Bahamas Journal – Waterford, NY to Cobourg, ON

Sunday, May 16, 2010
Lock 12 on The Erie Canal

Leaving the next morning we waited until after the first locking at 7am.  Many boaters were anxious to get an early morning start. With our rudder issue we thought a less crowded lock would be a better idea.  The locks were still functioning on the early season restricted hours 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. so we knew although the days were getting longer, our travel would be limited by the hours of lock operation.  We purchased our 10-day Canal Pass anticipating it would take us 4 to 5 days to transit the canal system.

We set out and we transited 11 locks that day; first the exciting Waterford flight of locks then continuing along the canal system to lock through Lock 12 before 5 pm. This was not a sightseeing trip for us so we passed by the little towns along the way but were thrilled with the lush green landscape of early spring. With a few hours of daylight remaining, we pushed on and stopped for the night on the high wall on the east side of Lock 12.

Monday, May 17, 2010
Herkimer, NY

We were off the wall for the 7am locking the next morning.  We made a fuel stop at St Johnsville Municipal Marina.  There are few outlets with diesel on the canal so this is something we considered in our planning.  This is a very convenient stop right on the waterway so it was a quick in and out. One thing the St. Johnsville Marina offers is a quick chart to distances along the canal.

We locked through on our own for most of the day but by Lock 17, the largest lock in the canal with a rise of 40 feet, we were joined by 2 large power boats.  Although we were first in and secured, the lockmaster asked us to move further forward to accommodate the two larger boats. We moved as close as we could to the gate. The first boat pulled in and had such large raindrop fenders that they could not get into the lock chamber and in conversation with the lockmaster, finally relented and took them off one side of the boat. After waiting over 15 minutes to get the boat settled in the lock, the lock started to flood. The boat that had caused the delay had to be in the 50-foot range, outfitted with positioning thrusters.

For those new to boating, these are small motors and propellers mounted underneath the bow and stern to assist boat in maneuvering by sending a jet of water off either side of the bow or stern to speed up the turning process. Positioning thrusters are thrusters that work in unison to keep a boat in one position. (See this video clip on how thrusters work – ThrusterVideo.)

Back to the story. Having someone use multiple thrusters in a small locking chamber sends currents bouncing off all of the walls. We had to continually re-adjust our lines and got quite a workout. When the chamber had filled, we set off. Because of the height of this lock – 40 feet, you have to believe the land beside it is quite steep – meaning the river is flowing fast towards a power generating station on the other side of the lock and there is a lot of current. We radioed the boats behind to let them know we had limited maneuverability and would pull over after the rapids – bout a 1000 yards away.

It turns out their time frame was more important than our safety and the first boat went up on full plane well behind us. We slowed and pulled as far to the side as we could and motioned for the skipper to slow down and give us an easy pass. We could have saved our time and effort. The inconsiderate boater flew by us, well above the speed and no-wake limit. The second boater went by quickly but with less wake.

I have to say, that in the entire trip, this was the only time I felt my safety was jeopardized by another boater. We had a few incidences of inconsiderate passing – but by and large ALL other boaters – power and sail – maneuvered with respect for other boaters and the environment. This was just a really BAD and DANGEROUS boater. We settled down and by Lock 18 we were locking through on our own again.

We stopped for the night at the free dock at Herkimer.  The dockside restaurant called us so we dined out that evening and strolled into town to ensure our land legs were still working.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Lock 23, on the Erie Canal

Off early to make it 7.6 statue miles upstream to the next lock, Lock 19, to be ready for the first locking at 7 am.  Lots of debris in the water that morning. We mentioned the debris in the water to the lock master and he said he had a large powerboat come through too fast last night and the wake disturbed the drift wood that had washed up on the bank. Yes. Our lock mate from yesterday was still wreaking havoc on our passage.

We moved well through locks 21 and 22.

We still had Oneida Lake to cross and were we hoping for weather. In this case, since the mast was down and we could not sail, we wanted the wind from behind or at least light from ahead – to keep the waves down. We got our second wish.

