Change of Plans

August 15-16, 2021

We arrived in Albany Thursday, mastering (sort of backing into a slip). We didn’t hit anything, so that is good. One backs in at this marina as there is lots of river debris that happily floats down the river not caring about the marina. It floats between the boats and sometimes under the docks. When we were coming in we asked about bow in as that is easier and they said they never do that as you don’t want chunks of river debris caught in your prop. Good point.

This chunk of stick/log would not do well for our prop. They have a pole with a hook that they just feed the logs through to the next fairway in the marina. Never seen this before.

The next day we visited Crailo State Park, a museum in an early Dutch Colonial era home. Lots of good information about life in the Dutch Colonies of the Hudson in the 1600’s and 1700’s. A bit of a strange tour in that the guide walks you through, telling you about things in each room and then waits while you read the signs in that room before moving on. An odd style, but lots of great info that helps me to understand life at that time.

The basement kitchen at Crailo with examples of the foods eaten at the time. Amazingly, they ate waffles.

Sadly, later that day we got a call from my brother. He and his wife were to be out next set of boat guests but just could not get comfortable being over 5 hours in the flying tube with the COVID bugs. Thus, they have postponed their visit for a later adventure. We were so looking forward to their visit.

Reset. We had planned to head down the Hudson, pick them up in New York and head into Long Island Sound. But… we are 20 miles from Troy, NY, the start of the Erie Canal and entrance to the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway…. This is a piece of water we have wanted to take as long as we’ve been thinking of boating. And, Canada has opened for boaters from the US. Just happened after over a hear. The lure was too great. So, off we are headed north as opposed to south.

This is where we’ll be heading soon. Albany to the left. Soooo exciting!

Albany

But wait, back to Albany. We rode the bikes downtown which is across the mighty Hudson from our marina. They do have a dedicated, safe and dirty bike lane which we appreciate even though you are right next to a busy highway.

Ok, not much of a picture of the bike lane. It was taken from the bike lane on US 9 across the Hudson. The center “ramp” is the bike path headed down. The one we had to come back up heading back to the boat. Albany does not take advantage of it’s water front for cafe’s, and nightlife.

Remember hills on the Hudson? From the marina, we had to go up and across the bridge, then down and up the hills into town. Not too bad, but easier for me as bike has 21 speeds and Jim only has 7. But he is macho and made all the hills except back across the river to home (see pic above). A pretty long and fairly steep climb. I was in 1st gear but made it! But, before the rid back to the marina, we are riding up the hills in downtown and what IS this building in front of us? A crazy mix of Gothic, French, and what we don’t know; we are not architects.

Really? A state capital? We had no idea what we were seeing when we came upon it, but did not expect it to be the state capital. So very different than the New Mexico Capital, the kiva motif which we call the “merry roundhouse. ” Look it up. But, we do have something in common, one of the 10 or so capitals with out a dome. There you have it!

We are busy being amazed by the buildings when crash/boom/bang, the thunderstorm arrives. We tuck under an awning with the bikes and wait it out. Big downpour. We decided to head towards home, but found a nice little pub and slipped in for a wine and shrimp focaccia.

There are lots of old buildings in downtown Albany, many in disrepair, others working to make a comeback. Then there is the Empire State Plaza conceived and pushed by Nelson Rockefeller which is stark, flat, hot and uninviting. I’ll not include a pic as there are too many pics. But, this view from our new little favorite Albany pub was so European. The fancy building in the background is the admin building for SUNY. Cool digs!

The Capital

Next day we toured the capital building and visited the State Museum. Turns out the capital building, started in 1867 was slated to cost $4M. When Teddy Roosevelt became Governor in 1899, he said “stop and desist” and threw all the construction workers out, it is done. They had spent $25M and gone through 5 architects. Thus, you see areas of carving not complete and the mish-mash of styles as each new architect had to/wanted to put his signature on the building. In any case, it is quite an interesting building to visit and incredibly grand.

