It’s a Big World, Small World Rainy Day – Shady Harbor to Waterford on the Hudson

June 13 – 16, 2019

June 10-13 – Shady Harbor Marina, Ravena, NY

June 14 – Shady Harbor to Waterford, NY (24 miles)

June 15 & 16 – Father’s Day in Waterford, NY

Miles traveled this blog:  24

Total Miles traveled: 5,784

Well, we stayed in Shady Harbor four days with up to 23 Looping boats and lots of new and old friends around.  It was a continuous party with two group pot luck dinners, put together dinners with Jenny Lynn and Dan as well as dock-tales on Herb’s Phantom.

Screenshot from the Nebo App showing all the Loopers at the Shady Harbor Pig Roast.  Namaste is in the mess of boats-center picture.


Herb, single handling Phantom (45’+) and knows everything anyone ever needs to know and with a great southern accent as added entertainment.  In Tarpen Springs FL he found me a dental appointment in just a few hours. I have his phone number and email!

In addition we rented a car for the purpose of seeing some of the sights on the east Hudson including Hyde Park (the Eleanor Roosevelt home), the CIA (Culinary Institute of America) for an extraordinary lunch and then the Vanderbilt mansion of Fred and Louise, the only one of eight children of the ship and railroad baron, Cornelius Vanderbilt, who didn’t squander but rather increased their wealth and philanthropy.


Eleanor Roosevelt’s desk at Hyde Park where she wrote 7 books! (Zoom in on the name plate in this so not pretentious room)


The amazing Culinary Institute of America (CIA).  Students run all aspects of the restaurants where visitors may sample the incredible cuisine.

CIA from the Namaste cruising the Hudson River.


Jim and Dan walking the grounds of the Vanderbilt Mansion at Hyde Park.  The 54 room home and many gardens are an impressive national historical site. Our National Park pass got us free entrance.

Of course, there are always maintenance of life activities requiring attention so while we still had the rental car ($40/day shared with Girvans), I got my “toes done” and we provisioned at a wonderful market chain here called the Price Chopper.

Most of this stay we spent organizing the information and our thoughts for our next leg of the trip.  There are three options out of Waterford, NY and we really needed to figure this out quickly as Waterford is only a lock away.  After pouring over charts, books, waterway guides, websites and local information we eventually settled on the Lake Champlain or northern route (see map below).

We go north from Waterford to Burlington to Sorel, South to Montreal, west to Ottawa, south to Kingston, and west along the Trent Severn to the Georgian Bay

The issues with this route are two.  First, the boat must be under 17’ air draft to get under all the bridges and we are 22 with everything (mast, radar, and antennae) up.  Jim created a “crotch” and lowered the mast onto it making our new air draft 15’.  It sure wasn’t easy but now it is doable.


Jim and Dan creating the “mast crotch.”

Second, there is considerable current in the St. Lawrence Seaway and since water levels are way up, this route requires that we traverse about 60 miles From Sorel to Montreal with a 2-3 knot current which could take our speed from 7 knots maximum down to about 4 or 5.  This will be a long, slow, slog for us but after consulting others who have done it and the Canadian Government websites, we decided it was a go.  Everything says it is the prettiest but also the longest and perhaps most difficult route but we are definitely up for Canada!

On a pretty Friday morning we cast off with Melody in Sea for the town of Waterford, only 24 miles away passing through Albany, Troy and the Federal Lock to the free dock at Waterford NY where the water road splits and you to left to the Erie Canal or straight ahead to the Champlain Canal.

Leaving Shady Harbor Marina toward Waterford.

Now it has truly been awhile – since the Okeechobee Canal in January 2018 – since we have traversed a lock.  At one point we were process confident but by now we had forgotten everything important.  It was a 19’ drop and the wind was howling with gusts of 25-30 mph.  We did OK by entering on the windward side, placing a line around a slimy pipe on the lock wall and letting it slide up as the water rushed into the lock chamber.  At moments it was difficult to keep the Namaste against the wall but we had a plan, stuck to it and came out the other side.  Eleven more to go in the Champlain Canal – more on that later!

