The final blog…

…from the USA for awhile.

Yes friends we have made it to Oswego and the northern border to the USA. To be precise the border is somewhere out in the middle of Lake Ontario but as far as US land goes we have just about run out.

Let us backtrack just a bit to the disaster that was the morning of July 4th. I had hoped to make short work of changing the generator oil and filter plus the primary and secondary fuel filters for this piece of machinery. The primary fuel filter was essentially a piece of cake if you forget the inconvenient location, but certainly no real problem. Next the secondary filter on the genset itself was supposed to be a breeze. Just a tiny little screw off canister about the size of a tall shot glass with a small paper filter inside. Shut off the fuel, unscrew, pull old filter off and slip new one on and screw canister back in place. Simple.

The directions said to have a small pan to catch any leakage but it should not be more than a couple of ounces at most. The removal was easy and some fuel was leaking into the half gallon pan I had in place. But it just kept coming and from where was a mystery because I had shut off the fuel at the primary filter. But this was a steady stream and would not stop. It overflowed the pan and began to run everywhere filling the lazarette floor. So glad it was not gasoline or we would have been in danger of an explosion and I could not have worked in there with gas fumes. As it was it was no pleasure. Finally realizing I could not stop it, I just installed a new filter while it was running out and of course my arms were covered in diesel.

Once the new filter was on and the cover screwed down, the flow was stopped but now the real trouble began. If the bilge pumps came on and pumped that raw fuel overboard the EPA would be called and I would be charged with a hazardous spill and have to pay all costs of cleanup. Shades of BP and Exxon Valdez! So what to do?

I shut off breakers to pumps so it was trapped inside. Then I took a bottle of Dawn dishwashing detergent and liberally squished it throughout. You see an old boaters trick when fuel is spilled is to spray with a solution of Dawn and water. It breaks up the molecules and dissipates the diesel. This is frowned on by environmentalists because it does not get rid of fuel but rather causes it to bond with other molecules and sink to to the bottom but it works.

I then got a hose and ran water in the bilge to create suds. Let it sit a bit and then hand mopped it into containers. It was soaked up with ShamWow just like the coke spill in the commercial. This took forever to do and put me into many tight spaces. I cut my hands and arms and bled like a headless chicken with diesel burning my wounds. Such cursing should not be heard. But ultimately with Jan’s help it was done and the bilge had been scrubbed clean.

The combination of fuel and water was carried to the marina fuel dump and none got into the water. Lucky for us.

Next I changed the oil and tested the genset. I felt like I had been beaten by baseball bats and today I have the bruises to prove it. I pray I never see another day like that.

In the afternoon we took the courtesy car and went to the laundromat and West Marine and Walmart and Home Depot and Lowes and Radio Shack and I lost track.

Many other tiny projects were tidied up and we were ready to leave on the fifth.

The radar is fully operational. I have an extra foot of 3/16 inch key stock more valuable than gold. Remember when I bought a foot of it at the R E Mayo Seafood Company on Goose Creek for $2? Well here they charged $3.50 per inch!!!!! So $35.00 for 10 measly inches. It was robbery but the only game in town. At least we have it.

At 0715 Cbay slipped her lines and headed onward toward Oswego. It was a gorgeous day and a lovely ride up the Oswego Canal.

Grinding a stump beside the lock. 

Family outing to watch the boats come out of the lock.

This cruiser was moving too fast and I was too slow on the draw to get a good picture, but for you dirty old men out there if you can zoom in on the bow you will see what the attraction was. 

A wrong turn here and its over the falls. We chose the lock.

Eight locks and 34 miles later we were in Oswego preparing to enter the marina. There was wind and current to contend with and we had to back into a slip next to another boat. Jan said there was no room but the marina said there was. They were technically right but we all should have listened to her. The following three pictures show first what the approach looked like. There is exactly 30 feet between piers. The Mainship parked there is 14 feet wide and has a foot of fenders between it and the pier. We are 13’10” at the beam. Can you do the math? Well you don’t have to because the next two pictures taken within seconds of each other show the actual fit. It is unbelievable she did it and nothing was damaged. The old wedge theory at work. Everybody in this marina was talking about it. Once the marina realized what they had done they gave us a new slip all to ourselves with plenty of room right next to all the amenities. It took a pound of butter and two jars of Vaseline to get Cbay back out of there.

Today a schooner got stuck bad in the river outside the marina. A classic mistake. They went on the wrong side of a red buoy and found a rock. It took Towboat US until after dark to get them loose. Two divers were down assessing the hull damage. The boat was carrying students who go to summer camp aboard and learn to sail. They are still tied up at our marina because the USCG will not clear them to leave with those kids on board.

There was a farmers’ market downtown here and we went for fresh veggies. I went for a sno cone, lime. Later Bill and Pam went with us to eat Mexican so we can remember what USA food tastes like. Yes you read that right. Think about it.

Oh and I failed to mention that I had to ride my bike to find a Radio Shack and buy an SD card and Card Reader in order to download Canadian maps for the Garmin chartplotter. Almost went to Canada with no electronic charts. We had paper but found out yesterday the software that came with it did not include our northern neighbors. What a day. What a two days.

Now remember, if all works out we will sleep on foreign soil, under the boat tomorrow night and blogs will be sporadic. Oh, and please DO NOT CALL us as it will cost us 69 cents a minute to talk to you. We can receive text however at no cost so the Texting Queen is happy about that. Stay tuned. 80 miles of open water tomorrow on the Great Lake Ontario.

7/6/12- A change of plans necessitates an additional entry here. We have had to wait on a prescription to arrive so that my heart does not explode in the middle of Lake Ontario. It finally arrived around noon and we have elected based on our physical condition and weather to wait and leave fresh tomorrow. We did not waste time however and thoroughly washed the boat using our last package of Invisible Kool-Aid and scrubbed the fenders which had been trashed against the lock walls. Cannot enter a foreign country representing GUNTERSVILLE, AL and look sloppy.

The good news is that you get to read this blog because beginning at the stroke of midnight tonight my WIFI card will be suspended and I will be dependent on public access. Also we have met and picked up a traveling partner to cross this lake. Dave, who is single handing aboard his trawler “Saltie with lime”, will leave with us at 0500 in the morning. That should put us checking in with Canadian Customs by mid afternoon if all goes well. By the way, Saltie is pictured above. It is the boat Jan squeezed in next to so we are close acquaintances. So please throw up a prayer for Cbay and crew as we venture once again out of sight of all land for a number of hours. High seas adventure or in this case high lake adventure. We are excited. It will be like waiting for Christmas morning to get here.