A sampling of some of the staircases in the capital.
Another location, but more to my liking. I love the Moorish influence.
The area where people wait to see the Governor. Our visit was two days after Cuomo resigned. The sign in the background says, “Changes Happens When Women Gather. The best protection any woman can have … is courage. Elizabeth Cady Stanton”. Now ain’t that interesting timing?

The State Museum was eclectic and interesting. There was an exhibit related to 911 with a very useful timeline reminding us all of the atrocity of that day with some behind the scene facts we may not have known, surely at the time. Behind this was a fire truck from one of the closest stations which lost 5 people from the 6 on the truck. It was buried with the first tower collapsed.

La Gran Circuit Nautique

Ok, back to the future. The new plan. In order to do La Gran Circuit Nautique as Parks Canada likes to call it, we have issues to address such as water depth; we need no more than 5 feet under the keel in some places or we will hit bottom and can have no more than about 15 feet of air draft or we’ll hit bridges. Our draft is 5 feet and air draft is 28′ 6 ½” in salt water. In fresh water, we’ll have less air draft and more water draft. Not easy to calculate as it all is related to how your calculations were done in salt water, what was the specific gravity and then what it will be in fresh water. To complicate things further, how much provisioning, water, fuel and poop happens to be on board at the time will change these depths and heights. Very complicated, so one needs to have some fudge in the numbers.

I don’t know who to credit this image to, but is shows the basic route we want to take. If we can’t make the portion from Kingston to Ottawa to Montreal, then we’ll take the blue line up to Montreal (the Saint Lawrence River/Seaway) as the backup plan

To make this all work, we have to remove our boom, lower our mast, take down our bimini on the flybridge and move our dinghy as it is in the way of the boom lowered. We’ve never done these tasks and have to figure out each step. This is one of those projects Jim has dreaded as we’ve been thinking about this through time. How DO we do this efficiently and effectively. Given we want to leave, one has to just do it.

You can see the mast would easily hit the dinghy even though we’ve moved it over Currently it’s sitting on throwable personal flotation devices (PFD’s). The black squares on the desk are from rubber pads storing an unused anchor we’ve now donated to the marina. Cleaning is in order.
We’ve moved the dinghy off centerline on the boat deck using the crane, and partially deflated the tubes. It has an aluminum bottom, so there is some structure. The console would be right in the way of the mast. We need structure underneath as we’ve removed the chocks that the dinghy normally sits on and the PFD’s are not sufficient. Another trip to Home Depot is in order.
It is starting to come together. See the boat with the blue hull to the far right of the picture? These folks helped us lower the mast. Me and one guy on the bow with a line attached to the forward stay. The three tall guys, Jim and two guys from the blue hull boat on the boat deck to catch the mast as it comes down. It is aluminum so not terribly heavy, but three strong folks would be needed to do it. The boom, on the desk to the far left we’d taken off yesterday with no extra help.
We made a trip to Home Depot today on the bus. Our first trip to HD and for charts and other marine supplies, we borrowed the Dockmasters Car. Today, Jim loaded up his battery powered circular saw into a backpack and we took the 30 minute bus ride. Bought some indoor/outdoor carpet, more bungies and ratchet tiedowns and two 2 x 6 x 10 boards. Jim cut them into 5 foot lengths in the parking lot, we bungeed then together and we brought them back on the bus tp the marina. I did not take a pic on the bus but should have. The dinghy is much more stable with it’s carpet strips and supports. We are almost there.

Adding some urgency to the project, my sister Julia has decided to come and join us. She could not resist the Erie Canal. She arrives this evening and we hope to be moving by Wednesday morning. I think we’ll be ready. The lowering of the mast and associated activities is coming together, we have charts of the waters we will be sailing through, both paper and enectronic, and Julia has the job of figuring Covid testing to get us into Canada after the Erie and Oswego Canals and crossing Lake Ontario into Canada (and back to the US). The kittens have their rabies shots so are good to go. I just read today we may need covid tests to get back into the US. Another task. And we need to buy permits for the canals in both countries, make sure we have our lines and fenders squares and chart courses and days for each leg. Lots still to do in new waters.

Julia is awaiting her luggage at the airport so I will close for now.

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