Sunday, May 29, 2011

Waterford, New York

Waterford is a great town that has a lot to offer.  We've enjoyed riding bikes, the many parks, the people and of course free full hook-up.  Our time has extended here due to the Erie Canal not being fully open.  There has been a lot of boats passing through Lock 2 next to our boat, but are now all stacked up near the closed lock.  A man working at the Welcome Center and the Lockmaster stated we better stay put as boats are rafted three deep on lock walls with no amenities.  It  may open today, but with the holiday weekend, temperatures reaching 90 degrees and a sailing regatta further up where they close the river....I think we'll let the mob pass thru for a day! 
 There was a Memorial Day parade that was fun to see.
 126 foot 1901 vessel just made it under the bridge. Notice the man on a ladder on the topside. 
 We ran up to see him locking through and found out they just underwent a $10 million restoration and the owner was captaining the boat (unheard of).
 A view of the old Erie Canal that we kayaked by in last post.
 David and Trish aboard Sovereignty came over after we BBQ'd a great dinner.  David has lived on his 27 foot boat for 27 years! He once lived in our home town of Grand Rapids, Michigan and managed the Boat U.S. store. 
 David and Trish brought us a watermelon and Ryann was so excited!  We made banana bread for them and have really enjoyed their company.
 This was the only picture of the squirt gun fights where Ryann wasn't running away from Jaxon....he puts up a great battle! 
 Boys jumping from the bridge with their big tennis shoes on....see some of them still on the bridge and some in the water.  Looked dangerous and fun at the same time.
 David taught Morgan how to make a Turk Head nautical bracelet or thump pad/coaster.  He was very detailed as it's not easy to do. 
 The girls sat on the lawn drawing with a cold drink in the shade after a hot day. 
 These boys waved and smiled at the girls on the grass....then were escorted out by the police for biking in a prohibited area.  I think Craig had something to do with this.
 Our new friends that we've gotten to know during our stay here.  Bill (far left) and Barb aboard SunCast a 32' s/v have lived aboard for over 10 years and just came from Cuba.  Terry and Cindy (lower left) aboard Freyja a 42' s/v have lived aboard for 3 years are heading back to the WI/MN area to try the 'landlover' life again.  They have lived in Australia and Japan among 37 other places in their life and had some great stories.  Nelson aboard 'Lost Navigator' on right is a 36' trawler built 100% out of wood by Nelson over 9 years to construct.  It is bright orange and very cool.   
 From left: David, Barb and mentioned earlier.  We all enjoyed talking on the aft deck once the hot sun went down....good stories and friends were made. 
 Bill brought over his conch for the kids to try.  He gave them some good pointers too.
 Jaxon gave it all he had!
 David didn't believe that Jaxon's blue anchor bed was large enough to fit an adult.  He tried it out and concurred!
 The parks were nice and the kids were able to meet other children too.
A new addition to the 'Negotiator' as we are currently displaying our crab pot balls on the port and starboard aft deck top.  Like we didn't already look like 'liveaboards' already!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Hudson River

Our drive up the Hudson River was beautiful and one of our favorite stretches of water, even though it was rainy and overcast most of the way.  This waterfall along the shoreline was so picturesque near the home.   
The lush green trees of the Catskill mountainous hillside was breathtaking.  The majority of the river was lined with railroad tracks and trains passing through all day long. Look closely at bottom of photo.  
A plane on the shoreline near a home and you wonder how he got there....
 There was interesting debris along the way including a few tires and lot of driftwood.  The current pushes you at sometimes a few knots at a time.  It's always favorable to take a ride and travel with it, but the time of day and direction your heading play a factor in it all. 
West Point College was so impressive to see from the water.  We would travel miles to only see an occasional home and then you see this!
 A castle in the distance looked very grand sitting so high. I can't imagine the view up there.  The Vanderbilt and FDR homes also line the shore.
Pollepel Island shows the remains of the Bannerman Castle.  You can tour the area with a ferry boat and portions of it collapsed a few years ago.  When you see the photos of what it use to look like its sad to see the deterioration.
We had a great anchorage in Esopus Creek one night. It was a very narrow inlet with a cute lighthouse at the entrance.  It was a calm night as many tall trees above swayed in the breeze with wind and rain, we were so protected and had a cozy night grilling on the aft deck.
 The Doris Moran and other tugs frequent the waters daily.
 A very popular place to have your mast stepped.  Many of our boating friends use this shipyard for the task. This 126 foot long vessel was built in 1901 and just underwent a major remodel. More photos to come.
 Downtown Albany a U-Haul building had a truck on the rooftop. 
 Lock One, known as the Troy or Federal Lock was our first on the Erie Canal. It was a very narrow inlet with three very large trees in the water. The wind was blowing strong and our bow thruster is still not functioning.  Our captain took it in stride, crew secured the lines and used dock poles to fend off debris.  We were so happy to officially be in fresh water again. 
The Erie Canal will take us to Lake Ontario.  This stretch feels like our last leg of the trip.
 The Waterford Welcome Center offers floating docks with free water and power which is virtually unheard of!   
We spent a fun evening with the family aboard 'Messenger' of Scott and Lisa and three teenage children, Elizabeth, Aiden and Reg.  It's an instant connection when meeting other families that live parallel lives.  They had to leave the next morning and will have finished their journey by the end of the month at their homeport in Waterford, Canada.  
 A cruise ship passed by en-route loaded with passengers seeking an Erie Canal experience.  
 This man rode his bike from LA, California in 50 days and will catch a plane in Boston to head back to Korea. 
 'Onrust' is a 52' yacht project taken on by volunteers over the past few years to reconstruct one like New York's first ship and decked sailing vessel in 1614 that was the first American yacht and first ship to be built in NY.
 Hannaford's grocery store made for a huge provision stop for us.  Customer service walks you to the parking lot (with the device in her hand) to unlock the wheels so you can take the cart back to the boat.  Every Saturday they come to gather the carts. 
 We walked nearly a mile home and crossed this bridge.  It made for a quick and easy way to stock up without backpacking or biking and great prices and produce too!
 Kayaking one evening as Jaxon takes over the paddling!
 We made it all the way to the waterfalls.  There was a group of over 30 other kayakers that joined us for the evening as they gather every Tuesday to paddle and gather at the bar afterwards. 
 The building in this photo is owned by a dress designer for over 20 years. 
 Lock 2 in Waterford is a series of 5 locks in a row that takes you up 180 feet. 
 Right next to the lock is the old lock that was built in 1817. 

