Monday, July 27, 2009

Captain’s Log

Port Stanley, Ontario

July 17 2009

The Butt is back !! (home)

We arrived in Port Stanley last night on a 18:30 bridge. Our slip was ready and several members on hand to greet us. In our absence the clubhouse renovations have been completed and with the renovations a new sense of pride and enthusiasm among the members was evident. We always liked our little sailing squadron and now the facillity we have is second to none.

We were able to get underway from Lyons last Saturday morning (the 11th) and made it to Fairport before torrential rain started at noon. Fairport is a nice place to stop with town docks in the centre of town for I think it was $9. a night with electric and water. The rain stopped mid afternoon so we toured the town, bought some more books and had a nice meal in an authentic Mexican restaurant. Dessert was at the local ice cream parlour and Niki will be dismayed to learn the flavour of the day which she missed was called “Panda Paws”.(LOL). Sunday got us to Medina. Monday we reached Tonnawanda in the early afternoon and at 15:00 we were tied to a dock at Anchor Marine on Grand Island in the Niagara River. Our mast was waiting for us. By 14:00 Tuesday we were a fully rigged sailboat again and heading for the Blackrock canal and Lake Erie. Canal transit was very slow so when we reached Buffalo at 17:00 we found a dock for the night. Wednesday afternoon we sailed into Port Dover and enjoyed the Customs’ Officers’ “Welcome back” when we checked in. And of course Thursday we sailed from Dover to Port Stanley with 15 to 20 knots of wind out of the west. Why should our last day be any different than all the others?

So we are back home, our trip is complete and today is our 44th wedding anniversary. I’m glad we didn’t leave this adventure to do any later in life.

What are the most poignant memories? This is tough but surely the big one is the joy of sailing on the Bahama Banks. The clarity of the water and the wonderful shades of blue (from the deep blue of the Gulf Stream to the azure blues of the shallow banks) is simply undescribable.

And the Bahamian people were wonderful hosts. Being there with other sailors from home was great. Meeting so many new sailors that also became friends was equally great. The snorkling was incredible. The leisure to take one day at a time with few demands from society is a treat I must learn to practice back home.

For Niki the key to the trip was social for when asked for the one outstanding memory her response waivered. Was it Junkanoo in Georgetown, or happy hours on the disappearing beach at Cambridge, or the memorable lunch on Long Island prepared by the absent chef’s sister? Or the snorkleling at Rocky Dundas? Maybe the Bananaquites (sugar eating birds), the pigs at pig beach on Big Major. Or the stars that surround you when anchored on the Banks? For Niki it was definitely the people and the variety of social customs and, well, the people !!

Maxine agrees # 1 is definitely the water. Water defines the Bahamas. Hopefully Niki will find some time to post a few more pictures of our time in the Bahamas for pictures can speak so much more clearly than words.

In a nutshell, it was a wonderful year !!


Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Captain’s Log

Lyons, N.Y.

July 8, 2009

As planned, we left the Hudson River and entered the Erie Canal at Waterford, N.Y. a week ago today. The ‘free’ dock at Waterford was reserved for a steam boat festival so we simply carried on through the flight of 5 locks and tied up at a dock several miles west along the canal. We secured ourselves about 15:00 just before the heavens opened and poured for the rest of the night. The Macaulay’s’ arrived around 21:00 to drop Larry off.

We made good time each day since then till Saturday. We planned to cross Lake Oneida Saturday afternoon and stop in Brewerton to refuel and recharge. Ma Nature had different plans. The wind was blowing stink out of the west and Lake Oneida looked a lot like Lake Erie at its worst. At the entrance to the lake, Sylvan Beach, we sailed past Whippoorwill. One look at the Lake and we did a 180 and tied alongside the wall ahead of Whippoorwill. Abe and Karen were there to take our lines.

About 11:00 Sunday the lake had settled enough that we crossed and stopped in Brewerton 4 hours later at Ess-Kay Yards where we had stayed last fall heading south. Grace C had a new transmission installed there and we repaired our ignition and replaced a leaky hatch. They remembered us; called us by our first names, inquired about Niki and generally made us feel like it was only last week that we had been there. How nice is that !! We refuelled, filled water tanks, used their courtesy car to get groceries at Walmart, spent a relaxing night and got underway next morning, all for a dock fee of 95 cents a foot.

