Thursday, June 28, 2018

Moving from Adagietto to Adagio

June 2018

June 6 – Adagio is launched

After the bottom paint dried, Winter Harbor launched Adagio before we arrived from the campground.  The tech was just leaving after verifying that the generator repairs made this winter were adequate.  Last year’s water flow problem turned out to be a worn shaft on the generator seawater pump, so a new pump was installed.  Adagio needed to be in the water to perform the lengthy test.  Ron misplaced the galley faucet sink water mixer, so an overnight shipment for a replacement from Defender was made.  Then we noticed the freezer was not cooling enough.  We added freon a couple of years ago and all was fine since.  The refrigeration tech came aboard while we were shopping, assume he added freon again, but not positive.  Two weeks later the freezer failed again, right after we defrosted.  This led to further investigation.  It turns out a couple of wire connectors to the compressor were making partial contact.  High resistance on start-up resulted in the freezer compressor not turning on.  After a couple of days provisioning and checking boat systems we finally got underway on Saturday.

June 9 – underway at last

Within a few minutes of leaving Winter Harbor we reached Erie Canal Lock #23;  we’ve transited this lock 4 previous times.  It’s approach walls are always filled with people fishing or picnicing.  There is free overnight mooring both ends of the lock.

Completed in 1825, the Erie Canal was frequently referred to as Clinton’s Ditch or Clinton’s Folly.  Clinton was the Governor of NY and the canal’s most vocal political advocate.  On completion New York City became the major shipping & banking city in the US, quickly surpassing Boston, Philadelphia, and New Orleans.  The canal opened the Midwest to development.  Farm goods, timber, minerals could now be more easily transported east, manufactured goods and immigrants could reach their destinations in weeks rather than months of overland travel.

We had an easy first day, stopping at the free lock wall in Phoenix NY.  This was the first time we stopped here, though we have passed by several times.  Phoenix has one of the best free docks; picnic tables, water, 15-amp power, restrooms, and showers.  Phoenix is well known by boaters as the home of the Phoenix House Brats, local high school students who cater to boaters.  In addition to helping with docking, they will clean your boat, run errands, deliver restaurant meals, I’ve even heard they will do your laundry.  They do this for tips only, to raise funds for their high school programs.  Unfortunately, the House Brats did not start until the following week and we didn’t get to meet them.

The next day we locked through 6 times, stopping between lock 7 & 8 for the night.  During the Oswego Canal construction of the 8 planned locks, designs were changed and lock #4 was eliminated.  They didn’t want to change all the drawings, so left the other lock numbers as planned.  Several other boats joined us along the lock walls.  It’s a nice quiet stop after the lock closes for the day with plenty of green space for Duke.  Up early the next day to catch the 0700-1st lock opening, we found the lock #8 lockmaster had already accommodated another boater and let them pass early.  It only took a few minutes to fill the lock chamber up, and soon we were crossing Lake Ontario.  It was a pleasant day, only a few whitecaps and an occasional 3-foot wave.  Arriving in Cape Vincent we found room at the free NY Dept Environmental Conservation docks.  Three other small trawlers were already in and they helped catch our lines.  Again, we had very nice free docks, no water or power, but very clean restrooms.  Dinner was at a nice restaurant right across the street.  We next headed to Alexandria Bay, which was another short day.  AB is a busy tourist town, with many cruise boats taking passengers around the Thousand Islands and to see Boldt Castle, right across the river.  We thought Cape Vincent was going to be our last free dock.  But the public dock at AB had not yet started collecting their usual $1.50/ft docking fee. We were too early in the season by one day.  The dock attendant showed up for the first time the morning we cast off but didn’t ask for payment for the previous night.

June 14 – checking into Canada

Heading down the main St. Lawrence River shipping channel, we had an almost boat traffic free day, at least until we arrived at the Brockville Narrows and Needles Eye Island.  There we met an upbound freighter, so we prudently moved out of the channel and held our position until he passed.  Using AIS, we had plenty of notice where we would meet.  Checking into Canada Customs in Prescott was an easy 10-minute phone call.  We rate Prescott Marina as having among the most helpful dock staff we have met.  Dockmaster Dwaine always had a treat for Duke.  The marina is situated within a riverfront park. On the weekend we visited, there was a Taste of Prescott event and actors were rehearsing for their summer Shakespeare festival.  Leaving Prescott, we travelled a short distance upriver to Brockville.  One of the attractions here was the recently re-opened railroad tunnel.  To service waterfront businesses a spur RR line was built underground down to the docks.  Long abandoned it now has music, and a light show as you walk through the tunnel.  Much of this city’s early history can be traced to the close of the American Revolution.  Many Loyalists were forced to leave the colonies and Great Britain aided them in moving to Canada.  Further, the city is named after Sir Isaac Brock, the British general who defeated the Americans at Detroit in the War of 1812.

