Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Sodus serendipity

We are under way westbound in Lake Ontario, bound for Rochester, New York. The lake is nearly flat calm and we are having a lovely cruise in pleasant weather.

We spent four full nights in Sodus Bay. Ordinarily we would not have stayed so long, but you may recall we came in a full day early to beat some nasty weather on the lake, and we needed to be in town all day Monday and into Tuesday to have the dinghy outboard worked on.

Vector at anchor in Sodus Bay, as seen past the Junior Sailing Association docks.

We were very glad we arrived a day early, because it allowed us to have a very nice prime rib dinner at the Sodus Bay Yacht Club, whose dining room is open only on Friday and Saturday. While we were there for dinner, we talked to the club manager about possibly tying Vector up at their docks Monday. This would let me get back aboard after dropping the tender for service without having to find a ride or set up the kayak to paddle back.

The storm drains are below lake level now. Pumps like this all over town struggle to send the lake back where it belongs.

Even though many of their docks are under water, they had space along the bulkhead, which had been outfitted with temporary fender boards to allow boats to fender off the dock -- when a dock is submergerd or awash there is otherwise no way to get a fender between the boat and the dock, making the dock unusable no matter how little water is over it. We've seen these temporary fender board structures all over the lake.

Sodus Bay Yacht Club clubhouse.

Sunday evening we returned ashore by tender and walked up the hill to The Bay Street restaurant for a surprisingly nice dinner. The restaurant features New Orleans cuisine in a white tablecloth setting, and was the most well-rated restaurant in town. Monday morning we hip-tied the dinghy, weighed anchor, and sidled up to the dock at the yacht club (map) very, very slowly.

The most popular, if poorly rated, joint in town. I heard he'd get you by tonight. We passed.

The fender boards were quite sturdy, but the inertia of 110,000 lbs moving too fast could easily have ripped them right off the dock. Complicating matters were the fact that weeds within a foot or two of the surface meant using the thruster only sparingly, if at all, and that the dock had some short vertical 4" pipes with caps in lieu of any sort of cleats or bollards. It was a very calm morning and we had no trouble. Louise took a couple of wraps on the pipe bollards to keep the lines from slipping up past the pipe caps.

Vector secured at SBYC. Note the fender boards, pipe bollards (only the first one has a reducer, the others have caps) and awash power pedestals.

I was surprised to find the power pedestals working. Not only were the bases in an inch of water, but all of the conduit supplying the entire marina is submerged. Nevertheless the power was on, and we plugged in so we wouldn't have to run the generator right outside the clubhouse.

Because the lake is above street level in places, it's forcing its way in through the ground. Here you can see it bubbling up between the street and sidewalk. Green slime is everywhere.

As soon as we were tied up, and before even connecting the power, I zipped across to Arney's Marina to drop off the tender; they pulled it out of the water on a trailer and backed it into the shop, then gave me a lift back to the yacht club. I was back aboard by 9:30am. I spent part of the day just walking around town and taking in the sights; lots and lots of yards and docks are under water, and the town is full of pumps endlessly trying to put the lake back where it belongs.

These boats at Arney's are actually "on the hard" on stands.

Yesterday morning Arney's called to say the tender was ready and back in the water. I walked the mile and a half to go pick it up, and when I got back to Vector we could easily have hoisted it and gotten back under way. However, the yacht club has a deal for visiting members of reciprocal clubs that provides the second night free, and we took them up on it. The first night was just $30, plus another $10 for power. Also, our reservation in Rochester was not until tonight.

Sodus Bay jetty light, with the public beach behind, on our way out this morning.

We had a nice dinner in town at Marlin's waterfront restaurant, then strolled out to the point and back. It was really a very pleasant four nights in Sodus Point, even though I expected to find little there at all. This morning we dropped lines after morning coffee; we just now passed the R.E. Ginna nuclear plant, and should be docked in Rochester by 2pm.

