Monday, June 4, 2018


Useful links:
Captain's Log, Stardate . . . um, what day is it?
The solar canal boat Dragonfly, aka "SlowBoat," docked in Lyons, NY
Twilight on the wall in Lyons
We're docked tonight in Lyons, NY, the Peppermint Capital of the World. (Really!)  Now, I will always share our location on the blog, but thanks to a special technology loaned to the expedition by ham radio operator (and good friend) Rick Gilmore, you can see where we are . . . even if I don't tell you!

APRS transmitter aboard solar boat Dragonfly. Find us at kd3fly-12
This little beacon is sending
a signal to you!
The technology is called an APRS transmitter. (The acronym stands for "automatic packet reporting system.") The system can do different things, but for our purposes, it's broadcasting our GPS coordinates, which receivers can pick up and display on a map.

How Do I Use BoatFinder?

Bookmark/go to this URL: http://aprs.fi.
  • Find the field marked "Track call sign" 
  • Enter the Captain's ham radio call sign, kd3fly-12
  • Click on "search"
And . . . voila! A map will come up! You'll see a white window with an arrow pointing to our location. In that window, click on "track in Street View"

Thanks to the magic of Google maps, you'll see a 360-degree view of (approximately) what we are seeing, where we are. Try it!


(So you tried it. Why are you seeing fire trucks? The closest saved Google street view is 100 ft from our location at the dock, which means, you are seeing the Lyons Fire Department. Which, by the way, generously allows boaters to use their very nice bathrooms. Red and black tile!)

Aren't You Going to Say Anything About Today's Cruise?

Black locust trees in full bloom along the Erie Canal near Newark, early June 2018
Oooh, I'll save the many, many solar-boating technology details for tomorrow. With regard to the scenery, the stretch of the Erie Canal from Palmyra to Lyons is mostly idyllic, with thick, tangled vegetation--maple trees, catalpa, grapevine--crowding the edge of the canal.

Black locust trees are in bloom, dangling their wisteria-like blossoms over the water.  And cottonwood trees are releasing their seeds, a benevolent snowstorm of white fluff.

We saw exactly one other vessel--a New York Canal Authority work boat.
Erie Canal work barge equipped to remove trees, dig banks
How do you like THIS morning commute?


  1. So cool! I saw the fire station. Hope you had a nice shower!

    1. I'm glad that ONE piece of technology is working around here!