Sandusky, OH, (via Detroit, MI) Grosse Ile, MI to Grosse Pointe, MI

It was a nice cruise on Lake Erie from Cleveland to Sandusky, OH (46 NM). The Yacht club was a pleasant place to stay for a couple days and allowed us to get a few chores done and bike around town. The best part of Sandusky was getting a visit from my Sister JIll and her hubby, Bill. So fun to bar-hop about town and have them aboard for the night. We were actually able to take Jill on a cruise to Grosse Ile (45 NM) while Bill drove to meet us. We cruised by the pretty Put-In-Bay and regretted the bad weather day that kept us from spending time there. The Ford Yacht Club at Grosse Ile (French for ‘Large Island’) was dealing with very high water due to the previous days wind but a nice place to spend an evening. We say goodbye to my family and push on the next day to the Grosse Pointe, MI (29 NM). A nice uneventful cruise up the Detroit River in 2 to 4 knot currents as we pass by the Detroit waterfront and into Lake St. Clair. We now understand that if fate delivers us a lovely cruise day, we are typically met with some bizarre issues or challenges in our final minutes of approach to our slip (or well). On this occasion, right as we are preparing to pull into the Grosse Pointe Yacht Club (in a shallow channel) we are buzzed by a coast guard helicopter three times and then approached by the ‘Michigan Conservation Officers’. Three officers in a 14-boat aluminum skiff in bullet proof vests and side arms. After retreating to deeper water to deal with our new friends (who are really game wardens certainly not Coast Guard as their job is to enforce environmental laws and not boat registration) we are released and resume our approach to the Grosse Pointe Yacht Club. The club is beautiful and the town is filled with gorgeous, stately, old brick homes. Larry and I cruise (in our rental car) over to St. Clair Shores and visit a few of the local boat-up bars. Our favorite was Mike’s on The Water a multi-level bar and restaurant right on Lake St. Clair. It’s a shame I have to fly back home tomorrow, as I would have loved to spend a little more time in this charming area. I will be off the boat for eight days. I am sorry to miss any part of our trip but duty calls. I only hope the Captain takes good notes and photos for his next web post on the Independence Chronicles.

Post Card Mural of Sandusky

Post Card Mural of Sandusky

Somebody really gets out every day and changes the date!!! Larry with Jill and Bill Gilmore

Somebody really gets out every day and changes the date!!! Larry with Jill and Bill Gilmore

The ‘Boy with the Leaky Boot’ Fountain…no idea what the significance is…

The ‘Boy with the Leaky Boot’ Fountain…no idea what the significance is…

The museum was closed….photo courtesy of Bill Gilmore

The museum was closed….photo courtesy of Bill Gilmore

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Sisters…Jamie and Jill (Williams)

Sisters…Jamie and Jill (Williams)

Horsing-around at the Merry-Go-Round Museum…

Horsing-around at the Merry-Go-Round Museum…

Pretty sunset over Lake Erie

Pretty sunset over Lake Erie

Leaving Sandusky

Leaving Sandusky

Bill Gilmore wading out to guide us into our flooded ‘well’ (that’s what they call slips here) at the Ford Yacht Club in Grosse Ile.

Bill Gilmore wading out to guide us into our flooded ‘well’ (that’s what they call slips here) at the Ford Yacht Club in Grosse Ile.

No we did not use shore power that day. Photo by Larry McCullough

No we did not use shore power that day. Photo by Larry McCullough

Larry gets creative in dealing with the high-water levels. Photo by Larry McCullough

Larry gets creative in dealing with the high-water levels. Photo by Larry McCullough

International Bridge greats us as we enter the Detroit Harbor

International Bridge greats us as we enter the Detroit Harbor

Detroit waterfront

Detroit waterfront

Grosse Pointe Yacht Club

Grosse Pointe Yacht Club

GPYC sculpture

GPYC sculpture

GPYC Grand Dining Room

GPYC Grand Dining Room

GPYC even has a bowling alley (not to mention a pool too!)

GPYC even has a bowling alley (not to mention a pool too!)

The menu at Mikes on the Water in St. Clair Shores

The menu at Mikes on the Water in St. Clair Shores

Mike…and friends

Mike…and friends

The rooftop bar at Mike’s on the Water

The rooftop bar at Mike’s on the Water

Cleveland, OH (via Dunkirk, NY, Erie, PA and Mentor, OH)

After three days transit (23NM to Dunkirk, 50NM to Erie and 67NM to Mentor) we land in Cleveland, OH (20NM). This is a great city and our three nights here just scratch the surface. We are docked at the North Coast Harbor Marina right in front of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The Hall is an amazing collection of historical memorabilia, vidoes, educational information and a garage band performance space which any ticket holder can use…guitars, drums, amps all set-up and ready to go. The Hall’s building was designed by architect I.M. Pei in 1988, who also designed the Louvre pyramid. We were sad to hear he just passed away on May 17th, 2019. Pei was 102! A walking tour of the city takes us along the preparations for the Major League Baseball All Star Game, which is next week. The downtown is buzzing with activity and road closures but we find our way to the architectural gems, the Warehouse District, the sweet bars and the friendly people of this city. The following day is the fourth of July and when the rain breaks we jump in the tender and head to The Flats. A collection of brew pubs, bars and restaurants where we are obligated to have a few beers and then do a slow cruise along the back waters of the Cuyahoga River. We return to the safety of the Independence, as all sane boaters know how crazy this holiday can be. We barbeque and watch the fireworks and are thankful for this great country we live in.

The entry to North Coast Harbor Marina…what a nice view.

The entry to North Coast Harbor Marina…what a nice view.

The Independence crew and captain in front of the Cleveland syk line

The Independence crew and captain in front of the Cleveland syk line

Just a little history

Just a little history

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame…I have the sign all to myself!

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame…I have the sign all to myself!

We spent about four hours in the RRHoF…amazing amount of information and memorabilia

We spent about four hours in the RRHoF…amazing amount of information and memorabilia

Alas, sweet Prince. Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004.

Alas, sweet Prince. Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004.

Fountain of Eternal Life, also known as the War Memeorial Fountain.

Fountain of Eternal Life, also known as the War Memeorial Fountain.

Terminal Tower is a 52-stories and built in 1930.

Terminal Tower is a 52-stories and built in 1930.

The Sailors and Soldiers Monument is absolutely amazing. Each of the four edges depict battle scenes from the Navy, Artillery, Infantry and Cavalry. The column is topped with a statue of the Goddess of Freedom, defended by the Shield of Liberty. Built in 1894

The Sailors and Soldiers Monument is absolutely amazing. Each of the four edges depict battle scenes from the Navy, Artillery, Infantry and Cavalry. The column is topped with a statue of the Goddess of Freedom, defended by the Shield of Liberty. Built in 1894

Surprise…we had a beer at the ‘Nauti Mermaid’

Surprise…we had a beer at the ‘Nauti Mermaid’

Enjoying the architecture of the Cleveland Warehouse District

Enjoying the architecture of the Cleveland Warehouse District

The Warehouse District leads downhill to The Flats with some great architecture

The Warehouse District leads downhill to The Flats with some great architecture

A Fourth of July tender ride to The Flats in between rain squalls. Photo courtesy Owen Doherty

A Fourth of July tender ride to The Flats in between rain squalls. Photo courtesy Owen Doherty

The Flats on the Cuyahoga River…a great place to go for jog and later to grab a cold one

The Flats on the Cuyahoga River…a great place to go for jog and later to grab a cold one

A tender ride along the Cuyahoga River. In the land of bridges..two Railroad elevator bridges

A tender ride along the Cuyahoga River. In the land of bridges..two Railroad elevator bridges

They may have a few years on them but these tugs are still in service

They may have a few years on them but these tugs are still in service

The old railroad elevator bridge, fire boat and fire house along the river

The old railroad elevator bridge, fire boat and fire house along the river

Back at the North Coast Harbor Marina on the night of the fourth of July with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame dressed in Red and the Terminal Tower in Red White and Blue

Back at the North Coast Harbor Marina on the night of the fourth of July with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame dressed in Red and the Terminal Tower in Red White and Blue

Wow, a front row seat for the fireworks. Happy 4th of July!

Wow, a front row seat for the fireworks. Happy 4th of July!

