YEAR 2000 CRUISE
TRIP 6 LOGS
August 2 – September 5, 2000
New York City, NY Area to Chicago, IL
HUDSON RIVER, ERIE AND OSWEGO CANALS, AND ST LAWRENCE RIVER
Houston, TX to Jersey City, NJ,
Wednesday, August 2, 2000
On our previous trip we had left the engine repairs in the hands of
Foley Power, Inc., the Caterpillar service contractors for the area.
Dealing with Foley over the phone, and in person, was pleasant;
while dealing with the repair yard was unsatisfactory. I spoke to Joe at Foley about every other day,
but getting a person to talk to at Liberty Landing Marina Services was
difficult, and getting a call back was very unusual.
We were told on Tuesday afternoon that the engine was all put back
together and Steve, our mechanic, had cranked it and run it with shore
water for cooling.
Wednesday afternoon Angela and I flew to
Newark, NJ and got a hotel room for the night.
The people at Foley Power had said the engine was ready for a sea
trial; all we had to do now was get the boat put back together.
I called and called Liberty Landing Marina Services, and I left
messages on their answering machine.
I asked Joe at Foley to call them, too.
Finally we got a return call and Rob agreed to do the work first
thing Thursday morning. It
would be ready for us at 10:00am. I
wanted to do the sea trial while it was still possible to have Steve make
any needed adjustments to the engine, on a weekday, not on overtime.
Also, Foley scheduled their people, so we needed to plan the sea
trial when Steve was available.
Jersey City, NJ, Thursday, August 3,
We arrived at the boat at 10:30am.
Rob had put the floor back in, and another guy was washing the
outside of the boat. The
carpet guy would be there later, we were told.
Then we were told he would be there Friday afternoon, which did not
fit our plans. We wanted to head up the river on Thursday, if possible.
We started looking for someone else to reinstall the carpet.
The boatyard was covered with
grit, and that grit was in and on the boat.
I covered the wooden floor with the carpet pad, and we removed our
shoes when we went aboard. It was a mess, and Angela was not liking the prospect of a
boat after major engine repairs. Some
of the carpet was stained, probably beyond cleaning, so it would need
We asked Rob when the boat would be in the
water; we wouldn’t wait for the carpet.
He said 1:00pm. We
asked Foley Power to send Steve at 1:00pm.
Rob had sealed a caulking problem in the aft shower.
He replaced a light bulb in the aft hardtop spotlight, but he left
it all rusty instead of cleaning it up.
We had made repeated requests of Rob, Bob,
and Dave that they keep our refrigerator plugged in and the power on to
protect our food. We had set
up one shore power cable with two adapters to go down to 15 amps, and we
had provided a 50-ft extension cord to plug into their 50-ft extension
cord. Bob had told me several
times on the phone he would check it and see if the light was on in the
refrigerator. I believe he
did, but our ice tray was melted and refrozen, indicating the power had
been off and back on again. It
didn’t seem to ruin our food, though.
Steve arrived at 12:30pm, and we started
asking when they were going to put the boat into the water.
There seemed to be no plan, no schedule, and no one in charge to
make things happen. The lift
operators said they were going to lunch.
I asked Steve to take Angela to the grocery store, since I did not
have any other good ideas for Steve or for the store.
He took her, after showing me the old piston and ring assembly and
the old bearings (we replaced all the rod and main bearings).
We launched the boat at 2:30pm, and while
it was in the lift, I was requested to pay my bill.
It could have been worse, or better, than it was, so I paid it.
When Steve and Angela and the groceries arrived, we stowed them and
went out to the Hudson River for a sea trial.
The engine seemed to run like it used to run, including the fact it
wouldn’t come up to full RPM. Steve
checked a few things and adjusted the throttle cable and pronounced us
“healed”, and he left. Foley
was billing my AMEX card every week or so, so they were getting paid and I
wasn’t sure how much.
We ate some of our new groceries on the
boat, tied up at the Marina Services dock, with no power or water.
The carpet guy was willing to come after 5pm for an extra fee.
He arrived at 7pm, and reinstalled the carpet and got his extra
fee. Then we were free to
leave the next morning. It
rained overnight; it had been raining in that area for about two weeks.
We began to feel responsible, since it had rained on us all 5 trips
in 2000. Thinking of the
drought and water rationing in Houston helped to dispel that idea.
Jersey City, NJ to Troy, NY,
Friday, August 4, 2000
I got up at 5:30am, and we departed at
6:30. I had wanted to buy
fuel, but we thought we had enough to get to Troy.
