We began the 2nd leg of our delivery cruise on Saturday May 4 under clear skies and as nice of conditions as can be expected for the time of year. With a new crew, lifetime friends Don, Mark and Ernie, we were on the river by 6:30 in the morning after just 3 hours of sleep. The night before, crew members Don and Mark had to be picked up at the Buffalo-Niagara airport followed by a 5 hour drive to Kingston, NY where Vahevala was docked and awaiting her trip home.
Our cruise north on the Hudson River was uneventful except for the many deadheads lurking both above and just below the surface of the water. We were forewarned that we were likely to encounter this and thanks to all those who gave us the heads up. With the weather being so calm we might have otherwise taken a more casual attitude and been rudely awakened to the thump of one of Jerry Garcia's many fans lying in wait! The scenery was beautiful the further north we got with Spring just budding and some green finally painting the landscape.
Our timing was good and we were able to lock through the flight of five at the entrance to the Erie Canal. We tied off just before lock #7 and had a barbecue after some ice cold brew that the crew had been sampling since mid day. A few friends showed up to greet us at the lock and we all sat on the bridge enjoying some after dinner cocktails and cigars that Don had brought.
The next 2 days we slowly made our way through the canal and took in the countryside scenery. We had dubbed this leg of our trip the Tom Sawyer - Huck Finn Cruise as we re-connected with some of our dreams of childhood. Taking in the sights at such a slow and relaxed pace was wonderful. The weather cooperated nicely with warm days and evenings and light breezes. The locks posed little challenge with some debris fields both just before and in the locks themselves. I asked one of the lock masters about this and he said it was due to us being out so early in the season before they could sweep the canal clear.
After an overnight at St. Johnsville we cruised through Oneida Lake where we could literally not differentiate water from sky it was that calm. It was an almost eerie calm with the sun setting in front of us causing a blinding fusion of sun lake and sky. We made it to Brewerton just after dark and went to the restaurant right at the dock wall. Highly recommended for good food and friendly service.
The next 2 days we cruised through the Oswego River to Lake Ontario where I officially began using our vessels new name. We plan our re-naming ceremony sometime this early this summer. The weather remained calm with waves at 1-2 feet and light winds with warm air mixing with cold water which was a nice combination given the time of year. After an overnight at the Rochester Yacht Club found we planned an early departure that morning to time our arrival in Wilson before some weather was predicted to move in. We were up and cruising by 4:30 a.m and were treated to a spectacular sunrise. Some of our pictures are worthy of a shot at some photo contest somewhere to be sure.
We arrived in Wilson right at 2 in the afternoon and the very minute we had the boat tied off at her new berth the skies opened up and it began to pour rain. The first weather we encountered in over 700 miles of cruising from when we began back in March from Annapolis! Couldn't have ordered up a more perfect weather pattern!
The following weekend we had 35 mph winds, waves at 4-6 feet, and hail with temperatures in the 30's
All in all an amazing voyage that we got to share with some of our very best of friends. Side note; 3 of the guys who helped crew are on a video that my dad had taken so many years ago with us making our First Communion
We had an adventure that will be treasured for years to come and learned a lot about our new boat made more memories to add to the long list of good times together!
Looking forward to a long summer on Lake Ontario and exploring its shores and traveling to new ports of call! Bon voyage 'til next time...