The Welland! St. Catharines, ON, Port Colborne, ON

After a beautiful crossing on Lake Ontario we arrive at St. Catharines, ON Canada (26NM). We now kibitz amongst ourselves about the Welland Canal. It is absolutely ridiculous how little information is available. We have paid our $200 transit fee and run through every on-line site for additional information on how to proceed through this series of locks which lift you from Lake Ontario to Lake Erie. These locks are a bit more intimidating as they convey freighters. The commercial traffic has priority and so you never know when you will be able to enter a lock. There are eight locks and generally all are 40 foot up-locks. A little area familiarization is called for so we check out Lock 1 after dinner and see a few sailboats passing through but still have so many questions. We put the questions on hold for an afternoon and rent a car to visit the Canadian side of Niagara Falls and the beautiful little town of Niagara-on-the-Lake. Their flower budget must be astronomical as I have never seen such a manicured town in my life. After a nice lunch we are back to solving the Welland Canal Conundrum and we drop by the Lock 3 Museum and Visitors Center. We are directed at this time to the St. Lawrence Seaway Administrative Building which of course will not allow you in the building with out an appointment. Larry finally kicks it old school by using the boats VHF radio to hail Lock one and ask them for a phone number to get further information. This gets us the info we need, however it may not be info we want. We are told we have to enter the Welland Canal and tie up to the port wall where there is a phone booth…YES…I just wrote the words ‘phone booth’, You use this phone to contact the lock masters which will let you know what time you can expect your opening. We depart bright and early the next morning and after making the call we get an opening in 20 minutes (could have been hours!). We hop to it and set our fenders and lines, don our life vests and gloves. Lock one does not present huge issues but is a bit bouncy at times. We are just happy to be on our way. It is not a fast trip by any means but considering we were thinking this might take hours if not days, we are thrilled to be allowed into each of the eight locks with out much delay. The summer interns are delightful and the lock masters are very efficient. You must consider the immense size of these locks that fill with 20 million gallons of water with in 20 minutes. They are meant for huge cargo vessels and we are the little boat in a very large bath tub. We really have to prove ourselves in the ‘stair-case’ locks. Locks 5, 6 and 7 that lead one into another. No break, grab your lines that are thrown down 40 plus feet and hang on for the ride. Lock 7 is the craziest, as it fools us with a slow fill and then turns into a tempests boil, driving us from wall and almost wrenching the lines from our hands. The adrenaline subsides as we get a rest before the last lock and before you know it (ok…eight hours later) we are done with the locks and at the mouth of Lake Erie (26NM). It has been another epic day. I can’t aptly describe how such a slow motion journey can turn into such a thrill ride at a moments notice but I am just happy to be writing about it on the flip side, healthy, everything in one piece with a cold beer in my hand. Please check out Larry’s video of Lock 2 and 3 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4kLCofipudk&feature=youtu.be

Entering the very shallow, little marina at St. Catharine, ON

Entering the very shallow, little marina at St. Catharine, ON

Checking out Lock One on the Welland Canal…trying to get a feel for the process. Notice the ship in the distance that just exited the lock.

Checking out Lock One on the Welland Canal…trying to get a feel for the process. Notice the ship in the distance that just exited the lock.

The lock one bridge goes up to let the boats pass after up-locking

The lock one bridge goes up to let the boats pass after up-locking

This sailboat is just starting her journey of eight locks

This sailboat is just starting her journey of eight locks

The U.S. side of Niagara Falls…American Falls

The U.S. side of Niagara Falls…American Falls

Horseshoe Falls

Horseshoe Falls

Horseshoe Falls are magnificent but the sound is really what gets you

Horseshoe Falls are magnificent but the sound is really what gets you

The pretty little town of Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON

The pretty little town of Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON

The Prince of Whales Hotel built in 1864

The Prince of Whales Hotel built in 1864

The Niagara Apothecary dates to 1866

The Niagara Apothecary dates to 1866

Yes…that jar says Leeches

Yes…that jar says Leeches

The Lock Three Visitors Center

The Lock Three Visitors Center

Entering the Welland Canal

Entering the Welland Canal

Lock One

Lock One

Maggie and Owen take a break before Lock Two

Maggie and Owen take a break before Lock Two

Preparing to enter the Stair-Case Locks of 5, 6 and 7

Preparing to enter the Stair-Case Locks of 5, 6 and 7

The massive hydraulic suction cups used to keep the freighters stationary while up or down locking

The massive hydraulic suction cups used to keep the freighters stationary while up or down locking

Inside Lock Six preparing to grab the lines the lock masters through down to you

Inside Lock Six preparing to grab the lines the lock masters through down to you

The water boils up from massive valves below the hull of the boat

The water boils up from massive valves below the hull of the boat

Lock Seven, the calm before the storm

Lock Seven, the calm before the storm

After the crazy experience of Lock Seven is contained (FYI - that line should not be that tight or that far from the wall) I get a chance to get a photo of the nice interns that helped us during Locks Two through Seven.

After the crazy experience of Lock Seven is contained (FYI - that line should not be that tight or that far from the wall) I get a chance to get a photo of the nice interns that helped us during Locks Two through Seven.

This is the normal size of traffic on the Welland Canal

This is the normal size of traffic on the Welland Canal

The end of the Welland Canal…the last elevator bridge and the marina is in site…and so is my beer.

The end of the Welland Canal…the last elevator bridge and the marina is in site…and so is my beer.

The Welland Canal and its locks

The Welland Canal and its locks

Toronto, ON

Ok…I was thinking that the New York Harbor was busy. Well let me make note that the Toronto harbor is definitely a runner-up for winning the award for busiest harbor. We pull into the harbor after a nice cruise on Lake Ontario (56NM) to find tall ship cruises, water taxi’s, ferry’s, and small pleasure crafts all out for a summers’ jaunt, along with planes landing at the local airport…talk about sensory overload. We are thankful to dock at a waterfront marina without incident (right in front of a local brewery!) and head out to explore this amazing city. Larry and I tour the CN Tower on this gorgeous day, so high above the city it is breath taking. We even spot our next place to have a cold one…at the Roundhouse historic railroad outdoor museum. The Canadian Pacific Railway originally built these stations in 1897 to clean, inspect and repair steam rail cars and engines, then turn them back to rotation for their next run. Now it is an outdoor museum, restaurant and brewery. Toronto is one of the most diverse cities I have experienced. To hear 10 different languages as you transit from one spot to another is nothing…they are truly multicultural. The Pride celebration was in full swing as we walked around town and culminated with a multitude of choral performances held right at the waterfront. What an amazing day. The following day we make it past the waterfront and Roundhouse Park to the Distillery Historic District, back tracking through Old Town and the Financial District to the trendy North York and back to the waterfront. A most successful, but too brief visit, we head toward our next adventure…The Welland Canal.

Hello Toronto

Hello Toronto

How did I manage to get a picture with out a boat or ferry or plane?…impossible!

How did I manage to get a picture with out a boat or ferry or plane?…impossible!

Water front docking right in front of the Amsterdam Brewery

Water front docking right in front of the Amsterdam Brewery

Thanks to dock master Maurice Landry, who took this great image of the Independence at her posh spot in front of the Toronto city skyline.

Thanks to dock master Maurice Landry, who took this great image of the Independence at her posh spot in front of the Toronto city skyline.

The CN Tower

The CN Tower

Views from the tower

Views from the tower

Buildings forever….

Buildings forever….

The local airport and the channel we will use to exit Toronto

The local airport and the channel we will use to exit Toronto

The Roundhouse from above and the Independence in front of the second tower to the right

The Roundhouse from above and the Independence in front of the second tower to the right

The channel we transited coming in from Lake Ontario to the city front

The channel we transited coming in from Lake Ontario to the city front

Pride and diversity in the CN Tower

Pride and diversity in the CN Tower

The Roundhouse Railroad Museum

The Roundhouse Railroad Museum

Larry checks on the Plymouth Cordage Compressed Air Locomotive, built in 1906

Larry checks on the Plymouth Cordage Compressed Air Locomotive, built in 1906

The Roundhouse stations and historic trains and cranes

The Roundhouse stations and historic trains and cranes

Had to have a beer at the Steam Whistle Biergarten

Had to have a beer at the Steam Whistle Biergarten

A choral concert at the waterfront at twilight

A choral concert at the waterfront at twilight

The Italian Chorus was my favorite

The Italian Chorus was my favorite

The Hockey Hall of Fame in the Financial District

The Hockey Hall of Fame in the Financial District

The backside of the flat-iron building

The backside of the flat-iron building

The older buildings in the Historic Distillery District

The older buildings in the Historic Distillery District

The front of the Gooderham Flatiron Building built back in 1892

The front of the Gooderham Flatiron Building built back in 1892

Toronto City Hall as seen from the Financial District

Toronto City Hall as seen from the Financial District

The Toronto City Hall

The Toronto City Hall

These sandstone carvings look so similar to the carvings in the Albany NY City Hall

These sandstone carvings look so similar to the carvings in the Albany NY City Hall

The Raptors won for sure…

The Raptors won for sure…

Fell in love with this mural

Fell in love with this mural

Bye, bye Toronto…hope to be back some day.

Bye, bye Toronto…hope to be back some day.

