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Closing Time

We are docked in Cobourg, Ontario. We are a day away from Toronto.
We ended locking on the Erie Canal at Oswego on Sunday afternoon. The next day, after stepping the mast in position we proceeded along the south shore of Lake Ontario stopping in Sodus Bay, our favourite anchorage on this lake and the Rochester Yacht Club for two nights.
It is fair to say that we are having mixed feelings at this point. We are excited to return home but, at the same time, somewhat sad that we are closing this chapter of our cruising life. We expect a bit of an adjustment returning to our city life after living happily for so many months in a cocoon.
Adagio I will be docked in Toronto for the Summer but, in the Fall, we will return her to Brewerton on the Erie Canal to position her strategically for our cruise down the St Lawrence and the Maritime Provinces in 2015. We will keep you posted.

Locking up the Erie Canal

After spending two nights in Waterford, immediately north of the Hudson, we started locking through the Erie Canal on Wednesday morning. Keeping the boat in position  proved to be a little more demanding going up as the locks filled up with water. In addition, we had to dodge a lot of deadwood. The scenery continued to be pastoral but rather wet. It rained cats and dogs for three days. We should count ourselves so lucky! A major part of he canal was shut down right after our transit because of high water levels. We were quite concerned about this eventuality and luckily we escaped.

We were very impressed by the work undertaken all the way along the canal. It is in part, still, to repair damage caused by hurricane Irene which struck the canal in 2011. In addition, there is great deal of dredging being done to improve some shallow passages. One has to be thankful for the highway tolls on the New York Thruway which we understand pay for these undertakings.

We are now in Brewerton checking the boatyard where we will return the Big Girl in the Fall for winter storage. We are satisfied with  the general operation. Tomorrow, we will lock through the Oswego leg of the canal which will bring us to the shore of Lake Ontario on the American side. We are definitely on the home stretch.


Beautiful Hudson River

There is no letdown after leaving New York and its unique and breathtaking skyline!

After three days of cruising, we are agreed that the Hudson is the most beautiful waterway we have cruised over the last two years. We have just completed our third day on the river and are docked just north of the Catskills. The scenery is stunning. It is, at the same time, pastoral and robust. Shortly, after exiting New York, one can admire the Palisades, cliffs which run for twenty miles with a range of 200 to 540 feet high. Most of the way, there are deciduous forests with impressive mountains in behind. Often we get a peek at beautiful mansions on the hills. In the background, there are trains running and major highways but they are well camouflaged.

We are making good progress in spite of the fact that we are going up river. On average, the current slows us down by two nautical miles per hour. We are two days away from the Erie canal. In preparation for this leg of our trip we have taken down our mast.

The Big Apple

We arrived in New York  just a few hours before a forecasted thunderstorm materialized. By then, we were docked securely at Liberty Landing Marina in Jersey City across from Manhattan. It is an understatement to say that the Big Apple skyline is very impressive particularly from the vantage point of one’s own boat. In addition, I would equate the challenge of navigating this  harbour to driving in rush hour in the busiest cities!

Yesterday we spent a wonderful day in the city. First, we went to visit the 9/11 Memorial. It is simple and done in good taste. We were both very touched. We gave the museum a miss as it has just opened to the public and the lineups were extensive. We walked through the Wall Street district, Soho and Greenwich Village. We chose to go to Little Italy for lunch and have not eaten much since then! The highlight of our day was walking through the High Line park/trail. It is an elevated park that has been developed on what was a railway track crossing New York to deliver goods but rendered redundant by truck transport. The park is one of the legacies of the Bloomberg administration. It makes a Torontonian very envious of good government and imagination!

Today had its frustrations because of the heavy rains we experienced until mid afternoon. As planned, we are leaving to go up the Hudson River tomorrow.

Cruising along the Jersey Shore

We have just arrived at Manasquan Inlet after a twelve hour trip from Cape May. We started off at 0530 with the sunrise and had good weather conditions but  strong winds and swells in the afternoon. We are planning the be in New York by tomorrow afternoon. We were trying to get ahead off thunderstorms forecasted for later on Tuesday but the picture has now improved.

We reached the top of Chesapeake Bay last Friday and overnighted at Delaware City at the top of Delaware Bay. The Delaware Bay is one which one should cross well prepared. It is all a matter of finding a propitious window that factors in the current, the tide and the direction and the intensity of the wind. Interestingly, the manager of the small marina gives a daily briefing on the conditions expected for the following day. It was very informative with all sorts of computer models but, I think, in the end, it may have been a case of  too much information. Of the four boats at the briefing we were the only one which left at 0530 on Saturday morning. I will admit we are a heavy weather boat! As it turned out, the conditions were better than the forecast.