I wanted to know how much diesel the 65-mile trip to NYC on one
engine had used, but it didn’t work out to get fuel in the NYC area.
The weather started out humid, hazy, and 68 degrees F.
It cleared up to a nice 80 degrees.
We enjoyed the trip up the river, our second time there; and we got
some good photographs and video footage.
We actually stopped at the Albany Yacht Club for fuel; their price
($1.409) was better than the price at Troy.
Along the way, some of the spots
we particularly liked were: Bear Mountain Bridge,
and the hills on each
side of it, West Point, Pollepel
Island and its castle
ruins, the lighthouses on the Hudson River, some beautiful homes and shrines and bridges,
and the high hills and lush scenery.
I had heard about the television
series On The Waterways with
Jason Robards, but I had not seen it, nor did I know where to obtain a
copy of the tapes. My friend
Ray, from the Clear Lake area, knew of my interest in the PBS series, so
when it came on local television again recently, he copied one segment for
me. It was the segment on the
Hudson River valley and the Erie Canal.
I ordered the13 tapes and received them in time to bring a few with
us. Angela and I watched the
Hudson River tape at night on this trip.
It pointed out many things about the area we would otherwise not
We tied up to the floating dock
at Troy, but we were too late to get 50-amp power.
They did have two 30-amp circuits, though.
We met some other cruisers who were planning to go up the Erie
locks the following day. The
couple behind us had a 44’ DeFever trawler.
They were from Arkansas and had cruised in Alaska, the Bahamas, and
Maine. The name of their boat
was Lady MJ.
Our friend, Sam, came by the
boat at 7pm. We had invited
him to see the boat and go to dinner, which we did.
He offered to take us to West Marine and the grocery store, which
we did. Then Sam drove us
through downtown Albany, which I had never seen.
It was interesting. Sam
was invited to go up the Erie Canal locks with us on the following day.
to Amsterdam, NY on the Erie Canal, Saturday, August 5, 2000
Sam was to be at the boat at 7:30am if he could make it, and he
did. We pulled out at 8:40 or
so, trying to be at the Federal Lock at 9am.
We had bought 6 of the plastic bags with straw inside to use as
ancillary fenders, like we did in 1997.
We were ready for the rough walls of the Erie Canal locks.
At Waterford we stopped at the
new Welcome Center. One lady,
sitting outside at a picnic table, asked us if we wanted to go inside.
We said “yes”, and she started looking for a key.
Eventually she got the door open, and we went inside and upstairs. The place was a disappointment because it was so small and
had such a little bit to offer other than a nice structure and a dock.
By the way, overnight dockage was available at no charge there.
We got to the boat just as the
Lock Number 2 (first on the Ere Canal) was opening, so we didn't have to
wait. We locked through
some other boats, and we again marveled at the height change, 168 feet in
1.6 miles, of those first five locks. Just above Lock No 6, we let Sam off at a terminal where we
could get to shore without going aground.
A friend of his picked him up.
The canal had several of those ‘terminals’, and we found they
were good places to tie up for a while or for the night.
At 7pm we tied up at the
terminal in Amsterdam, NY. It
looked to be the site of the Riverfront Center, which was described in our
1999 Waterways Guide as slated for completion in 1999.
It was started but not completed.
We only needed to tie up to their docks, which we did.
It was free of charge, and we saw no traffic at all after 7pm, even
though the locks were open until 10:30pm.
We paid $40 cash for two,
two-day canal passes, which were checked
at most locks by the lockmaster. The
lockmasters seemed more friendly on the 2000 trip, compared to 1997.
We went through 10 locks for the day.
The weather had been wonderful: sunny with a few clouds, 80 degrees
or so, cool NW breeze at 5-10 mph.
to Ilion, NY, Sunday, August 6, 2000
The present-day Erie Canal is the same as the
Mohawk River at times; at times it’s a man-made canal alongside the
Mohawk River. At Rome, NY the
Mohawk River is perpendicular to the canal, and the two are not related
west of there. Some people
make the distinction between the New York State Barge Canal now and the
Erie Canal from long ago, which is today seen occasionally as ruins in a
few places. The chart book we
followed described the waterway thus: New York State Barge Canal System
Erie Canal, and New York State Barge Canal System Oswego Canal, etc.
We did see some ruins, but mostly we couldn’t get to them because
we were on a boat.
One such example occurred just
after Amsterdam. I was
up at 7am, and we departed at 9am. The waterways Guide said at Marker 229 there was a temporary
daytime dock to facilitate going ashore to see a double lock from the old
Erie Canal. We could see the
Schoharie Crossing State Historical Site from the water.
