Lake Oneida to Cape Vincent
Posted on July 19, 2018
Tue, Jul 10. Departed early to cross Lake Oneida before the winds picked up (tends to in afternoons) and the lake was glass. Lake Oneida is 20 miles long and 8 miles wide and is the largest lake “within” NY. If the wind is blowing hard, boaters generally wait it out for the weather window.
We were swarmed with small insects for the first hour which was annoying. We later had to wash off at least 1,000 bugs! During the crossing, Bob decided to jump in and check our propellers. Since we had hit a few logs along the trip, we wanted to make sure we did not have dinged or damaged props. The water was refreshing and not terribly clear but mission accomplished and all was well with our props. We also calibrated our auto pilot (which requires spinning the boat) and bleeding the air out of our steering system. A couple of boats (one we knew; one we didn’t) hailed us on the VHF to make sure we were alright. Boaters are generally great people.
Arrived at Winter Harbor Marina in Brewerton, NY late morning. This is more boat yard than marina and operates year round. They offer indoor heated storage for boats during the winter and many of these boats undertake quite a few projects while wintering here from October to May. Lovely grounds with two large storage sheds and the owner’s beautiful home right on the Oneida River. We had made arrangements to have the oil changed on the Tiara and replace the bilge pump on the dinghy. Docked behind and in front of us were Sea Trolley & Still Waters. It’s really fun to keep meeting up with the Loopers we have met along the way.
In the afternoon, we toured the area via our dinghy and stopped at two river front restaurants (Waterfront Tavern & Wild Horse Bar & Grill) for drinks and appetizers.
Wed, Jul 11. The marina has two courtesy cars for the marina guests to use and we hopped in one in the morning and went to grocery store to load up. While I was gone having a much needed pedicure, the mechanic came and did the oil change. Since we had hauled the dinghy out to repair the bilge pump and pressure wash the bottom, we didn’t have it to go cruising in afternoon but took the car and went back to the Wild Horse Bar as they had a Wednesday afternoon special of $5.00 drinks and $5.00 for a dozen steamed clams. Bob and I each had 2 dozen clams. Its funny having the walls of the bar covered with big game instead of big fish.
Thur/ Fri, Jul 12 -13. While waiting for the dinghy repairs to complete, took the car and went back up to buy a few more items. Had dinner with Rob & Lee from Sea Trolley at Copper Top which was excellent. Finally repairs were completed for both boats in afternoon and we took off for Phoenix, NY. One more lock on the Erie then turned north on the Oswego Canal which is still part of the NY Canal System. The village of Phoenix is home of the famous Bridge House Brats (google if you get a chance). The Brats are the kids that work the docks and park area in the summer and will run and get you anything you want. Kids range from 7 to 18 years old and on Friday and Monday nights folks from town and incoming boaters are treated to a free concert. Menus are provided from several local restaurants and the kids go and fetch your meals. We happened to be there on a Friday night and were treated to a 60’s band. The program was started 20 years ago and it keeps the kids off the streets. Tips appreciated. The friendliest town ever!
Sat/ Sun, Jul 14-15. We departed first thing in morning and transited 7 Locks on the Oswego Canal. This area was prettier than the eastern Erie with beautiful houses, hills, trees and wide open areas. Arrived in Oswego which is at the base of Lake Ontario. Took the dinghy out for a ride out to the lake and met up with Loopers Sea Trolley and Mikey Likes it for docktails. There was a fishing tournament going on and the fisherman were giving away fresh caught salmon so we happily took a large bag (3 dinners) of it. After docktails, Bob and I went over to Alex’s Restaurant on the Water and enjoyed an appetizer for dinner.
Sun/ Mon, Jul 15 – 16. We said goodbye to our Looper friends as we would be headed in a different direction. We headed across Lake Ontario to Sackets Harbor and they headed to Kingston, ON. The lake crossing was flat calm and beautiful and the first time we have hit clear water on this trip. Sackets Harbor is a historical town which played a significant role in the War of 1812. Just outside the marina is the Sackets Battlefield Park and we happened to be there on a Sunday afternoon and enjoyed a free Blue Grass concert and the beautiful grounds. Walked about town a bit then Bob went to retrieve the dinghy and met me at a restaurant on the water for a drink. Enjoyed a dinghy cruise around the area, brought home a wedge salad to go with the fresh grilled salmon and enjoyed dinner aboard. They have some interesting insects here. Photo is of a Mag Fly which, according to the research gentleman we spoke to, live their lives in water, come out to spawn then die. We had quite a few of these pretty little guys on the boat and they just stayed put until the end.
Mon / Tue, Jul 16- 17. Departed in morning and decided to jump in the water just outside the harbor entrance. First time we had enjoyed the water since leaving FL. Checked the props again (for weeds mainly) and were on our way to Cape Vincent. Arrived at the free dock that is an environmental research site operated by State of NY. They allow boaters to dock there for free up to 48 hours. Pretty park grounds and convenient walk into the small town. Town folks would come down to the marina basin and go swimming right next to our boat which we would never consider in FL. Water is crystal clear and so we took the dinghy out and went swimming again in the afternoon. A bit chillier this time but so refreshing in the heat. Lake Ontario is the smallest of the 5 great lakes but the deepest. It is 175 miles long and 46 miles wide. Again one of the times where you need to monitor the weather before heading out. Thus far we have had good weather and crossings. It is fun to sit on the boat and watch the freighters, tugs and barges pass by routinely. Well that wraps up another great week on our great adventure. Stayed tuned for more.