At 7:00 a.m. on Sunday, June 19th, we departed Middleport. Two lift bridges and two locks and 25.6 miles later, we arrived in Tonawanda, the end of the Erie Canal. The harbor was packed with partying power boats, but they all left by the evening.
At 7:15 Monday morning we moved the boat to Wardell's Marina, just past the last low bridge on the canal. We waited until 10:30 for a French Canadian boat to unstep their mast, then we went to work. Four hours later Passage's mast was up and tuned, and the sails were on, and we were fully rigged. We then motored up the Niagara River, mostly making only 3.5 knots over the bottom. We spent the night at Erie Yacht Basin.
Tuesday the 21st we left the dock at 5:30 a.m. Our goal was to voyage all the way to Grand River, Ohio, our home port. We enjoyed flat seas and a light easterly wind. The forecast called for thunderstorms, so we checked the computer weather radar site every two hours. Finally, storms appeared at the Ohio-Kentucky border moving northeast. We realized we couldn't reach home, so we stopped at Ashtabula Yacht Club, arriving at 9:05 p.m. We tied up the boat, took showers and settled in for the night when the storms arrived at 11:00 p.m. As we watched lightning strike all around us and the rain come down in sheets, we were thankful to be safely tied to a dock.
On Wednesday the 22nd of June we caught the 7:30 lift bridge opening and headed for home. We were able to sail for an hour, but the wind switched to the southwest. We motored the rest of the way home, arriving at 12:45 p.m. We were home at last. We now are looking forward to sailing "Passage" on Lake Erie for the summer.
Our trip from the keys took 45 travel days and totalled 2059.8 nautical miles. Because most of the voyage took place on the ICW and Erie Canal, we motored most of the time, burning $1263.79 in diesel fuel. This is four times more than our first trip in 1999, when we spent only 336 dollars on fuel, even though that cruise included running out to Key West and up the west coast of Florida to Fort Myers Beach.
Sue and I will be posting less often through the summer. We want to thank everyone who followed our blog and responded to it with emails or comments. We hope you all have a great summer.