Friday, September 23, 2011

Portsmouth NH - Buffalo NY 7

Monday, 19 Sept 2011
With the St. Ours Lock not starting operations until 0830, we enjoy an extra hour's sleep. Kind of an extra hour's, Ours sleep. Nik Nik Nik!

0830: We lock thru and begin the final 45 miles of the Chambly enroute to the town of Sorel at the junction of the St. Lawrence Seaway.
1130: We arrive at  the Parque Nautique Federal. this marina has a "gin-pole' used by sailboats to demast their vessels prior to heading south on the Chambly/Champlain waterway. It is our intention to re-install our radar arch and hard top here. Look of a red/white horizontal stripped pole just west of the marina office. The pole, on the bulkhead, actually has a name; "Girafe."
The dock attendent says the the largest sailboat they have had along side is in the 35 foot range; because of the distance between the fuel dock and the boat ramp.  But, because I am a surgeon with a bow thruster, it was fun bending Sea Hunt in half to lay her along the bulkhead.
1200: Now we prep the hard top and arch for the left. We are in perfect position to lift the arch, however, because the Girafe has no adjustable boom, it will require a bit on ingenuity. The arch was the easy part; just rig up a couple of lines and lift.
Note: Vessel port side to bulkhead
"Okay, let's spin the boat."
We have no straps to lift the hard top, so it is time to put to action those knots I have been teaching the family for the last two weeks.
Note: Boat is stbd side to

Now, we sky the hard top, swing over to the the side and set it on the ground as we spin the boat around for a third time. Got to love the becket bend!
Apparently, Girafe hasn't been lubed in a while. It takes Andre and I to swing the hard top.
On the Deck
List the hard top into placend then mount the feet and set the lag screws for the top/arch joining.

1530: We complete the installation of the hard top and prepare to move over to the Parque Nautique Marina to the east as the marina with the Girafe doesn't have 50 amp service. Lisa decides to board the vessel from the fuel dock, so I manuever the vessel so she can step on the swim platform... you guessed it... slipped stepping off the dock and into the water behind the boat. Pierre, the 7 year old yelled "MAN... I mean WOMAN OVERBOARD," as he popped his head in the starboard side pilothouse door. Andre, Luc and Pierre hustle to the back of the boat and fish Lisa from turbid murky waters... arghhhh!
1600: We are secured at Parque Nautique Marina and after a shower, Lisa... and crew are ready to grab a taxi to town for dinner. My first experience with "poutine," a dinner staple in Quebec which is french fries with fresh cheese curds and covered in brown gravy. Luc got me to order this and it's pretty good actually. With bellies full aand clothes dry, we slip into our individual slumber for the night.

Tuesday, 20 Sept 2011
0700: Eng/Trans/Gen checks and all are okay. there is a run to the supermarket scheduled with the cab driver from the nght before.
1000: All are aboard... and dry as we get underway for St. Lambert Lock.
1425: We pass by Monteal as we turn towards the lock. Nice marina downtown, but...
1700: We arrive at St. Lambert Lock and tie up at the small craft dock behind the lock wall and check with lock control at the top of the ramp. We are informed that there will be a two hour wait for downbound traffic (we are upbound). So, we settle in and make the evening meal.
1900: WOW, like clock work, we enter the lock with the tug "Francis M" behind us. Fifteen minutes later and we are out the other side and headed to Cote Catherine Lock.
2020: Darkness has enveloped us as we enter Cote Catherine Lock. "Francis M" is still in our wake. This is a good night to give the owners some night navigation orientation.
2150: We pull over well outside of the shipping channel in eighteen feet of water and drop the anchor for the night.

