DECR route map
DECR route map
Home! Sunny and 4C at 6am – brrrrr. There was frost on the dock and condensation on the walls of the forward cabin – serves us right for breathing during the night. The boats were off the dock at 7, Chris pushed Finnish Line off the dock and we were on our way. It was very calm in the marina but once we got into the lake it was quire rolly for the first few hours. No staying below except for a few minutes. Bob did not start the morning in his cold weather foulies but had to put them on, along with his winter mitts and hat as he was turning into an icicle standing behind the wheel. The rolling got less and less and winds which were 11 knots on the lake when we left were going down.
We saw a sailboat in the distance when we got closer to the Boat Channel and it turned out to be Rick & Laura on Signature coming to welcome us home. When we got to Kingston Harbour we saw Rob and Kate out for a Sunday sail. Ramble on and Finnish Line greeted them and then the final sail to KYC. Lots of help at the dock for both Ramble On and Finnish Line when we arrived. An early dinner with Peter Cohrs, Ze & Peter, Tristan, Rick and Laura was a great end to the final day of the East Coast Loop.
‘Mommy, it’s over” ?
It was a very windy noisy night and one of the straps holding the mast stand in place started vibrating around 4am, like having an alarm clock going off every few minutes. The original plan with Bernie the mast guy was to start putting the masts back up at 7:30 but it was way too windy to do that. The winds were forecast to reduce by early afternoon so he said he’d do his best to get the masts up in the afternoon. We bundled up and walked to the Oswego Bakery & Tea shop for breakfast.
The winds did reduce to around 10 knots by 1pm. The mast up process started with Ramble On and by 3:30 both masts were up. We were glad that Bernie, with 30 years experience doing this, was still working at the marina – he is a cool, calm guy. He did our mast down and up when Finnish Line went to the Bahamas in 2017/18. The rest of the afternoon was spent putting back the bits and pieces, like the boom & halyards, and storing the mast stands. We had a great final trip dinner at Bistro 197.
Off the dock shortly after 7 am with the hopes that we’d make Oswego by noon. It was a full foulie and hat day. At lock 3, Chris kept calling the lock master but no reply. Finally the lock master from lock 2 radioed Chris as he’d heard Chris calling. He said he’d drive over to lock 3 to figure out why there was no answer so there’s be a 20 minute delay. Turns out the lock master had been doing some work on the other side of the lock and hadn’t heard the call. He did apologize but that did lose us some time.
We needn’t have worried. We made good time, the current was now helping us as we were moving in the high 6 knot range the whole morning. When we got to last lock there was a lot of police, ambulance, fire truck activity on the other side of the lock where the water was moving fast. There were two small fishing boats and a marine police boat in the fast moving water, we could sort of see the police boat was trying to retrieve something/someone from the water. As we were about to exit the lock we could see the marine police boat tearing along and someone was being given CPR. The lock master said two people had been in the water, he didn’t know whether they were from the fishing boats or someone who had fallen in from the bank. It was a very sobering thing to see.
We’re now settled in at the marina. Both boats are prepped for the masts to go back up but it won’t happen until tomorrow morning. We can relax for a few hours this afternoon, going out for dinner tonight.
Finally we started the down locks today. Going west/north it’s 20 up locks, 10 down. It was still warm overnight but when we stopped for the day it was 10C.
No big waits at any of the locks and it was pretty relaxing doing the down locks.
One of the locks today had some wildlife along for the ride, a water snake and a frog. The poor frog was trying to either climb or cling to the wall. The snake went swimming right by it. I suspect the snake made it, the frog didn’t.
We did only three locks today but also crossed Lake Oneida which takes around three hours. There was no downpour but it drizzled on and off all day. There were still a couple of sailboats, masts down, going east, surprising as the weather will be getting colder and colder before they hit warm weather again.
