Tuesday, 14 August 2007
Today is Sunday the 12th of August it has been 5 weeks since we left Racine WI for the first sail of our trip. Since then we have traveled three Great Lakes: Michigan, Huron, and now Erie as well as the St Claire river, the Detroit river and Lake St Claire. Many of the Great Lake towns we visited are facing much the same fate as many BC industrial towns. With businesses and factories closing, unemployment rises, and the effects are felt through the whole community. Although the Marinas and yacht clubs we have stayed at have all been very friendly clean facilities, many of the people, especially in the smaller centers talk of lay offs and no jobs. Walking or getting rides into these communities often shows closed businesses and boarded up buildings. Now we sit at the Buffalo Yacht Club, at the head of the Niagara River near Tonawanda, the start of the Erie Canal. This starts another chapter in our voyage. This week we must remove the mast from the boat and lash it to the deck so we can fit under all the bridges in the canal. The New York State Canal System is the rebirth of a transportation canal first opened in 1825. It Joined Albany, on the Hudson river to Lake Erie giving New York City access to goods from far inland. This soon made NYC the busiest port in the USA. The canal connects to Oswego on Lake Ontario, and to Lake Champlain and the St Laurence near Montreal. Today the canals are mostly tourist destinations. With recognition from local and federal government the canal systems are being expanded to include “greenway” trails paralleling the canal, parks and many shore side facilities. Many towns offer free tie-ups and facilities to encourage boaters to visit. We are really looking forward to the more urban, marine orientated, canal. The boaters we have met on Lake Erie have all raved about the canal, many of them making it the focus of their summer cruise. Bob, Carolyn, and Sara are flying into Buffalo on Friday to join us on the canal from Buffalo to Syracuse. The family is all doing very well. One problem with Tia though, at the Erie Yacht Club the geriatric wonder dog tried to jump from the cockpit to the dock instead of walking to the gate in the lifelines. She hit the lifelines and fell in the water. Gary ended up jumping into the lake with her and it was only a few minutes until we had her on the transom. An exciting way to start the day. This should be a busy week getting the boat ready for the canal as well as (cleaning up all our stuff) for guests.