June 2003 Log

First, Happy Fathers' Day to all the fathers out there....for those of us whose fathers have passed away, we have happy memories which sustain us.

Greetings to family and friends and welcome back to the Nauti Gal Website!!  We left home at 8:15 on Friday, the 13th of June.  It took us a little over 11 hours to drive back to Annapolis and arrived tired as the last two hours it poured rain on us.  Not fun driving in that stuff.  It stopped long enough that we could unload the car and get it on the boat.....a little later that night, we REALLY had a storm - heavy rain, wind, thunder and lightening.  You may have read or seen on TV that Baltimore really got it bad.  Cars, basements and main floors of houses all flooded....really sad!  We were told that LAST spring they had a drought here in the east.  Well, this year is making up for it....they have had practically non-stop rain.  At least it is no longer cold....in fact it is rather sticky out here.

Yesterday, Saturday, we got together with Bob and Shirley Oates (from home) who came out east a day before we did to visit family - a little mini-reunion.  Their daughter and son-in-law live here and their other daughter and grandson came for a visit also.  They all came into our marina by boat, tied up, and we all went to lunch together.  The sun was actually shining in the morning.  By the end of lunch, the clouds were already gathering AGAIN, and they hurried back to their marina with an invitation to join them over there in a couple hours.  So we drove our rental car over a couple hours later.  They keep their boat at the Yacht Club which is a lovely place.  They have a swimming pool and a beautiful dining room...we visited with them again for a while, until we saw the dark storm clouds coming our way.  We decided to get back, but before we could get completely back to our boat, the sky really opened up and really poured on us.  It was nice seeing our friends again!

Today is Sunday and, so far, no rain but cloudy and warm.  Jim nabbed a dock boy this morning to help him get our new props out of the trunk of the car and into the boat's bilge.  Glad to have those on board!  Jim says we need to change the oil in the boat before we go much further.  Also, both engines are leaking oil (I guess the seals are worn out, plus the fact the boat IS 16 years old), so we need to look into that real soon too.

We may drive into Baltimore this afternoon for a look-see.  Many years ago Jim was in the Army stationed in Baltimore, and I flew out to see him on a weekend.  We haven't been back since.  So that may be a fun thing to do.  We are talking about also going into Washington, DC on Monday.  That weekend I am talking about, many years ago, we also were in Washington, DC at cherry blossom time, in the spring.  If you have never made that trip in the spring (April-May) you have really missed something!  It puts our cherry blossoms to shame back in Michigan!  These are absolutely gorgeous!!

Later.....change in plans.  We were able to reach friends, Tim and Tami Waggoner, by phone.  They live about a half hour from where we are, so we drove out to their home and visited with them for a while.  It was nice to see them and their kids (Tim and our son, Keith, went to high school together).  My gosh, how the kids have grown!  You always have a mental picture of kids as they were the last time you saw them.  They are now going into 6th, 8th and 10th grade!!!!  The only one that remembered us was Caty, the oldest daughter.  It was fun to see them.

Right now, everything is up in the air (going into Baltimore and Washington, DC) until we get necessary things corrected on the boat.  The marina didn't move us to another "slip", so guess we'll stay where we are for at least a few days.

Guess that's about all for this time....we are starting to get itchy to get the Nauti Gal moving again...we have only about 2-3 hours running time before we complete the Chesapeake Bay.  It will be a while before we get into fresh water, but we sure will be happy when we DO.


I haven't got much to report today.....Jim spent the day changing the oil in the boat - a yucky, dirty job.  He is exhausted tonight!  I cleaned up the inside of the boat again but, other than that, I mostly read and slept today.  Changing the oil is a one-man job, so I couldn't help him with that.  Anyone that knows me knows it is hard for me to do nothing.  It has been cool and cloudy today - also windy.  The forecast is for more cool, rainy weather - Tuesday 40% chance of rain....Wednesday 70%....Thursday 60%.  It is supposed to improve over the weekend.  This weather is starting to get to us!!!!


BIG SURPRISE....IT HAS RAINED MOST OF TODAY!!!!  Everyone who lives out here has just about had it with the weather....we have too!!

Jim spent a good part of the day working in the bilge again, but got everything done that had to be done for now.  He is tired and his back is telling him he over-did.  I, once again, spent the day reading and doing basically nothing....which is driving me up a wall!!!!

Rain or no rain, we are going to drive into Washington, DC tomorrow, just to do something different!  We will probably not be out in the weather much anyway....Jim wants to go to the Space Museum and also the Smithsonian Museum.

We DID have an excellent dinner out tonight!  We were driving down one of the streets in Annapolis and, lo and behold, in front of us was a "Ruth's Chris Steak House".  Of course we stopped!!  As usual, we enjoyed our dinner.  They had an insert inside of the menu that was interesting....all about the owner.  For those of you who have dined at these fine steak houses, the lady that started them was a single mom who worked as a lab technician back in 1965.  She wanted to have a better life for herself and family and ended up buying a small restaurant that was called "Chris Steak House"- she had it for about 5-6 years when it burned down.  She moved into a new building in the same neighborhood (in New Orleans) and from there it's history.  There are now over 90 Ruth's Chris Steak Houses all over the USA.  Also, in Mexico, Hong Kong and other countries.  She died a year ago last April.  But her legacy remains....I guess it shows if you have the determination and intelligence, you can accomplish most anything.  For those of you who have never dined in a "Ruth's Chris Steak House" before, I guarantee you will not be disappointed.....the food and service is always excellent.....a bit pricey, but worth it!!!

