Day 49, May 18, Home Port—Toronto Island Marina

19 05 2012

After three days in Whitby visiting family and doing some work on the boat, we left for Toronto, and our home port at the Toronto Island Marina. The sun was shining and it glistened on the water and there was a fallowing sea. What an exhilarating time for us to be sailing through the harbour, realizing the fulfilment of our dream to live on our boat, when we left last November. Our dock has a wonderful view of the Toronto skyline and the harbour. Of course we had to have happy hour toasting our huge accomplishment in arriving home safely(although a little scrapped up). Several marina members congratulated us. We took the ferry to a restaurant to meet our daughter for dinner. Must say that it’s great to be home and to not have to change dock for awhile.

How does one summarize such a time as we’ve had? It would take the rest of our lives to do so, because it will affect the rest of our lives. The beautiful scenery we saw and the wonderful people we met would have to be paramount in such a synopses. The lessons we learned were immeasurable, about life and about each other—and a few about boats and water!!!

Since this is the last blog, I thought I’d finish with a great quote by Mark Twain: “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore, dream, discover.”

Also: “We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm, and adventure. There is no end to the adventures we can have if only we seek them with our eyes wide open.” Jawaharal Nehru

Also: “Once you have traveled, the voyage never ends, but is played over and over in the quietest chambers. The mind can never break off from the journey.” Pat Conroy

And finally, I’d like to conclude that it’s REALLY important to LOVE the person you are traveling with!!!!Because high-stress situations reveal the worst in any personality. So my final quote is from Mark Twain: “I have found that there aint no surer way to find out whether you like a person or hate them than to travel with them.”We found out that we really ‘like’ one another’

Thank you to anyone who has commented on this blog. I’ve discovered that I really love to write! Nite nite to you all.


Day 46, May 15, Lake Ontario and the Canadian Shore. We made it!

16 05 2012

We were in the last lock of the Oswego system at 7am. As we sailed through the harbour we could see the vast expanse of Lake Ontario—really an Inland sea. No worry about depth here, because it’s over 700 feet in places. And what a perfect day for crossing; there was no wind or waves, only a few fog patches that burnt off by mid morning. For most of the day we didn’t see shore, but when we passed the GPS-US-Canada border line we rejoiced. Our Canadian landing was at the Whitby Yacht Club and our GPS led us right to it at the exact time it predicted us to arrive (truly an amazing instrument!). After docking, Ed called customs.

It feels like much longer than 46 days that we left Key West!!!! What a tremendous time of learning and growth for both of us.

We’ll be staying in Whitby a couple days in order to get our trim repaired—remember our Titanic -incident! It will be much easier for us to visit with our family, too, because they are just minutes away. I will blog one more time when we finally arrive at our home port in Toronto. Tonight we are extremely tired, I sure haven’t needed any sleep-aids on this trip! Nite all.

Day 45, May 14, The Oswego

15 05 2012

Today we completed the Erie Canal and travelled the Oswego. Again, we were the only boat and it was extremely calm—water like glass. Such pretty cottages and homes dot the shore. At canal 5 a duck entered with us to do the 30 foot drop, then he swam out in front of us at the bottom when the lock doors openned. I guess he has discovered that it’s easier than flying!!!!

We are docked just before the last dock on the Oswego Canal in Oswego. There is only one other boat here and they are from Gander, Newfoundland!!!! Jerry and Simone came over for awhile for happy hour. They have been travelling the ‘Loop’ for a year and will be home by June. The ‘Loop’ is the trip up the US coast, through the Great Lakes, down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico, then back to Florida. We have met several people who have done this and it sure sounds exciting! They were full of great wisdom of the waterways. They have learned that wind is the boater’s worst enemy,( as we have, also). We will surely contact them when we visit Newfoundland this summer. Austin and Sandy will love to meet them as well. Sandy just sent us a pic she took of us being towed out by Seatow on the New Jersey ICW—nice!!!

The lock opens at 7am and we’ll be sailing through the Oswego harbour into Lake Ontario for the 108 mile crossing to the Whitby Yacht Club. The weather is supposed to be perfect for this trip—-NO WIND! We’re so excited to see our kids and family again. Nite nite.

Day 44, May 13, Lake Oneida

15 05 2012

Happy Mother’s Day to all you Moms.

Our dock beside Lock 21 was extremely peaceful. The area around each lock is beautiful parkland or wooded and we were the only boat there. At Lock 21 we go down about 30 ft. Forgot to mention that Lock 17 was the lock with the biggest level of elevation: 40 ft. Today was very enjoyable because were were alone in all the locks and the canal. It was very calm and peaceful. Lake Oneida was a 29 mile stretch, but it went very quickly. We had an appointment with a guy at the ESS-Kay Marina to repair our trim and arrived at about 1pm. A nice place with very nice people. The marina is situated among pretty cottages. We worked on cleaning up the boat for our ‘home stretch’ on the Oswego Canal tomorrow. Afterwards, Ed took me out for dinner to celebrate Mother’s Day at a restaurant in town. It was great to hear from my three children today.

We’re really excited to be coming home in a few days. It feels like we’ve been travelling forever! But we still get excited to begin each new day with a new destination. Well, we are both pooped tonight.Nite nite.

