"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you
didn't do, than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away
from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails.

Explore. Dream. Discover."

-Mark Twain

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Pt. Breeze, NY / St. Catharine's & Welland Canal, Ontario

After leaving Rochester, we opted to travel about 30 miles to Pt. Breeze on Oak Orchard River.  The weather was calling for T'storms and there was a small craft warning issued for Lake Ontario, so we didn't go far. This was an interesting stop, with a few surprises.  The marina we stayed at had mostly fishing & charter boats.  Right off the bat Jim recognizes the fishing charter that he had been on a few times with his friends out of the Cleveland area.  About 10 minutes later there is another fishing boat  on the ramp going into the water, and it turns out to be Fr. Jenne, the priest that married us 32 years ago.  It was wonderful to see him again.  Then we get a call from our friends, Ed & Diane, who will be helping us on the Welland Canal.  A requirement of the canal is that a boat needs at least 3 people to transit the canal.  They were passing by Pt Breeze so they caught up with us there and spent the night before heading out to meet us in St. Catharines where our Welland Canal adventure would start.

St Catharines marina in St. Catharines @ Port Weller, is where we spent a few days before entering the canal.  Ed & Diane had a car, a real luxury when you travel by boat.  The four of us drove into Niagara on the Lake, a cute, quaint, small city, filled with gorgeous flowers, boutiques type shops, restaurants, and wineries.  This was our first visit to Niagara on the Lake, but Diane & Ed had been here many times.  So I guess we not only had  a chauffeur, but tour guides as well.  After the shopping, and exploring, there is only one thing left to do, visit the winery. We had a nice afternoon, and as we were leaving the winery, we bump into more friends.  Joe Box and his fiance Carol, they were there with another couple.  Incidentally, Joe was one of the guys that Jim went on the fishing charter with that I mentioned earlier. Diane & Ed knew Joe & Carol as well because in my real estate absence, Diane sold Joe's condo, as part of handling my business. 

The Welland Canal is primarily a commercial shipping canal.  It is 27 miles long and has 8 locks and 21 lift bridges.  All commercial traffic has priority over pleasure craft. We arrived at the canal at 8:30, tied up to the wall, and used the phone provided at the wall to call the lock master to request passage. They told us the wait would be about an hour and a half, we finally started our lock through at 12:30.  Once you start the Welland Canal, you must go all the way through, unless you are waiting on commercial traffic, then you have to wait outside the lock until you have the green light to move ahead.  We were on the Welland for 15 hours,  pulling into Sugar Loaf Marina in Port Colborne at 12:00 midnight.  It was a long day, with what we thought was needless waiting, since there was not any other traffic going our way except one large freighter. Trying to find a marina, and more specific, the assigned slip,  in the dark, is not an easy feat.  Jim did a great job of maneuvering around in the dark waters, where we temporarily tied up to an empty face dock.  Jim & Ed proceeded to walk around the marina to find " E-20", our assigned dock for the night. The security guard joined them, and finally we were tucked into a slip complete with electric and water. The day came to an end for us at 2:10 A.M.  Our friends, Diane and Ed left on Saturday morning to take a cab back up to St. Catharines to pick up their car, stopped back at the boat to get their belongings and were on their way back home.  I have said it before, what would we do without our family and friends.  We sure have some truly wonderful people in our life. Thanks again Diane & Ed for your help on the Welland.

We will spend a few days in Port Colborne, Ontario due to some forecasted storms over the next couple days.  At this point if we wanted we could be home in  2-3 travel days. Since we have never explored the east end of Lake Erie, we will take our time and see the other end of the lake. Crossing back to the States is a priority however, as soon as the weather permits, my cell phone bill will be outrageous if we don't get out soon. It is good to be in Lake Erie again and almost home. :)


Anonymous said...

Hi Mary & Jim, What an exciting time you have had bumping into friends on your travels. Really is a small world. Tell Diane she looks great; I haven't seen her since January. Am looking forward to seeing you again. Can hardly believe it has been a year of travels. Went to my granddaughter's birthday party--she is 10. I remember clearly the day she was born. What do you get when you have everything on your 10th birthday--why a brand new flute. She plays piano now and wants to play flute in 5th grade band. Won't take her long to pick it up I'm sure. Talk to you soon.
Hugs, Sheron

Anonymous said...

Hello Jim and Mary! How fun to bump into Father Jenne and friends! Married 32 years, WOW! Anyway, you could write a country song about your trials and tribulations in each port with family and friends! Throw in some beer, a bumpkin bar, and at least one fight and you'll have a country hit!
Well we wanted to extend birthday greetings to Jim. Here's to a very happy birthday without event, just smooth sailing!
We'll see you soon in Cleveland. Maybe you'll make it in time for the airshow!
Hugs and kisses!
Love Sue and crew....

Anonymous said...

LOVE, Junie