I have to comment on the streets here in Annapolis.  If you have ever traveled in Washington, DC, you will understand, except for one thing.  The streets here are even crazier to get around in than in DC, if that's possible.  A couple times we have started out for somewhere and ended up exactly in the same spot we started in!!  The traffic here is also impossible!

I have typed a log everyday since we got back out here.  I DO HOPE one of these days we can get out to all you people.  Since we got back, we have had such a WEAK cell phone signal, we can't get anything out on it.  As soon as we can, you will hear from us.

More tomorrow....

Well, the day started out with rain AGAIN; however, it cleared up some so we decided to go into Washington, DC.  We drove a little ways until we found the “Metro Station”.  Our biggest problem was finding a place in the parking lot to leave the car.  We got on the train….it took about 20 minutes to get from here to there.  Since it is almost an impossible situation finding a parking space in DC, this seems to be the way to go.  The train stopped right by the Smithsonian Museum, so that was convenient. 

The main place Jim wanted to see was the Air and Space Museum, so that’s where we went.  They had security guards right inside to check bags, etc.  It actually makes you feel more secure knowing that all people are checked these days.  The museum was interesting but SOOOO BUSY!!!!  What really surprised us was how many big groups of kids were there.  I don’t know if these were organized class trips or not.  The teenagers didn’t really bother us; however, there were so many grade school – and younger – kids there that you could almost tell weren’t really that interested in what was there.  They were mostly interested in running all over the place and being disruptive.  After we were there quite a while, we just got tired of the “mob” scene and decided we had seen all we wanted to see.

By the time we came out of the building, the sun (yes, the sun) had come out and it was really warm.  We hope this is a good sign for the coming days!  We walked around for a while but were so tired by then, we didn’t last very long.  We made our way back to the Metro Station, caught the train back, found our car, and were on our way back to Annapolis.  We ate supper and went to the grocery store afterwards….something we had been putting off, but had to finally do it.

We hope to leave Annapolis tomorrow morning.  Jim plans to return the rental car at 8:00 a.m., when they open.  When he gets back to the boat, and weather permitting, we will take off.  We have to go to the next marina as they have no fuel here.  Once we get fueled, we hope to get to Chesapeake City 50 miles from here  We keep getting emails from a man who “posts” other people’s emails who are doing the “Great Loop” the same as we are.  We have gotten some from two couples who are all ahead of us.  Some of the things they have encountered makes me a little nervous.  Such things as very shallow water and lots of debris in the water.  I have also gotten some information out of a book that we will be using as we go along. It tells us certain things we need to watch out for such as:  2 x 4’s, trees, telephone poles, all either half-submerged or completely submerged in the water as a result of all the rain we have had out east.  I have a feeling we will be going slowly to be on the safe side.

Wish us well….

Our plans were to go today; however, we woke up AGAIN to rain and also DENSE fog.  So we are still in Annapolis.  Because of this, I ended up going to the Laundromat today.  Dirty clothes were starting to stack up....Jim had the pleasant job of working on both our heads (toilets), as we had problems with both.  He got them both fixed and we had the dock boys come down and pump us out later.  Then, when I got back from the Laundromat and got everything put away, I cleaned the boat again inside while Jim scrubbed the outside of the boat.  We are both tired tonight....supper is in the oven and starting to smell good.

Each day we hope to be able to get going; however, we don't want to go in fog as we want to be able to see the buoys and any debris that might be in the water, as a result of all the rain the east coast has been having.  I sure wish Lake Michigan could have some of this rain, as low as it is.  All the water out here is at flood stage; thus, causing lots of current and lots of debris.

I hope tomorrow's log will come from Chesapeake City rather than Annapolis!!!!

Have you ever had days when you wondered if you should get out of bed?  This was one of them!  We got up extra early this morning - no rain, just cloudy with some fog.  We decided to try it....as nice as the Chesapeake Harbor Marina is, after you have spent as much time there as we have, you really just want to move on.

We left our dock at 7:30 a.m., and "went around the corner", so to speak, for fuel at the next marina.  It opened at 8:00 and we were there a few minutes before that.  Unfortunately, they had really SLOW hoses pumping the fuel.  We didn't think we'd ever get filled.  As soon as we left our dock this morning, Jim noticed his radio wasn't working, so while we were fueling, Jim was investigating.  Then our GPS wasn't acting right either. 

As we left the fuel dock, Jim noticed the port transmission wasn't shifting into gear as it should.  So he had me take the wheel while he went down to the bilge to check things out.  He found he needed to add more oil to both transmissions, but didn't want to do it in the open water.....so we turned the "Nauti Gal" around and went back to the fuel dock.  He thought he had put enough oil in the transmissions when he changed the oil, but obviously more was needed.  We left for the second time at 9:50 a.m.  He did a temporary "fix" on his electronics so that our radio and GPS started working again. 