Canada! Kingston, ON, Cobourg, ON

We depart Thousand Islands, Clayton, NY on a the first day of summer, met by a mix of cloud and sun. Larry takes us on a horseshoe-shaped cruise past the many beautiful islands, lighthouses, bridges, the old Boldt Castle and through skinny channels leading to the Canadian side of the Thousand Islands. We are able to register via mobile phone with Canadian immigration (thank you Owen) and get a virtual stamp in our pass ports. Our first port of call in Canada is Kingston, Ontario (38NM). We are unable to stay at the municipal marina as they are also dealing with high water issues so we anchor in a gorgeous little bay and get the tender in the water to see Kingston. What a vibrant city filled with university students and plenty of others enjoying this gorgeous first day of summer. The next day we make a smooth trip on Lake Ontario to Cobourg (56NM). Great weather and a pretty place to stop for the evening. Cobourg was founded in 1817 and was a successful port town which expanded to build an ill-fated railroad. As one historical placard read, ‘…the 1852-1898 Cobourg and Peterborough Railway like many others of this period suffered from excessive optimism, land speculation and faulty engineering…’ and contributed to the financial hardships of Cobourg during the late 1800’s. Climbing out of this financial hole by way of industry during the early 1900’s, Cobourg was especially known for building electric railway cars for Toronto and Montreal. We depart Cobourg for Toronto in the morning and are excited to spend some time in the big city.

Boldt Castle in the St. Lawrence River built in the 1900’s. Originally owned by George Boldt. Built for his wife who died before the castles completion in 1904 the property stood unfinished until purchased for $1.00 in 1977 by the Thousand Islands Bridge Authority who renovated it for $15 million.

Boldt Castle in the St. Lawrence River built in the 1900’s. Originally owned by George Boldt. Built for his wife who died before the castles completion in 1904 the property stood unfinished until purchased for $1.00 in 1977 by the Thousand Islands Bridge Authority who renovated it for $15 million.

Entering International waters as we pass under the Canadian side of the Thousand Islands Bridge

Entering International waters as we pass under the Canadian side of the Thousand Islands Bridge

Clear waters and fly fishing

Clear waters and fly fishing

Skinny channels and strong currents

Skinny channels and strong currents

Hoisting our International Canadian Courtesy flag. Photo Owen Doherty

Hoisting our International Canadian Courtesy flag. Photo Owen Doherty

Anchored at Kingston, ON. Maggie and Owen on the tender heading to the city.

Anchored at Kingston, ON. Maggie and Owen on the tender heading to the city.

The Prince George Hotel in Kingston

The Prince George Hotel in Kingston

Kingston City Hall built in 1843

Kingston City Hall built in 1843

A busy first day of summer on a roof-top restaurant over looking the Kingston City Hall

A busy first day of summer on a roof-top restaurant over looking the Kingston City Hall

Beautiful stone churches

Beautiful stone churches

Interesting architecture everywhere in Kingston

Interesting architecture everywhere in Kingston

Celebrating Summer Solstice with a swim. Photo Larry McCullough

Celebrating Summer Solstice with a swim. Photo Larry McCullough

Cheers! Here’s to Summer!!!

Cheers! Here’s to Summer!!!

The first summer sunset at anchor in Kingston, ON

The first summer sunset at anchor in Kingston, ON

Cobourg, Ontario city marina

Cobourg, Ontario city marina

Cobourg city personality and flowers

Cobourg city personality and flowers

The Cobourg Victoria Hall built in 1860 took 75 years to payoff the debt incurred from its construction.

The Cobourg Victoria Hall built in 1860 took 75 years to payoff the debt incurred from its construction.

Beautiful homes of Cobourg

Beautiful homes of Cobourg

Canada flags fly everywhere in every city and town…big or small. So nice to see such pride of country.

Canada flags fly everywhere in every city and town…big or small. So nice to see such pride of country.

Thousand Islands, Clayton, NY

The crew of the Independence departs Oswego, NY on Lake Ontario bound for Thousand Islands, Clayton, NY. We are so fortunate to have this Great Lake actually acting like a lake. Just a couple of days prior to our crossing the waves were reported to be nine to thirteen feet. We cross the lake dodging large logs and debris but other than that it is as smooth as silk. At the three hour mark we reach the St. Lawrence Seaway at the eastern end of Lake Ontario, where the Great Lakes waters commence their 1,000-mile journey to the Atlantic Ocean. The first 60 miles of this waterway is Thousand Islands (actually a collection of 1,864 islands). Half of the islands are on the American side and half on the Canadian side. We pull into the marina at Clayton Harbor (54NM) and our good friends Sharron and Rob Grant from Jupiter, FL and Clayton, NY come down to the boat to welcome us. We spend the next couple of days visiting with them and enjoying this sweet town and their beautiful home here along the banks of the French Creek Bay. It all ends too soon as there are thousands of islands to visit and so after three nights we shove-off in hopes of seeing a few more.

Departing Oswego, NY looking across Lake Ontario

Departing Oswego, NY looking across Lake Ontario

Thank you Rob and Sharron for a great visit to Thousand Islands, Clayton, NY (photo courtesy of Owen Doherty)

Thank you Rob and Sharron for a great visit to Thousand Islands, Clayton, NY (photo courtesy of Owen Doherty)

The Independence at the Clayton Municipal Marina (photo courtesy of the Clayton Chamber of Commerce via Sharron Grant (Facebook page)

The Independence at the Clayton Municipal Marina (photo courtesy of the Clayton Chamber of Commerce via Sharron Grant (Facebook page)

The busy St. Lawrence river

The busy St. Lawrence river

A great bar for a cold beer

A great bar for a cold beer

Gorgeous Victorian homes

Gorgeous Victorian homes

Playground common sense

Playground common sense

Pride of ownership

Pride of ownership

A sense of humor

A sense of humor

Sunset over the St. Lawrence River

Sunset over the St. Lawrence River

A stroll over the Thousand Islands Bridge

A stroll over the Thousand Islands Bridge

A view of the swollen St. Lawrence River from atop the Thousand Islands Bridge

A view of the swollen St. Lawrence River from atop the Thousand Islands Bridge

New Your visitors center

New Your visitors center

Rob and Sharron Grants gorgeous home along French Creek Bay


Rob and Sharron Grants gorgeous home along French Creek Bay

The Grants boat dock is under water but that doesn’t stop Bailey from enjoying an evening swim

The Grants boat dock is under water but that doesn’t stop Bailey from enjoying an evening swim

Larry takes a chance with John the barber at this step-back-in-time barber shop

Larry takes a chance with John the barber at this step-back-in-time barber shop

The Antique Boat Museum is definitely worth a visit for beautiful fast boats…

The Antique Boat Museum is definitely worth a visit for beautiful fast boats…

….vintage engines…

….vintage engines…

…vintage racing trophies and souvenirs…

…vintage racing trophies and souvenirs…

An amazing collection of vintage wooden boats

An amazing collection of vintage wooden boats

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Oswego, NY

We spend an additional day at the Oswego Marina to detail the boat, as we have not cleaned her thoroughly since Norfolk, VA. The weather is fantastic so once we are done we walk around Oswego. This is a charming city that has seen a tough winter and its citizens are ready for summer. The high water is still a problem but appears to be slowly receding and life is returning to normal. We enjoy the sites of Oswego and tomorrows weather is expected to be similar so crossing Lake Ontario to Clayton, NY should hopefully be uneventful…

The Oswego City clock

The Oswego City clock

The Oswego Court House built in 1853

The Oswego Court House built in 1853

Looking down on the last lock 8 from the old railroad bridge that was converted to a pedestrian bridge

Looking down on the last lock 8 from the old railroad bridge that was converted to a pedestrian bridge

Oswego City Hall built in 1870

Oswego City Hall built in 1870

The grand staircase just inside the City Hall building

The grand staircase just inside the City Hall building

The site of the Historic Fort Oswego

The site of the Historic Fort Oswego

A little history on Fort George and the strategic importance of Oswego, NY

A little history on Fort George and the strategic importance of Oswego, NY

Had to have a cold one at Gibby O’Conner’s Irish Pub

Had to have a cold one at Gibby O’Conner’s Irish Pub

Sad that The Gaslight was closed.  I think this winters high waters got inside

Sad that The Gaslight was closed. I think this winters high waters got inside

The Old City Hall appears to be another victim of the tough winter

The Old City Hall appears to be another victim of the tough winter

High water is still evident at the Oswego International Marina.  Lake Ontario beyond looks nice and flat…we hope for similar conditions for our crossing tomorrow.

High water is still evident at the Oswego International Marina. Lake Ontario beyond looks nice and flat…we hope for similar conditions for our crossing tomorrow.

Brewerton, NY to Oswego, NY - Erie/Oswego COMPLETED!!!

With the rain pelting down in Brewerton and the gray skies above us, it was a little dark in the cabin of the Independence. So close to the finish line of the Erie Canal (just one lock away) and the start of the Oswego Canal - only to be told we may have to wait one, two maybe three days to continue. You can only imagine the mood. But, good news prevailed via a Notice to Mariners web alert provided by the fabulous New York Canal System. Larry was notified via e-mail push that the high-water emergency repairs at Phoenix dam had been completed and the Oswego locks had reopened. Away we go bright and early in the drizzly rain the following morning. Nothing can keep us from accomplishing this next goal in our Loop. We complete the last lock…lock 23…of the Erie Canal and eagerly ply the waters of the Oswego Canal through its 8 locks. All down-water locks, smooth as silk and the lock masters are as nice as can be. The Oswego River is powerful and its waters crash over spillways with epic force. As we exit our last lock and the last lock on the Oswego Canal…lock 8…we can see the river banks are still swollen as sand bags line side walks and the high water is evident. We are so thankful to the New York Canal System for providing this once in a lifetime experience. It is a slice of American history and an engineering marvel that most Americans may never see. But, if you get the chance go for it…you will not be disappointed.

