The time is just about here for us to begin our trip taking our new to us boat from Alexandria Bay NY to Mattituck NY via the Saint Lawrence River, Lake Ontario, The Oswego Canal, The Erie Canal, Hudson River, East River to Long Island Sound, Orient Point and finally Mattituck in the Peconic Bay. Five days, perhaps a few more but it should be a great trip.
We have had one hell of a time getting ready to go, spending more time getting the boat squared away than enjoying it but I believe it is under control now. After many attempts to get the GPS working, I finally gave up. I updated it, purchased a new used antenna (you can’t buy a new one, they’re not made anymore) spliced wires and tried what the Raymarine techs suggested. All to no avail. The funny thing is it worked fine until after we closed on the boat, as did a few other pieces of equipment. Another odd thing, we met our dock neighbor when he arrived a few weeks after us and his exact same GPS failed too! After all that I decided enough was enough and purchased a new MFD. The old MFD still displays depth and radar so I am going to mount this new unit on its bracket temporarily until I have a plan in place to redo the entire dashboard. This will let me see the chart display and the display of the depth and radar.
Instead of trying to wire the new unit up I went and got a twelve-volt adapter and connected it to the unit’s wiring. This way will allow me to plug it into the boat’s twelve-volt power supply (a spotlight plug? Used to be called a cigarette lighter!) as a temporary measure.
After installing the newly covered cockpit bolsters last time, I set about installing the freshly done cockpit seating. What a difference. Miller Place Auto Upholstery outdid themselves as far as I am concerned, the seats make the boat look brand new. One problem I had with the seating was the way they are mounted. Basically, each seat has aluminum arms (two for the starboard seat and three for the port seat) that are held down by one screw into the deck that was installed before any of the deck structures like the upper seating and refrigerator were installed. In time one of the screws broke and the others were about to so I had to act fast.
I ended up drilling upward from below through the deck and into the aluminum arms. I used a stainless-steel fender washer and a three-inch long number twelve stainless steel screw. It socked them down nice and tight, but if I need to I can remove the screw and drill out the hole for a bolt and nut. Hopefully, that will not be needed!
With most of the work done our friends Candy and Brian met us up at the marina and we finally got to enjoy a day on the water. First, I put the squeeze on Brian to help me run a new wire and splice it into the old one. Only for a short couple of hours though!
When we were done, we went over to Heart Island, home of Boldt Castle. We actually took the ferry over, as no dock space was available at the time. Glad we did too since I saw plenty of boats cruise by with no regard for their wakes.
The castle itself is something to see, but the story behind it is sad. To make it short, in 1900 Mr. Boldt had started construction on what would be a beautiful castle for his wife. But she died in 1904 and he stopped construction. The property was left untouched (except for weather and vandals) until 1977 when the Thousand Island Bridge Authority acquired it. Several million dollars have been spent to restore, improve and preserve the property for all to enjoy. Two pictures I took at the castle, one is of the stained-glass ceiling above the “Grand Foyer” and one of the organ in the ballroom. The story goes that the organ was used to “serenade” the surrounding islands!
By the time you read this, we should be safely back on Long Island with the boat in salt water for the first time. I still have to install the electronics temporarily, top off the fuel and water tanks and go over the location and operation of all the safety gear before we start for home.
From Alexandria Bay, we will take her south to Clayton for a short visit to get everything stowed and the crew oriented to the boat, including a few basic tasks like line handling and fender use. These skills will become very useful once we hit the locks.
Leaving Clayton, we head south on the Saint Lawrence River and enter Lake Ontario, arriving in Oswego after a 40-mile or so crossing. Traversing 7 locks on the Oswego Canal we come to the Erie Canal and turn east. Two more locks and we arrive in Brewerton NY. I hope to get this part done in one day. 23 more locks on the Erie Canal and we are in the Hudson River.
I really can’t say how long it will take in the canals because of speed limits and even mechanical issues with the locks. I have heard from two to four days. At the same time let’s not rush this, let’s enjoy the ride.