Sunday: Without sufficient power, our overnight resembled sleeping in the Amazon when we went on a construction/medical mission to the Amazon River a few years ago. So getting an early start was no issue. Our strategy was to get across Oneida Lake after the fishermen and before the go fast boat crazies woke up for the day! Also, we know that a strong wind out of the west can create six foot waves on the eastern end, so we figured it would be calm in the morning with increased winds in the afternoon, therefore we needed to get the early start.
We left the marina dock at 7:30am and as we passed the wall with Sea Life, Morning Sun, Navigator & Cormarant II we could see they were all getting ready to depart. We had already decided to run Kailani at full throttle for a bit this morning to take care of some blow-by in the air cleaners, so we did not wait for them to get off their docks, we simply waved and said we’d meet on the other side of the lake.
The crossing was nearly glass-like conditions with a few ripples and very few other boats save the fisherman. One thing we noticed was an amazing amount of algae bloom on the surface. I researched this and it was a bloom that had three possible “grades” for danger. First, Harmless. Second, irritating to skin and breathing, could kill small dogs that licked thier coats. 3 Third- Toxic, symptoms include nausea , vomiting, disorientation and death. Needless to say we did NOT swim in that soup. I don’t know which level it was but I did not even stick a toe in! – tc Thankfully it reduced to negligible by the time we were on the west side of the lake. We were a bit concerned about our sea strainers at the raw water intakes, but we’ll be having the Winter Harbor mechanics going over our engines tomorrow if they have time. So we ran Kailani up to full throttle for nearly ten minutes and the port engine was running much hotter than the starboard, so we backed em down and cruised at 9 knots the rest of the way across and we were pulling up to the Winter Harbor fuel dock at exactly 10:00 am as scheduled.
Our timing was beautiful because there were no other vessels on the fuel dock when we pulled in, but there was a parade of boats waiting when we were done. I guess with Winter Harbor’s prices, everyone looks to fill up there. Sea Life came in and instead of waiting, Larry decided to tie up at his slip and do the fueling later when they weren’t so busy. That was a good choice.
After the fleet arrived, we had Kailani, Sea Life, Morning Sun, Navigator and Cormarant II docked for a few days here.
Winter Harbor is an AGLCA Sponsor and when I was checking in, I let Leslee know I really appreciated them supporting us to the level that they do and we always make our plans around supporting those business that support our organization. She really appreciated the feedback because it was her decision originally, to become a sponsoring organization to the AGLCA, and it’s turned out to be an extremely large percentage of their business ever since. That’s a real win-win.
The afternoon is spent trying to cool off as the heat has gotten into the nineties with a humidity to match. I only hope the power grid is adequate here. To cool off, I go out, close up all the windows and hose down Kailani hoping to get some cooling spray in the process. It just doesn’t work, its too hot out. So we get together with the other four looper boats and make arrangements to go to the Waterfront Grill for dinner. We figure let someone else cook and clean for us in this heat while we sit in an air conditioned restaurant. Also, we pick up a solo sailer, Mike who cruises in a Monk trawler and id the president of the Monk Owners Association. So nine of us, Tracy & I, Larry & Carol, Dennis & Julie, Bill & Van and Marshall & Corrine all head over to the restaurant 2 miles away. Our only brain teaser is that the marina courtesy car is a five seater and we have eleven diners. So Nick becomes the chauffeur and makes three round trips to the restaurant in order to get everyone seated. He’s a real trooper! – tc Once there we realize that they don’t have air conditioning (or don’t feel like using it) either way, our strategy to escape the heat fails, but we have a great time enjoying dinner with so many loopers. The waitress even agrees to process six separate checks at the end and it becomes a trial and error to get the right charges onto the right slip, but she never complains or gives up and after several return trips to the computer, finally gets everyone’s check right. The only slip up is that Mike wasn’t charged for his cocktail and the waitress said to just forget it and take it with their compliments to which he then asked if he could have another cocktail to go!