June 19 – in the heart of the Thousand Islands

Several AGLCA (America’s Great Loop Cruisers Association) members serve as Harbor Hosts.  They offer information and help to Loopers passing through their areas.  A very few Hosts also offer dockage at their homes.  Jeff & Anne Timmons are among those Hosts offering overnight dock space, we took them up on their offer to stay at their Hill Island dock, enjoying docktails before we turned in for the night.  Deciding it was time to take advantage of our Parks Canada season mooring pass, we headed to one of the Thousand Islands docks.  Many docks were damaged in 2017 flooding and are still undergoing repair.  Fortunately, Parks Canada put out an alert noting which docks are not available.

We decided on Endymion Island and were not disappointed.  The dock was crowded with 5 other boats, but we all made room for one another.  Unfortunately, most of the island trails were closed due to some environmental issue.  Our batteries were running low due to short days underway and several days without power, generators are not allowed on most Parks Canada islands.  We headed to Beau Rivage Island where generators are allowed.  We expected the docks to be busy, but we were the only ones there until late afternoon when one other boat showed up. Beau Rivage also had trash pickup, so we made the most of our two nights stay there.  The east side of the island had another dock and it was full both nights.  Gananoque was our next destination, a whole 4 miles from our dock on Beau Rivage.  There we found a church for Mass on Saturday evening, had dinner out, and stocked up with groceries.  Gananoque was another town that can trace its roots Loyalist resettlement from the American Revolution.

After Gananoque we started making our way to Trenton, 1st stopping for a couple of nights on Cedar Island.  All the dock reviews said this was a very busy dock, but we were the only boat there both nights.  A few boats came in for lunch or a swim.  No generators are permitted on Cedar Island, but since we were the only boat there we broke the rules a little to keep our batteries topped off.  Cedar Island is across from Fort Henry, 1st built by the British to protect Kingston Harbor from the Americans during the War of 1812.   The island has its own Martello Tower, used as an outer defense to the fort.  The fort was rebuilt during the 1830’s and became known as the “Citadel of Upper Canada.”  As relations improved between the USA and British Canada, the fort was used as prisoner of war camp in WWI and WWII.  For a time, 1914~1920 it was used to inter Canadian / Ukrainian immigrants considered to be “enemy aliens.”  Today it is a very popular tourist attraction, cannon fire every afternoon which Duke did not appreciate.

June 27 – heading to Trenton

The weather was turning, rain & high winds were predicted.  We thought to leave Cedar Island a day early and get a spot in Picton.  But they were full Tuesday night and we stayed on at Cedar Island.  We left Wednesday after first light and beat the rain to Picton.  There was only one short section on the Bay of Quinte where we were exposed to the full width of Lake Ontario, so the ride was not too uncomfortable.  Coming into Picton we were passed by a 130-foot mega-yacht.  They had to anchor before the bottom of the bay as their draft was too deep to come in close to town.

Thursday, we made the last leg to Trenton, eastern gateway to the Trent Severn Waterway.  It was an uneventful day, just how we like; little boat traffics & pleasant weather.  Trenton Port Marina is a new facility and they did it right.  Easy to find slips with wide fairways, club house with boater’s lounge, free laundry, almost luxurious restrooms & showers.  The marina is a block away from a Metro (Canadian grocery store), and a block away from downtown Trenton.  We’ll be attending an AGLCA event, a preview of the Trent Severn and Georgian Bay and are looking forward to enjoying Canada Day celebrations here, just like we did in 2014.



Monday, June 18, 2018

Introducing Adagietto

January 2018

We need to introduce Adagietto, a 2015 Roadtrek Class B RV, based on Mercedes Benz 3500 Sprinter.  The RV will allow leisurely trips back and forth to wherever we leave our Nordic Tug Adagio.  Also, the RV makes visiting granddaughters easier and more fun, with a chance to visit new locations along the backroads.

To break in Adagietto, we took two trips to south Florida, staying in state parks and Everglades National Park.  We learned our batteries needed replacement.