Wednesday, 21 Sept 2011
0700: After pre-start checks, we weigh anchor and head to Beauhamois Lock; in fact,it is a two step lock close together called Upper Beauhamois and Lower Beauhamois.
1130: We arrive and are informed that here will be a three hour construction delay. "Just remain at the small boat dock and we'll hail you on the loudspeaker when we're ready for you."
1210: We get the word, and UP WE GO! We proceed to the upper lock and out the other side in fifty minutes.
1900: We negotiate Snell Lock, which is one of two locks on the American side of the border and which has floating bollards (the rest of the locks pass down lines).
1930: We approach Eisenhower Lock and see a ship locking downbound, so it will be a few minutes. I take this opportunity to have Andre practice backing down and pick up a mooring ball from the stern. He did a great job.
2005: We lock thru Eisenhower Lock after which we pull over into a nice little cove just upstream of the lock and dropped the hook. Another full day. Sleep will come easy.

Thursday, 22 Sept 2011
0645: After checks, we weigh anchor just before dawn. We have more lock to negotiate, Iroqouis, and then it is a scheduled stop in Alexandria Bay, NY for oil/filter changes and fuel stop. It just dawned on me that we haven't put a drop of fuel in Sea Hunt since we left Portsmouth NH.
0950: We arrive at Iroqouis Lock and informed that there are three ships scheduled before us and to just hang on the small boat dock until called.
1155: It's our turn and we grab lines from the lockmaster for the four inch lift.  A few miles after Iroquois, a meet one of my yacht acquaintances, Larry Castellani, headed the other way with his brand new customized Grand Banks Europa. Nice looking boat, Larry. can't wait to take alook at herin Florida.
In a couple of hours, we start seeing the 10,000 Islands. It reminds me of the San Juan Islands of Washington State, where I grew up. It's a boaters paradise!

1750: As day turns to dusk, we pull into Alexandria Bay, NY and secure for the night at Riveredge Resort.

Friday, 23 Sept 2011
0915: After breakfast, we reposition the yacht next door to Hutchinson Marina. HM is a working boat yard and Sea Ray dealer I had called yesterday to order up the oil filters for the Detroit Diesel 4-53N engines and Northern Lights generator. We needed a oil and five gallon pails for the old oil but it was discovered that the local taxi has closed up shop for the season. That's where my friend Mike Joyce, President of Hargrave Custom Yachts came to our assistance. Mike just happened to be in the area and offered to give Andre and I a ride to NAPA and Ace Hardware for oil/coolant etcetera to facilitate the engine and generator maintenance. I treated Andre and Mike with breakfast at a local dive called the Dancing Dog Saloon after which we thanked Mike for his generaosity and dived down into "the hole."
1100: Pretty straight forward... spin off the old oil filters... clean up the mess... lube the gasket and spin on the new one. Repeat this two more times (don't forget the generator) and then it's time to suck out all the old oil with the oil changing system plumbed into the engines and generator. After that is completed, top load the new oil (I like to let it run thru the journals to the sump), start the engine and look for leaks at the filter/flange, shut down the engine and final top up of oil to just below the full mark. Total time? Two and a half hours.
1345: Hutchinson Marina east doesn't sell diesel on this side, so we reposition the yacht to the other side of town to their west fuel dock. Aross the river is the magnificent Boldt Castle which I encourage you to Google.

"Wait for It..."

Now, this is a "full service" fuel dock where the attendant, Steve, actually does the filling. I wish sure wish they would take notice of this in Fort Lauderdale! We had another incident while we were filling. Andre was in a bit of a hurry to put some soap on a drop or two of fuel that made it into the water and apparently the hatch to the lazzarette was open and he went down... hard! Dislocated his shoulder. I asked Steve if he could get us a ride for Andre to the hospital (remember, taxi is out of season) and away goes Andre and Lisa and I think one of the kiddies. Anyway....

After Steve gets done washing the windows and check the tire pressures, we move off of his fuel dock to the "penalty box" and wait to outcome of Andre's injury. In the meantime, I'm working on the blog, Luc is putzing about in the tender and Pierre is watching Star Wars V.
1830: Our conquering hero arrives back from the hospital with a fractured something and his should back in place in a sling. We decide to get some needed sleep and leave at first light for a 23 hour run to the Welland Canal.


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