Today was a 'hurdle' day in that D.A. is transiting the Welland Canal, piloted by Capt.Bob Ruh, from Buffalo, and 2 crew members. [we, as boat owners, are not allowed to stay on the boat - if we did, the passage would be considered a pleasure event and that is prohibited by CBSA under its Covid guidance; a hired crew makes it a commercial event] Most of the transiting captains are either retired or semi-retired and grab like minded crew members to help - must have a capt. and crew of 2 to go upstream, per SeaWay Rules.
They arrived at 05:50 and after orienting them to our boat, they departed Youngstown Yacht Club [YYC] at 06:35, leaving us with his wifes Jeep for the day, which really made it easy for us; we will be waiting with it at Erie Basin Marina in Buffalo to exchange for Doc's Aweigh, likely around 18:00 but possibly much later - the transit time is anywhere from 7hrs to 24hrs, depending on how many large freighters are also transiting, and the wx. The canal is 27 miles [48km] with 8 locks, 7 of them approx.40 ft lift each. It's 9 mi. from Youngstown and then another 20 miles from the L.Erie side of the Welland to Buffalo, so 56 miles total for their day.
We stopped on the hill above the YYC marina at the "Hill of Beans" Coffee Shop [see photo] . He just opened a week ago [and was the only shop open today]; the theme is Bogarts Casablanca, with pictures and mementos related to the movie; he is a chatty guy with a hobby related to classic movies trivia. Good coffee and a pastry. YYC was a good stop for us, even though the water was a bit 'rough' at times during the storm.
Then, drove the scenic route, along the NIagara R., to Niagara Falls. Stopped at the American Falls side and took some photos. Can just see Canada's Horseshoe Falls and the Cdn. sister city of Niagara Falls. Lots of people lined up at 08:00 to buy tickets for the Maid of the Mist boat rides: so many of various colors and languages and sizes!!
Continued driving the scenic route but had to ramp onto I-190 to get to downtown Buffalo, where we went first to the Erie Basin Marina [EBM], heart of the downtown area, to see where we would be finding Doc's Aweigh. See photos. Nice spot with a long face dock/bulkhead wall [where D.A. will be tied] on the western side of the entrance with a neat observation tower and office unit/fuel dock at the entry. The opposite side of the marina bay has pricey looking condos; the long term seasonal boaters are in slips at the south end. There is also a restaurant. It's close to the Veterans Park where a Memorial Day event was about to begin.
We prepared for the 'worst' by reserving a room at the Courtyard Marriott in downtown Buffalo, a half mile from the marina. They were able to give us an early check-in at 10:30 and then we walked half block to a Tim Horton's for coffee and lunch. That resulted in the need for a nap and following that we went for groceries to restock the boat.
We drove about 7miles to a Wegman's Grocery and stocked up for the next leg of our trip. Found an incredible beer department in it and even had Boddingtons Pub Ale!! Bought 2 of the 4-packs. Also stocked up on a bottle of wine and J.Walker Red since NY State has lower prices than many others. It had a huge deli section and we had to hold ourselves back from buying too much - no room.
Picked up a really great take-out from the restaurant at the Marriott Harbor Center next to us - salmon burgers [i.e. salmon cakes in a bun] with excellent spiced fries for supper on our way out to EBM to meet D.A. As we drove up to the marina, there was Doc's Aweigh just pulling in - talk about good timing. They had a rough passage only as they came out of Port Colburn with waves on the beam, but fine after making the turn. No damage done, just everything on a shelf fell off! Has definitely happened to us [lesson for the year - if going into any 'open' water/crossing, put everything on the floor!!].
Finally have all the lines secured, including a second stern spring one, and two fender boards in place to keep us off the dock pilings/wall; still a lot of rocking due to the action at this end of L.Erie from all the fetch building up from the West winds. We both decided to take a Dramamine/Gravol.
Didn't prevent us having a scotch to celebrate the successful Welland passage.
Checked the ER [Engine Room] and oil levels, etc all ok; did find definite coolant [red - but not diesel] staining of new pads under stbd engine with stains on outer portion forward, suggesting leak is from the rad.cap or a coolant hose fitting. The coolant level in the reservoir is down but not empty. Wonder if the coolant drips are burned off by the hot engine block/parts and that's why can't see anything? Will look again on arrival at Dunkirk Tues.
Planning: wx forecast remains a 'go' for us to cruise to Holiday Harbor at Chadwick Bay in Dunkirk, 36mi. SW of here. Winds are SW to S at 8-10 with waves 0-1', which should make for a pleasant trip. After Dunkirk, we head for Erie, PA at Wolverine Marina for a 4 day stay, where we will get an Enterprise car for a couple of days.
That's all from both of us.
Ernie R - 1 Jun 2021 Great that went as planned! Now on with the show hopefully without any more government interference!
Duane&Joan - 2 Jun 2021 Great you got through the canal.