THEN the rain started, OF COURSE, and we had rain most of the time we were traveling.  We had our radar running the whole time as it shows where all the other boats are (we were amazed how many boats were traveling today....probably they were ALSO weathered in for a while). The fog really wasn't bad at all today, but with the rain it is sometimes hard to see.  Today, at least, we didn't see debris in the water.

The wind picked up some after we left our dock, right on our nose, but never got bad enough to bother us.  We left the State of Maryland and crossed into the State of Delaware at 1:00 p.m.  The Chesapeake Bay is now behind us....we commented to one another that we bet on nice days the Chesapeake Bay could be delightful.  In the rain it's not as enjoyable.  From the Chesapeake Bay we entered the Elk River and then, the C & D Canal (the Chesapeake-Delaware Canal).  We thought we would stay the night at Chesapeake City but actually went a little further beyond it to a quiet and secure marina called the "Summit North Marina".  We arrived at 1:30 p.m.  Delaware Bay is ahead of us!

This wet weather is supposed to continue through tomorrow night and start moving out on Sunday a.m.  The TV says we got 3 inches just today, and it is supposed to continue raining through the night and tomorrow.  There are "flood warnings" everywhere out  here!!  They say by next week, no more rain and temperatures in the 80's......we will see!

Jim has informed me (regarding the electronics) that he lost power to a distribution panel and doesn't really know why it happened, but has done some temporary rewiring from a different source since we arrived here today.

Happy First Day Of Summer!!!  This morning Jim brought up the temperature back home on the computer….it was only forty-three degrees!  Unbelievable!  The temperature here this morning is sixty-six degrees, so far no rain, so far no dense fog, just cloudy.  For a moment, we even saw the sun, but it is already gone.

We pulled away from our dock at 8:10 and are continuing our journey on the C & D Canal….we are going slowly because we have seen some debris in the water already.  Oh, here comes that same huge boat we followed yesterday.  It appears he has cruised these waters before, unlike us, so we slowed down even more and let him pass us.  The boat is now out in front of us and we will follow our “bear bait” (to avoid any debris)….we are now moving faster with her as our leader.

We are actually heading south today towards Cape May, and are almost out on the Delaware Bay.  The winds are supposed to be light today and any that we might get will be behind us (they keep changing the forecast)!  There are a lot of boats traveling today….we have also seen a couple of barges and a big freighter.  The boats don’t bother me as I can see them.  It’s what I can’t see (submerged debris) that makes me nervous.

Cape May is where everyone stops before they head out on the Atlantic Ocean and up to New York.  We received another “posting” on the computer from one of the couples we have been following on the “Great Loop” trip.  They are ahead of us and have already been on the ocean after leaving Cape May.  Apparently, like all of us, this lady’s husband must have gotten tired of waiting out the bad weather and decided to take off.  They got into 8-10’ rollers with a 3-5’ chop on top out on the ocean.  They came in and laid over in Atlantic City.  She told her husband if he EVER went out in that kind of water again, she was going to catch a bus and head home.  My kind of woman!!!  They are traveling in a big 60’ plus Viking, and that’s a big boat!

Neither one of us are really enjoying the stress that the east coast is causing us (when we were way south, it was fun).  Of course nothing is familiar to us out here.  Jim said he would NEVER do the east coast again….I second it!!!!  Now that we have something to compare it to, if we would ever make this trip again, we would go down river and also come back up the river…the river route is looking better and better to us!!

The Delaware Bay is not nearly as big as the Chesapeake Bay, but can get just as rough.  So far today, we are moving right along at 22 knots with smooth water and no more sightings of debris….could our luck be changing?  The weather forecasters are still predicting more rain for later, but we should be in Cape May before that

We are now doing 26 knots and staying behind our “lead” boat by about one half mile.  As big as that boat is, she can really move out!

I can’t tell you where, but somewhere out on the Delaware Bay, we left the State of Delaware and entered New Jersey.

We arrived at “Utsch’s Marina” at 12:15 p.m., at Cape May, New Jersey.  THE SUN IS SHINING!!!!!  We had almost forgotten how glorious the sun can be….the air is still a little cool, but we don’t care!!  Apparently the front that had stalled over the east coast for weeks and saturated everything, is finally (we hope) moving away from us – HURRAY.

Jim has been able to upload my log each night; however, because of the weak cell phone signal we have had, he hasn’t been able to keep our map up to date or put anymore pictures on the website.  Very honestly though, lately we haven’t taken very many pictures because we have been pretty much on our boat, staying out of the rain.  As soon as he is able to get a stronger signal, he will then get everything up-to-date.

Before I forget it, those with webtv’s, I hope you have been getting my log.  If you run out of space (like you did before) and stop getting the log, please let me know by email – and include the date of the last one received, okay?  Email address on the boat: jim-chapman@sbcglobal.net.
SUNDAY, JUNE 22, 2003

A little history of Cape May….it is reputed  to be “the nation’s oldest seashore resort”.  That heritage dates back from at least 1812.  The entire town has been proclaimed a national historic landmark.  Cape May’s beaches are legendary, its dunes still nearly pristine and its harbor a secure storm anchorage.