Whippoorwill chose to go on to Lock 23, three miles on for the night. We caught up to them Monday morning at Lock 24, Baldwinsville, to learn that the canal has been closed at Lock 28B at Newark, N.Y. A dredge had sunk in the canal ! With no idea how long the lock would be closed or how crowded the docking facilities would be Whippoorwill chose to stay at a comfortable dock with facilities in Baldwinsville and we chose to carry on the 50 odd miles we could still travel in hopes the lock would reopen by the time we reached lock 27, Lyons, the last practical place to stop before the closed lock 28B. We arrived at Lyons Tuesday mid morning to find the courtesy dock empty but lock 28B still closed for an indeterminate time. So here we sit. We have shore power and, courtesy of the Lyons Fire Department which we are beside, we have clean showers and fresh water as required.

We are hoping the canal will reopen in time for us to get Nice Butt back to Port Stanley before our family reunion in Huntsville on the 19th.


Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Captain’s Log

June 27 2009

As I type this log we are motor sailing up the Jersey coast. We expect to spend tonight in Great Kills Harbour by Staten Island in the Lower Bay of New York Harbour. It is a clear sunny day with what little breeze there is pretty much on the nose. We’re running just a little east of our rhum line so that we can carry our jib. The ocean is relatively calm, but undulating as oceans do . It is a feeling I always enjoy.

Yesterday was full of surprises. But I’m ahead of myself. We left Solomons Island and Banshee on Monday morning. The wind , the current and the waves were all out of the north bang on our bow and we got beat up pretty bad. Our best speed forward was 4 kts and when the bigger waves slammed our bow we stalled at 2.5 kts. Wisely we put in at the first available harbour which was Harrington Harbour South in Herring Bay, about 3 hours south of Anapolis.

This is probably the nicest marina we’ve ever stayed at, complete with several beaches and picnic areas, swimming pool, tiki bars and restaurant, manicured lawns and flower gardens. Several years ago when we helped Larry and Kathy bring Sinn Fein north they stayed at Harrington North but brought us to this restaurant for a meal. The laundry facility was good and so putting in at noon allowed us the luxury of doing laundry , having a walk about, a relaxing happy hour and a good night’s sleep.

We were off again Tuesday morning shortly after six and made such good progress that Maxine continually updated our destination. We spent Tuesday night in Chesapeake City which took us out of the Bay and poised to enter the C & D canal at first light Wednesday morning. Skipper Bob (our guidebook and Bible) advised leaving one hour before high tide at Reedy Point which would have meant a noon departure and the impossibility of transiting the Delaware in daylight (this is to catch the currents in the Delaware River on a favourable basis. So against the best advice we left sharp at 6 am with a “damn the torpedoes’ attitude. Amazingly the currents still worked in our favour for about 2 3rds of the day . We were at our dock at Uuch`s Marina in Cape May fully fuelled at 18:00. Maxine however was too whipped to do anything. It was my turn to cook (read plastic card buys restaurant food) but not only did I have to cook, but I also had to fetch and deliver. The pizza I procured turned out to be excellent.

With the weather still on our side but threatening afternoon T storms for the next few days we decided to keep moving early each morning. So Thursday we moved north to Atlantic City and put in at noon at a dock ($1.50 foot can you believe). We toured Trump City, had a nice meal out and early to bed. Ditto Friday and we put into Barnaget Inlet around 13:00 Friday (yesterday). Well there is much debate about transiting this inlet at ANY TIME. We chose to do it on an ebbing tide with 3 to 5 foot rollers coming in from the ocean. The ebbing tide creates a rip with the waves and simply put one damned confused sea. The buoys marking the channel aren`t charted since they are moved regularly to deal with the shifting shoals. And, we were greeted in mid channel by 30+ cigar boats in a poker challenge race coming out the channel all at once at speeds that must have been 60+ mph. Holy shit !! And to add insult to injury with the ebbing tide they had the legal right of way over our upstream bound vessel. Every one of these 30 odd boats passed us in rapid succession within several boat length`s of us on both sides of us simultaneously. The noise sounded like being on the run way at Pearson International. The wake added to the already excited sea state in the narrow channel. Well, thinking back it was a one of a kind experience. (We really missed Niki here since she would have videographed this nightmare and possibly come up with award winning footage !! ). Again we took a dock because the forecast was for severe T storms and high winds. The forecast was right. It came about 20:00 hours and never have I seen such a black sky. Our dock cost $3.00 a ft (can you imagine !!) but when the wind hit I didn`t begrudge a single cent. And the swimming pool and showers were wonderful in the afternoon. And the early arrival allowed me to change fuel fitters, oil, and all that good stuff that keeps our Yanmar humming.

As I type this I have heard two reports from N Y sector US Coast Guard. One, expect 150 swimmers swimming across N Y harbour today plus 50 odd sailboats in a race plus a whole bunch of Kayaks traversing the harbour. Well after yesterdays cigar boat poker run, these slow moving obstacles should be a piece of cake. Two, there has just been a sighting in Long Island Sound of a pod of dolphins numbering over a hundred moving through the Sound. Wouldn’t that be something to see.