We could see the end of a lock, which was higher than the present
canal. But there was no dock,
and we were not interested in getting in too close to shore where large
rocks were plainly visible. An
attendant told us we could dock a few miles down and walk 20 minutes back,
but we did not feel like doing that.
It takes a while to secure the boat, and we did not have the hour
or so it would have taken to walk there and back.
The weather had deteriorated
from the previous day. It was
61F at Albany at 7am, and at Ilion it was 63F at 5pm.
Rain and strong winds were forecast and did occur in the evening,
causing the cancellation of a planned fireworks display at the Ilion
Marina. It started out cloudy
and overcast, then cleared from 11-1.
Rain started at 1pm, and it continued, mostly light, the rest of
We went through 8 locks for the
day. We tended to have the
same boats in the locks with us. A
NY (or NJ) boat named Raven Hull was
traveling the Erie Canal to Lake Oneida, where the parents of two small
boys planned a vacation. We
met the captain, Steve, at Troy. They
tended to travel fast, even though the canal speed limit was 10 mph. Also from NY, Island
Dreams was a 40+ footer by Silverton.
We first saw them at the Federal Lock.
The AR couple in the DeFever began towing a smaller boat, which
name I didn’t understand. The
small boat was a friend of Island
Dreams. They developed
rudder problems and could not steer, so Lady
MJ towed them alongside their port side for the day and evening and
the next morning. At Lock 17,
Lady MJ had to back in, since no tying up on the starboard side was
The end of the day found us in
an area without much in the way of marinas and repair yards.
We passed the terminal at Little Falls, which would have been a
great free dockage. The other three boats stopped at Herkimer at the
terminal there. We needed
water, so we went on to Ilion, where we had stayed before in 1997.
The harbormaster found a spot for us, after telling us earlier he
was full; so we stayed the night there.
They had most of their dock space taken up by the barge which was
to have been used for the fireworks display.
People are so friendly on the
waterways. We needed water,
and we were given water at The Ilion Marina without charge.
Later we decided to stay there, but if we had moved on they would
have been just as nice. They charged $0.85 per foot for the night, including 50-amp,
to Brewerton, NY, Monday, August 7, 2000
The early morning was rainy and foggy, with temperatures in the
mid-60s. We pulled out at
9am, and it cleared up and was a delightful day.
I started running on only the port engine.
At 1500 RPM with both engines, we made 8-8.5 knots.
With one engine running at about the same RPM, we could make 7
knots and use half the fuel. I
needed to equalize our hour meters, too.
Also, the weather was so pleasant, we would turn off the generator
during the day and only run it to cook and cool the refrigerator for a few
hours in the evening and the morning.
We went through 4 locks, numbers
19-22. The first two were
“up” locks, which brought us to the highest level on the Erie Canal,
420 feet above sea level, at Rome, NY.
The later two were down locks which brought us to Oneida Lake.
We crossed the lake, over 20 miles of open water, and pulled into
ESS-Kay Yards at Brewerton.
Kim met us at the dock.
She helped us get pumped out, fueled up, and plugged in at a slip
on the Oneida River. I had
emailed Kim several times since our stay there in 1997, and she knew we
were coming. She also fixed us up with some diesel oil, charts for the
Lake Ontario and St Lawrence Seaway, and miscellaneous other supplies.
Also, her assistant took Angela to the grocery store while I
checked our email. Their
charges were $1 per foot per night, including 50-amp, 220volt power; $1.38
per gallon for diesel; and no charge for the pumpout.
Jack, from Vero Beach, FL, off
the cruiser next to us, loaned us a video on the Trent Severn Waterway.
We watched it after dinner and returned it to him.
He and his wife and daughter had been from Florida to Lake Superior
and were on their way back to Florida.
to Cape Vincent, NY, Tuesday, August 8, 2000
The weather forecast was for deteriorating conditions, so I wanted
to get across Lake Ontario before the winds and waves picked up.
Staying in Oswego also didn’t appeal to me; we had done that in
1997 and were disappointed there.
We left Brewerton at 7:30am, and
we went through one lock (down 7 feet) on the Erie Canal.
That brought us to the Three Rivers area, named for the junction of
the Oneida River (which we were on), the Seneca River (Erie Canal to the
west to Buffalo, NY), and the Oswego River, or Oswego Canal, which we took
to Lake Ontario. There were 7
locks on the Oswego, numbered 1 – 8 (no number 5).
These lowered us about 111 feet.
The elevation of Lake Ontario was about 245 feet above sea level.