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Beating the weather

We are under way westbound along the south shore of Lake Ontario. This morning found us anchored off the small community of Fair Haven, New York, at the south end of Little Sodus Bay (map).  We weighed anchor shortly after a storm moved through, and we've had a drippy and bleak ride so far. Seas are about a foot with occasional whitecaps.

The West Pierhead Lighthouse on our way out of Oswego.

Thursday evening we steamed into Oswego Harbor and dropped the hook off-channel across from the H. Lee White Marine Museum (map). It was a comfortable and quiet spot, as close to town as we could get. Even on a holiday, a local tug was moving dredge spoil barges offshore the entire time we were there, from a dredging operation near the powerplant.

The White museum from our anchorage. Powerplant stacks are visible from across the lake, making a good navigational reference for incoming vessels.

We splashed the tender and headed ashore for dinner, at the same docks that would cost $1 per foot overnight. En route we discovered a loud concert at the band shell on the west bank. I thought at first that it was for the Fourth, but it turns out to be a weekly Thursday evening event during the summer. There are also overnight docks along that bank, $20 for the night; best to avoid them on Thursdays.

We walked up the hill to the highly rated Azteca Mexican restaurant, only to find it closed for the holiday. Instead we wandered back down to the waterfront and ate at Alex's, requesting an inside table at the window for a little quieter dinner experience. Some loopers were at the docks out front; $2 per foot with power for the night.

Our somewhat industrial view from our anchorage. Alex's is at left. We kept wanting to read "Swego" on the tank, which is how the locals pronounce it anyway.

After returning to the boat, while enjoying the cool of the evening with a glass of wine, I noticed the tug, the Kristin Joelle, headed right for us with an empty dredge scow. We chatted briefly on the radio; he was just expertly dropping the scow off along the end of the pier to go get another load, and we were not in the way. Oswego's harbor fireworks are not until tomorrow, but still we saw a few very local ones after dusk, around 10ish.

With no need to make another bicycle pilgrimage to Walmart or any of the other services in this relatively large city, we decked the tender in the morning and weighed anchor for Little Sodus Bay. The whole bay is a summer resort area, supported by the small town of Fair Haven at the tip of the bay.

Vector at anchor in Little Sodus Bay, from the Pleasant Beach Hotel. Flux at lower left.

We had the hook down and set before the afternoon storm moved in, which threatened to trap us on the boat till morning. But at 6pm it was all over, and we tendered over to the historic 1910 Pleasant Beach Hotel for dinner. Afterward we strolled the small town, where we ran right smack into the Fourth of July concert, featuring music of our era, outside the other restaurant, Brandon's. We sat and listened for a while before heading home.

Free concert in front of Brandon's (off camera to the right). Band was good.

Fourth of July is the busiest week here, and there was also music emanating from the marina across from us, which fortunately was not too loud and ended before bed time. The official fireworks here are actually tonight, so we will miss them, but we were treated to some spectacular unofficial ones launched from the lakefront beach.

We walked through this craft fair this morning.

This morning we returned ashore for another stroll and to drop a package at the post office. The town dinghy dock is under water, so we again used the hotel's dock. We strolled through the little craft fair that is part of the holiday festivities, and stopped into the cafe for breakfast. There was a half hour wait, and we could see the next rain storm coming, so instead we made a quick stop at the tiny grocery store and high-tailed it back home.

We also passed the annual classic car show.

We weighed anchor during a break in the storm, and here we are. In a short while we'll be anchored in Sodus Bay, near the community of Sodus Point. Winds out of the north, starting tonight, will make the lake untenable, and we'll be here until at least Tuesday. While here, we will have the local Honda dealer look at our outboard.

Louise bought this cute postcard at one of the shops, to send to a friend. The 1909 lighthouse is long gone.

Update: We are safely anchored in front of the Sodus Bay Yacht Club (map). It turns out we have reciprocity with the club, and will have dinner there. It will also be a convenient place to land the tender while we are here.

