2018- St Augustine – Vero Beach

With a little patience and a lot of luck we were rewarded with perhaps the most benign offshore passage we have ever had. We headed out of Beaufort, SC down the Beaufort River and the historic Port Royal Sound.

Just down river from Beaufort is Marine Corp Recruit Depot Parris Island. Can only imagine the solders that have passed through these historic lands..

Beyond Parris Island we quickly entered the Port Royal Sound and headed for the Atlantic. We had a outgoing current and winds from the east which made for a choppy departure. We quickly found the autopilot was not holding course made the decision to press on in-spite of having to hand steer all night. Now you might laugh but its really tough to stay on course. Next time you are driving close your eyes and see how long you go straight…on second thought don’t do that. When there is no visual reference on the horizon all you can do is pick out star and steer towards that…yup we were reduced to steering by the stars! The below is out actual GPS track so you can see we did pretty good.

Setting Sun 30 miles off the coast of Georgia

We were so grateful to have a benign passage having to hand steer. It still made for a long night but we arrived the inlet at St Augustine shortly after dawn. Some one commented on how rough the water looked in this picture, trust me this is as good as it gets!!!

The St Augustine Light has been light the inlet entrance for nearly 150 years and as you can see she was still lit..probably JUST for Magnolias arrival :-)!

We quickly retrieved a mooring ball just north of the Bridge of Lions which is central to the his historic district. I snapped the below during a middle of the night walk around (I usually wake up atleast once take a walk around to make sure all is it should be). You can see our dinghy Blossom moored off Magnolias stern

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Downtown St Augustine

After a good nights sleep we went to visit my great uncle Wayne and Carmen. Wayne is my grandfathers youngest brother. He recently turned 100 and is very focused on the fact that his brother made it to 101 and 7 months. Them Laibe boys are very competitive! Sadly our gabbing resulted in no pictures except during our departure!

Carmen showing off her decorations!

Mooring field St Augustine North

We picked the wettest day of our visit to me Wayne, Carmen and cousins Pam, Larry as well as Barbara & JY. Annette and I arrived ahead of a passing shower so we celebrated are dry victory waiting for the rest of the crew to arrive. Again, more gabbing than pictures!

From St Augustine we made an overnight stop in Daytona before arriving Titusville.

As luck would have it we passed through the cut from Mosquito Lagoon into the Indian River just as Space-X launched a resupply mission to the International Space Station.

Falcon Launch
Booster coming back we later learned landed in ocean

You can say what you want about this area of Florida but they have the nicest lit bridges in any area we cruise. This was the bridge at Titusville.

The next morning we were greeted with a beautiful sunrise with a view of the Vehicle Assembly Building 

We next made a 2 day stop in Cocoa Village FL to visit with our mentors and friends Greg & Marie from SV Second Sally. If you are long time readers you know these two are responsible for much of what we have learned. Greg and Marie are REAL sailors so we try and catch up whenever we find ourselves in the same longitude! Gabbing no pictures…I have to do better

Now hardly a day goes by that we don’t see several dolphin. These guys though swam in out bow wave for seemed like an hour. Not who was having more fun, us or them!

We anchored just above Vero Beach and had a quiet evening enjoying the locals taking are of business!

I will work harder on the pictures…I write this blog for the old “me.” Someday when we are old gray I am going to edit all thee bad grammar and organize this better. The more we do what we do, the more normal what we do feels. The one thing that continues to grow is our appreciation for the opportunity we have taken advantage of. So many people have helped us along the way and so many friends we have made is what makes this so special. I also need to make a special shout-out to friends and followers from Shennecossett Yacht Club. We thank you and and look forward to connecting again!

2018-11-28 Beaufort, SC

After departing Southport, NC we put an extra scoop of coal in the boiler. Temperatures had been dropping and it was time to really get moving! Its is about 250 miles from Southport, NC to Beaufort, SC. We did not set any records but only took one lay day to celebrate Thanksgiving but more on that in a minute.

