Shelly’s inspirations of the day, here at Edgewater Yacht Club, Cleveland OH.
Shelly’s inspirations of the day, here at Edgewater Yacht Club, Cleveland OH.
Our PredictWind app is the most helpful tool in passage planning. It shows current wind conditions and those coming up hours or days ahead of time.
For the first time in days waves are less than 2-4 feet, winds under 12mph, and this day will be only getting better as it progresses! Tomorrow is looking good too. So we are only staying one night at Geneva OH.
Special thanks to Teresa, a sweetheart and local history buff who runs the place with her husband Eric. Also Neil and Ed, two TowBoatUS captains based out of this marina who are generous with their knowledge of weather and waters of Lake Erie.
Clean, hot showers, and laundry that actually works! Solid docks.
If you need to be holed up for five nights like us, this is the place you wanna be!
Hal and Laurie Goldschlag of Gemini, and Chris and Mary Kelleher (w/ 4-legged crew member “Skipper”) of Cashelmara… joined us for a tour of the historic Maritime Museum here on the waterfront of Erie PA.
Worth of mention: Cashelmara is Gaelic for “House of Mary” and a favorite book by that title inspired the boat’s name!
In addition to the great social exchange hanging out with new friends, I picked up:
Here you can see our boat in her slip in Erie PA.
Here you can see the new thru-hull fitting that Ron helped me install a couple nights ago after dinner. First the inside view, the second pic shows the outside view (starboard side).
Tonight, as you can see, I got the hose connected from the anchor locker. This system was leaking water on to our carpet by our bed! So, it is great to have this permanently fixed.
The white tape over the port side thru-hull fitting will be removed as soon as we are certain no more water comes into our boat through the new starboard side fitting. That port fitting is where the seawater return is for the forward A/C unit. (That unit is temporarily decommissioned to ensure it is not a contributing factor to the wet carpet mystery.)
Here is a pic of my work space. My “trademark” seascape background, and the boat’s Internet combine to make me productive from anywhere.
These two cell tower antennas give me 4G TLE bandwidth everywhere we go for Zoom meetings, IP Phone calls, Outlook, MS Team calls, whatever I need to do my job!
Anyway Thursday was a busy work day, and I like that!
Large wind farm near Dunkirk NY. Turning slowly… (good for boaters!)
Impressive Dredging operation at the entrance to Erie PA.
We also had a great dinner with Ron and Karen of Knot Ready, a Mainship 390 just like ours! We even recruited Ron’s help to do a new thru-hull fitting (above the waterline) install on the starboard bow after dinner. It was great to compare notes on our very similar yachts. It is for the drain to our anchor rode locker. Water was leaking in underway, so we temporarily covered it up. With Ron’s help, we are one step closer to that being fixed!
We got up early and then pushed off at 6:30 a.m. for a 4-hour trip. The wind was only 10 or 11 knots, (out of the north) but the waves were 2+ feet and would be broadside for the whole trip. It would have been a long and uncomfortable passage had we kept going.
We turned back in, and were secured at the slip by 7:30am.
4 weeks today since we pushed off on this trip.
89.03 engine hours (1578.83)
Trip odometer (GPS) 537.5 nm
Home-made pizza tonight.
We are not starvin’ on this trip! The chef has been very good!
It has been a long time since I included a sunset pic. So, here you go.
Good to see the new dinghy davit handling the load really well!
If you look carefully on the horizon in front of this sailboat, you’ll see a wind farm. None of the wind turbines were turning this noontime as we exited the Niagara River and introduced our boat to Lake Erie. And that fact was just fine by us!
This lake has a reputation for unpredictably kicking up a storm. But, fortunately for us, this lake has only small ripples upon it now. It has actually become calmer as the afternoon progressed! Atypical.
Today’s destination is Dunkirk, about a 40 mile run dock to dock.
ETA 4:15 at the fuel dock.
It is back to work tomorrow! I’ll be working from the boat slip at the marina in this town.
We fueled up, almost making it to Full. We took the last of their diesel fuel. They only carry 1000 gallons, we got the last 73 or so.
(534.7 nautical miles on this trip so far.)
Shelly is excited to have locks behind us for a while. Lots of work!
“Peace Bridge” across to Canada.
We are finally underway again after six days and nights at West Canal Marina Park.
We found a marina for tonight with laundry on-site! How exciting!
Here is the last sign on the Erie Canal: I-190 Bridge over the Niagara River.