June 29 2009

We did take a mooring at the Richmond County Yacht club Saturday about 16:00 and were content to have our happy hour and supper on board. We had a relaxing night, turned in early and at 6:00 Sunday morning slipped our mooring. Up the Hudson from New York Harbour’s lower bay through the narrows, past the Stature of Liberty, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Yonkers. We left New York behind and finally settled for the evening 12 hours later at Newburgh. At Staniel Cay, Exumas, we saw a large yacht named “Le Grande Bleu”. She was so “Grand” she had a full size patio on her stern and both a sailboat and power boat on her mid decks. Both were likely in the 60’ range. We sailed past Le Grande Bleu in N Y Harbour.

Today we travelled to Catskills where we will dismast in the morning and become a power boat again. Tonight we have stripped sails and rigging and are ready to pop the stick fist thing tomorrow We will head to Troy Wednesday morning and enter the Erie Barge Canal for the trip home to Lake Erie.

June 30 2009

We moved into the crane dock at 8:00 this morning. The mast is down and ready for transport to Anchor Marine on Grand Island and we have the boat scrubbed, fuelled and ready to move first thing tomorrow. We will complete our transit of the Hudson and enter Lock # 1 Wednesday afternoon.. Larry McAulay will meet us in Waterford N Y to help us through the locks of the Erie canal. The tripm is close to over.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Captains Log

Solomons Island, Maryland
June 20 2009

We have completed our first week on our own without Niki. It has takensome getting used to only 2 persons on board. We can only carp at eachother (LOL as Niki would say). We miss her but she is busy back homemaking school arrangements and catching up with family and friends.

We didn’t leave Hampton Roads last Sunday as planned. We got lazy (plusBay was fogged in) and stayed till Monday. Plan was to work up the westside of the Bay and perhaps stop at Deltaville, a relatively short day ofmaybe 40 knots. By noon Maxine didn’t think it was respectable to quit inthe early afternoon so we consulted the charts, and changed course forTangiers Island on the east side of the Bay. We got in a little after18:00 hours (another 70 Kt day) and tied up at Parks Marina, the onlyplace there and necessary since strong currents make anchoring unwise. Milton Parks took our lines and immediately offered us a golf cart tour ofthe island. “It’s part of the package” he said. His sign reads “Briefstays $5., Overnight, boats to 30’ $25., boats over 30’ $30. Plus $5. Forshore power. This is extremely reasonable. The washrooms and showerswere quite respectable, the docks in excellent condition and Milton’sconversation excellent!. There are only a few cars on the Island, mostlygolf carts and motor bikes. The habitable part comprises only a fewhundred acres, the rest being canals and marsh, although they have a nicebeach. Population is about 600 and life is slow paced, based on fishingfor the economy and a strong Christian ethic for morals and lifestyle. Wewanted to stay Tuesday and see the museum and walk about more. Wednesdayand Thursday the wind was blowing stink so we ended up staying tillFriday. Friday, I didn’t even check the weather, I just knew we had toslip our lines and move on no matter the weather.

Tuesday the troller Barbara arrived with Ken and Barb, (For all you dollfans this is the second “Ken and Barb” couple we have encounteredcruising). We met them in the Bahamas and again at Hampton Roads. Theyare returning home to New Jersey and are a delightful couple. They coaxedus to join them on Wednesday to visit the dock and buy soft shelled crabsfrom a local fisherman. Barb showed Max how to clean and cook them. Whata wonderful meal!! Between chatting with ‘Barbara’, chatting up MiltParks, reading and loafing the week went quickly. Parks Marina andTangiers Island are a definite ‘must do’ for anyone in the Chesapeake.

Friday the wind was northwest 15+ and that’s where we headed. Naturally. We crossed the Bay and moved north to Solomons Island. We went back to theHoliday Inn Marina since it was very close to a gourmet food store and aWest Marine store. And the Happy Hour is cheap and serves great snacks. We had planned to move today (Saturday) but decided again to slow down. We got some cleaning done on the boat, inside and out, and about 13:00hours Banshee arrived and docked right next to us. We met Jan and Bob onBanshee right here last fall and travelled with them a bit. We stayed intouch over the winter by email since they wintered in Florida. It’s greatto renew acquaintances. Home for Banshee is Tighman Is. so she is but 30kts from home.