We attended Hank Pomeranz Nightly ICW navigation and offshore weather briefs at Southport Marina…well actually we did twice, we are slow learners. When it come to good anchoring reviews we still fall back to an old favorite, Mark and Diana Doyles Book. I think this is out of print but if you find one, keep it and use it!

This is my favorite dock cabana…meant to simulate a Sport Fisher stern!

We had favorable current all day and made it down into the the Wacamaw River. We believe this area to be one of the most beautiful waterways anywhere we have been. Always a pleasure and if it was not so darn cool we would have spent more than one night in the region.

The is the ICW just above Osprey Marina in the Wacamaw, note where the water level was during the recent hurricane flooding. That is ATLEAST 6 feet above the current level. I suspect I am understating that. Amazing! Osprey is known for their hospitality and very competitive fuel prices. We topped up and that should carry us through the winter and probably back to South Carolina! Our girl only drinks about 2 gallons an hour!

We departed early from Osprey Marina because it was the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, the heaviest travel day of the year….well except on the ICW. I think the only other boat we saw was the Coast Guard Boat near Georgetown, SC who wanted to conduct a safety inspection. They were great though I am still battling the coast in regards to attempting to walk on my varnished sole with combat boots….its a work in progress (Byran Peters!!)

Our plan of anchoring and celebrating Thanksgiving in the Low Country of South Carolina came right together. We Anchored in the South Sanatee River and were rewarded with truly exceptional beauty.

This landscape is just to peaceful and beautiful. These lands protect the mainland from extreme hurricane flooding and you can just sense that quiet strength. Just beautiful. 

In addition to an 8 pound turkey, the Admiral actually measured oven and bird before purchase, we had all the sides and a homemade pumpkin pie.

Thanksgiving sunset…life is good.

This is the week of the  “King Tides” and as you can see it gave the channel marks a challenge to keep their heads above water. 

The extra water sure helped us make it through some often challenging shoal locations.  Being in the protected Low Lands can lead you to become a little??? when it comes to current weather conditions.

As soon as we entered Charleston Harbor we were reminded why we need to pay attention more. Magnolia is an extremely heavy vessel so not really an issue…but when its blowing 20-25 knts in an open harbor you are quickly reminded!

In spite of the weather Charleston never fails to disappoint in regards to its beauty  and history.

I suspect this waterfront has changed little in the last 100 years!

Just beautiful and the view from the water sure adds a little to the bigger picture.

Evidently this boat had a bad day. As bad as it is that this boat sank…history tells us it will remain right there until it rocks, falls apart or enough anchors get hung up that it gets destroyed slowly….just terrible

We quickly passed through Charleston and few miles further south to Johns Island. We were rewarded with a fine oxbow anchorage protected and well off the main ICW.

Our departure timing (poor) resulted an a wet and cold Captain. In-spite of the weather, I sure prefer to dealing with this than rush-hour traffic!!!!

We are taking a break at Beaufort, SC to visit with friends Jerry & Winnie from the Pentagon Sailing Club. The currents are quite swift in the area so we anchored just north of town so that we could have an easy apprach to Lady’s Island Marina. 

We had a great visit with Jerry & Winnie (i know, no pictures)! Ladys Island is an easy place to be, so easy its more like the hotel California. I was talking to a lady in the laundry room about getting their boat ready….that has been going on for 3 years!!! OMG. Me I am just going to enjoy a bottle of wine that appears to have been made just for ME!!!!

While I am budy drinking wine, the Admiral is off being productive…she finished sewing the weather curtains and for extra credit made a storage bag for the pilothouse sunscreens.

Tomorrow morning we set off for St Augustine, FL. We will depart in the morning and head out of Port Royal Sound and overnight along the GA coast arriving in St Augustine mid-day Friday. Weather conditions look exceptional so should be a good passage.

2018-11-21 Southport, NC

As usual I am running behind on this blog but…”the blog will go on!” We have had such a wonderful trip south and we are currently only to north South Carolina but more on that next entry! After our visit to Hampton VA we headed south on the Elizabeth River. Passing Naval Station Norfolk it seemed liked yesterday and a lifetime ago since I served on one of these great gray ladies!