Here you can see we traversed the last few miles of the western Erie Canal, then look a left to head south on the Niagara River towards Buffalo and Lake Erie.
Tomorrow, we’ll get an early start for Dunkirk NY on the south shore of our first Great Lake.
We have been 3x impressed with Instacart.com.
They have a great and easy to navigate website; you pick your vendor where you want to shop, select all your items and in about an hour they deliver to our boat! (Or home or camper or what have you!)
Thank you today to Beth, Kylitha on Monday’s order, and Laura for last Friday’s order… which was our first Instacart order. Great service.
You might want to give this a try where you live!
Eric and Sharon are a couple whom we met early on in our Loop experience. We have docked near them 2 or 3 times now!
We are so excited to share this video with you, as they are going along with us! We are seeing much the same sights.
If you like their content, join us in hitting their [Subscribe] button!
So, living on a boat! What a life! It’s all such a great life!
Well, in the name of honesty and journalistic integrity, we have to report that its not all fun and games. There are weather events, and systems that fail. Like the the HEAD!
There are a number of head pics that we definitely don’t want to publish. But, I guess this one is benign enough.
We have a Jabsco Electric Head “maintenance kit” coming in… shipped to this marina. It is expected Thursday. We were hoping for “next day” but it looks like we’ll be here a bit longer than we planned, in order to get the parts.
At first, several hours were expended trying to find a pro who could fix this for us. But it eventually became clear, it was going to be necessary for ME to become the expert who will fix this system.
Every marina in metro Buffalo has a two to three week backlog of service orders ahead of us. We cannot wait here for two weeks or more! So I gotta fix this thing!
More to follow.
Parts arrived (UPS delivery issues experienced there… long story.)
Head is rebuilt and working!
But there is a leak to chase down before we can declare total victory.
At least it is better to remove a Head with clean test water in it than… well… what I had to deal with last evening! LOL
After a second Uber trip to the local hardware store to secure nuts and bolts the correct size to improve the flange connection of the electric motor to the pump and macerator housing (for a better seal than original design), Ray declares, “What are the chances for a leak now? ZERO!?!”
Seriously, there is NO WAY this sucker is going to leak now!
I would like to thank my Admiral Shelly, and Uber Drivers: Ahmed, Antoine, Taylor, William, and Kannan, as well as the sales associate and warehouse shippers at Defender.com who made our Head rebuild job a success! We really could not have done it without you! I also have to thank Jabsco’s “Mike” in their USA Beverly MA center for his telephone support today!
Back in business!
One key to happiness in life:
This double lock has two chambers, 3 Gates, (the ominous 50 foot high middle gate is shared between the two. If Lock 17 doesn’t intimidate you, this one will when looking up from the bottom.
Both are old but remarkable engineering accomplishments.
Lockport’s twin locks have a combined lift is just shy of 50 feet. (Lock 17 was 40.5 feet with its single chamber.)
In a busy port, we had a more complex transit than we were accustomed to. But we just followed the excursion boat Lockview through the slightly more complicated process.
The lower chamber floods.
Once the lower chamber is flooded, the gates open and we enter next to the boats going down. Then they move to the lower chamber which will be going down while we are going up.
Once our upper chamber is finished flooding, the gates open and we are free to continue westward … 50 feet higher than we were 20 minutes ago, and 540 feet higher than we were 3 weeks ago!
These are our final locks on the Erie Canal.
A little west, the excursion boat Lockview which we followed into and out of the locks today, asked that we slow and allow them to turn around to head back to Lockport with their 40 or so passengers.
We stopped for the night with John and Christine of YOLO here at the West Canal Marina Park facilities, operated by Niagara County, near Tonawanda NY. (This marina is just over the town line in Pendleton NY.)
There are only 5.37 miles of Erie Canal remaining for us to the west. Then we enter the Niagara River in Tonawanda. After about 10 miles of the Niagara River we’ll be in Buffalo on Lake Erie with Ontario Canada on the north shore, and four US states to the south and west: NY, PA, OH, and MI.
We put the aft camera up on top of our canvas for a few hours to show you the close clearances of these low bridges on the western Erie Canal.
Southbound Culvert Road
Northbound Culvert Road under Erie Canal. Medina NY. (Courtesy Google Earth.)
Another friendly and hospitable canal community with near-free tie up, showers, and electric for the night.
Free “Borrow a Bike” at the Visitor’s Center shown here with some local art.
