BB and crew are one third of the way across the Ontario, Canada entering the Georgian Bay portion of their Great Loop adventure. The first two weeks were spent in the Trent-Severn Waterway enjoying the locks and rivers and calm cruising conditions. That is about to change in a big way. Georgian Bay is a big, rocky arm on the north-east corner of Lake Huron. Negotiating the navigable water here is certainly a challenge, and a must in order to protect the running gear of our good boat Beulah Belle. As we left the Big Chute lock, and entered Georgian Bay at Port Severn we were immediately greeted with rocks everywhere, many, many fellow Canadian boaters, and a well marked channel that wound us further north and west across the bay. Staying in the marked channel was a must, and only two times did we slightly touch an unseen hard object below the water surface when we left the marked channel – the first at the direction of a dock master when we went to have our holding tank pumped out and take on fresh water, the second was when we the turned the corner of the channel too quick to go to an overnight anchorage.Georgian Bay certainly gave us our first taste of beautiful wilderness areas in Canada, and the first chance to anchor out totally by ourselves. The other memorable experience that we’ll share with others was how inclement this summer has been – never very warm, and often very wet. We had 20″ of rain during our cruise through Canada, and many grey days. And, we did enjoy the good days! We had all four of Ontario’s best summer weather days with temps in the 70′s, sunny skies, and no rain while we were anchored in Port Rawson Bay. Here’s hoping you recognize some of the geography and the beautiful scenery.
As BB and crew left the Trent-Severn Waterway we finally realized why the number of boats of all kinds and sizes kept getting more and more numerous. We are in the first two weeks of August and we are closer to Toronto. The Canadians plan the first two weeks of August for their watery vacations because it will likely be the best weather of the year. We were coached to expect crowded anchorages like this one. The good thing was that we were always able to find a spot with some degree of quiet privacy, unlike many of the Canadians that come out expecting to raft up with friends and party through week or at least through the weekend.
The waterways were very well marked, but many times we had to stop, and understand what the markers were trying to tell us. In this case the greens and reds changed from being on the right to the left because we were at an intersection of the navigable channel with an inlet – whew!
We are passing the last of the Bustard Islands, headed west on Georgian Bay – our last day until we reach the North Channel at Killarney. The coast guard folks thought we needed three lighthouses here. This was another pretty day after many days when we could only cruise 10 or 12 miles and find a comfortable anchorage for the wind and rain that would be coming.
BB and crew reached the half-way point on the Trent-Severn Waterway on August 2nd, 2014 after leaving Peterborough Lift Lock #21 and stopping at Lakefield at Lock #26. There are 44 numbered locks on the TSW – with 39 of them similar to the 24 locks that we experienced on the Erie Canal system. Certainly a lot of the fun while doing the TSW is the experience of doing the lift locks at Peterborough and Kirkfield, and the extraordinary Big Chute lock just before the last lock at Port Severn. As we traveled west along the TSW the boating traffic increased. We found out as we went along that as we went west we got closer to the peak vacation time for Canadians – early August, and also we got closer and closer to Toronto. In long stretches the waterway became almost non-stop weekend / vacation homes that would be occupied by vacationers from Toronto, Ottawa, and even Montreal. The lock facilities were the same – we had access to tying up overnight at the locks, but on weekends the available spaces would be occupied early in the day, and maybe not at all on Saturday. The joy of boating with a few fellow boaters became more of a challenge, but for sure we did enjoy the company of good friends that I will describe as we get to the photos below.The beautiful homes along the TSW , especially on one of the sunny days, made our cruising day a memorable delight. This photo is not exceptional, and I’m sure I did not get pics of the very best, but the beautiful homes and scenery in general made this part of our trip thru Canada very enjoyable.
We often wondered while cruising the Inter-Caoastal Waterway along the east coast, or when we were in The Bahamas – how did the Canadians get their sailboats out of Canada. The process starts with stepping down your mast, laying it down so your boat can clear the low bridges, and somewhere down south such as Moblie, Alabama or Fort Lauderdale, Florida raise the mast back to its normal secure holding position. We met this sailboat, “Ursa Major II” several days along the way, and we talked a few times on our VHF radios. This is a big sailboat, but they had six adults onboard. They were headed for the Caribbean, and I can imagine that somewhere before Mobile that boat was going to feel too small.