The massive aircraft carrier

and yes trade with China seems to be continuing.

USS Hue City spending a a little time at the “ship spa.”

Magnolia sharing space in the a number of boats and one full size barge and tug

We progressed along the Inter-coastal Waterway (ICW) into NC dropping anchor just above Abermarle Sound.

Enjoying sunsets like these are one reason we do this.

A Morgan 44 sailboat just like we used to have.

A real classic beauty. 

I did not get any pictures because we were to busy gabbing but we had a wonderful visit to Campbell Creek. Sadly Mike & Kathy had to be away but we did have a great time catching up with Beth & Rip.

These last few hurricanes have really opened the inlets along the ICW. This will become more and more of a problem with the accompanying shoaling.. 

This vessel did not have a good Florence experience. 

We always enjoy visits to Southport, NC. We have wonderful friends Joe & Christine and Hank and Lisa. It is always a please to meet up and spend time with both. Hank Pomeranz does a daily Navigation and Weather Brief during migration season. He does these briefs nightly at Southport Marina, 18:00. A not to miss, highly recommended.

I can finally report we have the first layer of varnish off the entire boat. I still have many places to touch up and so removal will continue for sometime before Snappy Teak application and sealing.

The top event of the season was the marriage of Caitlin Tennar to Andrew Sko (shortened intentionally). We were able to leave Magnolia in Southport NC and make the drive to NJ. Along the way we were able to visit Annette’s brother John.

All of the Hobans and Tennars have always taken us in as family.  We always have a wonderful time with them and celebrating this wonder day was just over the top.

Jack Tennar with daughter Christina and niece Trista
These two ladies waiting for the ceremony to begin.

Magnolia is taking a short pause in journey south to take a moment to give thanks and celebrate this wonderful holiday. We are safely anchored in the picturesque Santee River north of Charleston.  More on that next entry but until, have a blessed holiday.

Lowlands Anchorage

2018-11-03 Hampton, VA

We made a full day of our trip from Solomons to Jackson Creek/Deltaville, VA. Our departure was at first light and gave us a spectacular start to the passage.

The Hampton and Fort Monroe waterfront really is very beautiful.

Though my Grand-Niece is a bit camera shy, we sure enjoyed her 2nd visit to Magnolia. She has nearly earned her Crew Shirt! It also was sgreat to see Lori and Adam as well!

Hampton was not without a few chores. One made the Admiral exceptionally happy. Some additional spice racks with mounts were constructed. 

We even managed to find a Michigan Beer right here in Virginia.

We will be heading out for the the ICW south making tracks to get south before I have to give up my shorts!!! 

2018-10-28 Solomons Pit-Stop

After the Krogen Rendezvous we moved next door to Washburns. All “three” of us were going in for our annual check-ups. The girl above takes a lot more care than the Admiral or me!

Magnolia on the hard at Washburn Boat Yard

It’s a bit of a step up when Magnolia is on the “hard.” BTW, we are staying at a local AirBnB while she is out of the water. 

The bottom did not require a full paint but some touch-up. New zincs and props were cleaned and coated.

In addition to our own appointments we have been doing a fair amount of socializing as well, though short on pictures. We had dinner with cousins Julie & George and Dan & Lori. We also “squeezed-in” a couple of Happy Hours with Runaway (Marti & Matt) and Lali (Bill & Laurie). 

During World War II, Solomons, MD was home to U. S. Naval Amphibious Training Base (http://www.wilmon.com/usnatbsmd.html)

Former U. S. Naval Amphibious Training Base, Solomons, Maryland

At nearly every place we visit we find these little spots of history. One of my favorite things in the world is to walking these lands and finding there place in history. So very lucky!

The Admiral managed a brief shore-leave with her girlfriends. It looks like they had a swell time.

The and I celebrated our 14th wedding anniversary while we were in Solomons.  Knowing how to get to Annettes heart I found a place that served the best Crab Cakes and Kim Crawford wine!

