Where we at

Friday, June 30, 2023

Rouses Point to Saint Jean (O Canada!), wall

The check-in office of Canada opened at 8am. We were on their dock around 7:45. Hannah and David needed to work today, so we wanted to get this done as soon as possible, then get on the Saint Jean town wall by 10:30 am.

Once in another country subtle things changed, like the ATONs, which are skinny here. Also, this side of Lake Champlain had a lot more fishermen than the US side. Both require permits, but I'm guessing Quebec is just a little more liberal about who can fish. Or it's cheaper. Or it's a holiday so more folks just out.

We did watch for those little boats, slowing quite a bit so not to wake them; don't want to piss off a foreign country on your first day here.

Checking into Canada...
Otherwise the trip was uneventful. 

Just a note: It's the Friday before Canada Day. Saint Jean, what I'm sure is usually a sleepy town, is starting to ramp up it's celebrations. Could be an interesting night... could be interesting cruising the locks tomorrow.

Before checking in. Yellow flag and Canada Flag.

And after. We're officially welcome, so gone is
the yellow. But while we cruise we'll wave a
courtesy country flag.
Last sunset in the US.

Wednesday, June 28, 2023

Valcour Island to Rouses Point, ball

I could throw a rock and hit Canada right now.

We picked one last stop for Amazon packages and groceries before crossing the border. Rouses Point was the very last to do either. We'll be here a couple nights.

Last night we made a great call anchoring where we did. We hardly noticed the 20 knot winds that blew on and off all night. When we got underway this morning, however, we had to deal with churned up water. Been a while since we bounced. Once we turned north it was on our stern and hardly noticeable.

Valcour Island, lovely place
When we picked up our mooring ball, however, noticeable. The field was pretty open to the south. The winds will die as the day goes on, and tomorrow should be calm. But trying to pick up the pendant to get settled was a bit tricky, hampered by the fact that the line was tangled on the moor, so Russ struggled to get it sorted and us hung.

Not smooth and glassy, like it's been for days.
We'll probably stay on the boat tonight and explore tomorrow when the weather is better.

Burgees out and ready to hang. the courtesy Canadian flag,
and the yellow quarantine flag. We'll put both on before we head out
in a couple of days. We'll immediately get to the border checkin, 
and should be able to take off the yellow one at that time.

Tuesday, June 27, 2023

Burlington to Valcour Isl., anchor

Sunday I arranged for a group of us to have mani-pedis in town. From there we all went to a brewery. Two, to be honest. They were right across the street from one another. Then we all rode a bus back to the boats. The busses are free... wee!

Russ was expecting a package Monday from Amazon that (of course) did not show up. But we used the day to do a little Costco shopping, so it wasn't a total waste. Beside, Burlington is a nifty little town. The only downside was that their mayfly season just started. Both our vessels are filthy with carcasses.

(Editor's Note: Post Covid Amazon totally sux.)

Before we headed out we topped off our fuel. We're trying to get to Canada with as much as possible so we don't have to buy much (if any) while there. Ya'll complain about fuel prices here, but let me tell ya, way worse in the rest of the world.

Downtown Burlington

After fueling we did a short trip across the lake back to upstate New York, and anchored on the north side of Valcour Island. Winds are supposed to come up and from south, and this should keep us in the lee.

Bus ride back to the boats.
L to R: Hannah, David, Jaimie...

Trish, Russ, and me.
(we may have had too many beers...)

Saturday, June 24, 2023

LCMM to Burlington, ball

Despite the threat of rain, the crew of Highwind and we dinghied to the maritime museum, which opened at 10 am. While small it was very thorough, and had a fascinating amount of history as well as smaller vessels to look at. Truly worth the time.

We got back to our boats and headed north again, taking a 2 hour cruise up the lake to the town of Burlington. This was a decent sized town, and filled with tourists. But we managed to check out a couple of breweries, a distillery, all before doing an escape room (we escaped, yay for us!). Then we had dinner. Then we went to Ben and Jerry's. 

Us at the Lake Champlain resort, near LCMM
So, a busy day!

We did get totally rained on while walking to the escape room, but the weather remained warm all day. A little bit of sog never hurt anyone.

Dramatic sky after the storm

Victory is ours!

Friday, June 23, 2023

Ticonderoga to Lake Champlain Maritime Museum, ball

No Rush
, having guests who wanted to do a couple more stops, left our rafting group yesterday after the fort tour. They headed to Vergennes for the night, planning to arrive in Burlington Friday. We were going to do the same thing -- head to Vergennes Friday then meet up with them Saturday. We got information from Jamie about the slow zone through the little river there, and it looked like that would turn a 3 1/2 hours of travel into 4 or 5, which is tough for the Highwind folks, who need to get on phones. So we changed our plans; we would snag balls at the LCMM, then go onto Burlington from there.

This morning, Russ and I quietly dropped our lines and headed out about a half hour before Highwind. The weather was calm. Not only was the lake lovely but it's getting crazy deep, too. We had some depths over 200 feet.