June 21 2009

We finished our chores, got cleaned up and spent the afternoon chattingwith Bob and Jan, catching up on our respective journeys (both waterwayand life). We had happy hour with them, dinner with them, andconversation after on Banshee. Suddenly it was past midnight. Ascruisers, midnight only exists as a middle of the night timeline when youget up to check the anchor or the head. Bedtime is always hours sooner. Bob and Jan are one of the couples we took to immediately and hooking upafter 6 months seemed more like it was only last week since we saw them.

The realization is starting to set in that in a few short weeks thisodyssey will end and we may never again see some of our many new friends. We have decided to stay here with Banshee another day. Perhaps we’ll movenorth again tomorrow.


Day 281

Captain’s Log

June 14 2009

Niki is gone !! They say when the rats jump overboard the ship issinking. Well relax. Niki isn’t a rat and the ship’s not sinking. Besides she didn’t jump overboard. She stepped gracefully from the boatto the dock, a well seasoned (and tanned) sailor. She’s back in St.Thomas to have a long overdue adjustment from her orthodontist on thosebraces. She has been in pain for some time now since the usual 6 – 8 weekadjustments haven’t happened since Christmas.

Like all other things for ship captains (and housewives) I get to pick upany unfinished tasks which in this case is her Blog. I’m not much of ablogger. More a factual reporter of events (slanted perhaps toward myperspective). So I won’t be giving you a daily play by play but I willendeavour to keep you abreast of our whereabouts and wellbeing till wecomplete the voyage.

We arrived at Hampton Roads Public Piers across from Norfolk VA onThursday. Saturday we rented a car and drove to I95 to meet up with Kathyand Larry MacAulay and Maria. Niki is driving home to St. Thomas withthem. They have opted to leave their boat in Florida and return for moresailing in the fall.

We planned to leave early this morning to head up the Bay but the Bay wastotally fogged in. By the time it clears it makes for a very late startso we decided to relax one more day.

As we move around we are continually bumping into boats we’ve seen before.Last night a dinghy stopped by our dock to say hi. They are from theHudson River in a trawler and we last saw them in Georgetown, the Bahamas.

On the trip down I expressed wonderment at the number and size of riversin America. So at fort Pierce I thought i would start listing the riverswe travel on. Although the odd one is called a creek it is a river by anystandard we might have in Canada. These are only the rivers we actuallytravelled in the past month and do not include ditches that are simplylabelled on the chart as ‘Intra coastal waterway’. For the most part theyare wide and long but often shallow. I have also omitted the vast‘sounds’ we cross. These are bodies of water that lie between mainlandAmerica and the barrier islands, reefs and sand dunes that separate thesound from the north Atlantic Ocean. Here’s the list as far north asNorfolk/Hampton Roads.

Indian River
Halifax R
Matanza R
Tolomato R
St John’s R
Sisters Creek
Sawpit Creek
Nassau R
South Amelia R
Amelia R
St Mary’s R
Cumberland R
Jekyll Creek
MacKay R
Frederica R
Altamaha R
Little Mud R
Darien R
North R
Old Teakette Creek
Front R
Sapelo R
South Newport R
Johnson Creek
North Newport R
Bear R
Ogeechee R
Burnside R
Skidaway R
Wilmington R
Savannah R
Wright R
New R
Ramshorn Creek
Skull Creek
Chechesseer R
Beaufort R
Coosaw R
Rock Creek
Ashepoo R
South Edisto R
North Creek
Dawho R
North Edisto R
Stono R
Cooper R
Ashley R
Harbor R
Winyaw R
Waccawmaw R
Little R
Cape Fear R
New River
Newport R
Core Creek
Adams Creek
Neuse R
Pamlico R
Goose R
Pungo R
Alligator R
Pasquotank R
North R
North Landing R
Elizabeth R
Hampton R

And the sounds
Cumberland, St. Andrews, Jekyll, St. Simons, Buttermilk, Doboy, Sapelo,St. Catharines, Calibogue, Port Royal, Myrtle Grove, Masonboro, Topsail,Bogue, Albemarle, Currituck,


Wayne Kentner

Friday, June 12, 2009

Day 280

It was so nice to wake up on my own rather than waking up to the roar of the engine or any of the ways Grama attempts to wake me up in the mornings. Once up and outa bed i had a ton of things to do. I cleaned out my berth and organized and we went out for lunch and we relaxed =]. It was such a busy day.


Day 279

I feel bad that lately all I seem to be able to do is navigate for a while and then sleep some more...but my mouth has been really bugging me... Grama and Papa made it from our anchorage, through 5 bridges and a lock to Hampton Roads. It was a long day from around 6am to about 6pm so we decided Papa was cooking dinner. He went out and came back with pizza.