It had been quite windy yesterday down the Oswego canal causing waves to break across the breakwater at the port.
Although the wind had dropped overnight, it was still up enough to slow our trip down to Rochester on lake Ontario today, and we arrived a couple of hours later than scheduled. After lunch, Carolyn and I caught a bus into the city ($1 pp return fare) and went for a wander downtown. There was not a lot to see, so we looked for a bar for a cold beer and found East street with several such establishments. There was one on the other side of the road that had murals of people playing musical instruments and a sign out from that said “come on in and ask Stan to play his Oud”, so we figured it was a bar with live music and went in. Turned out to be a guitar shop and, what’s more, while they didn’t have any $20 guitars, they did have a couple for $100 that were very playable. We went back across the road to a real bar and had a beer and a think about it, then I went over and bought the best of the 2, an Ibanez, complete with gig bag, so I’ve now got something to play on the ship. It turns out it was so near new that the scratch board still had the protective peel-off plastic mask on it. It also has a nice tone and is very loud for a small guitar…and, yes, it is made in China!
The skipper advised that we would be getting away earlier than usual, in case of headwinds or issues locking through the Welland Canal, as it is very busy at present. So we departed at 10pm for the night crossing to be at the canal entrance by dawn.
It turned out to be a dead flat lake all the way and we arrived at 6.30am to take on the pilot, who came alongside right beside our stateroom.
Due to traffic, we didn’t get to enter the first lock until 10.30, so it became obvious we would be unlikely to get through and reach Buffalo, NY by our scheduled time of 5.00pm. The locks are much bigger than the Erie Canal locks and about the same size as those on the TennTom waterway, and locking right through takes an average on 11 hours. Some pretty big ships come through here
While we were in Lock 1, we were overflown by a Lancaster bomber and, considering there are only 2 flying in the world, it is a pretty rare sight (BTW I have video footage to prove it – just no stills….. it was so unexpected)
As anticipated, we did not leave the canal until about 6pm and duly arrived at Buffalo around 8pm. Being a Saturday night, there was a lot of activity downtown including a loud concert and fireworks displays (although no-one could give a reason for them!) I gave the Ibanez a try out and found it quite a nice instrument. Nobody threw themselves overboard during the performance, so it can’t have been too bad!
It was forecast to be hot and it was. Most of the passengers are heading off on excursions to Niagara Falls but, since we were there last year, we have decided to stay aboard. I went for a wander down to the Military Park, about a mile down the road, but decided to not visit the Destroyer, Cruiser and submarine exhibited there as I am about done with running up and down steep gangways and ladders and squeezing through tight spaces for a while. But it was an interesting walk – the Erie canal’s original entrance was right there (it has been recently restored after being buried for about 100 years after they made a new entrance further up river). I also came across a couple of cheeky squirrels that were the first I had seen so far this trip and the first for a while with the bushy tails.
BTW, and although we expected it, the stateroom is kinda tiny! This pic shows the two beds, one partly hidden by the bathroom and shower. Its quite a bit smaller than the staterooms on Loopy Kiwi, but its comfy and has the same airconditioning units, so we know how to drive them.
Another thing I’ve not mentioned so far is the meals: For breakfast there is a buffet with cereals, fruit salads etc and then we are served a hot course, which is usually 2 items per day, such as eggs benedict and hash browns.
Lunch is a soup, followed by a sandwich or salad, and cookies.
Dinner is an appetizer, then a choice of 2 mains and 2 desserts, and a hot cookie.
Last night it was ribs – and they were as good as the best of Muldoons. The other main was chicken, both served with a baked potato and corn on the cob. The desserts were pecan pie or strawberry ice cream and cookies were butterscotch chip. There is no shortage of food and almost everybody had seconds of the ribs. Tonight is key lime pie!
There have been some strange dishes served and some interesting combinations but, so far, nothing I have been served I have disliked, and most of it has been excellent!
Beer and wine are complimentary with dinner. Happy hour between 5.30 and 6.30 is BYO, but they provide all the mixes.
Till next time