Waterford is a quaint little town, friendly people and lots of Loopers there.  Yesterday we got the bikes out and rode to see the local Maritime Museum which turned out to be closed on Saturday, really?  So we turned around, went across another bridge and visited the Pebbles Island State Park for a bit of quiet and nature.  Lovely!

Boats at the Waterford NY town dock.  Namaste is about fourth from the rear of the line.  After this picture it rained for about 24 hours.

On the first night here we came back to Namaste after dinner to find two other Albins we had met briefly at Shady Harbor (Summer Salt and Selah Way) rafted together just ahead of us on the long dock.  We told them we had been saving their space!  OK, now for a fun coffee story – Selah Way was 12 hours into their Loop, had inadvertently forgotten to bring coffee and were quite miserable.  Jim ran back to the Namaste to grab one of the 24 pounds from our Biggby stash gift of Mike.   Amy’s eyes lit up asking, “can I get my Biggby card stamped?”  Well, they are from Burlington VT but their daughter lives in Algonac, MI where the family are regular Biggby customers.  If you listened carefully, you could probably hear the hoots as we made the connections!

Three Albins all in a row!  Namaste in the upper left corner.  Also Summer Salt and and Selah Way.

Biggby fans from VT

Another small world story!  In the rain this morning everyone was commiserating about their plans for the day.  Rose on Summer Rose noticed that we were both from Michigan and not only that from Milford. Coincidence, but in addition, Jim had shown them a trawler two years ago when they were boat shopping, we exchanged a few emails afterwards, unsuccessfully tried to set up a dinner at the Highland House, and now here we are on the wall in Waterford, NY together.

Again, in the rain this morning, Jenny Lynn invited a couple onboard for a  hot breakfast.  They are camping in the park next to our dock while two weeks into biking from New Hampshire around the USA or about 7,000 miles in the next year.  What an inspiration and they are probably about our age!  OK, everyone, off the couch!

There is even a fiddle in those packs somewhere.

Our plan had been to begin the Champlain Canal locking system today but with 6 locks to do, our locking anxiety up and about 37 miles to the next reasonable stop, we decided the pouring rain was an unnecessary, undesirable element.  Wind yesterday, rain today but tomorrow looks perfect.  Stay tuned.

Best Boat Name: Private Party  (BTW, we met the fun folks on Cat and Dogs.  She is a catamaran with two dogs onboard.)

Quote:  “I want to congratulate all the men out there who are working diligently to be good fathers whether they are stepfathers or biological fathers or spiritual fathers.”  T. D. Jakes

Happy 46th Anniversary to Jenny Lynn and Dan Girvan of Melody in Sea.

Congratulations to Lauren and Tait on the birth of Anderson G. Chamberlain.

Happy Grandbaby Felix James McFall at 3 months:


One thought on “It’s a Big World, Small World Rainy Day – Shady Harbor to Waterford on the Hudson

  1. Hi Jim & JoAnn – this is the second time I’m trying to post on this blog so I apologize if this is a repeat but the first one didn’t seem to go through.
    So I was trying to tell you both what an ongoing inspiration you are as you I encounter various challenges and master them while having a wonderful time! Thank you for your continued report and pics of all your fascinating experiences – I’m really enjoying them. Sometime you’ll have to tell me what it says on the nameplate in Eleanor’s room cuz my zoom wasn’t clear enough.
    Btw whe you refer to “lock anxiety” it reminds me of our trip on the Cansl du Midi in France with its 26 locks and how our stomachs dropped each time we rounded a curve and saw another ahead – and those were so much less complex than the ones you are negotiating. Keep up the good work and enjoy! And what an adorable baby is master Felix! Love, Penny


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