EndeavourCat 36, "Shell y T"

August  2005 

Before I begin telling you about our journey since our arrival back at the boat June 11th, I must tell you all that you should visit Ottawa, the capitol of Canada, and boat, ride, walk, bike, drive or crawl  the Rideau (Re' doe) Canal system.  Simply awesome, and we have over 100 miles yet to go.  But I digress...

We arrived at the boat in Meaford on June 11th, where it had been stored on the hard since October of 2004.  After a few headaches, we got the boat back in the water the morning of June 17th.  Tim arrived back at the boat in the company of  friend Dave and Dave's brother Ross that evening, Tim from dropping the car off in Whitehall, MI, and flying into Toronto, and  Dave and Ross from picking him up at the Toronto airport.  Ross, who lives in Toronto, kindly offered to drive them both back to the boat.

Ross visited for the weekend, and on June 20th, Tim, Dave and I went back across the Georgian Bay and down the Trent-Severn waterway.  At Peterborough, Dave rented a car and picked friend Koral up at the Buffalo, NY airport and they both continued to cruise with us for the next 2 weeks.  We spent Canada Day (July 1st), in Cobourg, Ont., Canada hanging on the marina wall and were part of the Canada Day entertainment.  The marina wall is also part of the waterfront promenade and was just steps away from the carnival that ran the entire weekend.  We spent 3 days there and headed west to the town of Whitby's municipal marina.  Dave's brother Ross and wife Wendy picked us up at the marina and we had a delightful dinner at a great French restaurant that Ross had scouted out prior to our arrival.  The husband and wife owners cooked and waitressed and we had a wonderful evening.

The next day we crossed Lake Ontario and spent the night at St. Catharine's, planning on transiting the Welland Canal from Lake Ontario to Lake Erie and back into the States on the 4th of July.  The Welland canal system  requires 3 crew members aboard any upbound boat  and we soon understood why.  The locks are huge, normally putting  gigantic cargo ships and tankers through their 800 ft. locks.  The turbulence from the water being pumped into the locks to raise us up was massive and all hands were needed on deck to hold the lines and keep the boat from bashing against the walls. On the up side, the normal transit time runs between 8 and 12 hours.  We made it in 5.  There were no other boats in the system and every huge lock was raised and lowered just for us.  Quite an experience.

We turned left as we came out of the canal onto Lake Erie and headed for a marina in  Buffalo, N.Y.  That evening we took a cab to the Anchor Bar about 5 miles from the marina and had, you got it, buffalo wings and beer for our 4th of July celebration dinner.  This was the spot where they had originated.   Something rather patriotic about that and we enjoyed our evening thoroughly.

As Dave and Koral were flying out of Buffalo on the 6th, they rented a car on the 5th and we all drove back into Canada to Niagara Falls for the day.  Truly an awesome sight, and from there, did some wine tasting in the Niagara-on-the-Falls countryside.  Didn't find any wines to compare with Napa, or even Temecula for that matter, but it was fun trying.

Dave and Koral left for the airport  the next morning at 5:30 and Tim and I headed up the Niagara River for Tonowanda, where we entered the western portion of the Erie Canal.  Our travels took us into Seneca Falls, the birthplace of the women's rights movement.  It is just off the Erie Canal on the Seneca/Cayuga Canal.  We spent two days tied up on their town wall and got a lot of bike riding in.  They have a  wonderful downtown area, interesting museums and a really nice historical society facility.

At Brewerton, we left the Shell y T at Ess-Kay marina for a few days while we had some work done on the props.  We rented a car to pick friend Sue up at the Syracuse airport  to cruise with us for 2 weeks, and then drove into the Adirondacks for 2 days to spend time at Sue's sister and brother-in-law's place on Lake Ozonia.  The summer cottages there are called "camps" and this one has been in Warren's family for many years. These good ol' southern Californians had never experienced this kind of life before and we had an awesome time.  Warren, and Sue's sister, B.J. introduced us to "toodling".  This involves touring their lake in a small power boat set at a low speed just before sunset, copious amounts of munchies, a couple bottles of wine, and at least 6 or 8 people, whatever the boat can hold.  That seemed to be right up our alley.

Sunday afternoon, after arriving back at the marina, we hooked up with our friends Mark, Nicole, Rebecca, Jessica and Xavier Wallis.  Some of you old timers will remember Tim' s old partner, Rick Wallis.  This is his son and family.  We had a wonderful visit and went into Syracuse to the Dinosaur Bar for some tasty BBQ.  The Dinosaur Bar is a cross between a biker bar and a yuppie hangout.  Two thumbs up from the crew of the Shell y T.  (Roger, Ralph and Cois, you'd love it).

The next morning we left Ess-Kay Marina on the Erie Canal, turned right at Three Rivers, which put us onto the Oswego Canal heading back towards Lake Ontario.  We stayed on a city dock in Minetto one night, and then hung on the wall in Oswego for a few days waiting for the winds to die down on the lake.  We enjoyed exploring that wonderful old city again and met some other delightful boaters who were also at the mercy of the weather.  Sue's father had lived here many years ago and we met the director of tourism who may have known him those many years ago.  It really is a small world.