Please meet Canadian friends Joe and Peggy Dorricott from Bobcaygeon, Ontario. We met Joe and Peggy as they walked along the sidewalk next to the docking area that was just west of TSW Lock #32 in downtown Bobcaygeon. We invited Joe and Peggy onboard BB, and we enjoyed rum drinks together, and then went to dinner in town. The next day Joe brought his well used large scale charts of Georgian Bay (they have cruised this area for about 20 years), and we spent more than an hour marking up places to anchor, marinas, and towns to visit. Our mutual interests and personalities made what we hope is a friendship that will extend beyond just this one get-together at Bobcaygeon. We still have Joe’s charts, and we plan to meet again in Sarasota or Fort Myers after we all get to Florida to spend the winter season.
This is the downtown TSW Lock #32 in Bobcaygeon. Beulah Belle is along the left wall (facing the wrong way), and a high interest boat among the locals to have the chance to talk to a couple of Americans that actually live-aboard their boat full time.
This is the TSW at its best. A beautiful sunny morning at Rosedale Lock #35, only a few fellow boaters coming and going, and an easy day ahead while making our way toward the Big Chute and then Georgian Bay.
The TSW is made up of a variety of waterways – rivers, narrow canals, and lakes. This pic shows a man-made canal through a very rocky terrain – not very deep, and thankfully very straight so we could see any approaching boat traffic.
Capt Mary is enjoying the view from BB’s bow as we go thru the Kirkfield Lift Lock #36. This second lift lock is of the same engineering design as the Peterborough Lift Lock with the exception of the reinforced concrete pillars being made from steel. The other difference is that the Peterborough Lift Lock is near a good size town, but the Kirkfield Lift Lock is in a very rural area.
Please welcome friends John and Karen Bell and their yacht Sundowner. Sundowner and BB were cruising companions for many days along the TSW. We lost contact with each other after doing the Big Chute and entering Georgian Bay, but we certainly expect to meet up again once BB gets to Sarasota and Sundowner gets to St Petersburg.
There were a good number of swing bridges along the TSW. This particular swing bridge caught Sundowner – a normally open train bridge that closed as Sundowner approached. The cruising guide told us that the waterway current might be a problem here, but, BB had no issue as we gave everyone plenty of room to wait out the bridge to open which took about 15 minutes.
Aha – we’re almost done with the Trent-Severn Waterway. Just ahead is the railway carriage at Big Chute Lock #43 that we drive BB up into for the most spectacular locking you can experience probably in North America.
This photo was taken from the visitor observation platform – we docked BB for about an hour as we waited for Sundowner to catch up, and take a look at how the process works. For those that have ever gone from the Loon River to Loon Lake on the railcar portage there – it is the same process. Actually this behemoth is much easier – you bring your boat into the center of the railcar slings, and stop your boat when the lock-master tells you to stop your boat. The lock-master raises the slings just enough to have your boat rest its keel on the railcar flatbed, and then they turn on the power with a cable system connected to electric motors inside a powerhouse. The trick is the double rail system and two sets of lift wheels to keep the boats level as the car goes up one side and then steeply back down the other side. The design came about originally because of a lack of cement needed for a huge lock, and has continued to be used in recent years to prevent critters and bad weeds from getting from one lake / water system to the other.
We are about to complete our Big Chute lock. Capt Mary waited 2,000 miles to do this – stand on BB’s bow and watch and wave as we go down the hill and near the end of our Trent-Severn Waterway cruise.
On Friday July 25th, 2014 BB and crew left the confines of the New York State Erie Canal system at Oswego, NY, and the USA, and entered another foreign country with the blessings of the Ontario, Canada Parks Department. It will take us about six weeks to pass through three distinct regions of Ontario – The Trent-Severn Waterway (TSW), Georgian Bay, and the North Channel as we take Beulah Belle to our northern-most destinations on our Great Loop Cruise. This posting of our “Where In The World Is Beulah Belle” blog update will show the sights, and try to describe the friendliness of so many people that have blessed us on our travel through Canada. This posting will include the first half of our TSW cruise to Lakefield, Ontario. A second posting will finish the TSW at Port Severn. The TSW makes up about the first one third of the 800 miles we will cruise in Canada.
