|June 5, 1999
Hello everyone I hope that this letter finds everyone happy and well. This is the first of our "newsletters" that we will be sending on this voyage. This one will be just a short note to catch up on our first week's travels. The good ship Vera Segunda left Barrington, RI on Saturday May 29th, exactly one year to the day from when we sold our home to do this foolish thing. We motored down Narragansett Bay and spent the first night in Point Judith, RI at anchor to test all systems and meet the kids for supper at a local restaurant. Sunday morning we went the 30 or so miles to the Connecticut River and met up with our friends Ann and Gordon who were returning from a family gathering in Boston. We had a great evening together and they spent the night aboard. On Memorial Day Monday we went out to breakfast and were treated to a wonderful local parade. From there we motored over to Greenport, Long Island, NY and stayed at the Brewers marina for a couple of days. What a quaint little town. We had a fine lunch at a seaside German restaurant. Off to Stratford CT, on the Housatonic River. We visited the Shakespeare theater, a replica of the globe theater in Stratford England, which we visited last summer. From Stratford we skipped down Long Island Sound to Glen Cove, NY and visited the lovely seaside town of Sea Cliff. It is a charming artists community which was originally a Methodists summer camp. We met an artist there who runs a campaign to fight hunger (always one of my campaigns) and I am going to help out by submitting a piece of art for auction. From Glen Cove it was on down through NYC to Liberty Landing Marina and the home of our friends Ann & Gordon. The view here is spectacular. We are overlooking the southern tip of Manhattan...WOW! The trip through NYC was as spectacular as ever, lots of boat traffic, both commercial and pleasure and the city is just an overwhelming backdrop. Today, Saturday, June 5th, we are starting our ascent of the Hudson and are hoping to get as far north as West Point.
The voyage continues. The cruise up the Hudson last Saturday was as spectacular as all the brochures said. It was fantastic. The area around Bear Mountain and West Point are awesome and we took plenty of video and stills. Ann and Gordon traveled with us. We all spent the night at a marina in the town of Marlboro, on the western shore of the Hudson a few hours (at 7 mph) north of West Point. It was a vertical little town and we hiked into its center from the river and it seemed like it was straight up. In the morning we made pancakes, refueled and started north again traveling through more spectacular scenery. By late afternoon we needed to find a place for Ann and Gorgon to depart. We dropped them at a town named Hudson to catch a train back to the city and home to their boat Rainbows End, which is at Liberty Landing Marina just behind the Statue of Liberty in NJ. Carol and I then proceeded to an anchorage marked in a cruising guide we purchased in Greenport. The water wasn't as deep as stated in the book, I ran aground and proceeded to back over the dinghy's rope neatly severing it and setting the dinghy adrift. After about ten minutes of being way too frantic we were safely at anchor in 20 feet of water and the rope and been repaired. I dove on the prop to check it out and cut away the missing piece of towline! The next Morning after a great night at anchor we motored on to troy and spent the night at the Troy Town Docks. There we met a few people and a friendly brewpub. The next morning we rigged the dinghy on it davits and started toward our first lock. The wind was up and we really got buffeted around in the lock and of course we did it poorly with the wrong kinds lines rigged. However, with a little practice, and the next five locks were in rapid succession, we mastered it, even with the wind. We spent the following night at a free tie up just above Lock 11 and last night here in the town of Frankfort, NY, about 25 miles from Rome. Traveling the Mohawk River was great and as scenic as the Hudson but on a smaller scale. We traveled with another trawler named Insight from the Chesapeake and a couple from upstate NY who just picked up their new Monk 36 trawler down in New Jersey. This morning proved to be a disappointment as I did my early morning engine room check I discovered problems with the engine. There seemed to be extra oil in it. Since this is impossible something else must be getting into it. So we are now in the process of looking for a diesel mechanic and making Frankfort our home for a while... who knows this may be the end of the trip, but more than likely just the end of some money. The people here are very friendly and the town is very close. We have already met a good portion of the population and found the Laundromat and the deli. So we will be here for a few days anyway and will be in touch with you all when we get this resolved one way or the other.
