Monday, August 27, 2012

Captain's Log

The Island Hopper Crew, Kevin, Debbie and Bryce, the Welsh Terrier flying the St Pete YC Burgee.

I want to summarize our travels this summer on Island Hopper,  a journey of 2750 miles and 95 days aboard.  I departed May 6 with my good friend and college buddy, Ed Daniel from our homeport of Longboat Key Moorings.  We headed to Ft Myers and the Caloosahatchee River.  Across FL we went through Lake Okeechobee (these Indian names are difficult to spell!), to Stuart, FL on the east coast.  Total mileage 225 miles.  (all miles will be statute miles not nautical miles)

Up the east coast to Charleston, SC we traveled after hanging out in Beaufort, SC for a few extra days as we were ahead of schedule and Tropical Storm Alberto was lurking just offshore, where our wives joined us.  We arrived in Charleston on day 16, May 21, total miles 750.   After 3 nights in Charleston, we threw off the lines and headed to Norfolk where our guests would depart.

We arrived Norfolk on June 1, day 27. Total miles 1225.  We spent an extra night in Belhaven, NC to ride out Tropical Storm Beryl.  It rained all day and blew so we caught up on inside chores.  

After two nights in Norfolk (Portsmouth) Debbie and I headed up the Chesapeake Bay, one of our favorite cruising grounds. We harbored IH on the Chesapeake the summers of 2008 and 2009.  After visiting our favorite harbors we arrived in Baltimore, Anchorage Marina on June 10, day 36.  Total miles 1472.  I had rented a condo dock from an acquaintance for a month so we could return home for a few weeks.  We stayed in Baltimore for 5 days to sight-see and perform engine maintence, returning to Cincy by air on June 14, Day 41.

We flew back to Baltimore with our new dog Bryce, a 6 month old Welsh Terrier, on July 3. We changed our tickets from July 1 as it was over 100 degrees at home and in Baltimore. The entire east coast was in the grips of a terrible heat wave.  We enjoyed the 4th of July in Baltimore including great fireworks which we could see from our dock.  

We departed Baltimore on July 5 heading up the Chesapeake Bay.  After passing through the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal we entered the dreaded Delaware Bay and headed south to Cape May NJ. Luckily the wind and tide cooperated.  We took a cab around town it was so hot, the cab thermometer showed 103 degrees, ugh.

The temperature finally moderated as we headed out in the Atlantic to work our way up the NJ coast.  We arrived in NY harbor, a very exciting experience seeing the Statute of Liberty, (My Dad was an immigrant) on July 10, day 49 and 1772 miles.  We harbored at Liberty Landing in Jersey City, across the harbor from the financial district in Manhattan, what a view.

After a great visit we headed up the Hudson River to Troy (Albany) a distance of 165 miles.  It is tidal until we passed through the "federal lock" at Troy.  Here we entered the Erie Canal, which leads to Buffalo, 340 miles to the west.  We  only traveled 160 miles on the Erie Canal hanging a right to head north to Oswego, NY on Lake Ontario.  We traversed 22 locks on the Erie Canal which lifted us up 450 feet from sea level, and then down 66 feet to the level of the Oswego Canal.   We passed  7 more on the Oswego Canal, which lowered us 118 feet to the level of Lake Ontario.  

Our good friends Ian and Joan joined us from Ayr, Scotland in Brewerton on the Erie Canal.  They helped us navigate the 8 locks to Oswego, NY.  After departing Oswego we steered IH to the St Lawrence River and the ports in the US of Clayton and Alexandria Bay, and then we crossed the river to clear customs into Canada at Gananoque, ON.  We cruised this beautiful area known as the Thousand Islands.

Our final destination was Montreal where Ian and Joan departed for a visit to Quebec City before heading back to Toronto for a plane home.  We had to pass through 6 big ship locks on the St Lawrence to navigate the 200 miles to Montreal.   

We covered 312 miles and 14 locks with Ian and Joan.

After a few days of enjoying Montreal our friends from FL, Kurt and Pam arrived.  We stayed a few more days in Montreal, a total of 7 before leaving for Ottawa.   We had to again pass through two St Lawrence locks but we were not delayed luckily.  We entered the Ottawa River at St Anne de'Bellevue, QC.   After two more locks and 99 miles we arrived at Ottawa where we entered another canal system know as the Rideau Canal.  The Rideau is a 126 mile canal with 46 locks, all manually operated by parks personnel.  It was constructed in the 1830's.  The first 32 locks raise IH 274  feet and the remaining 14 locks lower us 165 feet to the level of Lake Ontario where we exit the canal at Kingston, ON.  

Our friends departed IH in Kingston after traveling with us 270 miles and 50 locks.  We spent a few more days in Kingston to take in the sites and then we headed back to Oswego, NY backtracking on the Oswego Canal to Brewerton, NY and IH's winter home of Winter Harbor Marina.


Total miles from FL 2751
Total Days aboard       95
Total Locks                 99 

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