Recently, Cape May has become a center for offshore whale-watching and porpoise-watching excursions.

As far as weather….the sun came out for a while today.  When in the sun, it was warm….in the shade, the air is still quite cool.  The wind has been blowing most of today.  Since late afternoon, the skies have been threatening rain, but so far we have gotten just a few sprinkles.  We don’t know what tomorrow will bring.  The forecasters are telling us that tomorrow (Mon.) and Tuesday we are going to have great weather finally.  IF it is nice tomorrow, we will go out on the ocean and go as far as Atlantic City probably.  We will make our decision in the morning.

Hope everyone is well!

Thank you Lord….we FINALLY have a good day to travel and we also have sunshine!

We left our dock at 8:00 a.m., fueled the “Nauti Gal”, and are now in the ocean.  It’s not smooth as glass, but it is nice and we’ll gladly take it.  Boats were leaving the marina “left and right” this morning.  Everyone is so sick of being “holed up” because of weather – I heard something on the weather channel yesterday about the last 38 days out of 40 we’ve had rain and wind on the east coast.  They have promised us good weather for at least part of this week so we are making tracks!

We are passing what looks from here like the beautiful beaches that people talk about – miles of beaches and also hotels and some high rises.  These we could not see from our marina or downtown.  We have also passed what  appears to be a huge amusement park.

I’m afraid my last few logs have really been boring and I apologize, but there was just nothing to talk about EXCEPT the bad weather.  It can get rather discouraging when you are trying to get somewhere in your boat, and you end up just sitting everyday on your boat because the weather is too bad to get off of it and do something.  Yesterday I asked Jim, “Are we having fun yet?”  He just smiled and said, “tomorrow”, and here we are, moving right along on the ocean and we actually have blue skies!

Back at the marina, we were surprised to see how many boats were still sitting out of the water.  The reason being, this spring has been so cold, wet and windy.  The people were not able to work on the boats prior to putting them in the water.

We arrived in Atlantic City at 11:00 a.m.  We had a good run!

We are going uptown and do the “tourist” thing pretty soon.  When we get back, maybe I will have more to tell you….until then….

We are back and really got no further than the Donald Trump Marina Hotel/Casino.   No, we didn’t do any gambling – to me that’s just a big waste of money.  We just walked up the dock here at the Senator Farley State Marina, which is managed by the Trump Marina Association, and found anything you might be looking for.  Restaurants (we had lunch in one of them), expensive shops (no, we didn’t buy anything), all kinds of Meeting Rooms for Conventions and, of course, a huge casino.  Mr. Trump did a nice job on the building….I especially liked the fountains inside and all the live plants and flowers.

Okay, here’s your history lesson for today….Atlantic City has been a tourist magnet since 1854, when Philadelphia speculators opened its railroad terminal.  The boardwalk, built in 1870, was the first of its kind in the world.  It was rebuilt as a permanent fixture in 1884.

During the Prohibition era and the 1930’s Depression, the city became known as a fast-paced party town, where contraband liquor, illegal gambling and other illicit behavior were tolerated with a wink and a nod.
But even the economics of all of this could not stem the city’s Post-World War II decline, as what was once trendy became tawdry.  To counteract this decline, the city’s fathers took the bold step of legalizing gambling in 1976, reestablishing the town as something of a “Las Vegas East”…..for those not interested in gambling, the boardwalk can provide hours of people watching.

There is always a convention or some kind of contest going on here.  The Miss America pageant (held annually the first week in September) and the Baby Parade both began in Atlantic City.  Boat shows take over the convention center at various times of the year. 

It is so hard to believe, after all the bad weather, but I think summer has finally hit the east coast….clear blue skies (yea), the wind has really settled down, and it is HOT (yea)!!!!

We hope, weather permitting, to get up in the New York area tomorrow, so wish us luck.  I’ll talk to you some more then, okay??

We pulled away from our dock at 6:15 this morning (would you believe it)?  Two other boats already left before us.  The Lord has given us another perfect day….the water on the Atlantic is smooth as glass, and the sun shining on it makes it appear to sparkle.  On the port side of the boat, we are passing miles and miles of beautiful white beaches.  On these beaches are both homes and high rises.  The birds are flying just above the water as though greeting us!  We love being out on the open water like this, and the Nauti Gal loves to get out and run….her engines are purring!

Last night we were on the back deck of the boat looking at all the lights of Atlantic City….quite a sight!  All the hotels and casinos with all the colored lights were pretty.  One building that had caught my interest during the day because it appeared to sparkle, was all lit up with purple lights….that was my favorite one!

We just caught up with and passed one of the boats that left Atlantic City before us….it’s a big one.

Our destination today is New York City.  Everyone tells us to stay on the New Jersey side of the water though….they have ferrys that can take you to the other side.  We’ve been told no matter which marina you stay in, expect to get some rocking from the ferry boats going up and down the Hudson.  Once they stop for the night, the water calms down.

Gosh, it’s beautiful out here….wish you could all be here today to enjoy it with us.  We have seen just a few crab pots out here this morning; however, we’ve seen many balloons floating in the water, too numerous to count.  We’ve noticed a number of amusement parks on the beaches, so we have to assume the balloons came from there.  Can you imagine all the crying children, who let go of their balloons and watched them go out to sea???

