And settling for the night
Katrinka called, “your truck is totalled”
But both of us all right
But both of us all right.

So Ron rented a truck to pick them up
And take them to their homes
From Alabama to Michigan
He drove and drove and drove.
He drove and drove and drove.

Ron, run down from driving so far,
In only two days time
Came down with a virus…sick two weeks
But now he’s feeling fine.
But now he’s feeling fine.

From Brunswick Landing
We did ok for a couple weeks in fact
Until a storm came through New Bern
And ripped our Bimini off.
And ripped our Bimini off.

So what will happen next my friends
To these three unlucky souls
Will they complete with no mishaps?
That is their fervent goal.
 That is their fervent goal!
------------------------------
The wedding was nice for Zara and Joe
But then the funerals came
We lost a cousin and an aunt
It will never be the same.
It will never be the same.

Jan's mammogram was just not right
So additional testing done
We thank God results were good
So we can proceed on.
So we can proceed on.

We met new friends along the way
The weather, it was nice.
Until we got to Whitehall
And then we paid the price.
And then we paid the price.

It rained and rained, the river high
It came up 3 more feet.
The bridge was closed, the lock shut down
Until the flood's retreat.
Until the flood's retreat.

In Canada we cruised with friends
Which made it much more fun.
Then trouble started with the boat
More woes have just begun.
More woes have just begun.

The inverter, out; the "gen" too hot,
So habits changed a lot.
No TV, no coffee.
The curling iron is shot.
The curling iron is shot.

What will we do without these things.
The conveniences are gone.
Our trip will be a hassle
But we will just move on.
But we will just move on.

July 6
We left Mallett's Bay, Champlain Marina, and headed for Canada.  The first 8 miles were rough with windy conditions hitting our beam.  Once we were back on Lake Champlain, we had a following sea and the ride smoothed out. Our visit to the customs dock lasted less than 10 minutes and we were on our way.  When we arrived in St. Jean sur Richilieu, we tied up on the port side (town side).  We were on the dock with a small motorhome looking vessel.  Taffy and Paul arrived after us an they pulled in behind us.

July 7
After walking in to town for an hour (and stopping at a patisserie), both boats took off for the Chambly Locks.
This is such a quaint area with narrow canals and tiny locks.  Both boats just barely fit!  Our destination for the night was Chambly, above lock 3.  We had dinner at an Italian restaurant (very good) with Taffy and Paul.  On our way back, we stopped to listen to music at the free outdoor venue.

July 8
Taffy and I walked in to town after the rain ended about 10 am.  We wanted to see the ethnic festival (Indian) that was taking place.  They were just setting up for it, so we didn't see much.  Since the large grocery store was just around the corner, we stopped for a few things.  We finally headed for locks 3, 2, and 1.  We heard that our last lock for the day at St. Ouers was having mechanical difficulties but we continued on.  Our plan was to go through the lock and stay on the lock wall for the night.  When we got to the lock, there were 18 boats waiting.  They were locked through (all at once) and about an hour later, we went through and tied up for the night on the lock wall at the island.  After a great spaghetti dinner that Taffy prepared, we walked around and saw the new camping structures and a very fragrant tree.

July 9
St. Ouers to Montreal
Windy!! We were going against the current and the wind was behind us, causing some wave action.  Taffy and Paul decided to go the the Montreal Yacht Club and we opted to go to Port de Plaisance Real Bouvier on the opposite side of the river.  It turned out to be a very nice marina and the staff and the other boaters were very helpful!

July 10
Montreal to St. Anne de Bellevue
We arrived at the lock at noon for a 1pm opening.  Shockingly, there were already a lot of boats there and there was no room to tie up to the "waiting" dock.  We saw and American Tug, Touche, owned by Carolyn and Paul, and asked if we might raft to them.  They were very gracious and we tied up to their boat until the lock opened.  Inside the lock, we were instructed to raft to them again, making it easy for us.  All we had to do was tie lines to their cleats.  They had to do the work holding the long lock lines during the lift.

Once out of that lock, all of the boats headed to the St. Catherine Lock.  Of the ten boats that were waiting for the lock, there was only room for the 3 large boats to tie up to the "waiting" dock.  We finally tied up to the entry lock wall and waited--2 1/2 hours for a ship to come through.  All that time, there was not one communication from the lock staff as to what was going on.  Due to that delay, we did not arrive in St. Anne until 8 pm.  Due to flooding, the only place for boats to tie up was on the island side, opposite the town.  That worked for us, because there is a grassy area for dogs. 