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Independence Day cruise

Happy Independence Day everyone. Today finds us underway southbound across a mirror-calm Lake Ontario. As I begin typing we are just coming up on the west coast of Galloo Island, and the Internet just faded out. We're bound for Oswego and I expect we'll get service back about a dozen miles out.

Vector at the dock in Cape Vincent at sunset. NYDEC research vessel Seth Green at left; sailboat tied to breakwater at right.

Sunday evening we tendered back into town for what we thought would be our final meal in Clayton, and we got a nice table on the patio at the Hops Spot restaurant in the historic Johnston House. We had just ordered a beer for Louise and a sample taste for myself (I'm picky about beer), and Louise was headed inside to wash up, when I heard a loud bang and looked up to see a shower of sparks from across the street.

A transformer on a power pole had blown, and the wires were actually on fire. I jumped up to call 911; people on the street were running for cover. Our excitement for the day, but, sadly, that transformer powered the cooking appliances in the restaurant, which promptly declared themselves done for the evening. Their cash registers were still working so they charged us for the beer (I have a Yelp review to cover that), so we finished it between the two of us before heading out in search of an alternative.

Passing the Tibbetts Point lighthouse this morning. The light station is now a hostel. This is really a point, on the mainland; distant land at right is Grenadier Island.

With several buildings without power on that block, we walked across town to the fancy 1000 Islands Harbor Hotel and ate on the patio in their Seaway Grille. It was a lovely river view and the food was good but it was close to double the price of the other joints in town.

In the morning we weighed anchor to head over to the pumpout dock. Well, we tried to weigh anchor, anyway, but what we actually weighed was the anchor, a mooring chain, and two large whitewall tires. The anchor at first appeared to be wedged on the bottom; after waiting for two little girls learning to sail on an Opti to get out from behind us, I went Astern Full, which probably pulled the chain and tires out from under a layer of silt. I assume one end of the chain was anchored to the bottom.

Jimmy Hoffa's whitewalls.

Louise dropped the anchor to the bottom and back three times trying to get it free; each time it came up hooked to a different part of the mess, including right inside one of the tires. Ultimately we threaded an old line through the loop of chain, secured it on deck, lowered the anchor until it was free, then let go the standing end of the line to drop the chain to the bottom. In all it took us about a half hour to get free.

The pumpout dock is on the other side of the peninsula, ironically right in front of the fancy hotel. There was water on the dock so we filled our tank as well, and I found recycling barrels where we rid ourselves of two weeks of accumulated recyclables. Soon we were off the dock and headed across the river to Grindstone Island, less than two miles away.

Vector in Aunt Janes Bay, as seen from a driveway on Grindstone Island.

I had honestly thought we were done with the Thousand Islands when we returned to Clayton, but the proprietor of the Ace Hardware had suggested this place, which  was not in our guide as having a public landing. We dropped the hook close to shore in Aunt Janes Bay (map), near the community of Upper Town Landing where there is, as you might expect, a landing. In this case it is a large ramp into the water for offloading vehicles and other cargo, with a pair of fingers pier on either side for small boats.

We tendered ashore at the landing and walked a half mile or so up Cross Island Road. The island is technically in the town of Clayton, who maintains the dirt roads and the ramp. A small parking area near the landing is full of islanders' cars, and maintenance trucks belonging to the town, the phone company, and the like. The only access to the island is by boat. It was really like stepping into another time.

Along the road at the end of a driveway we passed a discarded water heater, on top of which was a rock. When I looked at the rock I realized someone had painted a boat on it, complete with helm and ensign, but it was upside-down.

All we could do was walk along the roads and take it in. The old one-room schoolhouse and the lone business open to the public, a winery with limited hours, were both too far to walk. There are no stores, gas stations, restaurants, phone booths, or much of anything else on the island. A NY state park with paddlecraft access is at one corner of the island, and we gather that's how visitors to the winery normally arrive.