The Lake Oneida crossing went ok, waves were quite small, as forecast. Once we got to Brewerton at the west end of the lake, the Oneida River was lined with cottages big and small. Some are probably permanent but we figure most are summer homes. We entered the Oswego Canal and made it as far as the south side of the first lock on the canal. There was just enough room on the dock for Ramble On and we rafted to her. It was a much happier rafting experience than we had on the Hudson when we had to part company in the bouncing winds and waves.
Today was a shit show at the locks. We had hoped to get through 5 locks which would take us to Sylvan Beach at the east end of Lake Oneida and the hope of mile high pie. It seemed totally doable – ha! Our first delay was at lock 18 (20’ lift) the first lock of the day. We had to wait a half an hour before we got into the lock and then probably another 20 minutes before we were out. However, that paled in comparison with the dastardly lock 19. It took us three bloody hours to get through the lock. The lock master said he had several boats in the lock to come down and we’d have to wait. That wait went on forever. We could hear the communication between the lock master and the east bound boats and there seemed to be issues with a boat that had to back out of the lock, another boat near the entrance to the lock was taking his sweet time to move out of the way.
Meanwhile, a very large canal cruise ship pulls up behind us. There was lots of back and forth on the VHF between the cruise ship, Ramble On and the lock master. First, the cruise said it wanted to go first, had priority maybe. Then said it would let us go first since we had been waiting a while. Then, because it was taking forever for the down lock to happen, the cruise ship said it had to go next, it was scheduled to pick up passengers further west. When the lock finally emptied Chris asked if we would fit in behind the cruise ship, and Finnish Line would raft on Ramble On. It was a valiant attempt but when Ramble On got close to the lock entrance they could see they would not be able to reach the rope at the bow end of the boat. A further slow down of the whole process was that the lock master had to open each gate (two at both ends) individually which meant walking around, slowly, for him. In most cases both doors open at the same time.
So Ramble On backed out and we got to wait again. Shortly after, two motor cruisers joined the line up. When we finally got into the lock Finnish Line took the second last line at the front of the lock, Bob wasn’t sure if he had a pipe to hold onto if we went forward. The lock master ambled over and asked us to move forward which we did ok, and then he asked Linda and Chris to move forward, Linda complied only partially, moving up only half the distance he asked – she rightly didn’t want to get too close to us, we really didn’t want the masts to kiss. The only positive thing that happened was the lock master asking if we could get out ok if he opened just one door – YES we could, which meant not waiting for him to walk to the other side and open the other door. THREE HOURS LATER we were finally out of the lock. Sylvan Lake was now a lost cause but we were able to make lock 20 and docked on the wall just west of the lock. We plan for a 7am start and as long as there are no more lock issues tomorrow we should be able to make it across Lake Oneida. The wind conditions for a lake crossing are ok for tomorrow but not so good after that for several days. It’s a shallow lake and crossings, especially when the masts are down, are not a good idea in higher winds.
Seven locks done today to get to Little Falls, we got here at 3:30. The 40 foot lock at Little Falls was a bit of a non-event as the lock master did a really slow rise so no turbulence – it took 20 minutes. We also had to wait around 20 minutes to get into the lock. It was an interesting view looking up at the top of the lock.
We had Interstate 90 south of us and the train tracks north of us for quite a bit of today’s trip. Finnish Line’s engine overheated just a little bit so we had to slow down a little for half of today’s trip. Bob figured there was something stuck in the through hull – that was the problem Ramble On had a couple of days ago. It’s easy to suck up stuff when you’re having to go really slowly while waiting for a lock to open. Once we got close to Little Falls there were some interesting looking houses right at the edge of the river bank, sitting on rock foundations. I’m assuming they have no fear of erosion.
We stopped at a very friendly town marina run by the Rotary and walked into town to the Copper Moose Ale House for dinner. Food was fine, service friendly but inefficient, including a delay in getting our dinner due to a kitchen fire, bringing Bob the wrong wine and they claimed to have totally run out of desserts cause it had been very busy – really ? Yes, we know – first world problems.