Entering the last lock of the Erie Canal…lock 23

Entering the last lock of the Erie Canal…lock 23

Departing lock 23. We were trailed today by this boat named ‘Comet’

Departing lock 23. We were trailed today by this boat named ‘Comet’

The first lock (lock 1) on the Oswego Canal

The first lock (lock 1) on the Oswego Canal

Directly after exiting lock 1 you must pass under the Bascule Bridge…Larry is color coordinated for his fashion shoot today

Directly after exiting lock 1 you must pass under the Bascule Bridge…Larry is color coordinated for his fashion shoot today

Exiting lock 6 of the Oswego Canal shadowed by the Comet

Exiting lock 6 of the Oswego Canal shadowed by the Comet

The exit of lock 6 with the spill way next door

The exit of lock 6 with the spill way next door

Maggie and Owen in front of the final lock…lock 8

Maggie and Owen in front of the final lock…lock 8

The New York Canal System at its finest…lock 8

The New York Canal System at its finest…lock 8

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Exiting our last lock…lock 8…with our shadow boat Comet behind us

Exiting our last lock…lock 8…with our shadow boat Comet behind us

The waters of the Oswego Canal are high but that does not stop the Sunday fisherman

The waters of the Oswego Canal are high but that does not stop the Sunday fisherman

At the Oswego Marina we celebrate our accomplishment

At the Oswego Marina we celebrate our accomplishment

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The Independence is restored to her former grace as we replace her bimini and arch

The Independence is restored to her former grace as we replace her bimini and arch

Sunset falls on this great day and I thank our friends Owen and Maggie and Captain Larry for another great adventure

Sunset falls on this great day and I thank our friends Owen and Maggie and Captain Larry for another great adventure

Utica, NY, (Little Falls, NY), Sylvan Beach, NY to Brewerton, NY - Erie ON HOLD!!!

From St. Johnsville, NY we transit locks 16, 17, 18 and 19 on a warm, gorgeous day. We have all been wondering what lock 17 will be like with it’s 40 foot rise. It turns out to be no big deal as the lock-master gives us a nice ‘slow fill’ and away we go. Larry was very clever and used his new GoPro to do a fast forward video…please click on the following link to view Erie Canal Lock 17 Time Lapse Video

I am happy we took the time for a quick stop at Little Falls to experience this cute town. We walk around and do some provisioning and return to the boat all in an hour and half. Back on the canal we continue through two more locks and tie-up for the evening at a marina in Utica, NY (25NM). This busy place is either in the process of growing or shrinking, as it definitely feels like it is in flux. After grabbing a beer we head back to the boat to have dinner with new friends, Rev and Sam, at the Aqua Vino Marina Restaurant. Rev and Sam are doing the Great Loop on their Carver boat dubbed ‘Here’s to Us’. We have a great meal with them and look forward to seeing them in the future. The next morning brings quite a bit of rain so we let that slide by and then head out toward lock 20 followed by our first ‘down-water’ locks…lock 21 and 22. The down water lock is just as you would think, instead of the water rising while you are in the lock it falls. This to me, is a nicer and calmer experience for reasons I am not sure. The end of this chilly wet day brings us to Sylvan Beach, NY ((23NM). This little town sits along side Lake Oneida and has a sweet 1950’s feel to it. There is a little amusement park with a tiny roller-coaster and crazy, spinney looking rides. The beach is very pretty and we just wish we were here during nicer weather. The rain continues the next day and the winds are heavy so we end up spending two nights at Sylvan Beach. Today we crossed Oneida Lake and are now at Winter Harbor in Brewerton, NY (19NM). The bad news is that we can’t continue on from here as the Oswego Canal is closed due to an emergency at the Phoenix Dam. This has caused the closure of locks 0-1 and 0-2. So we are stuck here for now…hoping it will only be two or three days…hopefully…

Lock 17…the 40 footer!

Lock 17…the 40 footer!

The Guillotine Door closing on lock 17

The Guillotine Door closing on lock 17

Owen handles the port, mid-ship line

Owen handles the port, mid-ship line

Almost to the top of lock 17

Almost to the top of lock 17

A mini afternoon stop in Little Falls, NY to check out the town and provision

A mini afternoon stop in Little Falls, NY to check out the town and provision

Nice Victorian Era home

Nice Victorian Era home

Little Falls City Hall

Little Falls City Hall

Entering the beautiful lock 19

Entering the beautiful lock 19

The Erie Canal was very busy today…barge one

The Erie Canal was very busy today…barge one

…barge two.

…barge two.

I like these city clocks

I like these city clocks

Utica, NY train station

Utica, NY train station

These charming and efficient little tugs push big loads

These charming and efficient little tugs push big loads

Just an average day on the Erie for the tug Erie, pushing his load upstream (Here’s to Us in the back ground)

Just an average day on the Erie for the tug Erie, pushing his load upstream (Here’s to Us in the back ground)

Entering Lock 21, our first ‘down-water’ lock

Entering Lock 21, our first ‘down-water’ lock

Our friend’s Rev and Sam on their Carver ‘Here’s to Us’ sharing lock 21

Our friend’s Rev and Sam on their Carver ‘Here’s to Us’ sharing lock 21

Rev and Sam leaving lock 21…so odd to be on the low side exiting instead of the high-side

Rev and Sam leaving lock 21…so odd to be on the low side exiting instead of the high-side

Sylvan Beach, NY a sweet place to stop

Sylvan Beach, NY a sweet place to stop

Harpoon Eddie’s in Sylvan Beach is a great place to have a beer and listen to live music

Harpoon Eddie’s in Sylvan Beach is a great place to have a beer and listen to live music

The wind was blowing at least 18 knots - gusting to 30 so we spent an additional day at Sylvan Beach

The wind was blowing at least 18 knots - gusting to 30 so we spent an additional day at Sylvan Beach

Amsterdam, NY to St. Johnsville, NY - Continuing the Erie Canal

The damage to Lock 11 (above Amsterdam) by Hurricane Irene in 2011. Photo courtesy of Google

The damage to Lock 11 (above Amsterdam) by Hurricane Irene in 2011. Photo courtesy of Google

The crew departs Schenectady, NY and has a short, pretty day passing through three locks - 8, 9, and 10 - to Amsterdam, NY (14NM). We spend the rest of the day and overnight along the Canal wall/marina. Amsterdam is a sweet little town still trying to recover from the devastating effects of hurricane Irene in 2011. If you visit, be sure to use the newer pedestrian bridge leading to the South Side as this is the part of town to spend time. In addition, if you arrive by boat, you may want to check with your fellow boaters for reports of people untying boats in the middle of the night (as we had been warned when we were in town). We say goodbye to Jim and Julia Lennon the next morning and return to our core crew of four. We transit locks 11, 12, 13, 14, and 15 smoothly and tie-up at St. Johnsville Marina (26NM). We may have to spend two nights here as the winds are picking up and the tallest of the locks is just two up. Lock 17 has a forty foot rise….so stay tuned!!!

A gorgeous day on the Erie Canal

A gorgeous day on the Erie Canal

Looking back at Lock 8 as the doors close

Looking back at Lock 8 as the doors close

There is so much debris along the Erie Canal from the huge run-off and high water upstream

There is so much debris along the Erie Canal from the huge run-off and high water upstream

A map of our path toward the Oswego Canal

A map of our path toward the Oswego Canal

Maggie and Owen await the next lock

Maggie and Owen await the next lock

Lock 9

Lock 9

Jim takes his union mandated break between locks

Jim takes his union mandated break between locks

There are many abandoned mills and factories along the Erie Canal from days long past

There are many abandoned mills and factories along the Erie Canal from days long past

Couldn’t resist posting a picture of the creative advertising used by this Optometrist in Amsterdam, NY

Couldn’t resist posting a picture of the creative advertising used by this Optometrist in Amsterdam, NY

Actually had to lock up the boat tonight. We used the anchor chain from the tender and a pad lock…good grief!

Actually had to lock up the boat tonight. We used the anchor chain from the tender and a pad lock…good grief!

More large debris along the way

More large debris along the way

Lucky lock thirteen

Lucky lock thirteen

There is a different map of the Erie Canal at each little town you stop at

There is a different map of the Erie Canal at each little town you stop at

Where we began…

Where we began…

…where we are currently…

…where we are currently…

…where we are going…

…where we are going…

Waterford, NY to Schenectady, NY - Entering the Erie Canal

We now have a full crew of six on board the Independence. Jim and Julia Lennon have flown in from Oakland, CA to join us in Albany, NY for part of the Erie Canal experience. We are so happy to have them with us not only for their great company but for the security of the extra hands on deck. We depart Albany on a beautiful morning and have a nice and very short transit up to Waterford (8NM). We only had one low railroad bridge and one lock - The Troy Lock.