Day 43, May 12, Deck Fluff

13 05 2012

OK, I’m almost 65, but today I was ‘Deck fluff’, (a term ‘usually’ used for young, gorgeous, bikini-clad girls who adorn the bows of boats), but in my case, I had to sit outside on our 12 ft.-bow bench at the front of our boat to fully experience the beauty that was passing by. How glorious is SPRING! Today the water was like glass,(NO WIND,Thank God), and we were the only boat on the canal. Most of the time we were surrounded by wilderness and it was sooooo peaceful. The temperature reached the 70’s by noon and I was barefoot on the boat. We went through 5 locks and because of the calm, they were very easy. We stopped at Little Falls and biked to town—very typical small-town-America–(Canada, too)–farmers market in the parking lot of the bank, high school kids having a car wash, old guys sitting on a bench discussing the weather and their ailments (probably politics, too). About half of the stores on the main street were empty, (very typical of small-town main streets), but the ‘General Dollar’ was packed.

I can’t believe that we will be home in less than a week. It feels like we’ve been travelling forever! But, it has been so amazing! I’m very thankful to have had the opportunity. It truly is a life-changing experience! It’s so much more than the places you visit: “Any traveller who misses the journey misses about all he’s going to get—that a man becomes his attentions, his motivations and his observations and his curiosity; they make and remake him.” William Least Heat Moon

“Certainly, travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on , deep and permanent in the ideas of living.” Miriam Beard

“Travel can be one of the most rewarding forms of introspection.” Lawrence Durrell

“It can be dangerous to travel. A strong reflective light is cast back on ‘real life’,sometimes a disquieting experience. Sometimes you go to the far interior and who knows what you might find. The passionate traveller looks for something. Something must change you, some ineffiable something—or nothing happens. ‘Change me into something I am. Change—the transforming experience, is part of the quest in travelling.” Frances Mayes

Tonight we a docked near Lock 21 and it is sooooo peaceful here. In our Skipper Bob handbook it referes to this spot as being ‘so quiet that the ‘city folks’ won’t be able to sleep’. Oh, ya,just watch me!!!

Nite nite.

Day 42, May 11, Spring on the Mohawk

12 05 2012

As we floated along the Mohawk River today I saw a field of spring flowers along its banks. A family of Canada geese were taking the babies for a stroll in the warm sunshine and I was thinking how wonderful to be coming home at this time of the year. It has been quite cool out (no more flip flops), and the wind was still a factor in the locks. Supposed to be calm on the week-end.

The Erie Canal is truly an engineering marvel! With every lock we go up, sometimes 20 to 30 feet, and sometimes only 5 or 6, it’s fun popping up to new scenery after the lock is full and we’ve been lifted to a new level. My job has been to grab on to a rope hanging along the sides of the lock, or loop it around a poll so that the boat doesn’t wonder around the lock—lots of fun! The ropes are wet and slimy(even with gloves—thanks for the tip, Brenda. Ed holds another rope as soon as he stops the motor. We were thankful to have the locks to ourselves for most of today, since the other boats we started out with have gone ahead and it’s much easier if you don’t have to worry about hitting anyone. The scenery between each lock has been beautiful with the rolling hills of the lower Adarondacks, it’s a nice change from the flat land we’ve been accustomed to on this trip.

Tonight we’re tied up to a dock in Fort Plain. We were very thankful to the two men who helped us dock because the wind was pushing us off—people along the canal have been really helpful and friendly. The town was very small, but had a supermarket and we had dinner at a diner(only place open). It’s hard to describe some of the ‘characters’ you see in some of these places, but they are very sweet (mostly). After one of our most challenging days, I believe it was the ‘MUD day’ in New Jersey, we walked into a rather fancy restaurant near the marina with our ‘Newfie’ friends and asked the hostess if she knew of somewhere that we could just get a burger—it was about 8pm and we were starving and probably looked like the tired and stressed boaters that we were. She knew of a place close by, but told us that the kitchen usually closes at eight, but she called and asked them to keep it open for us—I think she had pity on us!! well, they did and also treated us really well—and the burgers were AMAZING!

So tired, went to bed at 8. Nite nite.

Day 41, May 10, WIND and the Erie Canal

11 05 2012

This morning started out great. We walked the two blocks to town and had a tremendous breakfast for $1.75—sure love those ‘mom and pop’ places you find in small towns! The decor lacked ‘style’ but the food was great and the service was friendly and fast.

The Erie canal locks had been closed for 5 days due to high water levels. The day we went through it was the first day it was opened. By the time the lock openned though it was noon, and the wind had built to about 30 miles an hour. As we left the dock we were blown into it and did a ‘Titanic-with-the-ice-berg-thing’ along the dock!—-don’t worry, we’re still afloat, but we damaged our starboard trim—-‘–IT HAPPENS! A very challenging day ensued. There were six boats going through 8 locks and it was hard to not bump into each other—some got blown sideways in the locks. We’re thankful to be at a dock at lock 8 for the night and have decided to not go anywhere tomorrow if the wind is strong—another lesson learned the hard way—we never knew that high winds could be a huge factor in a lock, now we know!!!

One of the greatest things we’ve learned on this journey is how to work as a team in stressful situations. I’ve learned to not ‘freak out’ as easily and am quite proud of myself for the skills and confidence I’ve acquired (Ed,too).

Well, we’re safe and sound and thankful to be at a dock. Time to have a game of Spanish Railroad.