September 4, 2001
The Great Lakes are now behind us. No, that is not a good thing - - not only does it mean we are definitely on our way home, but we have had such good weather (overall) and have had such a wonderful time on Lake Ontario, Lake Huron, and Lake Erie. We would highly recommended cruising the lakes to everyone.
After Erie, we left for Dunkirk, NY (Sunday). It was another perfect day for cruising. We got inside the breakwall and anchored - - we were especially excited to see that the harbor was a no wake zone (which meant very little rocking and rolling during the day). We were just starting to put the dinghy down when a gentleman in a Whaler came out to the boat and (much to our surprise) invited us to stay in his slip at the Dunkirk Yacht Club. Apparently, he also has a trawler (which he had just taken to Annapolis - - he and his wife are on their way to Florida), saw us anchor, and was kind enough to ask us in. Even better, the slip was right in between two other trawlers - - and all three of them are MTOA members! Eddie & Joan, Don & Judy, and Joe & Janet, we had a wonderful time at the Italian dinner and enjoyed talking with you. I'm sure we'll see you again at a MTOA rendezvous at some point.
From Dunkirk, we took off for Buffalo (Monday). Although the seas were 2 - 3 feet, they were following seas and we got to Buffalo in good time. We intended to stay in Buffalo but found that there is not much of a waterfront there ... at least not yet. So we continued up the Black Rock Canal towards Tonawanda, our destination being a MTOA recommended marina (Mid-River Marina). There, we were greeted by Mike and Loretta ("Dragon Keep"), also MTOA members. Again, we thoroughly enjoyed talking with them and exchanging ideas for future cruises (for both them and us).
(Just a side note: We were very surprised over the Federal Lock on the Black Rock Canal. Not only were the lines in bad shape (in fact, many of them missing), but it was incredably slow and with no assistance or guidance available from the lock staff for the boaters (some of them apparently first time "lock runners".) This was probably the worst lock we have been through on the entire trip - - and it was a Federal lock!)
This morning, we went a whole 6 miles to the actual town of Tonawanda. We are now moored on the town wall. It is good to be back on the canals again. We will do our first Erie Canal lock in the next day or so. We are even considering taking the bus to Niagara Falls tomorrow!
We intend to take 2 weeks or so to run the Erie Canal and then start heading down the Hudson River. As a follow up to our excitement over the fiberglass fish in Erie, if you are interested, check out Erie's web site and take a look at these fish (http://gofisherie.com/fish_pictures.html). There are 75+ of them and on 12 October, the city is auctioning off 35 of them. The proceeds will go to the Gannon University Scholarship program and to other art organizations in the city.
That's all we have for now. Hope you all had a good Labor Day.
Jeri and Brian