From the time we left Atlantic City, we’ve seen small fishing boats and big charter boats EVERYWHERE!  As we approach New York and New Jersey, it is getting even busier.  Along with the already mentioned boats, we now also have big freighters coming in.  Some are anchored out with red flags flying.  Jim thinks these are boats that are quaranteened and/or waiting for inspection.

We have gone under a bridge – this area is called “The Narrows” and the water is quite choppy and it is getting more congested all the time.  Once you come off the ocean, you are in the Hudson River. As we go along, we see lots and lots of ferry boats going every which way….some out to the Statue of Liberty, some out to Ellis Island, some over to New York and some over to New Jersey, making the water quite rough.  They put out quite a wake!

We got a neat picture of “The Lady” (Statue of Liberty) as we passed her.  How magnificent she is….she represents all that is good in our country and makes you proud to be an American.  We also got some video of “Manhattan”….how sad the twin towers are no longer there – such a tragic loss of life.  I hope we are never complacent again thinking no enemy can ever touch us.  There are numerous planes and helicopters flying overhead, plus a coast guard boat guarding “The Lady”.  Life will never be the same again, and maybe it’s not ever supposed to be.

We arrived at the Newport Yacht Club and Marina at 12:10 p.m., and as everyone said we would, we are rocking some at the dock because of the ferry boats out in the river.  All the marinas along the Hudson River are vulnerable to BIG ferry boat wakes – I hope this marina isn’t one of the worst ones!  Time will tell!

Anyway, we had a fantastic run today….a little over 100 miles!

Oh great, Jim just informed me we have a salt water leak in our starboard engine….Now what????


Rocking around is the “understatement of the year” – this is just ridiculous!  When we first got into our marina yesterday, it seemed fine.  It didn’t take very long to realize we had made a gigantic mistake staying here….that was after we had paid for a two night stay.  Nothing is cheap in this area….as an example, we went up to the Yacht Club for lunch (it was the only restaurant we could see) and just ordered something light – we each ordered a bowl of soup and a salad.  I had a glass of wine and Jim had beer…the tab with tip came to $50.00!!!!

We went back to the boat and found it (and all the other boats) rocking  and being tossed around violently.  We put extra lines on and also extra fenders to keep it from getting damaged.  I had to get off the boat and even Jim could hardly keep his footing, even on the back deck.  Keith and Bruce, it reminded us of the old days at the West Basin before improvements were made!

We decided to walk around a little bit and found a mall close by….we went in just for something to do since we couldn’t really stay on the boat.  It was a big mall….we ended up going into the movie theatre.  We saw one of the dumbest movies….it was  called “Alex and Emma” starring Kate Hudson (daughter of Goldie Hawn).  Don’t waste your time and money to see it!  After the movie, we got two big slices of pizza at the mall food court and a bottle of pink lemonade which tasted so bad, I didn’t even finish mine.  Then we ambled back to the “Nauti Gal” to see how she was doing….she was still bouncing around.  We managed to climb up our ladder and sit on the back deck, waiting for things to calm down.

We had been told earlier by the marina people that the ferrys start running each morning around 6:30-7:00, and stop altogether by 9:00 p.m.  It was after 8:00 p.m. when we got back, so decided to sit and wait it out until ferry service stopped for the night.  These people out and out lied to us, which really made us mad!!  The ferrys were running until at least 10:00.  We were both so tired, we finally went down into the cabin hopng the water would calm down soon, and it seemed like it had lessened.  We managed to finally fall asleep.  Jim said he woke up around 2:30 (I can’t believe I didn’t) and we were rocking again.  At 5:30 this morning we both woke up to rocking.  The ferrys were already running!!  We got up, dressed as quickly as we could, and started un-tying lines…..we were off the dock at 6:00 a.m.  As we left the marina harbor entrance, we immediately counted seven ferrys running and putting out a huge wake.  So much for honesty from the marina people.

The big disappointment for me was, we had planned on taking the subway into New York City today and take in all the sights.  For one, we wanted to visit ground zero, but I really wanted to see a Broadway play.  I don’t know what was even playing or if we could have gotten tickets; however, guess it wasn’t mean’t to be.  By last night I had already told Jim, “let’s get the heck out of here” and that was fine with him too.  What I wanted to see in New York City now didn’t even seem that important to me anymore.  Jim promised to take me to a play in Chicago when we return home. 

We continued up the Hudson River about 20 miles to Upper Nyack where the Tappan Zee bridge crosses the river. After we got away from all the New York congestion and glitz, what we found was much prettier, quieter and peaceful.  The river was now calm and we saw beautiful, tall rock cliffs, some with trees growing on them.  Guess we are just small-town folks, and it is hard to understand how people can love big cities so much that they actually live there. 

Jim found a boat yard up river as he wants/needs to get this salt water leak fixed.  Once it comes into the bilge, the salt just crusts – that, of course, can cause corrosion if not taken care of.  Darn salt water!!!  We can’t hardly wait to get back into fresh water!!!!

This has not exactly been the “dream trip” we had planned.  I’m sure some of the problems we have encountered are due to the salt water.