I made a quick trip to FL to celebrate my Great Uncle Wayne’s 100th birthday. He is my Grandpa Emerson’s youngest  brother. What a terrific evening and so grateful to have been included. I am focused on being like my uncle!!!

I was also re-introduced to a cousin who I played with when I was little and down on the farm in Ohio. I am going to work to stay in better touch!

And if all this luck was not enough. Our friends Dan & Marcia on Cutting Class was passing though St Augustine on the same day. Time did not allow us to connect but I did manage a picture as they pass by.

Cutting Class just north of St Augustine

I am at the airport in JAX waiting on my return to Maryland. If all goes to plan, Magnolia will be splashed this afternoon and we will move back aboard tonight and get off the dock tomorrow before the weekends blow. More soon. Be Safe A**2

2018-10-13 Kadey-Krogen Cruisers Rendezvous 2018

Magnolia picked up anchor chain in Galesville MD and then headed south for a couple days on the anchor and then to attend the Krogen Rendezvous at Solomons Island, MD.

Our friend Al from Kindred Spirit came down from Connecticut to participate for the week.

We were so lucky that weather was perfect. Maybe a little warm for a couple of the days but plenty of power for the A/C! There were 44 Krogens on the docks at Calvert Marina. Here is Krogen 42/44 Alley. That is Magnolia on the left.

It was a great week with lots of seminars and exchanging experiences with other Krogen Cruisers.

An aerial shot of the docks with all the Krogens

There were nightly dinners where we mixed it up with many other attendees. It was a lot fun.

Our official ships photographer Mrs. Michele Watson. She has taken some outstanding photographs! I have to say Al Watson did catch some great shots as we departed. Not to worry Michele, you still have the job and the title!

We had a terrific week and had a great time with Al aboard. It was great to see so many old friends and make some new ones… just feeling very grateful.

 

2018-09-28 — Kingston, NY–Annapolis, MD

Kingston NY turned out to be a real gem of a stop. Hurricane Florence coupled with the unexpected loss of a dear and lovely woman it was exactly the place we needed exactly when we needed it. We had found a place that was safe and secure and where we could leave the boat for a few days without concern.  We actually stayed at two different marinas. The first further up the river right next to an ancient lock which was really cool!



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So far, so good making progress.

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Have also been working on a monitor for our solar panels. It is based on a Arduino micro-controller which will talk to a Raspberry Pi single board computer via a Wifi UDP.

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The data is displayed using Whilhelm SK on am Ipad. Enough geekdom.

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Magnolia had a terrific parking spot among the hills of New York.

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The high point of the visit though was out trip to Connecticut. We were able share a wonderful evening with Ted & Sally (Amici) and Al & Michele (Kindred Spirit) . We had such a fun time and grateful for these moments!

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Finally we were we underway and headed for the Chesapeake.

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First we make a stop in lovely Croton-on-Hudson, New York but early next morning we off for the Chesapeake.

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The Tampazee Bridge is under construction with limited vessel traffic which cause for a major traffic jam.

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Passing the Disney Ship we were still feeling lucky to be aboard Magnolia.

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New York in the rearview camera…..

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Rounding Sandy Hook Light.

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We made an overnight passage of the coast of New Jersey in not GREAT conditions but we “got’r done.” We rounded up into Delaware Bay just before dawn right into an outgoing tide. That slowed our progress to a crawl.

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We arrived Reedy Point Anchorage in the late afternoon and anchored just across from the Salem Nuclear Plant….

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and about 5 miles south the Delaware Memorial Bridge at Wilmington, Delaware.

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The next day we had favorable conditions so made another long hop down the Chesapeake Bay to Annapolis, Maryland

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Our efforts were rewarded to be re-united with our “Freshmen Year Classmates” Frank & MaryMarie (EleanorQ) and Dan and Marcia (Cutting Class)

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Magnolia & Cutting Class anchored at “Camp Q”

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After spending a couple days with Frank and MaryMarie it was time to move down to Galesville, MD where we were getting 300ft of 3/8-G4 anchor chain. It also allowed us to catch up with Burt&Prue (Exuberant), Ron&Nancy (Mandala) and John&Lizzy (Quetzal)

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After 6 years, I finally feel like we have slowed down and finding a good rhythm to balance seeing friends and the need to move when the weather is good.  It is good to be back in home and familiar waters but this summers trip and was an amazing experience. It was so wonderful and we are so appreciative of those of you we were able to see and the time and effort you spent to come see us along the way.