Making new friends has been the one constant that has been the most positive aspect of our travels, not only in Canada, but everywhere we have been so far. It seems everyday we have met someone, and many days several, that have helped us with directions, or just had a friendly and honest conversation about how things are going, had a meal together, or simply wishing each other safe travels and rum drinks. I’ll let the pics and comments tell the rest of the story, and include some details from our daily log at a later update.We arrived into Canada at Kingston, Ontario which is at the eastern end of Lake Ontario, and sits at the western end of the St Lawrence Seaway – not the direction of our travel on this trip. We’ll be going west and north through the Treat-Severn Waterway, then into Georgian Bay (the shallow and rocky north-east corner of Lake Huron, and then the North Channel of Lake Huron before re-entering the USA near Mackinac Island, Michigan. Kingston is a very modern city and a government center. We came into Canada here on the suggestion that Customs and Immigration clearance would be simpler as compared to entering at Trenton about 60 miles to the west. Checking in was only a phone call, and receiving a CANPASS identification number that we had to post on an outside window of our boat visible to the various lock-masters.We arrived Kingston a bit late in the day, and were very fortunate to get the last available transient slip at Confederation Marina – $88/nt.
We left Kingston after one night, and headed for Trenton to enter the Trent-Severn Waterway. The weather forecast was for wind and rain to find us later in the afternoon, so we opted to find a nice and protected anchorage at Hay Bay. We spent two days here waiting for the weather to clear.
We were greeted to the Trent-Severn Waterway at the highway bridge in Trenton. We did not stop here – we had already cleared Canadian Customs and Immigration at Kingston, but did stop about a mile further on at Lock #1 to get passes for the season.
Most of the locks are manually operated – a few, especially those further west that are much busier with local boater traffic, are automated with hydraulic systems to open and close the gates and valves. Here the lock-master is walking the rack and pinion gear around to open one of the lock gates. Usually there would be two folks running the locks, but a couple of times one person would have to open one gate and then go to the other side to open the other gate. The whole process would take between 20 and 30 minutes. At a hydraulic lock the time could be 15-20 minutes.
Here BB is entering Lock #11, one of the highest locks on the TSW. It is about 40′ high, and, it is combined with another lock – sharing the center gate -they call it a flight lock. There were two sets of these flight locks (#11/12 and #16/17) along the TSW.
One of our favorite towns on the TSW was Campbellford. The town let us tie up to go to lunch and do a bit of shopping, but would charge an additional fee for staying overnight. We had lunch at the “Be My Guest” Slovakian restaurant, went to the bakery, and moved on to Healey Falls Lock #17 for our overnight. All of the locks had places to tie up overnight, and the cost for doing this was included in our $431 mooring fee. The lock nearest Campbellford was not convenient to town which made the town dock very busy. Some of the locks were convenient to a nearby town, but most of them were in rural areas, very quiet and peaceful. The only issues came on the weekends when the local folks would get to their favorite local and camp out for the weekend.
This is the first of two lift locks on the TSW. This one is at Peterborough, and was completed in 1904. Instead of having gates the lift locks operate with two “pans” that have hinged doors that open and close from the ends of the pan that let you enter and leave the pan. The pans are about the size of a normal lock, and the two pans alternate going up or down by having one weigh about 100 tons more than the other – the one being lifted will have about 1′ less water inside making it lighter so it goes up while the heavier one goes down. The trick is a huge guide pin over the center of each pan that goes into a hollowed out hole in the base of the lock. These locks raised BB about 65′, and were actually the easiest to get into and pass through – a simple cleat to tie the boat to while inside, and no nasty cables to hold onto, or swirling current that always wants to twist the boat while you are going up or down.
This is the tourist view of Peterborough Lock with boats in both pans. We took the time between rain storms to go through the visitor center, and to walk up the steps to watch the lock operate. While taking this picture we asked the lock-master if the rain was going to let us lock through, and he said that if we could make it down by the time the lock was down, then he would let us lock through. We did it barely – the problem was the lock doesn’t operate during thunderstorms (yes another was on its way), and there was no over-night mooring below the lock where we had BB tied up to visit the museum. The weather held off, we got the engines going, and the lines untied in record quick time, did our passage, and tied up 65′ higher and about 200 yards further west on the south side of the upper lock wall (a very quiet location eventhough we were only a few blocks away from Peterborough). The lock-master offered us his car should we want to go to town and not get wet because of the rain. The folks were always friendly, and his genuine kindness was much appreciated.
Meet Steve and Cathy from “Chinook”. We met at the lock wall in Hastings, and went to lunch together at Banjos. Steve and Cathy were from Keswick near Toronto, and were taking a summer vacation touring the TSW. They were very helpful in recommending locks and towns to visit as we continued west on the TSW.
