Happy Memorial Day!
Wardell told us he'd open his fuel pumps at 9 am this morning. That's late for us to get started but it at least gave us a chance to get the mail sail on. The Dutchman lines are sloppy but the wind picked up and we were happy they are secure in their pouches. We can adjust them at a later date when the winds are more favorable.
Chuck and I are both ready to get this show on the road. By 9 am, we were motoring south in the Tonawanda Channel toward the Black Rock Lock and Canal. Many of the day markers seem to be missing. I guess the Coasties haven't had time to place the less significant cans in the water yet. It feels really great to know that we are out of the Erie Canal. Don't get me wrong. I love the canal, but the fact we were stuck there for 9 days was frustrating to say the least...so close to home but yet so far away!! It's a gorgeous day but the winds are brisk with our side panels up. So, down they come.
Before we know it we are the only boat locking through the Black Rock Lock. Once the water has risen to the proper level, the south gates open and the swing bridge just on the other side, is opening also. Perfect! One more lift bridge and we will be finished with locks and lifts!! The Ferry Street Bascule bridge is about 1 mile away. In the fall, we both remembered that this is the bridge tender who wouldn't respond to our calls. When we approached the bridge, the tender was ready for us but so was the sculling regatta...not again! One boat of officials came over with their bull horn, again, and shouted to us to move to the side for their race...yeah right. The bridge is being raised for us and cars are waiting for us to pass through so the bridge can be lowered. When we motored under the bridge, 6 parallel sculling boats with 6 teenage girls in each, were just sitting there looking at us and probably thinking, oh shit!! They were waiting for the start of the race. We were waiting for the start of the race. Someone needs to do something!! The winds are blowing 15-20 kts and it's not easy to hover in place under the lift bridge. One of the adults wanted us to follow the racing boats...as I said before, yeah right. Finally, the officials scratched the start so the scull boats could move our of our way. We passed through the bridge and made it to the end of the canal where all the spectators were camped out on the hill at the finish line. Here we come! I so wanted to get on the bow of the boat, raise my arms in the air, and shout that we won the race!! For some reason, I didn't think that would be a crowd pleaser. LOL I still can't understand how these rowing clubs can shut down a state or federal waterway for their exhibitions.
Once out of the Black Rock Canal and into the Inner Harbor of Buffalo, we weren't sure if we could continue or have to stay at the RCR Marina. Our plans were to popped out into the lake and check the water conditions. It looks great with less than 1 foot waves. Our first 10 miles motoring to Dunkirk Yacht Club, still in NY, were perfect. Then all of a sudden we had 5-6 footers on our nose. They came out of no where! Welcome to Lake Erie! We took a beating for the rest of the afternoon, just pounding into the waves. It took us forever to go 30 miles and we pulled into Dunkirk Yacht Club at 6:30. What a long, tiring, day. Of course I couldn't get hold of anyone from the club after many attempts on the cell as well as the VHF radio. We just decided we'd find a dock, tie up, and talk to a member in the morning. As we were approaching the same dock that we stayed at in the fall, Pat from the club walked out to catch our lines. It felt so good to get off the boat and stretch our legs!!
This club is so friendly to transient boaters. They made us feel so welcome both in the fall and now. Yacht club members get their first night free and then it's $1 per foot for any other nights.