Completed in 1825, the Erie Canal was the brain-child of then New York Governor Dewitt Clinton. According to the ‘Cruising Guide to the New York Canal System - 2006’ the citizens of the day called the idea ‘Clinton’s Folly’ and later ‘Clinton’s Ditch’. Clinton convinced the State Legislature to authorize $7 million for the construction of a 363 miles long canal. He envisioned a way to transit the timber, minerals, grains and goods from the Northwest Territories on this canal system saving transit time and money and making New York the busiest port in America. The Canal did exactly that. Opening in 1825 it caused an explosion of trade moving tonnages of goods greater than Boston, Baltimore and New Orleans combined. The Canal tolls recouped the cost of construction with in nine years. The Canal system has been enlarged and updated many times to allow for progressively larger ships and increased traffic. By 1929 commercial traffic on The Canal System had declined due to competition from highways and railroads. Now the waterway is renamed the New York Canal System and in 2001 designated as the nation’s 23rd National Heritage Corridor. Tourism and recreation are the primary uses of the Canal System now. It is currently free of charge to transit and is an engineering marvel when you consider there were no schools of engineering when the system was originally conceived and built. Thank you Governor DeWitt Clinton!

Day two of the Erie Canal brings us through Locks 2,3,4,5,6 & 7 to Schenectady (17NM). It is a busy two hours for the crew as we handle lines and ropes, shift fenders and push off of the lock walls trying to keep the Independence from harm. Larry has the intense job of jockeying the boat into position on the wall, avoiding other boats and then holding her in-line against the wall while the massive doors of the lock close and water rushes in causing swirling eddies of confused currents. We are rewarded at the Mohawk Harbor Marina with the great news that the Albany Symphony will be playing a free concert in the park directly in front of our slip. To top off the evening they even threw in some fire works!

The Railroad Bridge exiting Albany, NY toward Waterford, NY

The Railroad Bridge exiting Albany, NY toward Waterford, NY

Now you can see why we had to lower the bimini and radar arch

Now you can see why we had to lower the bimini and radar arch

2,000 miles covered since we reset the chronometer after the Bahama trip

2,000 miles covered since we reset the chronometer after the Bahama trip

Jim Lennon ready for duty at the Troy Lock…doors closed means water level is rising

Jim Lennon ready for duty at the Troy Lock…doors closed means water level is rising

At the back of the pack in the Troy Lock

At the back of the pack in the Troy Lock

Almost to the top

Almost to the top

Maggie and Owen at the top of the Troy Lock

Maggie and Owen at the top of the Troy Lock

Captain Larry and Julia Lennon hold the helm station

Captain Larry and Julia Lennon hold the helm station

Entering the sweet town of Waterford, NY. To the right is the Champlain Canal system

Entering the sweet town of Waterford, NY. To the right is the Champlain Canal system

The line of low-profile boats ready to make the trip up the Erie Canal

The line of low-profile boats ready to make the trip up the Erie Canal

The Independence tied to the wall in front of Lock 2 at Waterford, NY

The Independence tied to the wall in front of Lock 2 at Waterford, NY

Checking out Lock 2 on land prior to entering

Checking out Lock 2 on land prior to entering

A little tour of Waterford brought us to this pretty view of Mohawk Falls

A little tour of Waterford brought us to this pretty view of Mohawk Falls

A tribute to the Mules originally used to haul the boats up and down the Erie Canal

A tribute to the Mules originally used to haul the boats up and down the Erie Canal

Entering Lock 2

Entering Lock 2

At the bottom

At the bottom

At the top

At the top

At the top waiting for the doors to open

At the top waiting for the doors to open

Control Gate 2

Control Gate 2

Gives you an idea of our height in relationship to some of the low profile Gates and Bridges

Gives you an idea of our height in relationship to some of the low profile Gates and Bridges

So much water…this was an epic year for the Great Lakes…The water is held and then finally released down stream when deemed safe.

So much water…this was an epic year for the Great Lakes…The water is held and then finally released down stream when deemed safe.

Our overnight spot at the Mohawk Harbor Marina in Schenectady, NY

Our overnight spot at the Mohawk Harbor Marina in Schenectady, NY

Our fabulous crew on the Independence…Maggie and Owen Doherty and Julia and Jim Lennon with Larry in between

Our fabulous crew on the Independence…Maggie and Owen Doherty and Julia and Jim Lennon with Larry in between

Just steps away we enjoy a concert by the Albany Symphony

Just steps away we enjoy a concert by the Albany Symphony

A perfect ending to a grand day!

A perfect ending to a grand day!

Croton-on-Hudson, NY, Ravena, NY, Albany, NY

A brisk, clear morning greats us as we depart New York City. We are too tall to get through the bridges of the Harlem River so we back track the East River to the Hudson River. This way we get another chance to enjoy the gorgeous skyline of Manhattan. We move up river to Croton-on-Hudson (44NM) where we spend two days. West Point Academy is only minutes away so we rent a car and take a tour. The history of West Point is deep. During the Revolutionary War the Connecticut militia, under the command of General Samuel Holden Parsons, first occupied West Point in January 1778 making it the longest continually occupied post in the United States. The geography of this site was most important as the Hudson River takes a sharp turn and is choked to a narrow and strategically monitored bend. So narrow in-fact that a ‘Great Chain’ made of huge iron links was strung just under the water line to prevent British ships from sailing up river. After the revolution most of this chain was subsequently melted down nails, etc. However, a few links were recovered from the Hudson River. The links were carbon dated and proved to be original. These thirteen links are on display in front of the Hudson River along with their swivel joints that let the Great Chain twist and swing under the water with out breaking. The campus is overwhelming with it’s beautiful grounds, chapels, barracks/dorms, gyms, athletic fields, stadiums, stocked fishing reservoirs (Lusk Reservoir), cemetary and charming old homes. We thank the men and women who are currently in training at this amazing academy and for their upcoming service to our country. We move north up the Hudson for an overnight stop along the river at Ravena (81NM). A short trip the next morning brings us to Albany, NY (10NM). As soon as we slide into the dock at the Albany Yacht Club we take the bimini off the fly bridge and engineer the tipping down of the radar arch. We are so happy when the arch comes down smoothly and we are now able to continue our passage north under low clearance bridges toward the Erie Canal system of locks.

The East River and the tram to Roosevelt Island

The East River and the tram to Roosevelt Island

The Manhattan Bridge

The Manhattan Bridge

The Brooklyn Bridge

The Brooklyn Bridge

Goodbye NYC

Goodbye NYC

The old and new Tapan Zee bridges

The old and new Tapan Zee bridges

The Cornell (New Croton) Dam/Aqueduct, 81 nautical miles up the Hudson ,provides water for NYC. An engineering marvel built in 1892

The Cornell (New Croton) Dam/Aqueduct, 81 nautical miles up the Hudson ,provides water for NYC. An engineering marvel built in 1892

West Point Military Academy

West Point Military Academy

The strategic location of West Point on the Hudson

The strategic location of West Point on the Hudson

The view of the Hudson River from the grounds at West Point

The view of the Hudson River from the grounds at West Point

West point campus. The Chapel above, barracks and parade grounds below

West point campus. The Chapel above, barracks and parade grounds below

Links of the ‘Great Chain’.

Links of the ‘Great Chain’.

Swivel links of the Great Chain

Swivel links of the Great Chain

The memorial to the Civil War. When cadets graduated from the academy they went on to protect the North or the South. Eventually having to fight their fellow class mate. The cannons around the perimeter of this memorial are placed muzzle down to signify a hopeful end to ever having this take place again.

The memorial to the Civil War. When cadets graduated from the academy they went on to protect the North or the South. Eventually having to fight their fellow class mate. The cannons around the perimeter of this memorial are placed muzzle down to signify a hopeful end to ever having this take place again.

The Chapel

The Chapel

Inside the Chapel

Inside the Chapel

Heading north on the Hudson

Heading north on the Hudson

West Point Academy from the water

West Point Academy from the water

The CIA. Culinary Institute of America

The CIA. Culinary Institute of America

The sweetest little light houses dot the river

The sweetest little light houses dot the river

Hudson on the Hudson

Hudson on the Hudson

Albany in sight

Albany in sight

Albany is the state capital of New York. This is the State Capitol Building built in 1868

Albany is the state capital of New York. This is the State Capitol Building built in 1868

Inside the State Capitol

Inside the State Capitol

The sand stone stairways and carving in the State Capitol are amazing

The sand stone stairways and carving in the State Capitol are amazing

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The State Capitol campaign flag museum

The State Capitol campaign flag museum

Albany City Hall

Albany City Hall

Art deco buildings in Albany, NY

Art deco buildings in Albany, NY

Saint Peters Church

Saint Peters Church

This building is now the home of the State University of New York (SUNY). Originally built as the headquarters of the Delaware and Hudson Railroad.

This building is now the home of the State University of New York (SUNY). Originally built as the headquarters of the Delaware and Hudson Railroad.

Independence has a new look. No bimini and the arch is tipped down to clear upcoming bridges. She now has a clearance of 18 feet, 2 inches.

Independence has a new look. No bimini and the arch is tipped down to clear upcoming bridges. She now has a clearance of 18 feet, 2 inches.