Anyway, here we sit at the boat yard – nice people here.  Their mechanic has already looked at the problem.  I heard him tell Jim they needed to order gaskets – they got right on the phone and a special messenger service from here went to New Jersey to pick up the required gaskets.

We related to one of the guys here about our bad “rocking and rolling” experience at the marina last night.  He told us that since 9/11 extra ferrys have been put in service – guess that’s how people want to travel now.  He said it didn’t used to be this bad, as far as so many ferrys running all the time.

On a positive note, we have another beautiful day, hot and sunny….something to be thankful for.

Later…..the parts and mechanic showed up at the boat around 2:00 and started disassembling the leaking heat exchanger.  In the process, three bolts were frozen in place with rust and broke off, complicating the replacement of the gasket.  The mechanic had to stop work at 3:00 today and will return tomorrow at 8:00 a.m., to complete the job.  These people couldn’t be more accommodating….they made sure we had power and water, and told us they would not charge us for our overnight stay.  Pretty nice, eh??

Talk to you tomorrow…..

Our mechanic was back this morning around 8:30 and finished up….we pulled away from their dock at 12:35.  This young man was very particular and it appears he did a good job.

Another beautiful and sunny day….a bit hazy on the river and ninety-five degrees.  The river is very smooth….we just need to keep a watchful eye out for debris, as we did see some floating by us yesterday while sitting at the boat yard.

We turned around and went back to the boat yard dock at 1:05.  As soon as Jim pushed the engines up, the starboard one began to drip again.  The dock boy went to find the mechanic….in the meantime, Jim felt he knew what it might be and ended up taking care of the problem himself.  The hose  clamp needed to be tightened down more.  We never did see the mechanic but Jim fixed it anyway….we left again at 1:39.  Since then everything has been fine.

The further away we get from New York City, the prettier the scenery.  On both sides of the Hudson River  are these huge, beautiful mountains….the Appalachian mountain chain, and is considered one of the most beautiful stretches of river scenery in the United States.  One mountain, called Storm King Mountain, is 1,355 feet at the peak.

We passed West Point, the United States Military Academy….it looks huge and part of it looks almost like a castle.

Speaking of castles, we went past Pollepel Island, widely known as Bannerman’s Island.  Between 1900 and 1918, Bannerman, a munitions dealer, built a replica of a medieval castle here as a summer resort and storehouse.  In 1967, the state obtained the property and tours were conducted until the castle burned in 1969.  Today, because of the deteriorating condition of the building, landing on the island is no longer permitted.

We did a lot of fast and slow traveling today….but mostly slow.  Two reasons:  debris in the water plus the fact that almost all the marinas along the Hudson River are out in the open and not protected by seawalls.  We watched an excursion boat go by one of the marinas fast, and it practically rolled all the boats over. 

We found a marina that goes way back in off of the Hudson called “Rondout Yacht Basin” – we pulled in there at 6:00 and fueled.  The fuel dock is where we are going to stay for the night and will leave no later than 8:00 a.m. when they open the fuel dock.

With all the beautiful scenery we saw today, it was a nice day…..just very, very hot.  It went up over 100 degrees…..after we pulled into the marina today, the dock men told us the heat index for here today was 118.  I guess I did hear something like that on the TV yesterday that because of the heat expected today, it could be dangerous for people with health problems.

Talk to you all tomorrow….


We pulled away from the dock at Kingston at 8:20 a.m.  It is another sunny and humid day – temperature is 79 degrees.  It’s hazy again….water nice.  Our plan is to go to Troy, New York today.  I definitely need to do laundry and it would be nice if we could find a grocery store too.

We have encountered the usual small debris; however, we have also seen bigger chunks of wood in the water….the kind you would rather not run over as it could ding the props real good!!

For a while it seemed like we were out here traveling by ourselves; however, now we see quite a few boats traveling.  I am really enjoying the scenery….lots of woodsy areas on both sides of us, along with some homes and a lot of marinas.

As far as we have come, I was surprised to find out that we can still have 4-5 foot tides here.

The wind has come up some so, although it is now in the 80’s, it feels less humid than yesterday.  It is clouding up a bit and the forecast said possible rain later, but we will be to our destination long before that.

We arrived at Troy Downtown Marina at 12:50 p.m.  We can see the Troy Lock from here, and found out it opens as early as 6:00 a.m.  Once we go through this lock, we will find ourselves in the Lake Champlain River where we will finally be in FRESH WATER!!!!  Yea!!  That will lead us to the Erie Canal, another new experience!!

More tomorrow…..

It’s in the 60’s this morning and the sun is shining.  We are about to cast off and go through the Troy Lock, the first of many ahead of us.

We were just told that the Troy Lock is down….they have been having all kinds of problems with it.  The lock master told us he was going to try locking through the southbound boats and, if that goes well, he would call us – he said it might be about forty minutes.  So here we are hoping to get his call soon.

This lock is the first of a long series that can take you to Buffalo on Lake Erie, Oswego on Lake Ontario or Whitehall on Lake Champlain.  When we leave the Troy Lock, we will enter the quiet, non-tidal waters of the Lower Champlain Canal.  Then we will make a cut and start into the Erie Canal, still a part of the New York Canal System.