After three trips back to the marina, we had everyone safely back and returned the courtesy car, then Corrine came over to Kailani for the remainder of the evening and she, along with Tracy worked on some intricate coloring with pencils and ink, NOT crayons although those might have melted in our hands anyway. – tc which is a common hobby to both of them.
Monday: Marina day and the heat starts out early enough. I wake up at 6am and its comfortable but by 8am its scorching already and slated to keep climbing thru the day. Larry and I walk up to the office and talk with John the service manager and he says he’ll stop by our boats later this afternoon to look at our little nuisance issues. After sweating thru that, we all kind of retreat to our respective boats to sit in air conditioning.
Around 1:30pm I borrow the courtesy car and Carol, Julie and I go to Walmart for various items. I buy some needed groceries and as I’m wheeling them back, I get a text from Tracy that the mechanic is on the boat. So I get there and it’s John. He just wanted to review the scenario then plan to schedule a tech to come tomorrow to do the work. Sounds like we can get some nuisance issues worked out.
The late afternoon brings heave rains and thunderstorms for about an hour and afterwards the humidity is gone and it’s much cooler. Time to come out and play!
Tuesday: Morning Sun and Navigator shove off early for catching the 7am lockage at Lock 23 which is one half mile away. Hopefully we’ll see them both further down the waterways. Sea Life and Kailani are spending one more day here before shoving off early tomorrow. We plan to sit on the flybridge and watch the Brewerton fireworks tonight.
I also have an appointment with the marina’s service department for a tech to be on board today to change my raw water impellers and a few other nuisance items. At 7:30am Joe is knocking on the boat ready to go to work. So we raise the engine hatch and he starts on the starboard impeller which is the easiest one to work on. He runs into a few snags along the way, but way before noon, he’s off the vessel and we believe she will run fine going forward. As they say, time will tell. The afternoon is spent catching up on some paperwork items and discussing upcoming weather as it will pertain to our travel plans.
Wednesday: America’s Independence Day and our last day in the USA for a while. We depart at 6:45am to make the 7:00am opening of lock E23 headed for the Oswego River and Oswego, NY on the shore of Lake Ontario. Our plan is to stay here overnight and make another early start Thursday morning to get across Lake Ontario not Canada before the winds and waves increase on the Great Lake. We have less than 30 nautical miles to travel but eight locks to navigate, all dropping us down to the level of Lake Ontario. As of our departure time alongside Larry and Carol on Sea Life, we do not have a reservation yet for a marina in Oswego with power and Alex’s on the Water has five slips with power, but they are first come first served, so the earlier we get there, the better we’ll be for dockspace. Larry and Carol are still thinking they may keep cruising and shoot up to Alexandria Bay today while the lake is calm.
So we lock thru Lock E23, our last lock on the Erie Canal, and turn north at Three Rivers onto the Oswego Canal headed towards Oswego. The locks on the Oswego Canal start with Lock O1 and end with Lock O8, however there is no Lock O4. We cruise thru Phoenix, home of the Bridge House Brats, a group of entrepreneurial teenagers that will run errands for boaters simply for a tip. They’ll make a run for groceries, pharmacies, mail, etc. They’ll even wash your boat if you ask. All of this Oswego Canal is very familiar since we cruised this canal four years ago in a chartered canal boat, Fantessy.
Suddenly, Tracy’s cell phone rings and it’s Heidi from Oswego Marina and they let us know that they have space for us with power and for Sea Life also. So we now know we’ll be able to endure the sweltering heat this afternoon and Sea Life decides to make their decision when they get to Oswego and base it on time and lake conditions. As it turns out, after completing our eighth lock of the day, we’re in Oswego and Larry decides to keep cruising and is real satisfied with his decision as he calls me to let me now Lake Ontario has 2” seas with 3” swells! Now that’s just plain ridiculously calm. Great for them. Hopefully, we’ll run into them again in Canada, but for the immediate future, they’ll be about a week behind us.