Here BB is inside lock #26 at Lakefield. The lock-masters are two young ladies, and in the pic they are opening the valves to let upstream water into the lock with BB to raise us to the higher level above the lock.
Lakefield was one of our favorite towns along the TSW. The mooring just above lock #26 was in a typical park-like setting, and town was no more than three blocks away – very convenient, and very nice. A real grocery store, nice hardware store, very nice pantry, churches, a museum, and more!
This is Lakefield Christ Church and Museum. The church was in disrepair, and not in use until about ten years ago when a local businessman provided the funds to renovate the building. It now has Sunday services on special days, weddings, and has its own history museum with a docent on hand. The renovated church is very well done, and was the highlight of our visit to Lakefield. We would recommend every cruiser stop here and take advantage of the folks and services in Lakefield. Did I mention that the Pantry is a Sears Catalogue pickup and drop-off location? (Go Crystal)
BB and crew have had a wonderful upstate New York experience cruising on the Erie Canal. Once we passed Albany and Troy, New York we came to the intersection of the Champlaine and Erie Canals. At this point in upstate New York the cruising community from the USA and Canada spend their summers on the lakes and / or canals in New York – enjoying the free town docks and easy access to good food and shopping. There are so many great towns to visit, and so many routes available, that you can spend every cruising season here and never see it all.
This part of our trip is just over 100 miles long and can be done in three of four days if you’re in a hurry. We plan to take 10 to 14 days with some side trips included. Cruising on the Erie Canal means negotiating the many locks along the way. They are all the same width and length, but the height varies from as little as eight feet to as much as 30 feet. Handling the boat in the lock is done with hand ropes or cables attached to either side of the inside of the lock wall. And, there is never the issue of having to wait on commercial tows and barges that have the right-of-way as happens on the larger rivers in the USA mid-west. The locks slow your progress, but you don’t come here to be in a hurry. Three to five hours cruising is enough, and then you tie up to a lock wall or a free dock at one of the towns along the way. We bought a 10 day pass for $50 in Waterford to begin the trip, and a two day $20 pass at lock 21 to finish the trip.
The photos can’t do justice to the beauty and peaceful nature of cruising here, but until you have the opportunity we just want everyone to know that this part of our Great Loop journey has been a joy, and we will always look forward to returning – to see, feel, smell, and touch the beauty of up-state New York.
An Erie Canal plaque in Waterford showed us an overview of the Erie Canal from Waterford to Buffalo. Our plan is to go about half way to Buffalo and turn north on the Oswego Canal to Oswego, New York where we will cross a bit of Lake Ontario and enter Canada.
Along the way, as we left Waterford, Capt Mary invited Adam and his grandpa to join us as we went through the “Flight of Five”. Five locks within a mile or so to the west of Waterford. This fine pair were watching us leave town, and it was a hoot for all of us to see how the locks work. Adam sent us a note later in the day saying how much he enjoyed the short trip. Adam, it was our pleasure!
Here BB is tied up to the free town dock in Amsterdam. The dock and nearby park were beautiful, but Amsterdam is a very sad, dead town. It was the home to Mohawk Carpets, but the business collapsed and more than 10,000 people lost their jobs when the factory closed. The town may be surviving, but it is not a cruising destination spot – simply a good spot to tie up overnight and be safe as the thunderstorms roll through the area.
In this photo BB is tied up at another free town dock at Canajoharie NY. This time the dock comes with free electricity and water. The town of Canajoharie is a special treat – with a wonderful art museum and library, good if not great restaurants, a first class meat market, and a local bistro.
As BB left Canajoharie and entered lock 14 we had a secondary fuel filter problem. This is a picture north wall west of lock 14. It is also a typical Erie Canal lock wall, next to a park with picnic tables and a BBQ grill, and is free to use for up to two night’s stay. We needed one night here to put on a spare new secondary fuel filter on the port engine.
Little Falls, New York offers only daytime free docking, but that’s ok. Town is very close, and there are good shops and restaurants within minutes. We stayed for a Sunday afternoon, and spent the night along the next lock wall.