On our way back to the tender we spotted the Seaway Supplier headed for the landing, and we stopped to watch her land and unload. This 1954 US Army landing craft, one of two operating here in the islands, is how cars and trucks, including contractors, fuel deliveries, construction equipment, etc., are transported to any of the islands in the region. This article in Professional Mariner is an interesting write-up on the Seaway Supplier and her role in the area.

Seaway Supplier about to unload.

We watched as she disgorged a lone pickup truck, loaded with supplies, and its elderly driver, clearly a seasonal resident of the island. We spent a few minutes chatting with the crew. As we were shoving off from the dock, a Verizon bucket truck arrived to be loaded for the return trip. Seaway Supplier, née LCM-8010, was built just a short walk away from where we had Vector painted, in New Orleans.

Once in the Army, always in the Army. I snapped this shot for my in-laws the colonels.

We had planned to have a quiet dinner aboard in this lovely bay, but we were driven off the boat by the smell of natural fertilizer. There is still some agriculture on the island (including the vineyard), and I've been noticing dump trucks barging across from Clayton, so we suspect it was freshly spread. The smell permeated the boat and made it very unappealing to cook or eat aboard. We briefly considered weighing anchor and moving to another spot.

Instead we simply tendered the 1.6 miles back across to Clayton, passing Calumet Island close aboard. On a Monday night several places were closed, and we had a casual meal at the Channelside again. By the time we arrived back in Aunt Janes Bay, the wind had shifted and the smell was gone, so we had a blissfully odorless night.

Vector at the dock at Cape Vincent this morning.

Clayton launched their fireworks from Calumet Island last night, and that spot would have been perfect to catch it all. But we wanted to make the lake crossing today in this flat calm, and I wanted to make one last stop before leaving the river, at Cape Vincent near Tibbetts Point, so we weighed anchor yesterday morning to continue another dozen miles upriver. I am happy to report that this time we did not bring up Jimmy Hoffa's whitewalls.

When we passed Cape Vincent in the other direction we observed that most of the docks were underwater and even the breakwater was awash, so we left Grindstone early in case we needed to just press on back to Hendersons Bay. But the lake is down a few inches since then, and when we pulled in the breakwater was a foot proud of the surface. The breakwater here is actually a vertical concrete bulkhead with mooring bollards, and that was a docking option for us, necessitating a tender ride ashore.

The concrete docks at the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), which would be our first choice for docking, were just awash, so no way to fender from them. And the village dock was still a few inches underwater. But the DEC has floating docks with a large T-head, and finding no contrary signs, we slid in and tied up (map). Only after we were tied up and ashore did I find the posted rules, which restrict the T-head for fishing use (that would explain the railings). I talked to a few of the DEC guys and they said it was probably fine since it was the only game in town.

Park rules. Oops. These were inside the rest room and I'd not have seen them if I didn't use it.

While the docks were easily usable, the ramp ended under five inches of water on the bulkhead, and we needed our Wellies to get ashore. We carried our shoes, then left the boots under a picnic table in the little park. The DEC provides restrooms and showers here, and there is a nice gazebo which got some local use while we were here. I walked the whole town, stopping at the Wolfe Island Ferry landing, the museum, the visitor center, and hitting the grocery store to replenish the beer on my way back.

A little wet on the quay. Century-old mill on the right is now the DEC. Our private moat kept the dock free of fishermen.

Later we walked back into town for dinner at the 125-year-old Roxy Hotel. On the eve of Independence Day the place was packed, and while many locals here are seasonal, clearly we were the only interlopers in the joint. We guessed that many having dinner would head out to Clayton for the fireworks afterward. Dinner was excellent, although we were over-served and each brought half our meal home.

The front desk at the Roxy Hotel.

