Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Sat, Aug 19, Phoenix Wall to Winter Harbor Marina, Brewerton

Sat, Aug 19, Phoenix Wall to Winter Harbor Marina, Brewerton      
The 6 of us enjoyed breakfast on the docks with service from the Brats.  We were joined by Kathy, the founder of the Brats program and Mike Lattimore, who also oversees the program.  We finished our travels for this year by going thru lock 23 on the Erie Canal and arriving just outside Oneida Lake, ending in Brewerton, Winter Harbor Marina. 

We spent the next 5 days preparing the boat for winter storage. Tom proceeded to wash the boat, top to bottom, hard top, flybridge, sides, gunwales, decks, fenders, eisenglasss and anything else that needed it.  Engines and systems needed oil change and filter changes.  The inside also needed cleaning, organizing, purging, and storing for winter.  The car was packed-to the top and even a carrier on top, as we are also bringing home items packed from Florida.  The boat was hauled early Friday morning, power washed and blocked. 

We greatly enjoyed year 3 of the Great Loop.  The food, the cities, the people in Canada were friendly, welcoming and helpful.  Boating on the canals was an experience like none other-78 locks too.  We look forward to next year to continue the experience!!
Greek's Folly's winter home, in doors and heated

Huge buildings, with immaculately clean surroundings
I think probably the cleanest marina we have ever been too.
Nice people also.

Cleaned and oil changed ready to go...
to be pulled out of the water to end another season

Be back next spring to head back to Canada and the
Trent-Severn Canal, Georgian Bay and the North Channel.
Thanks for following our blog. Be safe, see you next spring.

Fri. Aug. 18 Oswego Free Wall to Phoenix Free Wall

Fri Aug 18, Oswego Wall to Phoenix wall

  Left the wall with 2 other boats when lock 7 was ready for us, then lock 6.  As we approached lock 6, the port engine overheated which necessitates shutting it down and maneuvering into the lock on 1 engine.  When we pulled out, we limped to the wall to tie off.  Short Vacation followed Greeks Folly and Tom had hatches open and John had flashlights ready.  The big diesel engines are very hot when running and the engine room was very steamy.  After checking the strainer basket and impeller, they found no cause for concern.  They did find a blockage in the oil heat exchanger; pulled out leaves and mysterious pieces of rubber - probably from an old impeller.  Tom restarted the engine, water was coming out the exhaust so we are good to go.  A total of 6 locks today with 18-30 foot lift each.  The walls are grimy and dark green from the river - glad we have gloves and fender covers.  After Lock 1 we pull to the wall in Phoenix - the home of the Boathouse Brats.  The wall is next to picnic tables, a park and a pavilion.  Friday night is music in the park as well as service by the Boathouse Brats.  The Brats are kids who provide table service for dinner on the waterfront.  There are 4 restaurants in town in which you order off the menu.  The kids take your order, pick up the order and deliver it to you as well as provide you any table service needed.  The kids volunteer (work for tips) and provide a service to the community and boaters.  It is a wonderful program, well run.  We enjoyed visiting with Steve and Debbie on Who Cares and enjoyed the Friday night in the park - a Norman Rockwell moment.  
One of the locks on the Oswego Canal

One of the nicely decorated towns we went thru, Minetta

This is Phoenix and the Bridgehouse Brats

A Norman Rockwell painting if there ever was one

People come from miles around to eat here and support
the Brats

We had breakfast on the docks with the Brats.
These are Colletta's pancakes, she had breakfast
for 3 days, they were huge

Cathy, the organizer and creator of the "Brats" and
Mike Lattimore the unofficial Mayor of Phoenix

Thurs, Aug. 17 Sackets Harbor to Oswego Free Wall

Thurs, Aug 17  Sackets Harbor to Oswego wall.   


 With calm winds, we left the slip backing down the fairway.  Excellent job by the captain!!  On Lake Ontario, we traveled comfortably being familiar with the Great Lakes water.  Wind out of the SW then SE made for a 1 ft. chop.  Came into Oswego and the lock was ready so it was an easy lift.  We pulled to the wall and secured for the night. With the bikes off, we discovered the downtown area was limited and dated but OK for a one night stopover.  

Lighthosue welcoming you to Oswego, N.Y.

There is some commercial boat dockage here

Downtown Oswego

Tues, Wed. Aug 15-16. Heading to Sackets Harbor

Tues, Wed. Aug 15-16.  Heading to Sackets Harbor
 We entered Lake Ontario the fourth of the Great Lakes which we have boated in. The big open water was welcoming and a familiar sight. The easy run was passed Wolf Island and Cape Vincent.  Ride was a little bouncy until the route turned. Sackets Harbour is a small town with a small friendly marina. Riding the bikes in the late afternoon allowed us to explore the small business district, quiet residential area, and still enjoy a cocktail at Tin Pan Galley -the most popular restaurant in town. We opted for casual fair-pizza and wings-at the local pub Anchor-delicious. Tom and John gobbled it down but still had leftovers for breakfast
Wednesday morning we went into town for a gourmet breakfast at Tin Pan Galley-delicious- Eggs Benedict and Creme BrulĂ© French toast.  There is an 1812 Battlefield in town right on the water which we rode the bikes thru, then continued on the bike path on the outskirts of town.  Once back in town, the girls did some shopping and the boys found a hardware store.  The remainder of the day was used for laundry and small projects.  After dinner, a walk into town for ice cream and a nightcap, the bed swallowed us up.
Sunset over Lake Ontario