Another favorite town along the Erie Canal is Rome. The free town dock is in the city park - about a half mile to downtown. Downtown has many shops and restaurants, and Fort Stanwix. The fort was re-built by the city over the original site that was built pre-revolutionary war, and was of historical importance to keep the British occupied while General Washington got the troops organized to march down to Portsmouth, VA. We had two favorite stops in Rome – both food related. We found Folers Bakery and Gualtieri’s Italian Market.
Three generations of Gualtieris. Grandpa Gualtieri came to America in 1901, and opened this market in 1902.
Winter Harbor Marina was a convenient stopover for BB and crew as we made a quick trip to Iowa to see a beautiful wedding for wonderful friends, a great one day sight-seeing trip to Cooperstown, NY to visit the Baseball Hall of Fame, great shopping at Williams-Sonoma where we re-outfitted BB’s galley with new appliances, and unexpectedly we used the services of the “full service” marina to replace the steering system hydraulic pumps on both the flybridge and lower helm stations (it was an expensive two weeks at Winter Harbor Marina).
BB and crew are away from the lights and excitement of New York City, and back to anchoring out on a new waterway for us. We left the Newport Yacht Club in New Jersey at 12:00 noon and turned BB to port and headed north on the Hudson River. We passed the World Trade Center immediately after leaving the marina and then the rest of lower Manhattan, and then the northern boroughs as we passed under the George Washington (and Martha Washington) bridge. Cruising on the Hudson River needs to be a planned experience because of the severe tides and the resulting current. We were fortunate in having long Spring days to let us leave NYC at mid-day and still have over eight hours of cruising time. We left with a strong current slowing us down to near 5 mph as we passed by the palisade cliffs on the west side of the river, and then Yonkers and Sing Sing on the east side of the river. As we approached West Point Military Academy the tide changed over and we started gaining back on our lost speed to as much as 10 mph. We stopped along the way for our first night anchored out after NYC at a wide spot in the road called Cornwall-on-Hudson with two sailboats that are also headed north. The current and pull on the anchor was strong overnight, but our 88 lb. Rochna anchor held tight and we slept sound. The second day out was very similar as the first as we continued north on the Hudson River – we avoided the strong early morning ebb tide and waited until later with the plan to get some help with the flood tide. The country-side scenery in New York state away from NYC is very beautiful. As soon as we passed under the George Washington Bridge the Palisades started to get taller and more shear - at least 300′ high. The contrast to the overwhelming city-scape of NYC was amazing. And, as we continued north the river began a winding journey through the low mountains on the Adirondacks. The Hudson River is affected by the Atlantic Ocean tides for more than 100 miles, and it took us three and a half cruising days to reach the Federal Lock near Waterford where the tides were cancelled out by the lock system. On our third night we were met by a weather system that brought rain and then fog. We opted for a bay off the main river channel that took us very near the Metra train tracks, but totally away from the ocean going vessels, river barges, and many boaters using the Hudson as their highway to destinations north and south. Houghtaling Island Bay was a perfect, quiet layover spot as we recovered from the non-stop enjoyment of NYC with Brian and Crystal. We fished, and read books, and relaxed, and watched the trains pass by for 2 1/2 days. It was great!
On June 28th we raised BB’s anchor, turned back to re-enter the Hudson River channel, and then turned north again toward Troy and Albany and the Federal Lock at Waterford. Passing by Troy-Albany was a bit intimidating as there were a number of ocean going ships at the docks there and a fair amount of early weekend boaters. But, once you’ve been to Mobile, Alabama, and Fort Lauderdale, and NYC, then surely Troy, NY shouldn’t bother such veteran helms-people as Capt Mary and Engr Wally – should it? – and, it didn’t! Well the docks didn’t intimidate the crew, but then we came up on the empty Federal Lock just after Troy. Federal Lock No.1 at Troy was our first lock since November 2012, and it was nearly as intimidating as our first lock on the Mobile River when we started our first cruise north on the Tombigbee Waterway 20 months ago (my how time flies). We passed through with no bumps, no bruises, and thanked the lockmaster very much. As we left the lock and looked ahead we could see Waterford, NY and the beginning of our summer cruising on the Erie Canal and then onto Canada.
As we left NYC proper we still had about 30 miles of northern boroughs to pass by. This is a pic of Younkers which is the last of the large city boroughs that are close-by “suburbs” of NYC – easily reachable by the trains that also use the Hudson River valley.
