Departure day (Sept 5 ) was a short one that enabled a shorter day to Whitehall. Getting spoiled with half days of traveling. 🙂 This half day allowed us to stop off Crown Point Park for the night, which was on our bucket list.
Wednesday’s travel down to Whitehall, NY; in a word- glorious. Eagles, herons, egrets, few other boats, no commercial traffic and only one lock right at Whitehall.
Twin Sisters snugged up to her old spot at the north end of the terminal wall. With visions of breakfast at Historic Grounds with a side of laundry and a haircut for Russ, we felt fortified to handle leaving the Lake and family behind.
Unexpected entertainment at Whitehall, added to the fun. Until the pouring rain and thunderstorms arrived that is.
That didn’t work out, so he had one more spot to try.
A generous block up from Historic Grounds (yes I gorged on a popover!) is the cutest darn laundromat all decorated with vintage laundry/cleaning items. Next door is a tanning salon with a space occupied by an experienced hairstylist/barber.
The one-woman town welcoming person, Elizabeth, had stopped by the evening we arrived and tipped us off to the salon; she also took our bag of trash as the park next to the docks is “carry in, carry out.”
We taunted the rain and took a daring walk across the train tracks to the other section of town and look who we met!!
We stopped again at Fort Edward despite the rickety, low floating docks. We had to scare off a flock of ducks which I was able to do with great success using my new Sasquatch moves.
Only once on the combined trip north and south, did we meet up with a barge underway while in confined waters. Easy peasy when it’s coming out of the lock, we had warning and a spot to wait.
Paddle tour boat stopped briefly at Mechanicville.
Between Mechanicville and Waterford there’s only two locks. M/V Gypsy was also at Mechanicville, headed south so we had company in the locks.
We found that dropping down in the locks was always smoother than going up. This made the trip south less stressful because eight of the eleven locks between Whitehall and Waterford drop you down.
Our one night stay in Waterford (intersection of the Erie Canal and Hudson) was very productive. Lunch at Don & Paul’s, then Hannaford for provisions and McGreiveys for outdoor dinner.
In the “small world” category, one the boats docked closer to the lock (E1) walked over and asked if we’d been hauled out at Seaport Marine last summer. Well, yes! I’m not sure if we spoke to one another then (maybe he and Russ did) but he remembered we’d been there “a while.”
We gave m/v Gypsy some tips about the old canal towpath and museum and headed off the next morning once the fog cleared.
We’d been keeping a slow pace thanks to the ultimately destructive Hurricane Irma. A window showed itself for mid-Sept and we intended to take it. Sandy Hook is only a two-day trip from Waterford in Twins; three in Ortolan unless we did loonnggg days. If the window shut we had two backup plans.
One more lock south of Waterford and that’s the Troy Federal Lock. This time we were prepared with a boat hook to grab the ladder and a line for Russ to put around the vertical pipe.
Imagine our surprise to come upon m/v Real Mountie anchored at Albany. Don’t think we’d read reviews of a single anchorage or mooring field that didn’t contain one written by Real Mountie. They weren’t super recent nor old and most contained some history or back story which is just great to have. Sometimes that’s enough info but in some cases Russ searched for more and that made it even better. So, the surprise was to see the boat at all, not that she was anchored . 🙂
On the trip north I took a close-up of the arsenal but didn’t know much about it. As we passed by this time, Russ checked Wikipedia and boy what an interesting read. You can click here for the whole story but here’s the short version:
Francis Bannerman VI, was born in 1851, in Northern Ireland, and emigrated to the United States with his parents in 1854. The family moved to Brooklyn in 1858 and began a military surplus business in 1865 purchasing surplus military equipment at the close of the Civil War. The business bought weapons directly from the Spanish government before it evacuated Cuba; and then purchased over 90 percent of the Spanish guns, ammunition, and equipment captured by the United States military and auctioned off by the United States government. Bannerman’s illustrated mail order catalog expanded to 300 pages; and became a reference for collectors of antique military equipment.
Francis purchased the island in November 1900, for use as a storage facility for his growing surplus business. He began to build an arsenal on Pollepel Island. Bannerman designed the buildings himself. He also built another castle in a smaller scale on top of the island near the main structure as a residence, often using items from his surplus collection for decorative touches. The castle, clearly visible from the shore of the river, served as a giant advertisement for his business. On the side of the castle facing the western bank of the Hudson, Bannerman cast the legend “Bannerman’s Island Arsenal” into the wall.
Construction stopped when he died in 1918. In 1920, 200 tons of shells and powder exploded, destroying a portion of the complex. After the sinking of the ferryboat Pollepel, which had served the island, in a storm in 1950, the Arsenal and island were essentially left vacant.
The island and buildings were bought by New York State in 1967. After the old military merchandise was removed, tours of the island were given in 1968. But in 1969, fire devastated the Arsenal and the island was placed off-limits to the public.
Since then, more walls have collapsed, such damage reported by a motorist and Metro-North officials. Remember how close the tracks are to the shoreline.
But here’s the very interesting tidbit of recent:
On April 19, 2015, the island was the destination of a kayak trip taken by Angelika Graswald and her fiancé, Vincent Viafore. Vincent did not return, and Angelika was charged with his murder. On July 24, 2017, she pled guilty to criminally negligent homicide.
I remember the story and seeing the recent news story about her pleading guilty. Never had any idea where on the Hudson the kayak trip took place.
Fuel was needed before heading offshore to Cape May so we stopped at Rondout Yacht Basin in Kingston for diesel.
The Tappan Zee was coming together nicely with more spans in place since early August.
And when isn’t New York Harbor a bustling waterway? The city that never sleeps, right?
Seems that everyone wanted to be on the water.
We’d gotten word from m/v Tapestry (a 58′ Kadey-Krogen) that the offshore conditions just sucked today. That agreed with the forecast though and we hoped that Friday, Sept 15 would be better as “promised.”