Some Stats so far:
71 hours on the engine since we left (a third of the way to an oil change).
439 nautical miles
Another boat from Lindenhurst NY passed by us this week saying, “Shellerina, We know that boat!” Shelly was sitting out on the deck and was able to exchange a brief greeting and acknowledgement with the others on the passing boat. It’s too bad they did not stop to exchange stories and contact info.
These two locks come up just west of town where we stayed the last two nights in Pittsford NY. ((There is also a good pump out station just west of town, but we’ll spare you videos of that!
After these, there are only two locks left on the Erie Canal, both in Lockport. We will pass those tomorrow and stay overnight in Tonawanda.
Then, south of Tonawanda there is one more “Black Rock” lock in the lower Niagra River.
“Lake Erie, here we come!”
Ray had quite a few work meetings today, and Shelly needed a break.
Here are the bottom contours produced by our chart plotter as we approached Lock E30, and two “heat maps” given to us by the lock master at E29.
Local TV news story:
We are secured to a “free wall” in Pittsford NY tonight with TWO other Mainship 390 Trawlers just like ours! Green Eyed Lady and Knot Ready are tied up to the municipal dock in the village of Pittsford tonight. All three are the same make and model! We also made friends underway with the owners of GraceSea underway today, and they are tied up here too this evening.
We love this port so much, we’ll stay here for two nights and check out the town tomorrow!
So, “Why are we feeling so relieved and accomplished?”
Two “potential problems” are now permanently behind us!
There is a problem between locks E29-E30 with a failed dam (blowout) on this segment. Water levels are therefore a full 4 feet below normal.
This makes it closed to all traffic that requires 5ft of draft or more. And I would say boats with more than 3.5 feet of draft should stay away.
We passed slowly, without incident, and the other two Mainship 390s succeeded as well.
Having this behind us is a HUGE relief!
The other is having Bridge E123 in Wayneboro NY behind us. It has a vertical clearance of only 15.7 feet… which is the LOWEST fixed bridge clearance of the whole America’s Great Loop. Some boats opt for Canadian waters just avoid these low bridges on the western Erie Canal.
We decided to lower our canvas to be certain not to hit bridge E123.
We are so glad to have these potential problem spots behind us!
So, why were you guys holed up in Baldwinsville for 3 nights?
We were waiting for the delivery of another pair of Eartec full-duplex headsets.
The admiral has determined that this communication system between the helm (me) and the person handling the lines as we lock (her) is “essential equipment“.
As such, if a headset was to be lost overboard, that headset needs to be replaced. Perfectly logical.
When you live on a boat, many “little” things like shipping out a package or receiving a package becomes much more complicated.
Updated report: today, with a newly replaced pair of headsets, (in between customer calls) we successfully negotiated Locks E25, E26, E27, E28A and B with our wireless COM System! Thanks again to Eric and C&S for helping provide a ship-to address for us!
The next question is this: “Does the new replacement headset now have a lanyard to prevent it from going overboard?”
The short answer is, “Yes.”
The western Erie canal is known for a few low vertical clearance fixed bridges. Two of our antennas hit one which had a published clearance of 18 feet. So, before we got to the next one (E93) with a published clearance of 16 feet, we took down some antennas and the radar mast.
We re-took some measurements and we re-confirmed that we require 14.5 feet with the canvas up. The lowest bridge is 15.7 feet.
That wasn’t comforting going under E93, the 16 foot bridge! We may lower the canvas a bit when we get to the lowest bridge.
We simply do not want to damage anything, so we are being extra careful.
Long time friend, Eric Quinn, and I have been talking about a rendezvous near his home on the Erie Canal for a year or two.
Covid19 and an emergency appendectomy may have interfered a bit, but tonight on Shellerina’s westward quest we met up with Eric, his wife Nicole, son Kyle, and daughter Taylor. We welcomed them aboard Shellerina and pushed off to the east a bit to navigate under a favorite 1-lane “Bonta Bridge“.
Both Kyle and Taylor worked their shifts behind the upper helm. They used both the bow thruster and the hydraulic steering-wheel systems to keep us free of flotsam on the canal.
The prize was to pass beneath their favorite 1-lane Bonta Bridge which I have never been over. But reportedly, it is quite an adventure, especially when another vehicle wants to cross in the opposite direction!
Kyle has been over this bridge countless times. But I think this was his first time passing under it!!!
Eric Quinn, aka “Dad”, still recovering from surgery a few days ago, served as navigator so we would know where to go, and how to get back before the skies opened up on us with a bit of “liquid” sunshine.