LInda and Chris rented a car so they could make a quick trip to Ottawa, it’s about a four hour drive, to celebrate Linda’s mum’s 85th birthday which is on Sept 29. Bob and Tarja did some boat chores and relaxed with some reading in the afternoon. We had picked out a restaurant for dinner that was a half hour walk. We left at 5:30 and until we got within 10 minutes of the restaurant didn’t really see any other people. The walk took us thought mixed neighbourhoods; several medical clinics, low rise apartments, possibly a senior’s residence. It then changed to houses which didn’t appear to be well looked after. At this point we started to see kids on bikes and a few other people on the streets. In general we though that it was a sketchy area.
Bosco’s is a neighbourhood Italian restaurant, the food was good and plentiful, Tarja brought more than half of her lasagna back to the boat. It was dark when they left and so decided to call an Uber to the boat, probably a good decision. It still left the somewhat dark walkway from the shopping centre to the walkway over the highway and railway tracks. Riverview Park, where the boats are docked, is situated in an impossible to reach by car spot. One has to park in the shopping centre and then take the overhead walkway across.
More boat chores and laundry Sunday morning. Decided take the pedestrian/bike bridge to the south side of the river and have lunch there. What a pleasant surprise this was. The walkway is quite wide, planters on both sides, art work at both ends and in the middle and lots of historical pictures and plaques along the way. Very surprised to see a group of purple irises about to bloom, one had opened, not exactly a fall flower. The city has done a wonderful job with this bridge. The little bit of the south side we walked, the restaurant was not very far, was much nicer than the north side. The waitress was great and provided lots of information about local goings on. Forget to ask about the Kirk Douglas, he was born and raised in Amsterdam. Linda and Chris got back around 7 after a a good birthday visit. Spent much of the evening after dinner staring at weather maps, there is some very nasty stuff forecast for early next week, just when we’re contemplating the crossing from Oswego to Kingston. Seven locks to go tomorrow but should be able to make it to Little Falls before 5 and that will also get the 40 foot lock at Little Falls done —- it’s the tallest lock.
Another 7am start, we hoped to make Amsterdam which meant doing 9 locks before 5pm, when the locks close for the day. When Peter and Bob did the same trek in May 2018 they were not able to make it but the locks were much busier that time of year and they were delayed by a melted impeller. ?
Bob feels a link with his history. Since his last trip on this canal he learned that his great great grandfather Story had immigrated from Yorkshire England to Ontario via the port of New York in July of 1835. He, his wife, and his mother would have used the Erie Canal (an earlier version) to journey to Toronto.
We were very lucky with the timing. There was very little traffic in the locks. There was only one lock where there was a third boat. Even with slight delay of Ramble On‘s engine overheating – Chris solved the issue quickly – it wasn’t the strainer, we got to the last lock around 3:30 and arrived in Amsterdam just before 4. Munchies and dinner on board tonight – yum!
Day 130 Waterford NY. A 7am start to Waterford, we estimated it would take 8+ hours including a fuel stop and the first lock at Troy. The forecast was for fairly heavy rain starting mid afternoon. The winds picked up just in time for Finnish Line to have an interesting docking experience at the fuel dock as the there was only one person working at the marina and he didn’t meet us at the dock. Good thing there was no video?. At least the rain held off until the boats finished fuelling.
It was a rainy trip past Albany, the view from the river is not lovely, mostly very industrial. We had a short wait at the Troy lock, the rain eased off and we got through quite quickly. The picture is Ramble On coming out of the Troy lock.
It was a short trip to Waterford. Finnish Line managed to dock at the do-not-dock-here pump-out area and we didn’t notice the fact until we were nicely tied down – I blame the rain. The office staff said not worry about moving, it was highly unlikely anyone would come for a pump-out in the late afternoon, in the rain.
We went to McGrievie’s for dinner, not as good as we remembered but it was ok and there were leftovers to bring back to the boat.