Sunday, June 17, 2007

Wow! A Great Father's Day

Lock 7
N 42 48.273 W 73 50.903

Sunday, June 17
Wow! What a great day this has been. It started with Libby bringing me coffee, a donut, and the Sunday newspaper, and a Happy Father's Day card in bed. She loves to spoil me. Then, our friends Fred and Mary came to Waterford to join us for the morning's sail.

Fred and Mary live up near lock 7. So they dropped one of their cars off at lock 7 then drove the other car to lock 2 to meet us. We took off at just about 08:00 in the midst of a beautiful Sunday morning. A second sailboat, Caribbean Dream, left at the same time as us but there was hardly any other boat traffic. Caribbean Dream with Captain Nick we had met in Nyack some weeks ago.

Mary was a little apprehensive about going through the locks as she had never done it before. Nevertheless we drove directly in to lock 2. The lift on all these locks is about 35 feet, pretty steep. We were traveling in the direction of increased altitude. Therefore, as we stopped inside the lock and they close the gate behind you, it seems that you are shut in a deep, dark, cold and clammy box. Then one hears the eerie sound of heavy slabs of concrete sliding over concrete as the gate valves are opened beneath you. The rate of ascent was pretty rapid, yet the turbulence was minimal, attesting to well designed locks. We had no difficulty holding Tarwathie against the wall. In a couple of minutes, we were lifted to the level of the wall height, and our faces felt the touch of the sun once again. It felt like a rather abrupt dawn.

This procedure repeated 5 times in only two hours; much faster than I had anticipated. The lock tenders knew we were coming and they had things ready for us so that we zipped through with no delays. The service in the canal is excellent, even in a year when they waived the canal fees. Most years one has to pay to use the New York State Canal System, but they declared 2007 as a fee free year. Finally, we had a 10 mile river passage to make before coming to lock 7, today's destination.

Along the way, we passed by Crescent Boat Club, and lo and behold wasn't there another Westsail 32 sitting there with two men waving at us. Actually, I wasn't surprised. The Westsail was the vessel Neverland. I had been corresponding with the owner, David, for a year. David bought Neverland in Annapolis, and he stored her over the winter in Solomons, Maryland. He learned about Tarwathie from our blog. Now he is en route to his home base of Georgian Bay, on Lake Huron. David was waiting for crew at Crescent, and I had promised to stop by if we got there before he left. As it turned out, we got there just one hour before he planned to leave.

But that's not all. As we turned in to the boat club to raft up with Neverland, a big power boat passed by with another man on the deck waving to us. It was Rich, my former boss from NYISO. It wasn't Rich's boat, he was just a guest onboard. Rich is a good friend and a loyal blog reader. He shouted over that he was just telling his friends about me and Libby and Tarwathie, when he looked up and there we were in the flesh.

That's still not all. Just a few minutes later, the phone rang and it was my son David calling from Kuwait to wish me a happy Father's Day. My goodness, for Libby and I who have become accustomed to being kind of lonely, apart from friends and family most of the time, it was an amazing cornucopia of friend and family contact all occurring at the same hour of the same day. Amazing.

Anyhow, we're staying the night at lock 7, after having spent the afternoon at Fred and Mary's house. I also got Father's Day calls from Jennifer in Vermont and John in Rome, NY, thus making my day complete. Fred and Mary, being abundantly kind, lent us a car to use for a few days. Wow! Once again. We hadn't had a car to use for a long time, so it was a rare privilege to be able to drive to a store and shop.

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