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This is certainly an adventure we will not soon for get!

2018-09-12 Wrapping Up the Erie Canal

As you can tell by the tardiness of this post have been having focus issues. I will carry n though! Our last leg of the Erie Canal was the section we had already done so we knew where to go and what to expect. Yet at the same time the adventure of “first times” was behind.

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None the less we set off across Lake Oneida towards Sylvan Beach on a bright Sunday morning. We actually wanted to get across th Lake and through Sylvan Beach before the party crowd awoke the “excitement” started all over again.

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Another lock, another day…..

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Our first stop was Little Falls, NY. A nice little town with a good grocery store so a walk was in order to restock.

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Every so far along the canal they have these HUGE gates. I have to assume in a catastrophic failure they would drop these so as not to drain the entire canal into someone’s valuable farmland.

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Departing Little Falls our first Lock is number #17. It is the tallest lock on the canal and just over a 40foot lift. Its is pretty impressive to enter from the bottom. The picture does not do it justice when you look up those walls!

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Flags at half staff for Sen John McCains passing…..what a great man and example.

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Next stop was the famous town of Canajoharie NY. Try and say that fast three times…does anyone remember what famous company was started here….to the over achievers will remember…Beech-Nut.

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Magnolia moored on the Canajoharie waterfront

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Departing the next morning it was ‘kinda” foggy out…Magnolia/Gibbs Rule #39…if its foggy at the dock, it going to be foggier at the first lock. When the lock master asked where we were I answered right out front!!!

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Our greatest fear….approaching the next lock we were informed the lock was not functioning…we asked the tender if we should stand-off or tie up…he replied “Better Tie Up.” After getting Magnolia settled I walked up and asked the repair crew if we should start splitting firewood for winter or lunch…they suggested we start with lunch….in an hour or so we were back on our way…last thing we wanted to do was get stuck in a lock for the winter…scares me to think about!!!

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Our last stop on the Erie was actually a place we had not stopped called Scotia NY.

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It turned out Wednesday nights is free music night in the park…next to where we docked. We could listen in the park or on the boat, we went with the whole experience and headed to the park. A really terrific evening.

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Our last day on the Canal was terrific weather day. We encountered a number of crew boats. Every team wanted us to blow the horn…people really like boat horns!

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One of the last…..

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The last…well almost. This is the last Erie Canal lock…Lock #1 is actually on the Hudson and operated by the Army Corp Of Engineers.

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We stopped and stayed in Waterford, NY for a couple days at their waterfront welcome center. A nice place to be….

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The welcome center projects a movie onto the wall of a bridge at the center each week. We scored and could not help but be reminded of my friend Jack Tennar…one of the greatest western fans I have ever known.

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Departing Waterford and the Erie Canal was kind of sad. This summer was an amazing adventure and not sure when we will be back . Going through the Troy Federal Lock (lock #1) though was a great feeling. We transited 105 locks this summer which I can assure you is too many for one season…next time we will figure something else out!!!

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Passing Albany NY as we head south on the Hudson.

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We did see another Kadey Krogen anchored along the Hudson. We took the time to head over and say hello.

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I think they were afraid we were going to raft up and they put out fenders!

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We returned to one of the most protected and favorite stops for us..Roundout Creek at Kingston NY

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We are FINALLY back at anchor but we are missing Kindred Spirit. Our friends Al & Michele traveled this far with us in June. It was lovely and lonely this time.

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With hurricane Flo churning away in the Atlantic this is looking like a good place to be….

2018-09-04 Relaxing on the Erie and more friends….so cool

Continuing along the Erie Canal we are continually presented with wonderful little towns along the way such as Lyon

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We are generally people that anchor out, often on our own with no other boats around. There are few anchorage along the canal so when Lock 25 presented itself, it was the next best thing.