Heidi and her staff meet us on the dock at Oswego Marina and quickly, we all secured and utilities connected for the evening. As I mentioned earlier, this is our last night in the States for a couple of months (except for a wedding in Virginia) and we will relax, enjoy the scenery, cool off, and maybe go out for dinner this evening if we can find a restaurant open on this holiday.
Alex’s On The Water is open right next door to the Marina. They open at 5pm so we both shower-up and head over about 5:15pm and get a nice table indoors with AC (this time). Our waitress is very friendly and the food is delicious. We enjoy a nice meal together in a cool environment and return to Kailani. We make sure all our documentation for crossing into Canada is in order and turn in for the evening sort of early so we can depart before 7am tomorrow.
Thursday: We start switching the lines for departure at 6:30am and by 6:45am we’re pullin away from the docks at Oswego Marina. We checked the weather again prior to leaving and we should be good for the morning cross, but the afternoon cross would be iffy and tomorrow is definitely worse, so off we go today. We run Kailani up to 16 knots for the first ninety minutes to take care of ordinary blow-by in the diesels, and to take some time off our total duration for the day. It’s a bit choppier than we’d prefer, so I back her down to 1,100 rpm’s/9 knots and the ride smooths out. However, this is a crossing that will include three hours of open water, no land in sight! So accuracy on the compass and chart plotter are a must. Then when we cross the imaginary international border between USA and Canada, the chart plotter screen goes white! So now we cruise into Canada with the Navionics app on my phone and the ship’s compass. We’ll certainly have to look for some charts once we land in Trenton.
Five hours into the cruise, we finally get cell service back (none in the middle of Lake Ontario) and Tracy calls the Canadian Customs Control at 888-CAN-PASS and gives them all the documentation about the vessel, all passengers and Frankie. The Customs Officer giver her a clearance number and we’re free to travel about the country. Prior to the clearance number, we had been flying the yellow ‘Quarantine’ flag ever since crossing into Canadian waters, but now the yellow flag comes down and we continue to fly the Canadian Courtesy Flag until Kailani re-enters the USA.
We enter Canada at Presqu’ile Bay and proceed into the Murray Canal to get from Presqu’ile Bay into the Bay of Quinte and Trent Port Marina.
Our plan is to stay here for a few days, enjoy some Canadian hospitality and scenery, get acclimated to the environment, then head up the Trent Severn Waterway which begins right after the Trent Port Marina.
As we are pulling into the marina, there’s an audience of hands on the dock to help us in, including Eric and Karen Martin, the local AGLCA Harbor Hosts! As fate would have it, we bring Kailani into the marina and the winds hold us up from negotiating the turn into slip E19, so with the ‘audience’ waiting, I continue Kailani straight further into the marina and turn her where there is more room, then return back to the dock for our slip. The wind is moving just right for me and I let the wind move Kailani softly up to the dock and three deck hands and two Harbor Hosts make quick work of securing our lines with Tracy’s help and guidance. I complete the log information for total miles and time of arrival, hut down the helm instruments and meet everyone on the dock. Eric and Karen are docked literally right behind us in their seasonal slip and are on holiday this week, so they’re living on their boat. That’s good to know so if we need anything, they’re right here. They have anticipated most all Looper needs and prepared a welcome packet for all loopers. Not only does it have all the local stores and attractions, they’ve included a chart of every lock and bridge on the Trent Severn Waterway for reference and it’s spot on accurate!
Friday: Today the heatwave is forecasted to break and tonight might actually be in the fifties! Trent Port Marina offers totally free laundry accommodation with three washers, three dryers, and all the detergent and dryer sheets you could need provided by the marina. So we just have to take advantage of that amenity.
We load up our dirty clothes and some shopping carry bags into the boat cart and wheel the laundry up to the facilities. After washing all the clothes and loading the dryers, we take the cart across the street to Metro Grocery Store to replenish the cupboards aboard Kailani. We return to the laundry facilities and we’re able to start folding some of the clothes while the thickest items stay drying. As we’re folding the clothes, we realize that our white mesh laundry bag from aboard Kailani is missing. Apparently, there is so much stuff provided free of charge here that someone must have taken it thinking it was a marina freebie! Oh well, they’re only one dollar at the dollar store. We also stop at the Marina Chandlery and buy the 8 new dock lines that we looked at yesterday. These are only 3/8” lines and will be used on the barrel and ball fenders to make handling them easier.