As we left the Oswego Canal system, we turned right onto Lake Ontario and headed for Sackets Harbor, N.Y.  Beautiful little marina and picture postcard town.  Cleaned boat, did laundry, found the bakery...you know, the important things.  The next day included a stop in Cape Vincent for diesel, checking into customs at Wolfe Island, Canada, and heading for the Thousand Islands region on the St. Lawrence River.

In the Parks Canada system, there are quite a few small islands with dockage facilities.  As it was approaching the weekend, they were all full, so we just anchored off of a small island and that's where we spent the next 3 days.  We dinghied into Gananoque (gano knock' way) to do touristy stuff, floated in the water off the back of the boat, and just vegged. While there, we met up with John and Bobbi Hanna, who are also the proud owners of an Endeavour 36  Power Catamaran.  As they had come off of the Rideau system, they were good brains to pick.

We stayed at our lovely little anchorage an extra day just so we could attend Sunday services at Half Moon Bay.  It is a beautiful little cove with huge granite cliffs and you dinghy in, tie off to the rock wall or any of a multitude of boats also there for the services.  They've erected a small pulpit on shore, and two ladies in a canoe greet you as you enter the cove with hymnals and info about the history of Half Moon Bay.   Each week they have a pastor from some walk of life to deliver the sermon. Ours was a pastor from the Pittsburgh Correctional system.  Kind of apropos, don't you think?

From there, we continued up the St. Lawrence River and stopped at a Parks Canada dock on Grenadier Island.  Pierre and Joann aboard La Bernine, caught our lines.  They're a lovely French Canadian couple from Montreal and we enjoyed visiting with them. 

The next day we headed into Brockville marina.  We knew we were not going to make it into Montreal to get Sue off at the Dorval airport, so Brockville and a rental car seemed like a good idea.  Once again, Pierre and Joann caught our lines.  Brockville was a lovely community with everything within easy walking distance of the marina.  

Sue's last 2 days with us were chilly and wet.  Luckily, her departure day dawned bright and clear.  And I mean dawned.  We had to be up awfully early to make it to the airport in Dorval.  We all decided we really prefer sunsets.

The morning after dropping Sue off at the airport  we were heading into the St. Lawrence Seaway lock system.  Rumors had it as a very attitudinal lock system as all but two are manned by French Canadians.  At the first lock, our wait was 2 hours as there were many large container ships and tankers in the system.  The Canadians that we had to raft to in the lock had been that way many times and said the norm was to just open the gates and let everyone go through as the waters were level from one end to the next.  Didn't happen.  Made everyone raft off and there had to be almost 30 boats.  Oh well, new experience. 

Didn't get as far as we had hoped so stayed at Crysler Park Marina for the night.  Kind of like Dirty Dancing resort on the water.  Had planned on leaving the next day, but Upper Canada Village was within biking distance.  Canada's answer to our Williamsburg.  Spent the day there and had a wonderful time.  That evening at the marina, we met a delightful French Canadian family from the Montreal area and their big, black Newfoundland dog, Benjamin.  We were to meet up with them again at our next 2 locks the following day.  We were the largest boat so we were on the wall of the lock and 4 other boats were rafted to us.  Son Eric came aboard at the first lock to help keep us off the wall and rode with us to the next lock as he has always wanted to see how the ride was on a catamaran.  We all then spent the night at Cornwall marina and had a lovely visit. 

The next day saw us through the Upper and Lower Berharnois (Ber-ar-no') locks and then into St. Anne DeBellvue.  We had decided to stay on the town wall and take the train into Montreal instead of going into a marina in Montreal.  Glad we did.  St. Ann DeBellvue was a delightful little town and after spending a day in Montreal, that was enough.  Spent 2 nights at St. Anne and then into the lock and onto the Ottawa River.  Spent one night at a marina in Montebello where we experienced a huge thunderstorm, and then headed for Ottawa.  Just before the flight of 8 locks that takes you from the Ottawa River onto the Rideau Canal, we were hailed by Norm and Peggy aboard C Haven.  We had met them in Peterborough and were headed in the same direction, just had different time frames.  They were at a marina we were passing and so we rafted up to them and visited for a while.  They were heading up the flight of 8 the next day so we planned on hooking up in Ottawa.

The flight of 8 is just that.  Eight locks in a stair step formation that must be transited all at one time.  It took us about 2 hours and then we  tied up on the lock wall on the Rideau Canal smack dab in the middle of Ottawa.   Norm and Peggy arrived the next day and tied up by us and we enjoyed each other's company as we explored Ottawa.  We spent 5 days in Ottawa  and enjoyed every minute.  We left there the morning of August 10th and are now tied up at the Black Rapids lock wall.  A huge thunder and lightening storm just blew through and cooled us off nicely.  It has been in the 80's to 90's and kind of muggy.  Our next stop will be the Long Island lock wall just a few miles farther down the canal.  There is going to be an antique boat show at the lock this weekend and we'll meet up with Norm and Peggy there.  We plan on spending a few weeks on the Rideau.  It's a fabulous place to be.

Tim and Michelle aboard the Shell y T