Our path leads this way. You can see the sail boat has it’s mast ‘stepped-down’ for low clearance.

Our path leads this way. You can see the sail boat has it’s mast ‘stepped-down’ for low clearance.

The upcoming locks…I will address this in the next post…when I figure it out!!!

The upcoming locks…I will address this in the next post…when I figure it out!!!

New York, NY

New York never fails to impress. The most amazing city has the most amazing harbor. You enter and this city bowls you over with her beautiful Lady Liberty and the most breathtaking of skylines. Especially when you arrive on a boat that you have been on for over a month dreaming of this day…I can’t even imagine what our relatives must have felt entering this harbor so long ago and from so far away. I will say that this day was one of the most special I have ever had. The weather was perfect, our passage north was easy, our company the sweetest and the historical past was not lost on me. We enjoyed our slow passage up to Liberty Island and the Manhattan skyline. We took a million pictures and video. We ate lunch in front of the Manhattan waterfront and toured the Hudson River. After we had our fill of sightseeing, we turned up the East River and continued our journey to Kings Point. Our friend and fellow crew mate Owen Doherty graduated from the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy a ways back and was kind enough to arrange a slip for us. We thank the men and women at Kings Point for their service to our country and for their unflagging hospitality. Great Neck is a perfect jumping point to play tourist in NYC. We spent the following day visiting ‘The Vessel’ at Hudson Yards followed by a walk on the High Line to the Hudson River and of course to the 911 Memorial and Central Park. If the trip stopped right here I would be content. I have a hard time believing that there is so much more to come. We depart New York on Monday and as the waters north of us recede, it looks like the next adventure awaits. The Erie canal is on the horizon and we are looking forward to the locks and beyond.

I still have a hard time believing this happened…what a day! Photo credit Maggie Doherty

I still have a hard time believing this happened…what a day! Photo credit Maggie Doherty

The crew approaching the Manhattan skyline and waterfront

The crew approaching the Manhattan skyline and waterfront

I love this view…this city can’t be any prettier.

I love this view…this city can’t be any prettier.

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A lunch to remember

A lunch to remember

East River views of Roosevelt Island, the Chrysler building and the Empire State building

East River views of Roosevelt Island, the Chrysler building and the Empire State building

The Queensboro Bridge

The Queensboro Bridge

Robert F. Kennedy Bridge and Hell Gate Bridge

Robert F. Kennedy Bridge and Hell Gate Bridge

Kings Point Chapel, grounds and view of the East River

Kings Point Chapel, grounds and view of the East River

Kings Point Wiley Hall

Kings Point Wiley Hall

The James Harvey Tomb, the bell at Powell Oval and Flag Pole from the 1939 World’s Fair

The James Harvey Tomb, the bell at Powell Oval and Flag Pole from the 1939 World’s Fair

The James Harvey Tomb

The James Harvey Tomb

Thank you Owen for your service. Proud alumnus of the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy

Thank you Owen for your service. Proud alumnus of the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy

The Vessel at Hudson Yards

The Vessel at Hudson Yards

Feeling very ‘M.C. Escher’

Feeling very ‘M.C. Escher’

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The Vessel as seen from the High Line

The Vessel as seen from the High Line

A little info on the High Line and its origins

A little info on the High Line and its origins

The strange ‘birds’ of the High Line

The strange ‘birds’ of the High Line

Art of the High Line

Art of the High Line

Restroom etiquette of the High Line

Restroom etiquette of the High Line

A place to remember and never forget…

A place to remember and never forget…

Central Park was so crowded but so beautiful.

Central Park was so crowded but so beautiful.

Baltimore, MD, Chesapeake City, MD, Cape May, NJ, Atlantic City, NJ and Brielle, N.J.

It has been a blur since we left Annapolis, MD as we have had friends visit, friends depart, a wedding, provisioning, rental cars and new crew additions. Leaving Annapolis we had an easy passage north up the Chesapeake Bay to the Baltimore Yacht Club in Essex, MD (29NM). The BYC members are amazingly friendly and preparing for their opening day/memorial day weekend extravaganza. We were very lucky to get a spot in the harbor as every slip will be taken and boats will be anchored out in the harbor. While in the harbor we get the sweetest visit from Tyler, Meredith and Millie Jones and the Watson family too! Thank you for popping by to visit on your way to Avalon, NJ. The BYC club festivities go on without us as our good friend’s son Sean Doherty is getting married in Leesburg, VA. The wedding is in the gardens of an old plantation. It is a lovely evening and a beautiful event. With the wedding behind them Maggie and Owen Doherty (parents of the groom) are now free to join us on the Independence for the rest of The Great Loop. With our new crew we head up to the top of the Chesapeake River to the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal (C&D Canal). This canal is evidently one of the busiest in North America but seems fairly quiet (of large ship traffic) on this Memorial Day. We pull in to a marina right on the canal in Chesapeake City, MD (35NM). This is no easy feat as the canal is running a four knot current against us as we tie-up. Once secure we walk across the bridge over the canal and check-out the sweet town enjoying their holiday. The next day we head north to the end of the C&D Canal to the Delaware River/Bay. This a very busy waterway with quite a bit of large ship traffic and not terribly scenic but interesting enough. Passing through the state of Delaware we end the day at Cape May, NJ (61NM). Cape May is a big summer destination for city folks and has the most amazing collection of old Victorian homes and hotels. I was sorry not to get photos but we only had a few hours to see the town and therefore the marina driver took us for a mini-tour in the mini-van and photos were not an option. We would have loved to stay another day but the weather is cooperating so we move on. The ocean passage to Atlantic City, NJ is lovely with just a few rolling swells (38NM). We enjoy the gym and pool at the marina hotel and tomorrow head back out to the ocean north to Manasquan inlet at Brielle, N.J. (55NM). Our first ‘fog on the deck’ experience. Thank goodness we have a good crew and good electronics. I now can read a radar screen quite proficiently.

Leaving Annapolis, MD. The William P. Lane Memorial Bridge. Heading to Baltimore, MD

Leaving Annapolis, MD. The William P. Lane Memorial Bridge. Heading to Baltimore, MD

The busy Baltimore Yacht Club Marina

The busy Baltimore Yacht Club Marina

The BYC Burgee

The BYC Burgee

A sweet visit from Meredith, Tyler and Millie Jones

A sweet visit from Meredith, Tyler and Millie Jones

The Jones/Watson families visited the Independence on their way to Avalon, N.J.

The Jones/Watson families visited the Independence on their way to Avalon, N.J.

The wedding of Sean and Alexis Doherty

The wedding of Sean and Alexis Doherty

The new Mr. and Mrs. Sean and Alexis Doherty

The new Mr. and Mrs. Sean and Alexis Doherty

Stretching our legs with walk over the C&D Canal in Chesapeake City, MD

Stretching our legs with walk over the C&D Canal in Chesapeake City, MD

Looking down at the Marina

Looking down at the Marina

Chesapeake City as seen from the bridge

Chesapeake City as seen from the bridge

The Old National Bank of Chesapeake City building dates to 1903.

The Old National Bank of Chesapeake City building dates to 1903.

Chesapeake City Tiki Bar and water front

Chesapeake City Tiki Bar and water front

Maryland pride

Maryland pride

The new Independence Crew (like the shirt Owen).

The new Independence Crew (like the shirt Owen).

Couldn’t resist this baby Corgie!

Couldn’t resist this baby Corgie!

Sweet spot on the water for a beverage

Sweet spot on the water for a beverage

My models stand in front of the Canal, where if you look across, you can see the last boat at the dock is the Independence.

My models stand in front of the Canal, where if you look across, you can see the last boat at the dock is the Independence.

Love these old town clocks

Love these old town clocks

The not so busy C&D finally received some shipping traffic

The not so busy C&D finally received some shipping traffic

The upper canal was a little busier.

The upper canal was a little busier.

A rainy morning leaving the C&D as we pass briefly into the state of Delaware on our way to New Jersey

A rainy morning leaving the C&D as we pass briefly into the state of Delaware on our way to New Jersey

The very busy Delaware River and Bay

The very busy Delaware River and Bay

The Delaware River may not be scenic but it is interesting…nuclear power plant.

The Delaware River may not be scenic but it is interesting…nuclear power plant.

Shale Gas Tanker transiting the Delaware River

Shale Gas Tanker transiting the Delaware River

A really nice morning leaving Cape May and heading to Atlantic City

A really nice morning leaving Cape May and heading to Atlantic City

Atlantic City, N.J. skyline

Atlantic City, N.J. skyline

The Golden Nugget Casino Marina where the boat is docked for the night

The Golden Nugget Casino Marina where the boat is docked for the night

Swimsuit model Owen Doherty enjoying the Golden Nugget Pool. Photo by Larry McCullough

Swimsuit model Owen Doherty enjoying the Golden Nugget Pool. Photo by Larry McCullough

A beautiful sunrise…who would think the fog would come barreling in?

A beautiful sunrise…who would think the fog would come barreling in?

Our first ‘down-to-the-deck’ fog day. Conditions persisted for most of the day while we transited from Atlantic City, N.J. to the Manasquan River Inlet to Brielle, N.J.