On the Erie Canal each lock has
ropes hanging down the sides with a weight on the end of each rope.
The ropes are about 30 feet apart on both sides of most locks.
On the Oswego Canal, we found black cables, about 1 inch in
diameter, positioned about 30 feet apart, and recessed in a channel in the
lock wall. You could run one
rope end under the cable and back to the boat, or you could run a looped
rope under the cable. Some
Oswego locks had only cables; some had ropes and cables.
We entered Lake Ontario at
1:30pm. The ride was very
nice, although we had a little trouble with the navigation.
Our GPS gave identical readings to those on the chart, so I learned
again to trust it. We arriver
in Cape Vincent, NY at 5pm.
There were a couple of marinas
there, but we thought we would try something different.
There were two free docks, and I think we got the very last slip,
which was at the state fisheries dock.
There was a small sailboat behind us with 4 young people on it.
The state used the area in the middle for their boat.
On the other side were two larger sailboats.
Dennis and Louise had one of
those sailboats, and they were among those who helped us tie up.
They were from Ottawa, doing the first cruise on their 36’ Nonesuch
exchanged calling cards, and Dennis offered to show us Ottawa if they were
there when we arrived.
We walked to Capt. Jack’s
Restaurant and enjoyed the small town along the way.
There were several historic homes there which were very attractive.
The flowers and trees were great.
The food at the restaurant was large on quantity and not great on
quality. We ate a large meal
and took enough back with us to have at least one more large meal.
We bought a few grocery items on the way back to the boat.
After we finished with the
generator, we opened the front hatch and the back windows.
We were barely asleep when the rain started, so we got up and
crossed the windows and hatches.
Vincent, NY to Morrisburg, Ontario, Canada, Wednesday, August 9, 2000
The winds picked up overnight, south, at
20-30 knots. The boat moving
into and away from the dock waked us up.
I went out at 5am and found one fender floating in the water –
the rope had become untied. I retied it and went back to bed. The next time I went out, another fender was floating in the
water. The boat was being
pushed into the dock, and then pushed over in such a manner the ropes were
being pulled out of the fenders.
We got up and got moving,
leaving at 7:45am. We stayed
inside the village breakwater until Angela put down all the breakables;
then we planed off and headed down the St Lawrence River.
Our cruise guide recommended the Canada Middle Channel through the
Thousand Islands, so we took that route.
We left the St Lawrence at the
Wolfe Island Cut, which led us to the choppy Middle Channel.
After a few minutes of rough water, we entered the Admiralty
Islands and wound our way through some delightful narrow channels.
The channel between Forsyth Island and Hay Island included an
island large enough for just one house.
Of course, that is not uncommon for the Thousand Islands area, but
it was breathtaking to see it all in our own boat!
We approached the Canadian town
of Gananoque, Ontario and turned east towards Jackstraw Shoal Light.
We meandered south past Scorpion Island to Sugar Island, one of the
Lake Fleet Islands (these islands were named for the Navy after the War of
1812). Some places on the
charts would have depths of 48, 54, 29, 84, 2, 3 feet, with no markers to
show you the 2- or the 3-foot places.
It was scary, but fun if you knew where you were.
We got brave and went between
Prince Regent Island and Princess Charlotte Island, and then we turned
back towards Gananoque through the Narrows channel.
We turned east again and went around Stave and Hickey Islands (the
Navy Islands group), following a deep-water channel between Collier and
Otty Islands, Downie and Ninette and Mulcaster Islands, and Island 65 and
Spilsbury Island. There was
an attractive state park on Mulcaster Island.
Our easterly route took us
between Lynedoch and Wallace Islands and down the Raft Narrows.
We passed Club and Yeo Islands and turned back to the south and SW
to Alexandria Bay. We saw an Uncle Sam Tour Boat like the one we rode in 1997.
We had to
go by and photograph Boldt Castle on Heart Island; what a beautiful place.
We toured it on our 1997 Cruise, and now we were seeing it from our
We did not stop at Alexandria
Bay but turned instead downstream on the St Lawrence River.
We arrived at the first lock, the Iroquois Lock, a
guard lock with
very little drop, say one foot. The
approach wall was huge, and at the left end of it there was a sign.
It said recreational vessels should proceed to the pleasure-boat
dock to the right and phone the lockmaster.
(In Canada they don’t use VHF radios; you tie up and hope they
saw you.) I made a mistake
and put Angela ashore at the pay phone along the approach wall; it was a
difficult maneuver. A
Seaway truck happened along, and the driver pointed out the pleasure-boat
dock on the right of the Seaway, not the right of the sign.