We returned to Vector to find a small cruising sailboat tied to the breakwater, her crew ashore in a dinghy. We'll try to get the word out that the town is open for cruisers if they can tie to the breakwater and dinghy to the floating docks. It really was a lovely stop, with a small-town feel but enough services to make it worthwhile.

I was able to see the Clayton fireworks from the flybridge. Even though they were a dozen miles away they were quite clear, and I only missed the really low ones. It was odd hearing them a full minute later. This morning we dropped lines a little before 9am; we had left our Wellies in the saloon in case we wanted to walk to breakfast, but we still felt a little full from dinner. We motored out of the harbor just as a giant cargo ship was boarding her pilot, and turned upriver for the lake.

Blanket Island, on yesterday's cruise. The trees are dead, but hundreds of birds have built nests here.

Tonight we'll be in Oswego. Not because we wanted a return visit, but because it made for a nice six-hour cruise across the lake, whereas the next closest spot, Fair Haven, would have been eight hours. We also need to drag our feet a little, because we want to be in Sodus Bay on Monday morning, to have the Honda dealer there take a look at our outboard, which is having idle problems.

The free dock we used in Oswego last time is past a low bridge, and it's not really worth the effort to put the mast down. Instead we will anchor in the harbor, and tender ashore if needed. Tomorrow we will continue west to Little Sodus Bay and Fair Haven.

Sunday, June 30, 2019

Thousand Island Wrap-up

We are back in Clayton, anchored in French Creek Bay, but much closer this time to the docks (map). We had a lovely cruise over the past week, slow-rolling to Chippewa Bay and back, and just taking in all of the natural beauty of the area.

Passing the Dutch freighter Fivelborg "on one whistle" in the Saint Lawrence Seaway.

Wednesday after lunch we went for a cruise in the tender, wending our way out of the Thousand Islands Yacht Club anchorage via channels too dicey for Vector. We circumnavigated Boldt Castle, which was mostly an exercise in dodging and weaving among at least a half-dozen giant tour boats from both sides of the river, vying for space on the dock to disgorge their passengers.

The Alster tower at Boldt Castle, aka "the playhouse."

We swung by the Boldt Yacht House on Wellesley Island immediately across from Heart Island and the castle; the Yacht House is a museum in its own right, displaying part of the collection from the Antique Boat Museum right here in Clayton, but is closed right now due to high water.

Boldt Castle powerhouse. The castle itself is hard to capture from the water.

We also wove our way around several nearby islands, including, I kid you not, Manhattan Island, as well as Harbor Island, Fairyland Island, Steamboat Island, Kipp, Ski, Maple, Hub, Belle, and Imperial Islands, and Pullman Island of rail car fame. We also ventured out into the river and circled Sunken Rock Lighthouse, whose rock is more sunken than usual.

The Boldt Yacht House across from the castle, partly submerged.

After a relaxing afternoon we had a nice dinner at the yacht club, where a key feature of the view from the patio was Vector herself. The dining room and bar are open to the public and we were able to reserve on OpenTable. We tied up at the lone guest dock that was not awash.

Sunken Rock Light. With extra sunken.

Finding no need to return to the tiny burg of Alexandria Bay, we decided two nights in this spot was plenty, and Thursday morning we weighed anchor to continue our downriver cruise to Chippewa Bay. Knowing we'd be coming upriver on the margins to stay out of the current, we went downriver in the main channel with a knot or so behind us. Just as we were turning into the channel the Nao Santa Maria, a replica of Columbus' flagship, passed us upriver; I was too busy at the helm to snap a photo. I'm pretty sure we also crossed paths with them somewhere in FL or GA earlier this year.

Vector as seen from the dining patio at the Thousand Islands Yacht Club.

Later in the cruise we passed another tall ship, the Picton Castle, which prompted me to do some searching online, and we learned that there is a tall ship display in Ontario right now followed by one in Buffalo this week, and we surmised both were en route. I learned much later that the Santa Maria was, in fact, already a week late for what was supposed to be a week-long stop in Rochester, owing principally to high current coming up the St. Lawrence. We'd have had the same issue ourselves had we gone much further downriver.