The Hudson River is indeed muddy, and it takes over 100 miles to get away from the strong tidal current that reverses itself every five to seven hours. If you’re lucky, as we were with having long daylight hours to cruise with, you can chose to sleep in and wait for the flood tide to come and push you along for about six or seven hours. Just watch out and don’t be surprised by the ebb tide that will slow you down by 3 mph if you have a slow boat like Beulah Belle. If you think you have to make 50 miles in six hours against the current, it ain’t gonna’ happen on the Hudson River if you sleep in and the tide is going against you. BB’s crew slept in knowing that later in the day the tide would reverse itself, and we would have smooth and swift cruising upstream, with the tide, and make our 50 miles in less than six hours.
This is the view of Houghtaling Island Bay – our three day respite anchorage. We enjoyed the Metra trains passing by every six to ten minutes, and having the anchorage to ourselves. There was still a 2′-3′ tidal effect, but very little current. Most of all we enjoyed the greenery, the no schedule routine, and the quiet.
After 100 miles of easy cruising from NYC we came upon the cities of Albany and Troy, and discovered where all the ocean-going ships we going to and from. The docks on the west side of the river were busy loading ships with grain and chemicals headed for ports afar, including one that we saw registered in Singapore! Troy, New York to Singapore? Go figure!
Ah-oh! What’s that? Yeah, we knew we had a lock to get through to reach the Erie Canal, but the sight of this monster was intimidating to be sure. The lock is only 34′ wide and 24′ tall, and Beulah Belle seemed to be an awfully big boat to fit inside this thing. Our experience from doing 34 locks back in 2012 between Mobile, Alabama and Chattanooga, Tennessee came back to us, and we heaved a well earned sigh of relief as we pulled away from Federal Lock No. 1.
The top side of every lock is always less intimidating than the low side. Federal Lock No. 1 used to be the first of the Erie Canal locks, but some politics got involved and a few years ago this lock became part of the national highway transportation system – no longer part of the State of New York Erie Canal. It’s free for us to use, and we said thank you very much.
Just a mile north of the Federal Lock No.1 we reach the intersection of the Erie Canal (to the left) at Waterford, NY and the Champlaine Canal (straight ahead). We opt to turn left this year and visit the Erie Canal on our way to Lake Ontario, Canada, and our completion of the Great Loop.
BB and crew made it to The Big Apple, NYC, New York City, New York! It took all day to get to and under the Verrazano Narrows Bridge and into the Hudson River. At least it seemed so because we could see the buildings in Manhattan and the bridge from about 30 miles away, and we only go about 8 mph, so it seemed to take all day. The weather was unbelievable. Clear skies, little wind, and temps near 80F. Many boaters don’t have such a beautiful day to arrive at NYC. We feel blessed.
To get to the Verrazano bridge means getting to the main shipping channel and staying out of the way from the big boats. Can you believe there were no big boats this day? None, just Beulah Belle. Until we neared the Statue of Liberty - then the ferry boats were all over the water, going every which direction, and making the water feel like the old washing machine deal. But, we didn’t mind. We kept the radio working on channel 13, and never heard anyone call for us to “Watch Out”, “Get Outta the Way”, “What’s da Matter – Ya Lost?”, nutin honey. We were good!
BB got just inside the boundary marker at the Statue of Liberty to take our photos then headed for Ellis Island and some more photos, then past lower Manhattan and the World Trade Center for some more photos, then on up the Hudson to our marina at 79th St Boat Basin. wd and crew don’t want to dwell on a sore subject, but 79th St Boat Basin should be condemned. We left the next morning and put BB in a wonderful slip at the Newport Yacht Club. We were directly opposite the World Trade Center, one block from the New Jersey PATH trains to NYC, and two blocks from regular shopping.
Our visit to NYC was so awesome because Crystal and Brian came and spent a wonderful, long weekend with us. We went to see The Jersey Boys and The Lion King on Broadway, had great sight-seeing trips downtown, great food, and great family time. Capt Mary and Engr Wally went to Yankee Stadium and watched the Yankees beat up on the Toronto Blue Jays – the first of five consecutive night of catching the midnight train to Newport, NJ!
NYC was a blast, and we hope to return many more times onboard BB.