Wednesday, June 16, 1999
Update Hello from Frankfort, NY... still. Well, it has been a week of worry and waiting for parts. We never did find a diesel mechanic, so I became the mechanic we needed. Fortunately a company by the name of American Diesel is very patient and stocks all the parts for our 23 year old engine. I never did find the source of our oil increase but did find out that our fresh water pump was leaking, which I replaced. Our raw water pump was leaking, which I rebuilt (new impeller, and seals). A new air filter, a change of the engine oil, injection pump oil and a new cap for the expansion tank as well as a new oil cooler and everything SEEMS to be fine. I have gotten very good at climbing into the engine room which is a space that feels like it is much smaller than I am. The gymnastics I studied in High School finally paid off. I am sure that when this engine was assembled they did it in a much more open space because it isn't easy to get it apart where it is now. We are keeping our fingers crossed and plan to head out tomorrow morning around 11:00 on toward Buffalo. We are going to miss this town, everyone has been so nice. Hank, the commissioner of the Marina has been just great and Vic, who runs the sport shop, has been generous with his phone line and tools. We also know the butcher and the baker and the candle stick maker, really!! John the butcher also offered us a phone line and makes the best sweet Italian sausage, the baker closes on Monday and the candle stick maker is pregnant and expecting on August 1st. The 'commish' took us to his home last night so we could shower. Vic has driven me around for parts, and Tommy who owns a local restaurant has offered us his van...in case we need transportation. The grocery store has changed hands since we arrived, we like the new management. Video rentals are on the honor system, you pay when you return them. And this town has several places to get ice cream. So, tomorrow morning it is off to the Laundromat for the last time, a quick stop at the market and return the videos and we should be off. Although I think Carol may go back to the candle shop one more time. We are hoping to make it to Sylvan beach by evening, which is a resort town on Oneida Lake. There should be a free tie-up there and plenty to do. There is an amusement park ring on the canal.
Saturday, June 26, 1999
Lat N 43 10 Long W 77 41
Albion, NY It has been a while since I have written and there is a lot to catch up on. After we left Frankfort on the 16th our engine continued to make oil. We landed in Sylvan Beach, a resort town on the eastern end of Lake Onieda. It was here that we met Cindy and Robin who are making the same trip aboard their boat the LA Ti Da a 27-foot Sea Sport which they shipped from Washington State to Texas last January. We had a great time in Sylvan Beach and La Ti Da followed us across the 20-mile lake for safety sake. Well it is ten days later and they are still 200 yards behind us. We have made friends for life I think. They had plans to go up the Oswego Canal and across Canada via the Trent Severn Waterway but changed their minds and elected to head to Buffalo, the route we are taking. So we have traveling companions and are enjoying the company. Cindy is a former Grand Banks owner and very well educated in the ways of diesels. We watched the oil level for a couple of days and then decided to actually do something about it. We took a side trip down into the Finger Lakes via the Cayuga and Seneca Canal. We tied up at Lock 1 and ventured into Lake Cayuga aboard La Ti Da to visit vineyards, mmmmmmmmm. Returning to Vera Segunda, we then motored to Seneca Falls and ordered yet another round of parts for Vera II. This was on a Monday. I had the parts shipped to a State Senators office which I had wandered into, they would arrive on Wednesday. So Tuesday was a day to goof off. we visited the site of the first convention for women's rights (imagine my excitement) and later had ice cream and a haircut... could life get any better? However, this is also the home of George Bailey and it IS a Wonderful Life. On Wednesday morning my parts arrived and Cindy (my new mechanical friend) and I started tearing apart poor Vera's engine. Nine hours later Vera had a new set of injectors installed along with a new fuel lift pump and a few other bits that should help. Well we have been motoring for a few days now and haven't made any new oil! Vera seems to be chugging along just fine now with only a minor oil drip which I will tend to this evening. (I know what this one is and how to fix it) Apart from all the engine work we have been visiting some wonderful towns along the canal. And I have to admit that we are keeping a hectic schedule. We are generally underway by the crack of noon, but we do knock off early around four or five to even things out. Cindy and Robin like to entertain as do Carol and I, so conversation goes until late evening before we actually retire. We have made some wonderful meals and have met folks from all over. Last night we spent in Fairport and the Canal Park actually charged us $8 for the evening! Our first paid dockage since the canal began... but they had the best showers ever...nothing better than luxuriating in a long hot shower. We shopped at the farmers market this morning before heading west once again. As I write this I am sitting on the fly bridge in the shade of the bimini heading west at 7 knots with a Diet Coke in my hand. We hope to pass through our last lock tomorrow afternoon and finish the canal at Tonawanda. Then it is off to Canada! Later... We have just tied up in Albion, found ice, a newspaper and a flyswatter, and I have just been handed a Vodka-lemonaide, so it is time to wrap this up and be social.
Much Later, June 29, One Month since we left.
We are in Buffalo, actually Tonawanda and heading for open water of Lake Erie tomorrow. Hope we don't make a wrong turn and go over those darned falls at Niagara. We finished the Erie Canal the other day hand have taken a couple of days to explore the area here and visit with friends. We are heading for Turkey Point Ontario and hope to be there Friday. Keep everything crossed that the boat continues to run... :) Bridges Passed Under/Through 281
Miles Traveled 883
Average speed 6.9 mph
"Be good, and you will be lonesome." Mark Twain