Sail Training Ship Picton Castle.

Before crossing paths with Picton Castle, we first crossed paths with the upbound freighter Fivelborg. Normally I would move well out of the channel for such a meet but, as luck would have it, we met just abreast of Ironsides, a granite cliff that marks the green side of the channel. I called them ten minutes out to arrange the pass; they came out on to the bridge wing and gave us a big wave as we passed them.

Singer Castle on Dark Island as seen from our anchorage. With a photo-bombing bird. A pleasure boat is at the dock.

In less than two hours we were passing Dark Island and Singer Castle to port, and we turned to starboard to circle behind Cedar Island to drop the hook (map). The St. Lawrence is a fjord, and river currents keep the bottom scoured down to rock throughout most of the river. Soundings range from 30' to 170' in the various channels. To find any silt or mud to hold an anchor, you have to look just downriver of the larger islands, or in the larger bays, where it accumulates.

This giant ball of clay was stuck in our anchor when we weighed at the yacht club. This is what holds us in an otherwise rocky river bottom. It took Louise a full 20 minutes with the washdown hose to rinse it off.

Tours of Singer Castle are on the hour, and we learned the 240-person tour boat was due at 2pm. So as soon as we had the anchor set we splashed the tender and zoomed over for the 1pm tour, which we shared with a dozen folks on a much smaller tour boat. Singer Castle is preserved much as it was when it was occupied by sewing-machine magnate Frederick Bourne and then his children. Century-old furnishings make for a shabby but historically interesting site.

The Singer Castle gift shop, in the old boathouse, is awash.

We returned to Vector by way of the State Park docks on Cedar Island. Much of the island is private homes, but there is a small park here with docks, a pavilion, and camp sites. It's $12 to dock here so we only did a touch-and-go to have a look. Everything else in Chippewa Bay is private.

Obligatory Singer Castle selfie.

I had originally figured to spend two nights here, but with no place else to land, we enjoyed just a single dark and quiet night at anchor, weighing anchor Friday morning. Downriver of this spot, the river narrows into just a single channel, and there's not much of interest from here to the Iroquois Locks, so we declared Cedar Island our turn-around point and began our trek back upriver.

The view of Cedar Island from our anchorage. We're very close. Pavilion at center is in the park.

We started by hugging the south shore, where we found virtually no adverse current all the way back up to Goose Bay, passing, this time, behind Ironsides. We threaded our way through the Excelsior Group and crossed the channel at nearly right angles over to the Summerland Group, continuing into Canadian waters and turning up the Canadian Middle Channel at Hill Island. Current in this channel is somewhat lower than in the American Narrows on the other side of the islands.

Sunset over Canada from Cedar Island.

In the Middle Channel we again passed under the Thousand Islands Bridge, the suspension span on the Canadian side being the spitting image of its twin on the American side. We faced a little under two knots passing under the bridge.

Thousand Island Bridge, Canadian edition. Hill Island at left and mainland at right.

Upriver of the bridge the river divides into numerous smaller channels separated by islands and rocky crags; some channels are shallow. We navigated into the largest, Fiddlers Elbow, where we encountered the worst current right at the entrance, about 2.5 kt. Fortunately it was short-lived; the swirling currents here at the confluence had me working hard steering by hand.

This retired lighthouse is mid-river on the American side, downriver of the bridge and narrows.

Emerging back into relatively open water past Myers Island, we angled south back into US waters and dropped the hook in a small cove at Wellesley Island State Park (map). There is a marina here, with a small store and restrooms but little else. Tying up would, again, be $12 and there was nothing we needed ashore. The vagaries of where the good silt accumulates had us anchored just a couple hundred yards from the campground, billed as the largest in the Thousand Islands, and we dined with the faint smell of wood smoke and the sounds of camping activity, shades of a former life.

