WPSU

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Big Water

FOR A MORE DETAILED REPORT, check Bill's blog: http://cshare.psu.edu/projects/sunboat/default.aspx

Today we left the canal system for our first real passage on big water--Lake Ontario, one of the Great Lakes. As we left the harbor at Oswego, NY, we waved to the Emita, a packet boat operated by Mid-Lakes, that takes passengers on overnight canal trips. It was nice to see a friendly face, so to speak, as we set out on a new stage of our trip. At the edge of the harbor we passed the lighthouse, a local landmark.

The forecast was for waves from one to three feet and winds up to 15 knots--which we have now concluded is about the limit of Dragonfly's seaworthiness. But she shouldered the swells aside gamely, and we worked our way along the coast sailboat-style, by "tacking"--by which I mean, a straight-line course would have put us sideways into the waves, so we took a zig-zag course, first running up into the waves and then turning to run with them on our beam.


We passed Nine-Mile Point, a nuclear power plant. (Our solar panels waved hello.) I couldn't help but marvel at human ingenuity. Whatever your politics on nuclear power, consider the variety of materials and the engineering wizardry that make both nuclear and solar technologies possible. 500 years ago, the only way to navigate this lake was in a birch-bark canoe, and if you wanted heat or light you had to make a fire.

Our destination was Mexico Bay. After our choppy, windswept voyage across the lake, we found the tiny inlet to the Salmon River, which winds inland for a mile or two. The water was smooth as the proverbial glass, yellow iris were in bloom in a marsh at a river bend, and Canada geese mooned us as they ducked their heads and stuck up their tails, foraging for water weeds.

6 comments:

  1. Cynthia, I am so enjoying your posts. David Reddy - Remember, sometimes it's better to hide under the porch than to run with the big dogs.

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  2. Great advice! We couldn't agree more. Every time we step onto that open stern deck we remember, it's open to the elements for a reason.

    Check Bill's blog for mroe gory details on the day . . .

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  3. Bill & Cynthia,
    We are following you with great interest! When do you plan to approach Chicago? Chris and I are planning our move to the opposite side of the Lake in early August and it would be awesome to come down and greet you as you enter the river system at that point. (Too bad you're not cruising the eastern shore of the "Big Lake").

    Ellie & Chris

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  4. Cynthia, your posts have been a joy to read. The picture of you with 9- mile point in the background has a special meaning to Sue and me as we can see the cooling tower from our house! Yo! I can see your house from here! We could almost have seen you.

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  5. Chris and Ellie, we expect to be at the head of Lake Michigan in early August, so that should work out great

    And for all blog visitors, stay tuned for a page that lays out our general destinations, so you can make plans to pay us a visit!

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