We wheel everything back to the dock and unload the groceries, laundry and marine supplies aboard Kailani. We put away the groceries and folded laundry, then tracy tries out the fishing while I install the new blue fender lines on all the fenders. Now they look better and it will be easier to handle the lines when moving the fender in the locks. Soon I realize that our wheeled cart is also missing off the dock! The only place it could be is in the drink. The wind must’ve blown it right in. So we try various methods of locating it in this fairly deep water and Tracy finally snags it with her fishing gear and a weighted hook. Now we must try and hook it out. Eric Martin happens by and asks what we’re doing and he gets right into helping Tracy by grabbing a boat pole, laying down on the dock, reaching as far down as he can, and eventually comes up with our cart on the boat hook!!! What a lifesaver. We leave it out in the sun for the rest of the day, but we lay it over so nothing will blow it over into the water again.
Tracy puts some short ribs in the Insta-Pot and soon we’re enjoying a nice short rib and yam dinner out on the sundeck. After dinner, Tracy continues to fish and I do some paperwork chores while we enjoy the cool night air.
Saturday: We make an early executive decision to stay one more day, enjoying the Trenton area and preparing for the start of the Trent Severn Waterway. First thing we must do is decide where to stop cruising while we go back to the states for Nephew John & Vic’s wedding in Virginia.
We decide on Peterborough Marina, so I call for availability and after the request and a definite maybe from Mark, we receive a subsequent call later in the day from Ben confirming that they will definitely have a slip for us and it will be at the ‘tee’ head of a finger dock and we book it for Wednesday to Tuesday. That gives us an extra day on each end for anything that may come up. Mark and everyone else we’ve talked to says that four days to get from Trenton to Peterborough is extremely doable even if we’re taking our time enjoying the sights along the way.
With that done and confirmed, we walk into town for a late breakfast and looking for the Dollar Store to replace our mesh laundry bag that was mistakenly taken from the marina laundry room yesterday. We get two mesh bags at the Dollar Store and walk to a Tim Hortons for late breakfast. Tim Hortons is a Canadian based chain that we saw briefly come into Connecticut, but they never lasted back home and I’ve not ever had a chance to try them out, so we get some coffees and breakfast sandwiches, have a nice conversation with an older biker that sat down next to us, then walk back to the marina via the walkway alongside the Trenton River. We find a visitor’s center where the girl gives us all kinds of tidbits about the area and some valuable pamphlets also, then continue walking and come upon the Saturday Farmer’s Market. This is a rather strange farmer’s market in that it has more crafters than farmers, but Tracy eyes and buys a nice shoulder handbag and we continue our journey back to the marina.
Next we pass by the Trent Port Marina’s Fuel Station which we will stop at in the morning, so we get some familiarity with the situation and while there we bump into Bill and Amy Denison again aboard Mar-Kat. We had first met them at Hudson River Maritime Museum and Bill is a 1970 graduate of Westminster that I had talked at length with when we met in New York. Nice to see them again and we talked about the unusual winter in the south as they are from North Carolina in the Albermarle Sound area.
Since we’re heading out tomorrow, tonight is our last chance to try Tomasso’s Italian Restaurant. Everyone including the visitor’s guide highly recommend them, just watch out that they’re pricy. So we head over at 6:15pm and as we’re walking, I call them for the wait and they say there’s about a 30-45 minute wait, so we put our name in and walk a bit slower. When we arrive, they say there’s a 30 minute wait for an outside (riverside) table but they can seat us immediately inside. Well we wanted to sit inside anyway, so we’re shown to a table and the meal does not disappoint. As we’re ordering and waiting for food, we count at least thirty wait staff on this evening, so the service is obviously top notch and the food matches the service! After dinner, we take a nice walk thru the park back to the marina and get ready for tomorrow’s departure.