They have called us so we are casting off our lines, ready to go through the Troy Lock at 8:43 a.m.  We came out of the lock at 9:l5 and are now thirteen feet higher….best of all, WE ARE FINALLY IN FRESH WATER!!!

Several methods can be used in the various locks….(1)  They might have lines coming down the walls which you grab and wrap around your bow cleat – same with your stern cleat.  (2)  Have your line around your cleat amidship – then you wap the other end of the same line around a pipe on the wall and back to the cleat on your boat and ride up or down that way.  (3) Same as the pipe only it is a wrapped cable.

We are waiting to go through Lock 2 (first on the Erie Canal) – 34’ rise.  Yes, you heard me right..there is no Lock 1 and I don’t know why.  Lock 2 starts this series of five stair steps of locks at Waterford, N. Y. – this is called “The Flight of Five”.  You come out of one and go right into the next one – no waiting.  All five locks we rose anywhere between 33’ and 35’, each one.  The next lock – Lock 7 (Vischers Ferry Lock) we had a rise of 27’.    At Lock 2 we were issued a pass that is good for all the locks you go through – the cost is determined by how many days you plan to use the Erie Canal  System.  The funny thing is, even though most of the time you don’t have to wait, or your wait is very short, it takes a long time between locks because there is a 10 mile speed limit on the river.  We have already used all three of their lock methods – the lines, the pipes and the cable – guess I am getting used to all of them because it is pretty easy.

Did I mention that we are on the Mohawk River, part of the Erie Canal System?  Side note:  Already, after doing only 7 locks, we have come up 211’ – lots more locks ahead!!

Historical Note:  We just passed the remains of an early aqueduct which used to span the Mohawk River at this point.  The wooden portion of the aqueduct is gone now, but the stone arches clearly show the construction of this early “water bridge”.

There are many small boats out today – fishing boats, jet skis, speed boats and traveling boats.  We are waiting for Lock 8 at Scotia to open – this will be only a 14’ rise.  Then on to Lock 9 at Rotterdam Junction – a rise of 15’.  We are now 240’ above sea level.  We will go through one more lock today – Lock 10 at Amsterdam – another 15’ rise.  Then we will call it quits until tomorrow.

Because we HAVE to go so slow on the Erie Canal, we have traveled for seven hours and forty-six minutes today and have only gone TWENTY-NINE MILES!!!!  Would you believe it???  The good part is, we are in fresh water, we have seen some of the prettiest scenery with the beautiful trees and mountains, and the weather has been great – got up into the 80’s today.

We tied up along a wall at 6:15  on the river at Amsterdam and found that they had a small restaurant right there….so guess what – I didn’t have to cook tonight.  Historical Note:  Amsterdam was once home to the Mohawk Carpet Mills.  Competition destroyed this once vibrant business here, and fire finished off the mill buildings.  Amsterdam is but a shadow of its former self when carpet weaving was a thriving business here.  One famous past resident of this town is Kirk Douglas, the actor.  I have to add, some of the people here are trying to revitalize the town and the waterfront….I sure hope they make it!  More tomorrow….

Hi Everyone….

We cast off our lines at 7:40 a.m. this morning and were greeted with another sunny day with a temperature of sixty-five degrees.  We found that the gates were open at our next lock – Lock 11 (Amsterdam) with only a 12’ rise…we came out of the lock at 8:05.

Jim said I should have mentioned to you, when talking about the series of five locks (stairsteps) that we went through yesterday, boats are lifted and lowered the greatest height in the shortest distance of any canal in the world – this is a remarkable engineering marvel.

Lock 12 (Tribes Hill) is coming up with only an 11’ rise….we made it through two locks in one hour – not bad!  In case I haven’t mentioned this before – another good thing about the Erie Canal Locks is, only pleasure craft go through; thus, no long waits.  The locks themselves are very narrow, so probably no barges would fit.

In the last nine days we have gone 448 miles, and have averaged 50 miles a day counting the time on the ocean.

Historical Note:  Construction of the Erie Canal began in 1817 and finished in 1825 and was originally 363 miles long.  The original canal was very different from the one we boat on today.  It was originally designed as a ditch filled with water. Mules or horses could walk beside the ditch on a towpath and pull the boats through.  The original canal was only 4’ deep and 40’ wide, designed to carry small canal boats with loads of 30 tons.  The canal was a huge success and boat traffic increased dramatically.  Soon the canal was deepened, its course altered as necessary, and by 1862 was 7’ deep and could carry boats of 240 tons.  At the turn of the century, the canal was once again enlarged to carry more and larger vessels.  By 1903, when the present day Erie Canal was completed, it was not located where the original canal had been.  The present day Erie Canal follows the natural rivers and lakes to a much greater degree than the original Erie Canal.  Today the Erie Canal has a minimum depth of 12’ from Troy to Buffalo.  It traverses 35 locks (34 on the Erie and the Federal Lock at Troy), as it rises, then falls and finally rises from sea level at Troy to 545’ above sea level at the Niagara River.