July 11
Taffy and Paul arrived and she and I did a little window shopping before we went out to dinner at Klondike Premium Steakhouse.  Entree, dessert and coffee--$17each. 

July 12
More locks.  We waited a little for a boat to go through the St. Anne's lock and then we were on our way.  The first few miles were very bumpy due to a lot of fetch and beamy conditions.  Once we entered a narrower section of the river, it calmed down.  The Carillon lock had more boats and it is huge, very very tall! In it, you tie up to a dock and the dock floats up as the lock fills with water.
This was a 50 mile day.  We stopped at LeFaivre Marina for fuel (the cheapest in the area).  There is currently no place for over night dockage, but they just added a pumpout station that will be operable soon.
Our stop for the night at a private dock, due to an invitation from Gold Loopers, Francis and Helene Lavigne.  They live on a lake just off the Ottawa River.  In addition to dockage at their place, they provided us with dinner and drinks, wonderful steaks and fried potatoes.  We were also able to wash our sheets...it had been a couple of weeks!  Their house guest ,Didie', was visiting from France.  When Francis and Helene bought a boat in France to do the canals, Didie' was their boat surveyor and instructor. 
Helene is an artist and showed us her wonderful artwork. Francis is retired from working for the Copper mines.  She and Francis are both pilots, and Helene hunts moose! It was a wonderful evening.  By the time we returned to the boat, it was raining and continued to rain all night. 

July 13
We arrived (30 miles later) at the bottom of the locks in Ottawa at 11:55 am.  At 12 noon, the first lock opened and we entered with a small sailboat. We were the only boats for the 8 stairstep locks, so it went pretty quickly.  We were at the top in an hour and a half.  We searched for a spot on the wall near downtown,but finding only a small space, we moved about a block further.  It was not an ideal spot.  Homeless people were lingering around and we were almost under a bridge.  That seemed as if it could be trouble, so we went back, measured the small space in the previous block and headed for it instead.  It was a TIGHT fit, but Ron expertly backed it in to the slip with the help of a looper a couple of boats away. 


Wednesday, July 5, 2017

July 1-July 5th Whitehall to Port Henry, NY to Colchester, VT

July 1  It rained much of the day and we were boat bound.  During a period of no rain, we toured the Historic Museum.

Just like my grandmothers


Our intention had been to walk 1/2 mile to church, but it rained too hard.

July 2nd:  Sunday  We realized yesterday that river level was rising rapidly.  It had actually risen 3 feet which reduced the bridge (before lock 12) to 14 feet--too low for us to get under it. This morning, due to high water and lots of debris including whole trees, all of the Champlain locks were closed.


We joined Pat and Dirk (Wandering Star) for breakfast at Historic Grounds



and then we walked to church and Stewart's for ice cream afterwards.



Most of the day was spent in anticipation of the lock opening on Monday, July 3rd.  For dinner, we joined Taffy, Paul, their friends Valerie and Ron, and Pat and Dirk for dinner at Sasquatch.


July 3rd The lock is still closed.  We went back to Historic Grounds for breakfast and Pat and Dirk joined us.  Pat and I discussed music and realized that we both played instruments.  We had a jam session which combined my dulcimer and her ukulele. It went really well.



We celebrated tomorrow's opening of the lock with docktails.  Pat, Dirk, Ron and I shared dinner on the picnic table.

Whitehall was a wonderful stop, even though it was longer than expected.  The wall was free, it had free power pedestals, it was within walking distance to laundry, haircuts, restaurants, museums and church.  There were public restrooms with nice showers just past the museum.




July 4th:  0700 the lock opened and we lwere ready to go. Paul and crew followed us into the lock.
Leaving the lock 

 They were headed for Burlington, but we had a much shoter day.....Port Henry, NY to Van Slooten's Harbor Marina.  It was a beautiful day and there was little debris once out of the lock.


 Van Slooten's is a mom and pop marina with nice grounds, friendly people, good showers, cheap laundry.


 Since there were no fireworks, we watched the Macy's NYC fireworks extravaganza on TV.

July 5th  0700  We departed for our 5.5 hour ride to Champlain Marina, Colchester, VT.  This was my favorite boating day so far.

 Flat water with scenic mountains in the background. We were in port by 1300.  Paul, Ron, Taffy and Val stopped by and invited us to dinner at a Burlington restaurant.  We followed that delicious meal with a walk to a nearby Ben and Jerrys.