We also had the opportunity to meet Eric’s parents, Larry and Janet, back at the wall near Rte 34.
Logistics expert Eric also coordinated the “final mile” delivery of our “marriage savers” communication headsets. More on that system tomorrow!
A good day… back “On the road again!”
I walked back into town with our radar scanner, to ship it back to Raymarine in NH. It failed Friday night with an error code saying the scanner was not rotating.
It is turning out to be a hot one.
We did not progress any miles on the Erie Canal today, as we had to stay to pick up a package being shipped to nearby C&S Engineers tomorrow. Next lock is 30 miles away, so progressing would only increase the Uber charges! Shipping the package ahead would have made overnight delivery impossible?!?! So we are staying put to receive our package tomorrow. More on what is in the package later!
We did some cleaning and organizing of the salon (aka Living Room) … taking full advantage of the boat’s A/C! (The Bloody Mary didn’t slow Shelly down one bit! LOL)
However, we then brought our laundry into town to feed some quarters into the machines… only to find there was no A/C at the laundromat. That was tough.
We Uber’d back to the boat simply because of the heat, and we also picked up some provisions. We are going to have to buy one of those folding wagons, to help carry “stuff” I think.
All in all, Baldwinsville NY has been a great town to be holed up in for a couple days! We’ll never forget this place!
Angry Garlic is the happening place in this lock town, and they had this SIMI Cab on their wine list (one of our faves).
Shelly and I have visited the SIMI Vineyards in Sonoma Valley CA.
In this town, the lock itself is right down town! And they have a free overnight floating dock to tie up to. Shore power is a modest $5/night (honor system).
Marcy, our waitress, is the best; and they have live music inside (just the right volume level for us out here on the sidewalk).
Marcy and restaurant owner, Jeff, are pictured here with us.
Here is another Simi connection from S-Dock!
(Corporate requires that I appear in at least 2% of our blog posts, so here is the obligatory pic!)
A gent just pulled up to the curb next to our table with this nice quiet ride. [Not]
We thanked him for completing his parking job. <grin>
Seriously it is a fine bike that got a LOT of admirers during our tenure on this sidewalk.
Here are some close-ups:
Basically, this has been a great “date” night-on-the-town here at E24 on the Erie Canal!
We arrived at a significant intersection today, with a decision to be made:
Shall we continue west on the western Erie Canal?
Head up the Oswego Canal to Lake Ontario?
This sign post shows the point of choice.
Here it is on the chartplotter:
And here is the decision point highlighted the on the AGLCA Map:
Basically, we are traveling east to west; we could go north up to Oswego on Lake Ontario. But instead, we decided that we shall head west, staying on the Erie Canal towards Buffalo.
The border to Canada is still closed due to Covid.
So we selected the western Erie Canal so we can stay in the US the whole way. The other route required passage in Canada involving expense and red tape! Notice that the Lake Ontario route requires passage down the Canadian Welland Canal west of Niagra Falls. (Thus the problem while the border is closed.)
So, “Buffalo, here we come!”
Best wishes for a speedy recovery for my long time friend Eric Quinn. We had planned to rendezvous for dinner with our wives, and some family boating/locking but his appendix had other plans. Shelly and I may have to come back this time next year for a second chance.
Tonight we are staying with the Gr8 people at Ess-Kay Yards in Brewerton NY on the Erie Canal just west of Lake Oneida. They were elected “Sponsor of the Year” by the AGLCA for 2020. Today we experienced why!
From the first telephone call with “Tammy” to the help with the lines, to the offer to use their no-cost courtesy “loaner” car, these folks know how to deliver great customer service. Reportedly, their fuel prices are the lowest around too.
The original canal was dug by hand… pre- Industrial Revolution. Hard to imagine!
E17 was operating today with the help of an oversized crane to stop-gap a broken tooth on a large 150 year old gear.
Approaching E17 video:
View from the top 40.5ft looking back:
Exiting E17… the largest lift of all the Erie Canal locks.
We followed and locked for several hours behind Euphoria today. David and Andrew were gr￼8 radio companions on VHF13.
Evidently they have some drone video to share of our boats together. So, watch for that here on this blog entry in weeks ahead!
We went about 50 miles in 5-1/2 hours and secured at this nice small municipal marina at St. Johnsville NY.
Shore power, water, clean showers, what more could we ask for!?
Back to work in the a.m.!