Our view of campers, at anchor in Wellesley Island State Park.

We had the anchor set and were all settled in well in time for a conference call that we had scheduled with our financial planners in California. When the appointed time rolled around, however, we discovered that neither of us had any voice signal, and our lone Internet source was my T-Mobile phone which was roaming on a Canadian tower. Oh well; the planners understand our weird life and we'll reschedule the call. It is somewhat ironic that the only day in our entire Thousand Islands visit we had lousy connectivity is the day we had a call scheduled.

We've enjoyed being on deck when we can, but when the wind is calm, the bugs drive us indoors. Here the mast is covered in them, at the Cedar Island anchorage.

With nothing calling us ashore or to remain at the state park, we weighed anchor yesterday afternoon and returned here, threading our way between Wellesley and Grindstone Islands. This is really the only place in the region to replenish our groceries, get fuel for the tender, and maybe go ashore for dinner a couple of times. Knowing the bay a little better than our first visit, we opted to drop the hook a lot closer to town to minimize the choppy tender ride.

There was a cruise ship at the quay as we made our way back; amusingly the M/V Victory II is only slightly larger than the private yacht Bella Vita that was there on our last visit, yet carries twenty times the number of passengers (220 vs. 12). Thankfully it was gone by the time we came into town for dinner.

River cruise ship Victory II at the Clayton dock.

As we were maneuvering to anchor we noticed a number of classic sports cars littering the Boat Museum grounds. It turned out to be the annual Concours d'Elegance. We got a great view of all the cars through our binoculars without ever buying a ticket. A number of boats cruised slowly by the show, we assume for the same reason.

You know you are in small-town America when a local business sponsors flowers at the post office.

We splashed the tender and went ashore for a nice dinner at Di Prinzios along the river. It was gorgeous weather, and we had a pleasant stroll home by way of the hardware store. At least, the first few minutes were pleasant. Then the heavens opened, and we were lucky to make it under cover of what used to be a gas station canopy and is now a pizza joint. We stayed dry, and the first wave was all over in fifteen minutes, but we had left the windows open in the pilothouse and we had a bit of mopping up to do when we got home. Vector never moved, but we learned today that a Grand Banks across the harbor dragged anchor in the storm.

Sunset from Wellesley Island State Park. Island to the right is actually in Canada.

Today we had a surprise visit from good friends Curtis and Gill, completely out of the blue. I was sitting here working on travel plans when a text message came in from Curtis asking if we were enjoying Clayton. I know they generally don't follow the blog so I jumped up to scan the docks for them, figuring they must be in town and saw us in the harbor.

I was looking in the wrong place; they were visiting the Antique Boat Musem and decided to take one of the vintage speedboat cruises the museum offers. They spotted us as they left the docks. I tried to snap a pic of them as they returned but they were a bit too far for my phone camera. We arranged to meet them ashore for lunch, and we strolled over to the Wood Boat Brewery. They were swinging past on their way back from the looper rendezvous in Trent Port, and after lunch they dropped us at the grocery and sped off to Alexandria Bay for the night and to take in Boldt Castle before flying home out of Albany. It was great to see them, and especially to see them taking a rare day off for fun.

Curtis and Gill headed back to the museum aboard a vintage wooden speedboat.

The grocery was kind enough to bring us back to the dinghy dock after we were loaded up on provisions and even a couple of gallons of gas for the dinghy. We went right back into town and dinner time and walked over to the Channelside restaurant for a casual meal. No torrential downpour tonight, fortunately.

We'll likely be here another night, and we'll avail ourselves of the city pumpout dock on the other side of town. At some point we will continue our slow roll west, past Grindstone Island and possibly stopping in Cape Vincent, if anything there is far enough above water to get ashore. From there we may or may not make a return stop at Sackets Harbor, possibly to catch the fireworks, and then work our way towards Rochester.

Vector in Clayton harbor, as seen through a flooded marine business.