Our first ‘down-to-the-deck’ fog day. Conditions persisted for most of the day while we transited from Atlantic City, N.J. to the Manasquan River Inlet to Brielle, N.J.

Happy to arrive at Brielle, NJ. Entertained by the railroad bridge…

Happy to arrive at Brielle, NJ. Entertained by the railroad bridge…

Annapolis, MD

Well, I don’t suggest entering the Annapolis Harbor (36NM) during a Blue Angels show but we had no choice as our slip at the Yacht Basin Marina was not available until noon. There were so many boats of all sizes choking the harbor entrance which had shrunk due to the restricted ‘show-box’ area heavily patrolled by the sheriff and coast guard. Once we made it through to the marina and tied-up the boat we could enjoy the show. It is graduation day from the Annapolis Naval Academy and the air show began at noon and will go (on & off) all day. It is truly amazing to be sitting on the boat, in this historic harbor, watching the six F/A-18 Hornets scream by. After the show we walk around this great town and then return to the marina as we have been invited to our first ‘Looper’s Docktail Party’. Thank you Penny Battles and Dave Burnes on their pretty yacht Southern Cross. We had a great time getting to know some fellow Loopers…I think I better get some more boat cards printed!!!

This picture does not do the situation justice, as Larry had to do some very fancy maneuvering to get by all the boat traffic in this tiny harbor.

This picture does not do the situation justice, as Larry had to do some very fancy maneuvering to get by all the boat traffic in this tiny harbor.

After this huge ferry squeezed by us the Blue Angels flew by.

After this huge ferry squeezed by us the Blue Angels flew by.

All hands on deck today as the Coast Guard Auxiliary uses their Puddle Pirate to patrol the harbor.

All hands on deck today as the Coast Guard Auxiliary uses their Puddle Pirate to patrol the harbor.

This is the best town for pub hopping. We enjoy a cold locally made lager at the Federal House which was established in 1830…my kind of history!

This is the best town for pub hopping. We enjoy a cold locally made lager at the Federal House which was established in 1830…my kind of history!

Twilight on Main Street, Annapolis, MD

Twilight on Main Street, Annapolis, MD

The Looper’s Docktail Party hosted by Penny Battles and Dave Burnes on their boat Southern Cross

The Looper’s Docktail Party hosted by Penny Battles and Dave Burnes on their boat Southern Cross

The crowd at the Annapolis Yacht Club watching the Blue Angels show

The crowd at the Annapolis Yacht Club watching the Blue Angels show

Love the crazy scale of this picture….

Love the crazy scale of this picture….

The Annapolis Yacht club J-boats

The Annapolis Yacht club J-boats

As mentioned this is a pub friendly town.

As mentioned this is a pub friendly town.

The first fire house in Annapolis….I think…continued research is evolving….

The first fire house in Annapolis….I think…continued research is evolving….

The history in this town does leave me speechless

The history in this town does leave me speechless

The pretty Statehouse

The pretty Statehouse

The Statehouse front portico

The Statehouse front portico

The wooden dome is said to be built without nails.

The wooden dome is said to be built without nails.

The Maryland Inn bought in 1868 but built in 1782. Favorite rendezvous for important national, state and military visitors of the day.

The Maryland Inn bought in 1868 but built in 1782. Favorite rendezvous for important national, state and military visitors of the day.

Norfolk, VA, Cape Charles, VA, Tangier Island, VA, Solomons Island, MD and St. Michaels, MD

Norfolk, VA is a perfect town to walk around. We docked the boat at a marina right in the heart of the cities waterfront, which has an impressive walking path that follows the perimeter of The Elizabeth River. We toured the oldest street in town and looked at the old homes of Freemason Street. We then toured the not so oldest pubs of Granby street. The following day brought us to the Chesapeake River and after four hours of easy cruising we arrived at Cape Charles, VA (32NM). This town is definitely on my favorites list. Larry asked a stranger about her golf cart and where to rent one. The next thing we know we are in the back of her Club Car racing off to the rental shop. Friendly people, beautiful beaches, a great brew pub and wonderful seafood…who can ask for more? But, away we go, off to Tangier Island. This island is on the National Register of Historic Places so we couldn’t pass by with out giving it a visit. We make pretty good time through the crab pot feilds…thousands of crab pots! After about four hours we tie-up and tour the little island (37NM). Our only major miscalculation on this trip was not realizing this island is ‘dry’. Not a pub in site. So back to the boat we go. A nice barbeque salmon dinner and contraband cocktails and we are happier than clams. Off the next day to Solomons Island (39NM) where we put the tender in for a little ‘area familiarization’. We find a few entertaining establishments and then head back to the boat for dinner as another day of travel brings us to St. Michaels (45NM). We find a nice spot to anchor for the evening and while we still have daylight we pop the tender over and head to town. ASt. Michaels has a charming waterfront with a rich maritime and fishing/crabbing history . We dock the dingy and walk around town then head back to the Independence. We have a wonderful sunset and the winds are light when we go to sleep but the winds really kicked up after dark. I am just not that comfortable with the exposed feeling of overnight anchoring in strong winds. The anchor alarm goes off often as we swing but the anchor hold was good and in hind site there was no reason to have worried. That being said, I am thankful our next stop is in a marina at Annapolis, MD…for two days!

Greetings from Norfolk!

Greetings from Norfolk!

Look who joined us on the Independence…Keith Hennessey! In port at the Norfolk marina right in the heart of the city.

Look who joined us on the Independence…Keith Hennessey! In port at the Norfolk marina right in the heart of the city.

Gorgeous old chuches.

Gorgeous old chuches.

An Abbey turned into a bar and restaurant

An Abbey turned into a bar and restaurant

Freemason Street. The cities oldest surviving cobblestone street dating back to the early 18th century. Like Savannah they used the stones that were originally used as ballast in ships.

Freemason Street. The cities oldest surviving cobblestone street dating back to the early 18th century. Like Savannah they used the stones that were originally used as ballast in ships.

Leaving Norfolk for Cape Charles. War ship 58 being moved by my favorite tugs. Larry had to hail the War ship 58 to get permission from their captain to pass.

Leaving Norfolk for Cape Charles. War ship 58 being moved by my favorite tugs. Larry had to hail the War ship 58 to get permission from their captain to pass.

There were at least four of these large commercial fishing vessels working as we were attempting to enter the channel for Cape Charles.

There were at least four of these large commercial fishing vessels working as we were attempting to enter the channel for Cape Charles.

Love this sign spotted in ‘Shanty’s’ restaurant and bar. Great seafood here, by the way…

Love this sign spotted in ‘Shanty’s’ restaurant and bar. Great seafood here, by the way…

Sweet Laura (a local) giving us a lift to the local golf cart rental.

Sweet Laura (a local) giving us a lift to the local golf cart rental.

Beautiful white sand beaches of Cape Charles

Beautiful white sand beaches of Cape Charles

Keith and Larry

Keith and Larry

Cape Charles Brewing Co.

Cape Charles Brewing Co.

The brewery beer garden

The brewery beer garden

The path to the brewery that you take if you are in a golf cart

The path to the brewery that you take if you are in a golf cart

The boys at ‘Kelly’s’ pub

The boys at ‘Kelly’s’ pub

The welcome sign at Tangiers Island

The welcome sign at Tangiers Island

Old charming homes

Old charming homes

The main industry in Tangier is crabbing. Nice collection of crab trap markers…you would not believe how hard it is to see these floats when they are in the water. We have gone by thousands in the Chesapeake Bay.

The main industry in Tangier is crabbing. Nice collection of crab trap markers…you would not believe how hard it is to see these floats when they are in the water. We have gone by thousands in the Chesapeake Bay.

The island has a VERY high water table so people build platforms to protect their golf carts. Golf carts are the main means of transportation.

The island has a VERY high water table so people build platforms to protect their golf carts. Golf carts are the main means of transportation.

Love the house and especially the tighty-whities hanging on the laundry line in the neighbors yard to the left.

Love the house and especially the tighty-whities hanging on the laundry line in the neighbors yard to the left.

Tangier Island is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Tangier Island is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The island is a ‘dry island’ no alcohol is served anywhere. So, we had cocktails and dinner on the boat.

The island is a ‘dry island’ no alcohol is served anywhere. So, we had cocktails and dinner on the boat.

Boys on the boat

Boys on the boat

Taking the tender to the legendary ‘Tiki Bar’ of Solomons Island.

Taking the tender to the legendary ‘Tiki Bar’ of Solomons Island.

