August 31 - September 9, 2004

August 31 - September 1, 2004

We took advantage of a day off (hurray!) in Port Colborne to check out what we were in for on our upcoming trip through the Welland Canal.

We walked to a viewing area and saw an ocean bulk freighter squeezing through the canal. The ship filled the entire width of the canal. The seaway doesn't put pleasure boats and ships together in the same locks, and that's OK with us.   Ship going through Welland Canal near Port Colborne, Ontario

 

Abandon ship liferaft on freighter in Welland Canal Many ships carry these nifty orange lifeboats that are launched off the back of the ship. Looks like quite a ride -- we wonder if they have seatbelts! It doesn't take a lot of people to run one of these ships -- this lifeboat can hold the entire crew.  

We took advantage of our few days at Port Colborne to work on boat projects. Beth finished four small sewing projects (that sewing machine is earning its keep) and Ken tracked down a leak in our fresh water system. We had been arguing about who was using the most water. It turns out we had a crack in one of our fittings, causing us to steadily lose our fresh water into the bilge, where it was pumped overboard by the automatic pump.

Ken traced the water leak to a cracked fitting in a cabinet in the aft head. He had to take up floorboards to follow the water trail.   Ken tracking down water leak
Ken emerging from cabinet   Ken coming up for air after replacing the failed fitting. It can get pretty stuffy under there.

While at Port Colborne we had a philosophical discussion about boat cleaning. Ken thinks that boats are for sailing. Beth thinks that boats are for sailing -- when they are CLEAN. Since it takes about two days to clean a 60' boat properly, and about 4 hours to mess it up again, Ken calculates that Beth's approach will extend our trip to about seven years, five of which will be spent cleaning the boat. Beth thinks this is ok, as long as Ken shares in the cleaning. Ken compromised by letting Beth clean the boat at Port Colborne.

  Beth implementing cleaning philosophy  

However, Ken does like to organize things. As we wanted to get an early start the next day for our transit through the Canal, Ken announced that THIS TIME we would stop all of our projects at 3 p.m. and make the boat ship-shape.

Here's Ken "reorganizing" the forepeak at 4 p.m. on the day prior to our departure. So much for making ship-shape!   Ken cleaning out forepeak

September 2, 2004

We were able to transit the Canal with just the two of us as crew since we were downbound. (The locks of the canal get much more turbulent if you are going the upbound route into the Great Lakes.) The trip ended up taking about 8 hours, which is about average.

Entering first lock on the Welland Canal The first lock went fine. Of course, the drop was only about 2 feet and we didn't even have to tie up.  

The second lock was pretty intense, with about a 50 foot drop. But we handled it ok, and after that we felt pretty confident.

We went through the Canal in the company of three other boats -- two schooners (one shown here) and a smaller sailboat.   Going through Welland with shooner Playfair

Although we didn't go through the locks with big ships, we did pass quite a few upbound ships throughout the day.

Good look at bow wave of ship passing by in Welland Canal We'd get way over to the side when a big ship would go by. The ships look pretty big when they are practically on top of you. Notice how much water his bow moves, even at slow speed.  

 

If you get too close to a ship, you can get sucked in against the side and wrecked. Here's one of the other sailboats in our group getting sucked perilously close to a passing ship. He gave the next one a lot more room.   Small sailboat with large ship in Welland Canal

 

Close up of schooner Playfair in Welland Canal Here is "Playfair", a training vessel, manned by a crew of young people. The captain was a women in her early 20's.  

Overall, the trip through the Canal was pretty uneventful. We had a little trouble going through a later lock, when one of the schooners in front of us slowed to a crawl and we lost our steerage way. The wind pinned us against the wall and our fenders got pretty beat up. We escaped with some small scrapes on the side of our boat.

We got out onto Lake Ontario around 5:30 p.m. and we were glad to be back in open water. We could see Toronto on the northern shore. We sailed overnight and got to Rochester about noon the next day.

The conditions on Lake Ontario were pretty rough and here we're crashing through some good sized waves.   Sailing on Lake Ontario
Sunset on Lake Ontario   Wind and waves subsided late in the day and we saw a beautiful sunset on Lake Ontario.

September 3 - 9, 2004

We pulled into Shumway Marina on the Genesee River in Rochester in the early afternoon. We are parked right next to an old railroad bridge that no longer operates.   Docked at Shumway Marina in Rochester, NY

We had a nice layover in Rochester, visiting friends, Ken's sister and brother-in-law and working on boat projects.

Rob, our brother-in-law, demonstrating his skills cooking ribs for us.   Rob cooking up a storm

Several of the boaters at our dock invited us to dinner one evening and we had a wonderful dinner of grilled chicken and corn on the cob. They also gave us some good advice about exploring the Thousand Islands area of Lake Ontario -- namely "don't." Apparently lots of boats end up aground in badly charted water in there. Oh well... we didn't have time to explore anyway.

Mike, Chris, and Admiral Willy Three of our new friends -- Mike, Chris, and "Admiral Willy".  

We also had a very enjoyable dinner with Ann and Tom Hiatt, friends of Barbie and Ken Brown (from our harbor in Waukegan).

The boat continues to act like a boat, meaning that things keep breaking. On this stop, Ken had to refill and bleed the hydraulic ram for the autopilot, and also tighten the rudder packing gland to stop a leak. He also installed fittings for our watermaker system, which has never been run, and probably won't, without some serious work.

Ken pouring hydraulic fluid into autopilot.   Ken filling autopilot with hydraulic fluid

Beth worked on more "white collar" projects, experimenting with getting weather faxes through the SSB.

Beth consolidating desserts   Beth's favorite project was consolidating the contents of various leftover dessert containers into her stomach.

We also used the time to do some planning for our trip down the St. Lawrence. Our friend Richard Fink from Ocean Explorer gave us invaluable information to help us plan stops along route.

We couldn't get a good map of the entire St. Lawrence so we made one by printing off sections of charts from our computer and taping them together.   Beth with chart of St. Lawrence

We had planned to leave Rochester on Sept. 9 but the remains of hurricane Frances went exactly over our heads. We didn't want to go northeast into 40 knot NE gales on Lake Ontario.

Vestiges of Hurricane Frances on our head The barometer dropped 16 mb in 14 hours as Frances passed overhead. Very impressive -- almost like a hurricane.  

Frances gave us torrential rains and lots of surge coming up the Genesee to our boat. We really rocked and rolled at the dock for two days.

Alligator log floating by our window   We were startled to see a large alligator in the river outside our window.

 

Here's another look at the "alligator" in the wilds of Rochester. Debris from the storm floated by us all day long.   Closer look at alligator log

Winds are due to subside later today so we'll plan to set sail tomorrow. Ken had wanted to leave tonight when Frances' winds turned west. They'd still be blowing a gale, but it would be behind us and we would really go fast. Beth lobbied for waiting until it wasn't blowing 40 knots from ANY direction. Ken reluctantly agreed, but thinks that Beth may be suffering from a testosterone deficiency.

Ken also notes that the boat is a mess again, and wonders when Beth is going to clean it.

We are in a hurry to get out the St. Lawrence Seaway before it snows so we may not have long layovers for a while. We'll try to keep our position updated (see "Locate Eagle's Wings") but it could be a while before we will be able to post our next "Latest Update".