Getting hilly
We arrived without incident, having made some power and water while underway. The first couple of balls we checked didn't have pendants for us to tie to. We took the last two.

Lake Champlain
Memorial Lighthouse
If the rain stays off for a few more hours we'll head to the nearby resort for dinner. Rain is on its way, that's for sure. Should be a soggy trip tomorrow.

Cliffs along the water line

Thursday, June 22, 2023

Fort Ticonderoga

No Rush, Highwind, and inQuest
Photo by David and his trusty drone.
One could come to Ticonderoga and not go to the fort, but that would be silly. It's one of the oldest fort in the country, and been under 3 different country flags. That's worthy of some investigation.

Roughing our way to and from the fort
Doors open at 10 am. Around 9 we all gathered at the dinghies and headed to the fort. While they have a fancy dock with a tour boat, us common folk aren't allowed to use it. So we beached ourselves on land and headed afoot up to the fort. We got there around 9:30 am. They were quite surprised to see us, since there's a gate down below you're supposed to drive through and pay to enter. We felt a little like Ethan Allen and the Green Mountain Boys who snuck up and took over the fort for the Revolution in May of 1775! (Okay... I didn't know that small fact until we got here.)

Our boats in the distance under the guns of the fort.

Most of this is reconstrutction.

The brown roofed building is more original, the red roofed, not so much.

Watching the musket demonstration below.
There's a dog there that was very unhappy at the noise.

This is us.
Since this fort is private owned and operated. It isn't uncommon for there to be demonstrations and guides dressed in period garb, but given the fort's long history they try to represent more of the story. As a result, this season they are dressed for the year 1760, which was a year of peace at the fort, and under British rule. The costume are all made and maintained there. We also got to see a woman doing laundry (boiling sheets right on site), cooking in a fire pit, and a fire arms demonstration.

Given that the place was destroyed a number times (to keep it from falling into the hands of the enemy) not much of it is original. Most of it had been rebuilt. And it continues to be reconstructed.

Chasing Highwind and No Rush up Lake Champlain

Wednesday, June 21, 2023

Lock C12 to Ticonderoga, anchor

The last lock was a full one. We added 3 sailboats which were all headed to Canada. No Rush caught up with us at the town wall. The three of us will do a bit of cruising together this summer.

Once through Lock C12, we were on Lake Champlain. 

The convoy up to Ticonderoga
While the views had been lovely all through the locks, they definitely got amped on the lake. About 20 miles of cruising to our stop, which was at the foot of Fort Ticonderoga.

I want to tour the fort but we had other plans for the day. Jamie of No Rush was a big Star Trek fan. Through an weird twist of fate, Ticonderoga is home of a Star Trek museum, complete with clothing, props, and sets. All of us set out in our dinghy's and got into town and did the tour.

Not a lot they let you touch there, since it's all fragile,
but everyone gets to sit in the captain's chair,

Russ at Spock's station

Looking down the warp core

Sick bay. Notice the TV screens by the beds? The tour guide told
us that they only showed light (since the tech really didn't exist
in the day), but if the actors pushed the screens into camera view,
some one had to painstakingly edit the film to put a "movie" in there.

Sick bay, part 2. The bed does flip.

How we fixed the dinghy to a wall to get into town.

Lachute, the waterfalls at Ticonderoga

Quite a lovely ride into and out of town.

Oh look! A turtle!

Our hitchhiker. See the dark blob just above the white
bumper? It's a frog. Or toad... I have no idea which.

That dinghy ride was also lovely, albeit unsettling. The town has made a point of keeping it clutter free so boats can do exactly what we did and visit. But you will traverse lots of logs, skinny water, and seaweed. A number of times we had to stop and reverse just to clear the prop from gunk. Worth it though!

Us, Highwind, and No Rush, all together.
Side story: A man born in Ticonderoga was an avid Star Trek fan. He moved out to LA and got a job building sets for The Next Generation. He also (according to those who know) is an Elvis impersonator -- apparently nationally acclaimed. He moved back to Ticonderoga and started the museum with the funds from his Elvis career.

You can't make this stuff up, people!

Tuesday, June 20, 2023

Waterford -> Lock C11 -> Lock C12

The locks only run from 7 am to 5 pm. We're not in a big rush to get anywhere, but our buddy boat had the day off, so we tried to get as far as we could on Monday.

Finally, after days of dreary and rainy and cool weather, we had sunny skies all day long. 

The day started early; we left Waterford to give us time to spare. Of course "Locks open at 7 am" doesn't mean that's when you'll go through. That means that's when the lockmaster steps out of his truck to get ready for work. Apparently there's some invasive species they are trying to keep out of Lake Champlain, so C1 and C2 fill and empty twice before you get in. Needless to say we all could have slept in another 30 minutes. But hey, that's boat life.

Get we through C1 and C2 with no real issues. Now, onto C3.