Once we got tied up at the
little floating dock, we shut down the engines and read the LCD flashing
sign in front of us, in alternately English and French.
It said to use the telephone to call the lockmaster, which is what
the earlier sign, the Seaway employee, and our cruise guide all said.
When we walked up the ramp to the phone, we opened the door to the
telephone and saw this sign: “Call the lockmaster on VHF Channel 68”.
We did, and were told they would
open the lock doors in about 15 minutes; they were doing some maintenance.
When we passed through the lock, we paid $10 for passage.
They would take either US or Canadian money.
By 3:30pm we were tied up at the
fuel dock at Crysler Park
Marina, run by the St Lawrence Parks Commission.
We bought 753 liters of diesel at $0.70CAN per liter, or about $
1.78 per gallon US. Their
slip fee was about $0.84 US per foot and included electricity, but the
young people running the place didn’t seem to know very much about it.
I tried to get 50-amp power where they said it was, but I had never
seen plugs like that before (four-prong) and they had no adaptors.
So, we used two 30-amp plugs.
We called the Canadian Customs officials by using their
1-888-CANPASS phone number, a simple and efficient procedure.
Angela had a headache, so she
took a short nap. I started
the laundry, and then I got down in the engine room and cleaned it up.
There was some oil and rust left over from the recent engine
repairs, and I wanted to get it cleaned.
There were no leaks under the rebuilt engine.
The flat floor section above the bilge had been damaged during the
repairs; I would need some fiberglass work done in Houston to strengthen
When Angela woke up we had
dinner and listened to it rain. Then
we did some more laundry and retired for the night.
Ontario to Ste Anne de Bellevue, Quebec, Thursday, August 10, 2000
We left Crysler Park Marina at 7:45am.
The St Lawrence River is wide, deep, and very impressive. The downstream locks were Eisenhower and Snell, run by the
United States, and Beauharnois, Upper and Lower, run by Canada.
The numbering system was 7 down to 1; we went through number 7
Wednesday. On Thursday we
went through Locks 6, 5, 4, and 3. The
final two would take one beyond Montreal and the Ottawa River, so we
didn’t transit those two. I was surprised to learn that the St Lawrence is basically at
sea level below Montreal. It
only drops a foot or so from Montreal to Quebec City to the Atlantic
We arrived at the Eisenhower
Lock (42-foot drop) at 9am. It
was ready for us, and we tied up to the south wall, our starboard side.
They waited for several other boats to arrive before locking us
through, and they rafted up several smaller boats behind us.
After three miles we went through the Snell Lock (45-foot drop)
with basically the same arrangement.
I had two Canadian $20’s, but could only find one, which I paid
the US lockkeepers. At those
two locks we were required to wear life preservers and procedures were
We went through Locks 4 and 3
(both 42 foot drops) between 2 and 3pm rafted up with two other boats, and
there were several rafts ahead of us.
We were then in Quebec, and several
differences were apparent. We
were not required to wear life preservers, procedures were loose and
friendly, French was the language heard most often, and everyone was
having a good time. Since I could not find my other Canadian $20, I paid the
Canadians with a US $20.
We had Lac Saint-Louis to
traverse, and I used a small-craft channel that was shallow, but soon we
were at the lock at St Anne de Bellevue. I believe our elevation then was 66.8 feet above sea level.
We were on the Ile de Montreal, but we were 30 minutes drive west
of the downtown area. That
was a Parks Canada lock, and I bought a season pass for $7 CAN per foot,
or about $208 US. That
covered our lock fees for all the rest of the locks in Canada.
We tied up to a floating dock in the lock, manned by an attendant,
and shut off our engines. The lock lifted us a foot or so, and we tied up to the upper
wall of the lock for the evening.
At that point we had traversed
36 locks on Trip 6: 1 on the Hudson River, 22 on the Erie Canal, 7 on the
Oswego Canal, five on the St Lawrence River, and that one at St Anne de
We were a long way from Houston,
Texas; and a lot of people stopped at the boat and asked us about our
trip. The Canadians we met
were very friendly and courteous. Several
times we were told “you are welcome here”, which we appreciated.
We knew friends in the area who
came out to meet us at the boat. We
walked to a nearby restaurant with our French-Canadian friends and had a
great meal. It was located on
the canal just downstream of the lock.
The doors and windows were all open to the night air.
The Italian restaurant seemed French, and the food was French-good.
The weather all day was very
nice, perhaps 80 degrees F for the high, with a cool breeze out of the
west. We slept with the
windows open and the generator off.