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Atlantic Ocean

We finally said goodbye to the beautiful Atlantic Ocean beaches. We made the most of our rainy, cool, windy, foggy days at Beach Haven.  It was the perfect time to regroup mentally and take a break from cruising.  We were able to provision at the nearby market and relax without studying the weather every moment of the day and the constant demands of cruising.  We always take each day in stride, but this gave us an opportunity to just slow down for awhile. 
There's no 'slowin down' for Jaxon as he runs circles around us daily!
One more lobster(ish) to play with.
 The rainy days brought on a lot of creativity with great projects and games. Morgan decided to build her own puppet. She found the wood and proceeded to saw it into shape.
 She sewed the fabric together....
 ...and painted the parts.  The finished project has some minor work to be done and final picture will come soon. She has started her own website where she wants to sell her crafts......more to come!
 The rain just kept coming down.
 We made friends with Brittany who worked at the arcade. The girls got new Webkinz from her and named them Brittany! 
We had the pleasure of buddy boating with Martyn and Allison aboard 'Last Chance' from Canada. We left the marina together and headed up to an anchorage near the Manasquan Inlet in the Meteloking River. 
 There was a big thunderstorm right before our arrival, but we were happy to have calm water, no wind and a delicious meal. 
 With sun and rain came a huge rainbow!
 We went ashore to a little beach area with a park for the kids to run and play.
 The next morning the kids knew we were in for a long day.  They hadn't played their Nintendos in so long and it made for a fun way to pass some time. 
 The homes along the Point Pleasant Canal and waters before the inlet were full of large homes.
 The Manasquan Inlet was lined with odd shaped concrete.
We were able to see first hand the 64 foot scalloped boat that had overturned in the inlet (see previous posting).  There was a towboat that monitors it 24/7 until it's moved.   
The water was calm and filled with fishing boats.  It was nice to have 'Last Chance' in tow and roll over the large waves so slowly.  We kicked up the speed to 14 mph and created a huge wake.  Our friends aboard Dragonfly said it perfectly of this experience: uuuuuuuuuupppppppp....ddddoooooowwwwwwnnnnn
 We made our way through 26 miles of Atlantic Ocean waters and around Sandy Hook, New Jersey in short time.  We could see the New York skyline in the distance and made our way another 18 miles to the entrance of the Hudson River. 
 It was amazing to see the Statue of Liberty from the water.  We were in awe and couldn't take our eyes off her.
 She was just as we pictured her...but better.  There were boats abound and waves were rough, but everyone was just staring at such a wonderful landmark. 
 Our friends aboard Last Chance took a photo of the Negotiator next to her to come!
This very young couple came all the way from Denmark on their sailboat!  They stopped and asked us to photograph them and email the photo.  

The Colgate clock was huge!
 To Empire State Building in the skyline!
 We can spot a true Lightship now where ever we go.
The police boat came right up next to us quickly but changed his mind and headed toward the air craft carrier Intrepid nearby. 
 Next to the aircraft carrier was an impressive submarine that had the ability to launch a plane from the topside....look closely.
 The George Washington Bridge was the first bridge we came across since the rest were all tunnels under the water. It was such a change of scenery that we hadn't seen in so long.  Notice the lush green hillsides all around.  There were parks, cars and trains that ran along the river too. 
The inclement weather was in our foreseeable future again as we approached a mooring field.  Just as we cleated the last line the dark skis came closer and after a day of 79 degrees and sun we felt our first rain storms....great timing! 
After a long successful day, Craig spent the evening in the generator compartment.  In the end we realized that the generator filled up with water after we went aground in NJ. When the towboat operator 'dredged' under us, the water was forced up into the generator.  After a talk with Mark, our brother in law, with some valuable advice, Craig got it all working again.  Good thing we had extra parts including oil, filters, plugs, etc.
We are excited to be in the Hudson River now. The smell of fresh water all around us and the beautiful landscape.  The Erie Canal is still closed, but scheduled to open sometime this week.  It's a new chapter in our trip....we've come so far! It is our last leg of the adventure and makes us want to slow down even more.