We are approaching Lock 13 at Fonda (8’ rise) and the gate is open and waiting for us.  A little history regarding the next town and lock we go through….Lock 14 at Canajoharie (8’ rise) – Canajoharie has one of the finest small art galleries in the U. S.  At the heart of its collection of 350 paintings by American artists is Winslow Homer oils and watercolors.  The village of Canajoharie has, architecturally, the most original, intact Erie Canal commercial district found on the Mohawk River.

So far we have been pretty much alone on the water today except for fishermen.  That has surprised us – did everyone sleep in this morning??  It’s nice for us though….one lock tender calls ahead to the next lock for us and it is open and ready for us when we get there.  Without other boats, as soon as we go into a lock, they close the gate and we’re ready to go – whereas when there are several boats, you have to wait for all of them to get situated which takes extra time.

Lock 15 (Fort Plain) with another 8’ rise is four miles ahead….so far little baby steps today.  We are running right next to busy I-90 at the moment.  Lock 16 (Mindenville) has a 20’ rise and is just beyond Fort Plain.  It is nice having them fairly close together and also not having commercial traffic in and out of the locks that you have to wait for.

As clean as we keep the “Nauti Gal”, you should see how dirty she is out on the bow – unfortunately, we have found most of these old locks have the lines hanging down the wall….they are some of the thickest lines I have seen in locks.  They are weighted on the one end which causes them to stay down in the water – when you grab them, all the dirty water and slime that collects on them ends up on the bow of the boat – we can’t wait to get her cleaned up, but it will do no good while we go through all these locks.

Historical Note:  Upon leaving Lock 16, we saw the remains of Fort Plain and the Fort Plain Museum.  Just east of Lock 16 remains of the old Erie Canal are visible on the south bank and west of the lock  remains can be seen on the north bank.

Lock 17 at Little Falls, with a rise of 40’ is next.  Historical Note:  Lock 17 is the largest single step lock on the Erie Canal and is impressive.  Not only is it the highest lift lock on the Erie Canal – it is one of only two locks in North America where the entrance gate is lifted ABOVE the boater (the other is on the Ottawa River in Canada).

Frequently you will hear people refer to this as the “highest lift lock”.  This is not true.  There are many lift locks that routinely raise or lower boats 55, 65 and 85 feet.  In fact, the Wilson Lock and Dam on the Tennessee River has a lift of 97’.  But, all of these locks have doors that swing open as the vessel enters.  Only Lock 17 and the one in Canada, lift the gates above the boater, permitting vessels to enter with a clearance of about 20’.

It is 2:30 and we are waiting to get into Lock 18 at Jacksonburg, a 20’ rise.  We are discussing when and where we want to stop.  Some places are remote and I could sure use a grocery store soon.  It’s been a great day with very few boats so we find ourselves continuing to move on.

We decided to stop at Ilion Village Marina at 3:15 and just below Lock 19….everyone here is so friendly.  We both decided it was time to do a little clean-up on the “Nauti Gal”, so Jim began scrubbing the outside and I did the same on the inside….we both feel better!  We then relaxed a bit and had left over Chicken Alfredo Fettucini – it tasted almost as good as the first time!  It’s been a good day and a tiring day….the scenery continues to be beautiful!!

Where has this month gone??  Jim tells me we had a thunderstorm last night, but I never heard it.  What DID bring me to a state of semi-consciousness was when Jim bolted out of bed early this morning with a leg cramp….I promptly fell back to sleep!

We left our dock at 8:30 a.m. with a temperature of sixty-nine degrees and a little on the muggy side.  It is cloudy with just a few sprinkles of rain left over.  Hopefully, a little later, the sun will come out.

We just came out of Lock 19 – the Ilion Lock with a 21’ rise, the first lock today.  The Utica Harbor Lock we bypass – apparently this particular lock is now being used by oil companies only, and by appointment only.  Obviously, their boats can make it through the lock.  Lock 20 at Whitesboro is coming up next with a rise of 16’.  This last lock brought us up to a maximum height of 420’ above sea level.

Historical Note:  A few miles from here, located in downtown Rome, is the restored Fort Stanwix.  An excellent reproduction of a Revolutionary War  wooden fort, it takes up an entire city block.

We will soon come up to Lock 21 at New London where we will have a 25’ DROP!  this is the first lock going DOWN when headed west.  A mile down stream from that lock is Lock 22 (also New London) and also with a 25’ DROP. 

Before we got to these last two locks, the wind began blowing pretty hard (sun was out but wind was chilly).  Most of the locks have had the lines coming down the wall….not hard when you are being raised up to grab the lines.  We found ….not easy, especially with the wind blowing so hard.  We are finding new muscles!!!! coming into these last two locks of the day, we had to reach way down to grab the lines with our boat hooks

Because we were tired and needed a break, and also because of the wind blowing, we pulled into a place called Sylvan Beach (Skinner’s Marina) at 2:00 – We are just short of Oneida Lake….we can see it from our boat.  The lake is not that big actually – our book tells us it is an hour and fifty-five minute trip based on a 10 MPH speed.  Jim says we can make it across in probably one hour.  Once we get across, we have one lock to go through, and then we are done with the Erie Canal and will immediately go into the Oswego Canal.  This canal is only 24 miles long but has seven or eight locks in it.  Once we reach the town of Oswego, from there we go out on Lake Ontario.

Miss everyone….talk to you tomorrow!!