NYC Daily Log:
|6/16/2014 – New York City – 70 miles – 4,182 miles remaining. Wow, and then kersplat! It was a great cruising day to Manhattan, out in the Atlantic from our anchorage, some 70 miles total for the day. We made it to the Hudson River by 1:00 PM, then under the Verrazano Narrows Bridge, then past the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, the World Trade Center, and downtown / lower Manhattan. And then we got to the 79th St Boat Basin. THE New York City Park’s boat marina. Ouch! Do not go there! BAD docks! Not safe! We changed docks, twice, but the rough water from all the ferries made tieing up to the docks, and walking on the docks at this marina very unsafe. We did the best we could for the night and walked to the uptown neighborhood and had an awesome corned beef sanwich for dinner.|
|6/17/2014 – NYC. With help from a fellow boater (Club M) at the 79th Boat Basin we arranged to change marinas to the Newport Yacht Club in Newport, New Jersey. Beautiful and safe docks – a bit bouncy during the ferries rush hours, but so much better than the other marina in NYC! Figured how to use the trains and went to NYC and visited the World Trade Center 9/11 Memorial.|
|6/18/2014 – NYC. Went to the NY Yankees baseball game at Yankee Stadium. Tickets were $85, but we could have gotten higher seats for $33. The Yankees won 7-3. Got back to BB after mid-night.|
|6/19/2014 – NYC. Most of the day was spent doing boat cleaning – getting ready for Crystal to arrive. But, at 5:00 PM Crystal called – she had been robbed of her wallet while on the train in Chicago going to O’Hare. She wasn’t hurt – it was a kinda pick-pocket deal – someone opened her bag and lifted her wallet out of the bag. So, we tried our best to help her from Times Square, and it worked out that we made it back to BB after mid-night, while Crystal made it back to her apartment in downtown Chicago.|
|6/20/2014 – NYC. Crystal called at 9:00 AM – we were still in bed – she was back at O’Hare, on standby, and she got on a flight to NYC and arrived about noon. Brian’s flight was scheduled to arrive in the afternoon so we waited at the airport for Brian to get in. With bags in hand we went to dinner in the theatre district, then headed off to their hotel to check in, and then we were off to see The Jersey Boys. We were all too tired to enjoy a wonderful show, but we were together in NYC!|
|6/21/2014 – NYC. A long day spent touring Central Park and lower Manhattan – a ferry ride out to see the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, then dinner in Little Italy. Little Italy and nearby China town are both great spots and lots of fun.|
|6/22/2014 – NYC. A late get-up, then brunch in the Hell’s Kitchen area. We all enjoyed a great show seeing The Lion King. Just a spetacular production! Then dinner on the boat, some good family chit-chat, and saying goodbye.|
- Our first photo op while approaching NYC – passing under the Verrazano Narrows Bridge.
- Capt Mary showing off on the bow – welcoming us to NYC.
- This is the photo we most looked forward to – Beulah Belle in front of the Statue of Liberty!
- Passing by Ellis Island. Next time we’ll stop and visit.
- Our view of lower Manhattan – “Downtown”.
- Beulah Belle in her slip at the Newport Yacht Club – a fantastic location.
- Capt Mary and Engr Wally taking a selfie at the NYC (Newport Yacht Club).
- Our first of many visits to Times Square.
- We went to see The Lion King on Sunday June 21st – a fantastic / awesome show.
- Our favorite deli – Arties on upper Broadway between 82nd and 83rd Sts.
- The new escalators in the new subway station under the new World Trade Center.
- The World Trade Center Memorial is a “must see”, and an emotional experience.
- A walk in Central Park. You never know what you’re gonna see there.
- Could Wally become a Yankees fan? It was fun being in Yankee Stadium – the fans were into the game, and didn’t need any prompting to make noise. Yeah, I can imagine being a Yankee fan, but I didn’t buy a hat yet.
- Our great kids walking along Broadway after getting off the bus from LaGuardia. We had a wonderful time together!
- We all went to see The Jersey Boys the same night the kids arrived, June 20th. A good show, but our emotions were still recovering from Crystal’s experience in getting here. We recommend the show, but it’s not for 30-somethings.
- Our selfie from the ferry at the Statue of Liberty.
- Our selfie from dinner in Hell’s Kitchen.
- When you go to NYC don’t miss China Town and Little Italy!