April 2018

With new coach batteries (8 AGM Golf Cart) installed, we headed to Ft. Pierce for the MTOA Spring Rendezvous.  All our friends were on their boats or in hotels, but the RV was convenient.   It was a great time meeting up with friends, we really enjoyed ourselves, attending several seminars & programs.


May 2018

In late May we loaded up with all the gear we took off Adagio last summer.  We followed a meandering route to Nashville, never once using the interstate.  We camped at the highest spot in Alabama, also Georgia.  In Nashville we had an all too short visit with Josh, Jessica, and little Leah.


Hitting the road again, we headed to Cherokee NC and the start of the Blue Ridge Parkway (BRP.)   First proposed during the Great Depression as The Appalachian Scenic Road to connect planned Shenandoah National Park (Skyline Drive) and the Great Smokies National Park.  Early supporters of the road were FDR and Senator Harry Byrd.  The complete 469-mile Parkway was not finished until 1987 when the Linn Cove Viaduct was built.  We could not drive this section as it was under re-construction.  We were a little worried about the first section north from Cherokee.  There are several tunnels with just over 11’ of clearance.  Our Roadtrek measured about 10.5’.  We cleared with plenty of room, low height is measured at the edge of the road not the center arch, like the low steel measurement for waterways.  We camped at two spots, a real bargain at $10 night.

Becky playing - lunch at Peaks of The Otter


Crossing north across Interstate 64 you leave the BRP and enter Shenandoah National Park and Skyline Drive.  We stopped early at the Loft Mountain campground.

After the easy navigation of the BRP and Skyline Drive, we began meandering again, using Google Maps “avoid highways” setting.  We found ourselves in the middle of major Civil War sites including Antietam & Gettysburg.  Next came Amish country around Lancaster and a drop-in visit with Ron’s high school friend.  We found our way for a visit with Ron’s sister Denise & her husband Brian.  We’re very grateful to them for handling our mail forwarded while we tramp around on the RV and the boat.

June 2018

We continued north, camping in High Point State Park NJ.  Leaving NJ, we followed the Upper Delaware Scenic Byway into NY state, stopping at Whetstone Gulf SP.  We arrived in the middle of a weekend, but there were very few sites occupied.  Sunday night there were only 3 or 4 other campers there.
Duke is not sure about this
High Point SP, Sawmill Campground
 From there we headed for Winter Harbor Marina, the boat storage yard in Brewerton where we had left Adagio 9 months ago, arriving a day early.  Somehow bottom painting was omitted and we had to wait an extra day to launch while the paint dried.  Cousin Dave’s in-laws have a nearby campground, so we decided to visit them for our last night on Adagietto.


The launch went well.  But while getting Adagio ready for our summer cruise problems popped up.  First, the freezer wouldn’t freeze.  Then parts for the galley sink taken apart last summer, could not be found.  Fixing those issues, we finally parked Adagietto inside the boat barn and cast-off Adagio’s lines on Saturday June 9.

Headed for paint shop


Sunday, December 24, 2017

Closing Out 2017

We have been very remiss on updating our blog since this summer.

Our electrical problems started the night we tied up above the Chambly Locks (July 7.)  The newly installed hydro outlets at the dock were not connected yet, so we ran the generator for AC.  The generator quit after a few minutes, trouble tracked down to low water flow.  But the impeller was OK, heat exchanger & strainer not blocked, now what?  In the middle of all this the inverter failed.

So, for the next 2 weeks we limped along, stopping in St Ours, Montreal, St Anne-de-Bellevue, a private dock on the Ottawa River, Ottawa, & the Rideau Canal.  I picked up a portable battery charger as Adagio's was out along with the inverter.  We tried to have repairs made at some of these stops, but were not successful.  The decision was made to not proceed to the Trent Severn Waterway & the North Channel as planned, services there were even more limited then where we had just come from.  Instead we crossed Lake Ontario back to the USA heading to Brewerton on the Erie Canal.

Originally our winter 2017/2018 plan was to store Adagio at North Port Boat Yard in Michigan.  Luckily Winter Harbor in Brewerton still had room for us this season.  North Port Boat Yard will let us use the storage deposit be applied to storage next season.  In the meantime, I ordered a new inverter, installing it while docked in Brewerton.  The generator was still not working, we are going to replace the sea water pump assembly when we return in May/June.  Winter Harbor will do some other work this winter.  We are considering painting the hull and installing a stern thruster.

Thanks again for viewing this.  We look forward to cruising the Trent Severn, Georgian Bay, North Channel, possibly even Lake Superior in 2018.  Come back and visit with us again.

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 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.