Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Pausing for the Pandemic

For more than a year, solar canal boat Dragonfly sat “up on the hard” as we waited out the Covid-19 pandemic. No cruising, nada, zip.

Boating sure is fun!
Now Dragonfly is back in the water! In May we did the ritual grinding of the boat bottom; in June we had our first little cruise—just up to Fairport for the famer’s market, and Pittsford, for the dockside craft beer.

We’ll do more cruises like this on the Erie Canal this summer. No grand plans for far-flung destinations . . . OR elaborate upgrades to the boat’s propulsion system! 

Cap’s battery bank is working perfectly after a year of inactivity!

What Do You Do When You're Not Cruising?

Other duties as assigned . . .

To catch you up since our last post, back fall of 2019: over the fall and  winter of 2020-21 we volunteered with the U.S. National Wildlife Refuge system at two locations in Texas, starting at Balcones Canyonlands NWR, near Austin. 

It’s an expanse of juniper-studded, canyon-crenellated land that protects the nesting grounds of the endangered golden-cheeked warbler.

We also spent a couple months at Brazoria NWR, on the Gulf Coast of Texas south of Houston. Gorgeous wildflowers, great shorebirds, alligators aplenty, monster mosquitoes.

In late April of 2020, as the pandemic was swelling, we left Texas to spend a month in our old hometown of State College and figure out our next move. 

Ultimately we decided to buy a house, so we’d have a home port in the Covid storm. We picked a fixer-upper so we’d have a project--or two or three--to keep us occupied.

A House Fit for a Canal-boat Captain

Our new home is quirky and old-fashioned, like our boat. It’s the Pennsville School, a former two-room schoolhouse built in 1908.

Fast forward one year.  We’ve fixed all the things in the schoolhouse that could possibly kill you (like the loft with no railings, 14 feet in the air. And the back door that opened over a 10-foot drop down into the basement stairwell). We are grateful to be vaccinated, to have come through the pandemic with good health, and to know that those near and dear to us also doing well.

We’ve also done a little local volunteering and put in a huge garden. Had lots of time to play my adorable little ukulele, which is (of course) decorated with dragonflies.

In Marina News . . .

Foreground: rental boats. Background: Dragonfly on the hard.

The marina in Macedon, NY, where we keep Dragonfly is under new ownership; formerly Midlakes Navigation, it’s now called Erie-Macedon Landing. Funny to think we got our start in canal-boating when we rented a boat here 13 years ago!

We miss the former owners, who had become good friends, but happily some of the staff members we have come to know and love are still here, and it’s wonderful to see that the canal-boat-rental business is thriving.

No grand plans this summer . . . no “Loop” trips or long distance travel. We’re still feeling cautious about Covid. But we’ll be cruising to our favorite ports nearby, and as always, we welcome visitors! See you on the canal!