We made it across the lake in great time so we pushed for Lock 23 before closing.  It always helps to radio ahead on channel 13- just made it!  The lockmasters were fantastic in this entire system.  We got through Lock 23 just as the skies opened up. We decided to tie up just past the lock on the west side of the lock.  It still put us in a good position to get to Oswego the next day.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Oswego, NY

Once again an early start and at the canal junction we left the Erie Canal to turn north into the Oswego canal.  Twenty-three more miles of canal and 7 locks before we would arrive at Oswego on Lake Ontario.  We arrived well before noon and the work began.

We contacted the Oswego City Marina and made arrangements to have our mast stepped that afternoon.  A quick stop at the fuel dock to fill up with US prices, a pump out and then into position for the mast crane. The marina personnel were great.  They gave us instructions of what we needed to prepare and then safely raised and secured our mast.

The afternoon was filled with more chores: tuning the rigging and cleaning the old fenders we used for locking and the deck now it was cleared of the mast.  Meanwhile there was loads of laundry, cleaning below, charting our course home and preparing for Canadian Customs.  Exhausted, we fell into bed only to rise at 4 am to start our trip across Lake Ontario.

This was one of the biggest decisions we made on the entire trip. The decision would affect us for most of the rest of our lives. We had sold our condo in downtown Toronto before we left last fall and were now deciding where we wanted to live. Poised on the edge of Lake Ontario we could go anywhere – Georgian Bay, Thousand Islands, Niagara. Our choice came quickly. We wanted small. We wanted friendly. We had to be commutable to Toronto. We chose Cobourg.

Thursday, May 20, 2010
Cobourg, Ontario, Canada

We set out early in the morning.

oswego to cobourg
The final crossing - Oswego, NY to Cobourg, ON

The crossing: This time it was the Lake Ontario crossing.  We had made the decision to head to Cobourg and wanted to sail from Oswego directly to Cobourg, hopefully arriving before nightfall.

Although the wind and weather had been with us for 30 days since we left the Bahamas, today it decided to be on the nose.

With the broken rudder, we could not point into the wind very well. By noon we were re-assessing our destination. We were south of Pt Petre off Prince Edward County. We had made the decision to sail to Prince Edward Bay and anchor off Waupoos Island when the wind shifted in our favour. We were once again able to sail in a straight line to Cobourg.

We selected Cobourg for a number of reasons. First of all is the great port and marina. The main street of town was just a few blocks away and the is a vibrancy about Cobourg that we wanted, along with the smaller, slower pace of life. After almost a year on board, we were healthier and happier than we had been in some time, with the pace of work and living in a major city like Toronto.

We spent a month at the dock in Cobourg, bought a house and then moved the boat to Bowmanville to have the rudder repaired at Wiggers Custom Yachts Ltd.

Rudder missing from Sojourn
Sojourn at the dock in Cobourg - sans rudder

For those following the post from before the Bahamas crossing, you are aware this was the second time we had to have the rudder repaired. This time, we had a new one built.

At this writing, we are in our new home, working on the next chapter of InformedBoater.com and looking forward to new adventures. This is the last post in our fabulous year adventure.

Mary and Rob MacLeod
s/v Sojourn
Back from the Bahamas

sojourn_at_anchor_bahamas_2010
Sojourn on a mooring in the Bahamas - 2010

 


Comments (1)

  1. Taylor Wilson

A few trailers are intended to have the watercraft winched onto the trailer. As a writer of Essay Writing Services I think for this style, you drive to watercraft to a beginning stage and afterward utilize the winch to pull the pontoon the rest...

A few trailers are intended to have the watercraft winched onto the trailer. As a writer of Essay Writing Services I think for this style, you drive to watercraft to a beginning stage and afterward utilize the winch to pull the pontoon the rest of the separation. These occasionally have a discharge component and pivot/turn point to permit the back of the trailer to dip under the typical towing position to make recuperation less demanding. As the watercraft is winched into place, the heaviness of the pontoon will make the trailer rotate and come back to the towing place.

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