looking out over the lake

Sacketts Harbor

The Marina, a little tight getting into the slip

The Commanding officers quarters at the fort

The battlefield, it looks so peaceful now

Sun and Mon, Aug 13-14 Boldt Castle to Clayton Marina

Sun and Mon, Aug 13-14 Boldt Castle to Clayton Marina    
 Once again, "salad greens" had to be removed from the anchor and the chain.  We must be getting more efficient as it only took 16 minutes today to complete the job.  We are traveling through New York now on the St. Lawrence Seaway.  The water is choppier because of the winds and being out in the open. The traffic is heavier, mostly because of the weekend and people being on holiday.  The traffic looks more like the boat traffic we are used to in Michigan waters.  We pull into Clayton Marina - a fairly new facility - and 7 more boats follow us in.  It is becoming a popular place.  Bikes are off and we are heading to the famous Antique Boat Museum.  This museum houses wooden boats and motors.  It is a collection of old wooden boats, immaculately restored and they look beautiful.  Many hours of work go into making, preserving and the upkeep of the boats.  It is a beautiful sight to see them cruising on the water.  We explore the town, stop for a beer, stop for ice cream, shop a little and enjoy dining at a waterfront restaurant.  This has become our usual routine which we greatly enjoy, so no need to alter it now.  
This relaxing day consisted of revisiting town for groceries, a visit to the post office on business, a library stop, and of course shopping for the girls.  The town has the necessities for us to enjoy an extra day here.  We enjoyed dinner together and watching and meeting the other boaters in the marina.  A nice place to visit. 
"Salad greens" to begin the day
Welcome to Clayton, New York
Chairs overlooking the St. Lawrence Sea Way

The brand new marina at Clayton, very nice and great

George Boldts house boat at the Antique Boat Museum

Examples of the beautiful restored boats

Buildings full of these beauties

Real works of art

Sat Aug 12 Rabbit Island to Swan Cove (Boldt Castle)

Sat  Aug 12  Rabbit Island to Swan Cove (Boldt Castle)  
At 9 am we took the dinghy into Schown's island and he met us on the dock.  We followed him, wandering around the property as he showed us a small quarry.  This was where the pink granite for Boldt castle originated.  When construction on the castle stopped, the workers just left, leaving large slabs , square and sculptured, on the island.  Very interesting!!

Shorn stopped by Short Vacation when we anchored off Rabbit Isld
and asked if we wanted to come ashore in the morning and see
the quarry where the granite for Boldt Castle was mined from.
So we dinghyied in in the morning

Quarry wall, straight as an arrow

When George Boldt's wife Louise died suddenly he stopped
all work on Boldt Castle which was supposed to be a Valentine gift
to his wife. The story goes that the work men just left their tools and
walked off the job. The Castle sat for 77 years unfinished until the
Thousands Island Bridge Authority took it over and started renovating
the Castle.

Pieces of granite just left in the forest

Colletta with her pieces of granite that would have ended in
Boldt Castle.. just the small pieces. She couldn't lift the granite
beam...tho she tried

part of the quarry wall

We cruised to Boldt Castle, only to remember it was Saturday and the docks and waterways were swarming with boats, cruisers, day visitors and lookers.  We anchored in a small cove, Swan Pond just south of Heart Island and the castle.  We had a great view to watch all the traffic and enjoy the sights of the castle.  We took the dinghy into the castle pier, checked in to US customs (painless) and went on a self guided tour.  The castle was never finished or lived in and fell into ruins and is slowly being renovated under the supervision of the 1000 Island Bridge Authority.  They are doing an excellent job of renovating by using plans and blueprints of the original castle.  Some parts are finished, furnished and elegant and some parts are deteriorating, vandalized and worn.  It is an ongoing process and a positive step to preserve the history for that era.  About half of the castle is completed - 2 of the 4 floors - and the grounds are beautifully kept.  We also visited the Boldt Boathouse with its 3 docking bays and antique wooden boats and steamers.  Of course we took a dinghy ride to explore the coves and marina in the area and admired the beautiful and lavish homes.  The sun set on Heart Island and Boldt Castle which ended a pleasant day.
Welcome to my comfy lake house

This guy flew over just as we were arriving at the castle

This is a picture of the kids play house. 2 bowling alleys
a theatre and game room

This is the power plant for the island. It was self
sufficient for all its power  needs

Boldt Castle as we approach

Welcome to my comfy lake house

The boat house across the harbor. He could put his
sailboat in here without lowering the mast, sweet.

The children's playhouse

The front view of the Castle

Another view of the boat house from our anchorage
George Boldt built the castle as a Valentine's present for
his wife Louise who died unexpectedly in January 1904and all
work ceased on the castle. never to be finished. He just walked
away from it. Hearts were incorporated into many areas of the
castle's design, to show his love.
More hearts
The Boldt family crest with the Stag and Heart
Inside the boat house