June 5, 2007, Iroquois, Ontario
Happy Birthday Andre!!...for those who did not know, I just turned 39 (plus a couple of decades). And, we are not in Iroquois; well, the boat is but Olga and I are spending quality time with friends and family in Halifax , Nova Scotia .
Since leaving Great Kills Bay , NY , we had a great cruise up the Hudson River and then followed the Erie and Oswego Canals to reach Lake Ontario . This is nature lover country. The rivers and canals meander between well eroded mountains full of hardwood forests and nice estates. While spring was well underway, there were still many color gradations in the new leaves. This cruise must be terrific in the fall when the forests are in full color.
We stopped at Newburgh , Catskill, Waterford , Amsterdam , Little Falls, Lock 20, Oswego and Clayton on our way to Lake Ontario . The communities are small and many are economically poor. We see a lot of older industries that have shut down many years ago. Despite that, there is pride in most of these communities and the homes are well maintained. Many are using their waterfronts on the river or canals as springboards to revitalize their economy.in other words, they are boater friendly.
The New York Canal system is quite elaborate and for the past couple of years, they have been waiving their passage/locking fees (again, very boater friendly). Every spring, there is a risk of canal closures due to heavy rains and/or spring run-off but we were delayed only a short time because one of the levees caved in. Because there were many other boats also waiting until the canal system reopened, we had another great opportunity to take it easy for a day or two and make new acquaintances. Fortunately we had good weather with warm days and cool nights which makes for great cruising and sleeping weather. During our journey coming up north, s/v Nantelise (Lise and Paul) was a frequent companion until we parted ways at Utica , NY . All in all, we went through some 30 locks and crossed Lake Ontario to Clayton , NY with no problems.
From Clayton , NY , we crossed to Gananoque to clear Customs and Immigration. Being a Sunday, Olga went to the government building (which was closed) and called the official on duty from the nearest pay phone. After answering a few straightforward questions and confirming that we only had a reasonable amount of "bar stock" on board, we received clearance to re-enter Canada .
We spent a beautiful night at anchor at Mulcaster Island, one of the thousands of islands dotting the lower part of the St. Lawrence River where it meets the east end of Lake Ontario. There were very few boats on the water this early in the season. For the first time in our 7,000 miles of travel this year we heard a Mayday call on the VHF radio near Brockville . A dive boat had an unconscious diver to deal with and called the Coast Guard for assistance, which was very promptly given. Once that crisis had passed, we completed our journey to Iroquois where we left the boat to travel over land back to Nova Scotia .
We will spend the month of June driving around the Maritimes, Quebec and Ontario to take care of business and visit with family and friends. We hope to be back on the water by early July to make our way to Georgian Bay and the North Channel .
Our next update will be sometime in July once we get Mystic Bond back in the water and have a few more nautical miles under our feet.
Best wishes to all. Olga and Andre