Waiting for another lock
Besides the many locks we'd do today we also knew vessel height would be a thing. All the documentation warn that you need to clear 17 feet, and that the bridge right after lock C3 was going to be the lowest encountered. The docs also mention that the pool can be modified a bit, so let the lockmaster know if you need more. While at C1 Highwind did just that, saying it really, really needs to be 17 feet. While in C3 the lockmaster told us the clearance will be 17.2 feet. Woo hoo!

Lots of lovely vistas on this part of the canal.
Highwind went first and we followed behind at a distance just in case they had to stop. We were confident inQuest was about 4 inches or so shorter, so if they made it, we should. They slowed as they approached. We watched through binoculars. Hannah stood on the back, watching as they came closer to the bridge. Nope, not gonna make it! But it was close. 

They, like us, have a tilt down radar mount. At some point they added longer cellular antennae, which meant the tilt couldn't be as much as originally planned, otherwise the antennae hit the balcony. As a result the radar was in the way. The solution? David got out a power drill and took off his radar. They moved forward again and cleared the bridge by an inch. Count 'em: ONE.

Beautiful day to travel.
Looks like no bridges. That is just not true.
Tons of them!
We slowly came up ourselves, with Russ out back, watching. As we crawled under it he reported we cleared by 6 inches. Driving the boat it was really weird watching the underside of the bridge from that close!

That done we all felt like, "Okay, no more low, low bridges" because the docs seem to indication that was the hitch. HA! Bridge after bridge had clearances of right around 17 feet. None as low as that one, but all very, very low. Like 20 of those puppies. None of them had water boards (that would have been useful), and pools can be higher or lower, so we took each one with caution and low speed.

inQuest tied up at Lock C11
Locks aren't speedy, so we didn't quite get as far as we wanted, which was White Hall. But the lock was at C11 had a lovely park. We tied up, had some dinner, and enjoyed the cool evening.

Tuesday was a work day for Hannah and David, so we locked through C11 first thing, and took the small 45 minute cruise to White Hall. Both vessels were tied up by 9 am.

Sunday, June 18, 2023

Shady Harbor to Waterford, town wall

While I have no ill will for Shady Harbor it was time to go. There's a nice restaurant there, but nothing else -- sad since most every marina up and down the Hudson is in or near a cute town. 

That said I was nervous about leaving. Russ spent the last 10 days fixing the turbo (which meant removing the thing from our engine and reattaching it, something he's never done before) AND installed a new throttle system. Again, something he'd never done before.

So we tested. While tied to the dock we do engine checks: Engines start (yay), no leaks (yay!). Disengage throttles from the props and test idle forward on starboard (check) and backward (check). Repeat for the port side -- everything checks out! Now engage props, check starboard forward (yep) and backward (yep). Now port, NOPE. Boat should move one way, but moves the other, and the small panel fills with angry, blinking lights.

Russ working on the starboard engine.
That's the unmounted turbo in his hands.
Engines off, Russ assessed the switches. (At this point I really don't know WHAT is going on but....)

Retest port side, and yep, all working correctly. Yay for Russ!

Lines off, and we started out. I manipulated inQuest away from the dock and started to back into the Hudson. Given the current and wind were against us I put some oomf into it...

Shiny new throttles... oooOOOoooo
And lost all control of the throttle. Error codes went off, blinking madly on the display, and she wouldn't respond to anything. Looking out the back we were drifting into a small pocket cruiser. I had seen the owner earlier playing with his engines. While I called out to tell him to fend off (I mean we weren't coming in fast or anything, but fast enough) Russ was trying to restart the throttle. 

There's a tiny turtle on this log.
In fact, while here we saw herons, bald eagles,
and a seal. Quite the nature respite.
Thankfully our boat got twisted by the current, bringing the stern away from the small cruiser and towards the dock. We bumped it, but that got us close enough to get the pocket-cruiser guy a line. He helped walk her stern back while Russ got other lines ready, and I managed to bring the nose over just enough to get it on the dock (the right engine came back online enough to use at slow speeds).

Tied up we turned the engines off and Russ started sleuthing through the documents. He had done it before, but must have missed something. The idle ("slow bell") speeds worked just fine. The problem was when we put pushed harder. (Again, I have no clue WHAT is going on but...)

Editors note: He flipped 4 dip switches, 2 in the port control unit and 2 in the starboard.... go figure).

In addition to the turbo and throttles, Russ
installed a new horn and search light.
And repaired his bike. He's never bored.
After a few minutes (and a visit by David, just to have 2-heads working on the issue) we tested again. This time, while attached to the dock we not only try the slow speeds forward/backwards but we put a little heat into it. And everything was fine.

We cast off. This time we made it to the Albany Yacht Club (where we pumped out and fueled up), to the Troy Lock (where we locked through after waiting 15 minutes standing station), then sidled onto the wall at Waterford. All fiddly things that require throttles you can rely on. 

And they worked just fine.

(Yay Russ!)