A little beer, a little live music and a little bean-bag toss

A little beer, a little live music and a little bean-bag toss

Larry makes friends where ever he goes

Larry makes friends where ever he goes

Sitting pretty in the anchorage outside St. Michaels

Sitting pretty in the anchorage outside St. Michaels

Pretty old boats in the harbor

Pretty old boats in the harbor

They still make ship masts here

They still make ship masts here

The walk to town

The walk to town

Spring flowers and old homes…

Spring flowers and old homes…

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…and old stone churches

…and old stone churches

In front of one of the channels off the little harbor of St. MIchaels. Photo by Keith Hennessey

In front of one of the channels off the little harbor of St. MIchaels. Photo by Keith Hennessey

Famous for their blue crab

Famous for their blue crab

Love these informational place mats

Love these informational place mats

Spring dogwood flowers

Spring dogwood flowers

Old carriage house

Old carriage house

The ‘Selena’. You can hire her crew to take you on a sunset cruise

The ‘Selena’. You can hire her crew to take you on a sunset cruise

Gorgeous sunset at St. Michaels

Gorgeous sunset at St. Michaels

The Captain's Post...

Guest Post by Larry McCullough

It is said “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step”, or in our case the single rotation of the screw (that’s nautical talk for propeller for you land lovers). We accomplished that first step with the completion of the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway (AIW or often referred to as the ICW).

The AIW starts in Norfolk Va, Mile Marker 0, and ends in Key West FL. 1243. We went as far south as Marathon FL at Mile Marker 1193 and finished in Norfolk last Wednesday May 15th.

As Jamie has posted, I have thought about this trip for at least 30 years and the trip has grown from just doing the AIW to continuing up the Hudson River to the Erie Canal, the Great Lakes, the Mississippi River, Ohio River, and eventually to the Gulf at Mobile Bay.

But that is just one part of the trip of hopefully bringing the boat back on it’s own bottom (too big for a truck, shipping is only other option) via the Panama Canal.

Yes, the trip has to be looked at in single steps (segments) or it is far to daunting.

Out on the last leg of the ICW at 6:00AM to catch a bridge opening. Really cold but gorgeous.

Out on the last leg of the ICW at 6:00AM to catch a bridge opening. Really cold but gorgeous.

Waiting for the North Landing bridge with all our ICW friends. Only one opening left and then it is closed for maintenance for 8 hours.

Waiting for the North Landing bridge with all our ICW friends. Only one opening left and then it is closed for maintenance for 8 hours.

Only opening one side.

Only opening one side.

Looking back over the stern.

Looking back over the stern.

You think things might calm down but they do not. This barge was huge and filling most of the narrow channel.

You think things might calm down but they do not. This barge was huge and filling most of the narrow channel.

Yes, another barge and please notice the hazards on each side. Tree trunks ready to puncture your hull. No room for error.

Yes, another barge and please notice the hazards on each side. Tree trunks ready to puncture your hull. No room for error.

A sweet railroad bridge. They remain open unless a train is coming along.

A sweet railroad bridge. They remain open unless a train is coming along.

Waiting in line for the lock.

Waiting in line for the lock.

We made the lock entrance. This cruise ship had precedence over all the pleasure craft so we were happy to squeak in.

We made the lock entrance. This cruise ship had precedence over all the pleasure craft so we were happy to squeak in.

Looking back over the stern as the gates on the lock close.

Looking back over the stern as the gates on the lock close.

As we exit the lock there again is not much room for error.

As we exit the lock there again is not much room for error.

The first official ICW sign I have seen and we have traveled over 1,000 miles on it as of today!

The first official ICW sign I have seen and we have traveled over 1,000 miles on it as of today!

I had to include this different ‘elevator bridge’. This was the first we had been under and we are almost to Norfolk, VA.

I had to include this different ‘elevator bridge’. This was the first we had been under and we are almost to Norfolk, VA.

Norfolk is all about ships and ship building and maintenance.

Norfolk is all about ships and ship building and maintenance.

Tied up and so happy to be at MILE 0 at Norfolk, VA! Photo courtesy of Larry McCullough

Tied up and so happy to be at MILE 0 at Norfolk, VA! Photo courtesy of Larry McCullough

My model may not look excited…but truly he is…

My model may not look excited…but truly he is…

THE ICW from Marathon, FL (MILE 1193) & The Bluffs (MILE 1008) to Norfolk, VA (MILE 0). The first chapter is behind us…so many more to come…

THE ICW from Marathon, FL (MILE 1193) & The Bluffs (MILE 1008) to Norfolk, VA (MILE 0). The first chapter is behind us…so many more to come…

Belhaven, NC to Coinjock, NC

We left Beaufort, NC and continued north up the ICW, A nice slow journey up to Belhaven, NC with some cloud cover that led to some rain and some wind. We anchored out in a nice protected area and after the wind let up it was a very peaceful overnight anchorage (58NM). The next morning we awoke to a silent army of tiny winged creatures (may flies?) carpeting the boat. Our friends warned us this might happen and they were spot on. We decided not to disturb the peaceful, non-stinging/biting flies, thinking if we pulled anchor and got some air flowing around the boat they might take flight…well, think again. The bugs held fast for a free ride to Coinjock, NC (73NM) and beyond. I am told that the name Coinjock is native american for Mulberry. Evidently, this is a requisite stop on ‘The Loop’ where you (Larry) advance order your prime rib (I had the soft shell blue crab just caught hours earlier). You are more than ready to tie-up by the time you reach Coinjock but the better part of this stop is the camaraderie with the fellow boaters. You have just spent the whole day traveling along the same strip of water with these boats, listening to their captains on the VHF radio as some take the ‘Hare’ approach leap-frogging by the slower ‘Tortoise’ boats. Now you get to meet their owners and share your stories and advice. We learn a crucial bit of information regarding our next day of travel. The North Landing swing bridge is closing for maintenance tomorrow and we have to be on the ICW no later than 6:00AM to get three hours up the river to ensure we catch an opening. If we don’t get through it is an eight hour delay…that would not be good as after that we have to catch another another swing bridge, a bascule bridge and go through a lock before we reach Norfolk, VA.

I am falling in love with tugs…they are the undersung heros of our waterways. These are particularly pretty.

I am falling in love with tugs…they are the undersung heros of our waterways. These are particularly pretty.

Another lovely passage along the way to Belhaven, NC

Another lovely passage along the way to Belhaven, NC

There is an eagle way up there….

There is an eagle way up there….

Belhaven anchorage sunset.

Belhaven anchorage sunset.

Belhaven bugs…there is no way any picture I took could give justice to the amount of critters on our boat that morning.

Belhaven bugs…there is no way any picture I took could give justice to the amount of critters on our boat that morning.

Just love this little trawler…

Just love this little trawler…

Entering a swing bridge ahead of the pack…

Entering a swing bridge ahead of the pack…

Looking back over the stern toward the rest of the pack.

Looking back over the stern toward the rest of the pack.

Nice post-rain light at Coinjock dock. They pack us in like sardines.

Nice post-rain light at Coinjock dock. They pack us in like sardines.

My name is Larry…your prime rib awaits you this way…

My name is Larry…your prime rib awaits you this way…

She is dirty and covered with bugs but looks so pretty from here

She is dirty and covered with bugs but looks so pretty from here

We already ate the soft shell blue crab. I am on to my crab cake and scallops…Larry has his prime rib…can you image eating all this?!? It fed us for another day…

We already ate the soft shell blue crab. I am on to my crab cake and scallops…Larry has his prime rib…can you image eating all this?!? It fed us for another day…

Nice evening reflections at the Coinjock dock

Nice evening reflections at the Coinjock dock

The Other Beaufort...Beaufort, NC

I am fairly certain that I am not the only ‘Beaufort-ly Challenged’ individual. The names of these cities in each state are spelled the same but pronounced differently. Which, from an outsiders point of view may not be a big deal but to the denizens of these towns it certainly is. We have been corrected (ever-so-kindly) more than once on the pronunciations and this is the tutorial in a nutshell (pouched from a Google site} “The Beaufort of South Carolina is pronounced "BYOO-fert" (as in "beautiful"). The Beaufort of coastal North Carolina is "BOH-fert" (as in "Beauregard"), which is also the correct pronunciation of the Duke of Beaufort's name…” O.K. we will stop there. So, we are in Beaufort, NC and it was a big day on the ICW to get here, eight hours and roughly 70NM. Some very shallow areas especially at each inlet from the ocean where shoaling is especially prevalent. We make our way into the Beaufort Docks Marina and happily accept their ‘Wooden Nickle' drink tokens. We exchange them for a couple of Yuengling beers at the ‘Dive Bar'. We plan to be here for two days but make it three due to weather. Not a bad place to spend some time as this city is beautiful, friendly and welcoming. Great food, friendly bars, beautiful homes and scenery. A great Nautical Museum and National Seashore complete with their own wild horses of Shackelford’s Island. Also, did I mention that Congrio joined the party in Beaufort due to weather on the Outer Banks?!? So great to see you guys!

Leaving Wrightsville Beach bright and early to catch the first openings of this swing bridge on our way to Beaufort, NC

Leaving Wrightsville Beach bright and early to catch the first openings of this swing bridge on our way to Beaufort, NC

Amazed by the engineering

Amazed by the engineering

The homes in Beaufort, NC date back to the mid 1700’s

The homes in Beaufort, NC date back to the mid 1700’s

Split lots are common and most have these charming gates

Split lots are common and most have these charming gates

Old, charming homes on Front Street

Old, charming homes on Front Street

Some are very grand

Some are very grand

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