Thanks to our new friends for a great evening!

Friday, June 30, 2017

June 24-30 Great Kills, NJ to Whitehall, NY

June 23rd A new boat pulled in,  Miss Lily (Kevin and Anne from Texas).  We met at the bar and decided to go to dinner together at Coles.  They are very experienced boaters who are now doing the loop.


June 24th  One of the younger boaters, John Scarcella at Great Kills, did the loop with his family a couple of years ago.  He is very generous in loaning his vehicles to loopers.  We were able to borrow his Chevy Silverado Black Widow Special on tires making it so high I had trouble getting in.  We were a real site arriving at church in this truck and then taking a handicapped spot.  Following church, we went to Top Tomatoes, a fabulous Italian grocery store where they had wonderful produce, meats, baked goods and deli.

June 25th  We decided on an early morning departure today (Sunday) 0630.  The weather was perfect with calm seas and minimal wind.  Although we had to wait for a couple of ships to enter NY Harbor under the Verrazano Bridge, there was little boat traffic.






We saw only one tour boat and one Staten Island Ferry.  Once north of the city, the boat traffic was limited.  Upon our arrival at Half Moon Bay at 1245, we were placed on the "big dog" dock.  Big dogs over 30 pounds are not allowed on the main docks because the exit to land is through a condominium complex which does not allow dogs.  Owners with dogs under 30# must carry their dogs out of the complex.



June 26th   We left at 0830 for Kingston.
It is always emotional to see West Point!


Since we were in Kingston in 2013 many upgrades have been made to the museum and docks. There is a new River Port Wooden Boat School and there are new single boat slips available behind it. Wooden boats are under construction and line some of the sidewalks.    We were placed behind the Clearwater sailing vessel where the crew was using pine tar to refurbish the deck.  It smelled wonderful.
















When we docked, a young dock hand helped us.  We mentioned jokingly that we were back to pick up the grill that our large entourage (stuck for 3 weeks waiting for the Erie to open) had left behind. He said, "Oh, we've heard about that group".

After dinner we walked along the waterfront and found a jam session.  This "senior" group meets 2 times per week.  I did not have my dulcimer with me!  The group had a variety of instruments:  fiddles, flute, keyboard, mandolin, an ocarina.

I was motivated to play when we returned to the boat.

A couple came by in a rowing vessel and she sang along as I played.  She said she had built her own dulcimer.  Then she asked me to help them get out of their boat because they were new to rowing and we're stuck. I helped them out with capsizing their boat.

June  27th  Kingston to Shady Harbor 38 miles
This was an easy day with limited boat traffic.  We love Shady Harbor.



 It is a beautiful marina with a great staff, pool, laundry, nice showers, and a good restaurant.  We got the laundry started and went for lunch before the torrential rain hit.  There were several loopers there and we met at the tent for docktails. (Paul and Taffy on Catalina, Terry and Dorothy on Magic, and Jean on Time Out).

June 28th  Shady Harbor to Fort Edward
This was a really long day. (58 miles, 8 locks, 9 hours)  We arrived at Fred's dock for free dockage.  He and Ron have communicated the last few years.  Fred owns Tug 44, an American Tug.



June 29th  Ft. Edward to Whitehall 28 miles.
 Fred had recommended a local bakery/breakfast stop, so we took advantage and walked a few blocks for breakfast before our departure.  Today was short, only 3 locks.

The canal is narrow and straight. This house caught our attention as did a mother deer and her fawn.





We pulled up to the free wall before any other boaters arrived. This is a great location with 3 free power pedestals.


There is a museum nearby, groceries within 1/2 mile, and a hair salon 5 minutes away.  The house on the hill, east side of the canal, is Skene Manor.

Three other boats pulled in after us.  One of them was Terry and Pat on Happy Happy.  Raining!!  Since rain and storms are predicted the next two days, we are staying put.

June30th
The other three boats took off this morning and we're replaced later by three other boats, one of which was Dirk and Pat on Wandering Star.  We had met them briefly in Brick, NJ.

While I walked a few blocks for a $10.00 haircut, Ron took the bike to the grocery store. Since the rain had not started as predicted, we walked across the bridge and up the steep hill to Skene Manor where we had lunch and a tour.




By the time we returned to the boat the rains had begun, but were not constant or severe as predicted.  We will leave here Sunday morning when better weather is expected.