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Far from everything allowed us to take a nice walk around the area. Well not completely true, if you look closely you can see the New York Thru-Way in the distance. This is

Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge

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Each Lock generally has an associated damn and spillway…this is the one for Lock 25.

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In the early evening approached with a lite rain we fired up the “space-ship” and set to BBQing!

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A filling meal, a peaceful “anchorage” made for a wonderful sleep.  To be greeted with this view in the morning was a gift and why we seek out these kind of places.

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Certainly not a Renoir but I sure felt like we were in the midst of a painting.

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Along the way we discovered an abandoned aqueduct which is wonderful piece of history.

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We arrived in Baldwinsville just ahead of M/V Pearl. We have not seen Stan & Suzie since Block Island, RI a couple years ago. Here Pearl is entering the lock arriving from Lake Ontario.

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If you want motivation to keep your boat up, just take a look at Pearl and see how meticulously she is kept.

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We had a wonderful afternoon and evening catching up. Laughed and laughed. It was wonderful catching up, was soo much fun!

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Suzie was kind enough to catch a couple pictures of our departure….this one in particular shows that I really can drive the boat!

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The is the point where the Oswego Canal forks off from the Erie Canal. This is the place where we start retracing our route back to the Chesapeake. It really struck us the wonderful time we have had on this journey. We have travelled about 2200 miles and have another 350 to go. What an adventure we have had.

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Coming up our final days on the Erie Canal…

2018-08-27–Holly to Newark and friends in between!

The mooring field in Vero Beach FL is referred to as “Velcro Beach.” It is called that because it is so easy to be there. Every needed service is easily accessible. What we found along the way on the Western Erie Canal was exactly same thing…I have to say, the biggest..stet…only reason move on is that its going to get cold!!!!

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After departing Medina NY we made a short passage to Holly, NY

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Along the way we moved back to aqueduct mode as we passed OVER a local road.

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I was also struck by the HUGE amount of agriculture. Not sure why but felt more like Iowa than NY. In addition to field crops  there were a large number of Orchards as well.

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Arriving Holly we were welcomed to a lovely waterfront park.

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The primary purpose of our visit was the Admiral found another waterfall and as a vessel, this crew does not miss a waterfall.

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I found it! Podunk!!!

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Arriving in Brockport NY, we found the Corning Glass Barge! This time we were tucked up as close as they could us! Not being a fan of crowds we vamoosed on before the crowds arrived.

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In Spencerport we visited and attended a small Folk Festival that was a lot of fun

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Fellow cruisers Paul and Debra of SV Kelly-Nicole (also a fellow Morgan 44)  were home to visit. We have not been together since we were in Long Island, Bahamas I guess its been 3 years? It worked out that we were able to make a quick stop in Pittsford, NY and pick up Paul and Debra along with their daughters family for a little boat ride onto Fairport, NY

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Watching this guy approaching the bridge in Fairport we were hopeful he would remember to turn!!!!

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Magnolia moored along the wall in Fairport, NY

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We had a wonderful evening hanging out and though there was a “liberty risk” of Paul and I being out together, there were no law enforcement interactions.

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Newark was another one of those quiet little towns with Ice Cream…what is not too love!

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Ok, there was the Hoffman Clock Museum!!!

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Geek Alert — A while back I got Signal-K server running on an RaspberryPi…I recently read an article by Jeff Siegal (ActiveCaptain) about a moisture sensor project he was working on. That inspired this…a micro controller based current sensor for our solar panels. Below is the initial configuration based a on Arduino microcontroller. There are current sensors (5) for each bank of our solar system along with a 12v-5v buck converter. So far I have current being measured and fed into the micro-controller. I have a Wifi module on the way so the current data can sent via MQTT to the the RaspberryPi and the Signal-K server. Once its in Signal-K the data will be available on the Magnolias whole network. Just a little something to keep the brain exercised and maybe something useful will come out!!!

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