We arrived in the Cape May canal by 1300 and stayed at a marina  with one of the biggest commercial fishing fleets we have seen in this part of the world. Sunday was a day of rest and visiting with our long time friends Ross and Mickey Wilson. We walked through the old Cape May with its beautiful colourful houses with gingerbread trim. 

Our stop in the Big Apple will be short before we proceed to the Hudson river and the Erie Canal.


Boat with a View in Baltimore

We are docked in the inner harbour of Baltimore at a marina which is reserved exclusively for transient boaters. This stop warrants a five star review! We have been charmed by this city!

Just looking outside we have the best view possible of Baltimore’s skyline. We have parkland sloping up  from the waterside. We are also connected to  a boardwalk which takes us a long distance around the harbour. We also rode the core city bus system which is free of charge.

 The juxtaposition of modern and old  is stunning. A great effort has gone into preserving and refurbishing historical  buildings . The waterfront is definitely a people’s place. Even midweek, it is very busy. We chose to walk and tour some interesting neighbourhoods including Little Italy, the much gentrified Harbor East and Fell’s Point quite funky with its shops and restaurants. We also walked uptown to the Lexington Market  where, many years ago, J.E. had feasted on oysters after the conclusion of a business deal. The place is still as basic as ever, the food being the main attraction!

We will be underway tomorrow. We are trying to get to Cape May by next Saturday.


A week of cruising in the Chesapeake

We  are anchored  on the Wye River, on the Eastern Shore of Chesapeake Bay. We have had a wonderful week of poking around switching from the Eastern shore to the Western shore. We anchored out most of the time. A simple map does not do justice to the immensity of this body of water and its many tributaries. Except for a brief but incredible thunderstorm accompanied by 50 knot winds and hail, last Thursday, we have been blessed with excellent weather.

We went to fishing places  such as  the town of Crisfield and Smith Island where crabbing is the only economic activity. Smith Island which we toured by bicycle is a dry community with a strong Methodist streak which really has not moved on beyond the 1950s. It has its charm but also its limitations! Residents have to go to the mainland, a good 45 minutes away, to buy groceries and high school students have their own ferry to take them to school in Crisfield  .

On the western shore, we spent two days in the Solomons area which is known as  a mecca for boaters in the Bay. It takes some getting used to the scenery because of the density of housing along the shore and a vegetation that is pastoral if not manicured. There is a great deal of tolerance with respect to people anchoring relatively close to shore in proximity of people’s backyard.

We have tried to stay away over the last two days from the more popular areas such as St Michaels, Oxford and Cambridge as it is Memorial Day weekend in the USA. Today was the first day with significant boat traffic . One can only imagine what it is like in the summer.

 We will proceed north early this week with a planned stop in  Baltimore which we did not visit in 2012. Tonight we are celebrating the Captain’s birthday!

Mile 0 , Norfolk, Virginia

We are at anchor at Norfolk, having ended our trek on the ICW. We are not sorry to be done with “the ditch”. I have to say that it was a much more enjoyable journey than the one we experienced in the Fall 2012. We had perfect weather  except for last Friday. That day, we had torrential rains with gale force wind which precluded a crossing of the Albemarle Sound. This Sound, in spite of  being on the ICW is quite exposed to weather and, because it is shallow it whips itself into quite a mess. A crossing under these conditions can be quite problematic and we decided to give it a miss.

Tomorrow we are heading to Deltaville. Chesapeake Bay here we come!


Such a beautiful Journey!

This is day eleven on the  Intracoastal Water Waterway. After several stops at marinas along the way, we decided to anchor out a short distance from the waterway between Oriental and Belhaven in North Carolina. It is a nice change from the unavoidable  promiscuity of tying to a dock.

We have had a wonderful trip along the way. We have smelled the fragrance of lilacs in full bloom, observed many ospreys attending to their nests and we are eating the local strawberries!  We particularly enjoyed Georgetown, South Carolina. It is a charming small town that has succeeded in keeping its downtown alive with shops and restaurants without looking touristy.

There is no comparison with the trip we took in November 2012. I went back to my journal and found a litany of complaints about poor weather, rain and cold. It is still quite hot but less so in comparison to Florida and it does cool down at night. The boat traffic is really light. We can only surmise that we are somewhat behind  the pack returning home.

We are about 160 statute miles from the top of the Intracoastal Waterway. We should be in Chesapeake Bay by early next week at the latest.