Sunday, June 24, 2018

Peaceful Cruising in Upstate New York

After our craziness in Brewerton that lasted far too long, we are finally enjoying peaceful days in Upstate New York.  Captain Al has dreamed about cruising in the St. Lawrence Seaway and seeing the 1,000 Islands area for years and here we are at last!  We got here by cruising along the Erie Canal westbound, traversing only one lock, and then we took a turn to starboard to enter the Oswego Canal going northbound.  We got a late start on that first cruising day, June 16 because we waited for a UPS delivery.  So we chose to only go 12 miles to Phoenix, NY.  But with the time for the lock and lots of slow passes of private docks, it took us a bit over 2 hours.  (Some people can jog 12 miles in 2 hours!!)

This small town that is a mix of fixed up homes and homes that cry for fixing, has managed to build a lovely town dock that is free for over night tie ups.  When summer truly gets going up here (school is still in session!), there is a group of kids that call themselves the Dockhouse Brats that help boaters with lines and cleaning chores and run to local restaurants to pick up take out orders.  They do this all for tips or donations.  Of course we are a week too early to enjoy the kid service.  

Al and I each took our walks and Al snapped this shot of InSpeyered 2 while he explored the other side of the canal in Phoenix.  I made my way to the local bakery for breakfast treats and searched for a produce market that had little to sell this early in the season.  On Father’s Day, the Captain was treated to a “greasy spoon” breakfast which he thoroughly enjoyed and I only picked at.  (can’t do greasy food!). With the captain well fed, we shipped lines mid morning and headed up the Oswego Canal for a 4 1/2 hour cruise to cover a whopping 21 miles. But we traversed 6 locks in the process to drop down to the level of Lake Ontario.  We entered lock 1 from Phoenix with 2 other looper boats we didn’t know, and because we all ran a similar speed, we went through all the locks together and 2 of us stopped at the free wall between lock 7 and lock 8 in Oswego.

As is our habit, once tied up, we went for our walks.  Going through 6 locks is tiring so the Captain rested before his walk, and I chose to head out on my walk immediately in search of a grocery store knowing there is always something more to buy to fill the pantry.   It was a beastly hot Sunday, especially for northern NY!  We met the folks on Vahevala, the looper boat tied in front of our boat that had lead the way through the locks. Noting that they were from the NY area, we picked their brains about the water we plan to explore because they are from the area and have plenty of experience in and around Lake Ontario.   Monday was a windy day with afternoon heavy rain, so no one wanted to try Lake Ontario.  We made the best of it with more walking and exploring Oswego and doing small chores. Then we treated ourselves to Mexican dinner with our new friends from Vahevala. Tuesday stared with more wind which was predicted to die down, but Al always says “weather predictions are only predictions and actual is actual!”  So we purposely had a slow start only to be held up by the lock master, who was assigned to work 2 locks and was overly busy.  In the time it took to hail that guy, our new looper friends had texted that their attempt to enter Lake Ontario was met with 3-4 foot seas so they turned around to tie back up to the town wall.  Which is what we did before we even got into lock 8.  Another day to sit still in a fairly boring town. That’s cruising!! 

After looking at all of our favorite weather apps and buoy reports, we took off safely on Wednesday, went through one lock and said goodbye to Oswego. This is a town that will not make it to the list of places “where we might live someday”.


We followed another looper boat out past the breakwater and into a fairly calm Lake Ontario on a cool and overcast Wednesday morning. They went one way and we went another. We cruised 42 miles, going northeast on a diagonal across the lake to the lovely town of Sackets Harbor.  Sometimes picking our destination spots is as easy as reading other looper blogs and gathering intell from boater friends.  That is how we came to arrive at Sackets Harbor and it proved to be a great choice!  We walked together through the town and around a battle field from the War of 1812 with spectacular weather, just warm enough for shorts but not sweat provoking heat!! We found a bakery and a shop with special chocolates so the day was complete!  We also found a restaurant that others had recommended and made a plan for a do-over breakfast for me that wasn’t greasy!! 

InSpeyered 2 sits happily on a T dock at Navy Point Marine and we are happy town explorers. We are plugged in so have power to catch up on laundry, what else could we ask for! Well actually, we could hope for a washer that would quit acting up and be easy to use!  That’s another story! 

After a wonderful walk around the battle field in cooler but sunny weather, we did have a scrumptious breakfast at the Tin Pan Galley that was packed with people on a Thursday morning.  The best part is that we both went home with plenty of leftovers to enjoy some more breakfast treats!  Despite it being a windy early morning, the wind died down and the waves calmed so we could take off late morning to cruise 24 miles, taking about 3 hours to reach Cape Vincent that is on the St. Lawrence River. 


So we passed the Tibetts Point Light house which marks the beginning of the St. Lawrence River whose mighty job it is to drain the waters that flow from one Great Lake to the next all the way to the Atlantic Ocean.  About 20% of the world’s fresh water sits in the 5 Great Lakes and this mighty river.  

After coming around Tibet’s Point we head into the St. Lawrence River and the boating area referred to as the 1000 Islands.  

Once again, we find a great free wall in the town of Cape Vincent for a quiet night of floating. 

While sitting on the bridge watching the sun lower, we spotted our first freighter cruising up the river.  Tomorrow we will head further down the river and begin seeing lots of small and medium sized islands.  (Note this was actually written to end on 6/21 but with time to proof read, it is being posted late.).  We’re just having too much fun!! 

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