BB and crew made it down Delaware Bay with just a few issues along the way. Rough water was certainly predictable, boat traffic was predictable, but loosing our electronics was not predictable nor wanted in any way, shape, or form, especially in the rainy, foggy weather we had that made dead reckoning navigation very unwelcome.Over time (probably since we were in the Florida Keys in February 2013 and then our crossings to and from The Bahamas), the pounding from 4′-7′ waves caused a crack to grow and finally snap the internal portion of the main battery switch in our electrical control panel. When the switch broke we had no 12 volt system onboard which meant no radar (we were using because of the rain and fog), no depth sounder (we use non-stop), and no chartplotter (no navigation!). Delaware Bay is about 50 miles long by 5 to 10 miles wide, but it actually a canal insofar as navigating. We have to stay in or very near the main shipping channel. Outside the channel by as little as 500′ in several places the depth goes to 3′ or less depending on the tide. We needed our depth sounder and chartplotter!. We followed some boats to keep us away from the shallow area, but they all were faster than BB. I tried our backup system on our laptop computer, but the software said we had no charts for Delaware Bay! When we were about 15-20 miles from Cape May Capt Mary got our smartphone to load a navigation chart. Thank you Lord! We used the phone the rest of the way to the marina!
We still had at least five days before we hoped to be in NYC so we stayed a couple extra days in Cape May to rehearse being tourist before getting to NYC. We had planned to have three days to get up the Atlantic coast, but the weather turned very windy, and made going anywhere out of the question until the wind calmed down. Once the wind shifted to out of the west we decided to leave Utsch’s Marina, and were blessed with a calm Atlantic ocean for the two day, 140 miles, run to the big city.
New Jersey Daily Log:
BB and crew are in Delaware for one day doing the C&D Canal and getting staged to do Delaware Bay tomorrow. We’ve taken classes about this stretch of the Great Loop, and the water can get nasty without hardly trying. So, we’ve done our homework on the tides and the weather forecast and these two days are our best shot for relative calm conditions to get from Chesapeake Bay to Cape May, New Jersey. The C&D Canal is only about 14 miles long, but it can be an issue if the big boats are passing through in either direction. We contacted the canal traffic dispatcher for permission to enter the canal, and were advised that there was no traffic expected in either direction for our afternoon commute. Thank you very much!
Delaware daily log:
|6/10/2014 – Reedy Island, DE – 28 miles – 4,372 miles remaining. We slept in at our anchorage on the Sassafras River, and got underway just before noon to get through the C&D Canal and down the Delaware River a couple of miles to anchor for the night. We only cruised for 4 1/2 hours, but it means we should only have 50 miles to go to Cape May tomorrow. We’ll leave before high tide on Wednesday, and then have about five hours of out-going tide to boost us along, down Delaware Bay to Cape May. The big issue will be the wind, and whether or not it stays below 15 mph. We hope so! Our anchorage behind Reedy Island is ok, we’re pretty exposed but the wind from the north (?) is just enough to keep the bugs away. That’s a blessing. The flies have been horrible the past few days with temps in the mid 80′s and no wind. We enjoyed our rest days on the Sassafras River – some boat cleaning, and blog update work, but no long hours of navigating and engine room checks. We heard from Crystal today (yeah) – a tough day at work for her, and a long night coming up to finish a paper for her last class this quarter on her way to getting her masters degree in August. She needed a friendly / understanding voice to talk to. We needed to hear from our family – we miss not being close so we could visit more often. Which explains why we’re so excited about going to NYC and having both Brian and Crystal come to join us there.|
- After calling the C&D Canal dispatcher we entered the canal and headed for Delaware Bay. There shouldn’t be any big ships with us in the canal.
- The only get out of the way spot along the canal is this small marina. We waved as we passed by.
- As soon as we made it through the canal this big container ship passed us on his way from Philadelphia to the Atlantic ocean.
- What a blessing the navigation given by the chartplotter is for us! The paper charts are ok, but to find the opening in the dikes to get to our anchorage would not be easy without the chartplotter.
- This is the “entrance” to our anchorage for the night. We have to go through the dikes opening to our left (port) with a strong 4 mph current pushing us to our right (starboard) side. We made it through ok, dropped the hook, and slept well.
BB and crew are in the upper Chesapeake Bay, continuing our quick cruise through a wonderful cruising destination. Last year we were in Annapolis, and Baltimore, and Chester, and did not want to leave. This year we’re just passing by, anchoring out, headed for the C&D Canal, Delaware Bay, then up the Atlantic coast to NYC. So, you can tell we’re not into slowing down and seeing the sights on this part of our Great Loop adventure. It’s ok, we’re headed for a week in NYC, and most loopers hardly slow down while passing the Statue of Liberty.
Daily Maryland log: