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  We both fretted about stepping the mast. We thought we might have the option of hiring someone, but no such luck. So we searched the internet for suggestions. The marina had a crane, but we had to figure out how to hook the mast, lift it without harm to us or the boat and then detach the crane,  

 named giraffe.

 
I found this great knot and article

Then I researched a rolling hitch on Grog’s knots and came up with Ashley’s variation, knot 1734. 

  
This kept the mast knot from slipping up the mast as it was raised. 

All went well until we couldn’t undo the knot ( because we strayed from internet suggestions and tied it above our radar and spreaders and couldn’t slide it down).

We attracted spectators including one who provided helpful suggestions. We tried tilting the boat to the bulkhead but ultimately fixed a knife to the end of the boat hook and cut the loop.  Not elegant but only two feet of line was sacrificed.  Next time we’ll attach our improvised sling below the radar and spreaders. Then the crowd dispersed until we mistakenly hung our Canadian Maple Leaf, courtesy flag, upside down. We’ve been known to do this before. 

Tomorrow, when the wind lies (lays?) down, we’ll put the sails up and Tim will be on his way while I walk to the bus, take the bus to Longuiele, take the Metro to Montreal, a bus to Plattsburgh, walk two miles to the marina and drive an hour home.  I have to remember it took me 4 days to get here by boat. 

Here’s our evening sunset over the St. Lawrence Seaway before we had pizza delivered to the boat!

  

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Oh Canada.We spent a day and a half traveling under bridges and through ten locks to descend about 70 feet to the level of the St. Lawrence Seaway where we are docked tonight. 

We are stunned by the friendly and helpful people we have met. While we waited for a lock passage, we wandered ashore to get our hands on a phone Tom could use in Canada. Both of our phones are too old, without SIM cards, to use internationally. A car pulled over and asked us if we were lost. Tim asked the driver if he knew of  a phone store and Stephan said there were none near by, but hop in- into a fairly new BMW.

 After the briefest hesitation, we did. He drove us to two different stores, explained what we needed in French, then waited while our new phone was activated!!

Later that night, we had a small mishap and an electrical fire. Only a ground wire burned and we needed a replacement for our 12 volt charger. We asked a lockmate but he didn’t have any aboard his 50 foot  cruiser. But a father, who was cycling along the canal with two toddlers in a trailer, overheard and said, “Wait here. I live only 30 seconds away and will bring some back”. And he did and now our outlet is working again. 

Tomorrow’s tasks include trying to get the depth finder to work, although our lead line comes in handy; step the mast using a crane at the marina (I’ve been watching youtube videos); shopping; laundry; and repairing a leak or two. 

Here are some shots of our canal passage. 

   
  
 These cute buildings were at each of the locks. At several, the keepers traveled by car or foot and met us at the next lock.

The doors were opened and closed by hand cranks and the majority of lock keepers were women.

   
They packed us in very well.


   
 
In contrast to yesterday’s glorious weather, it rained all day today so I have nothing to show for today’s journey other than wet foul weather gear. We’ll see what tomorrow brings.
 

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I drove an hour to meet Tim after 7 hours of sailing. Lovely day – not.  20+ knot winds and 3-4 foot seas and drizzle. After the wind subsided he took a nap and left me to motor the upper portion of Lake Champlain, around Isle la Mott to Rouses Point and the border. 

   
 After an hour in Customs, we learned our boat’s Blue Book value is pretty low and for $380 Canadian, we imported it to Canada. There’s a slim, probably none, chance we’ll get this back when we return the boat to the States.

Few small problems at the moment. We can’t find our Topclimber, which Tim uses to go up the mast.  Not much of a problem now since the mast is lying on the deck. More importantly, our depth finder is not working. So last night we poked around with a lead line, found a decent spot and dropped anchor. Then Tim let out plenty more line because wind picked up overnight, as predicted, and we rocked and rolled for at least 4 hours. 

We must still be in the United States though because I still have internet.  But I can see the Canadian Customs house from my cockpit.

  
 

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Tying up and fixing things before another adventure. Tim left yesterday to begin the first leg of a multiyear journey – a big loop, north out of Lake Champlain, via the Richelieu River and canals; east on the St. Lawrence seaway, hopefully to the Sanguenay River/fiord this year. Then further east along the St Lawrence out to The Atlantic, Nova Scotia, Maine, Long Island Sound, the Hudson River and back to Lake Champlain. 

  
He will travel for a month this year and I’ll be along for parts of the ride – to help with the canal locks and will travel to and fro via Canadian public transportation and the bu-uh-uh-uh-uhuhuhuh- us. 

We’ve (Tim more than me) have been running around like chickens without our heads getting everything in order. Provisioning, customs, mast down, radar installed, dodger measurements, lost items, IT support. 

I had to repair some knitting before I was ready and plan my crochet project for the next several days. 

   
 

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I splice

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We needed a new traveler line for the boat with an eye splice. I’ve grown to love marlinspike seamanship, otherwise known as ropework. I found a simplified method in a chapter of a book I found online. Plus i get to use the old lines to weave mats.

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More specifically, sailing knitting lessons. Lesson number one. Save colorwork for calm moments. Multiple balls of yarn become a tangled mess when thrown into the cabin when all hell breaks loose.

Lesson number two. Time flies and you’ll never accomplish all you plan.

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Lesson number three. Enjoy these moments.

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We are spending a few days sailing and have already experienced extreme highs and lows ~ moods and pressure.

First day was beautiful. I started knitting a skirt for me, we swam and saw a lovely sunset. This was a nice finish after we were squeezed out of a harbor where huge boats kept coming in and rafting up. Just as well because we found a spot with plenty of room to ourselves.

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Today was another story. Big storm predicted. To our credit we got under way early, but not early enough. I managed to rip a stanchion right out of the deck while furling the jib in strong wind. (Swimming does build upper body strength). Tim spilled tea on my new skirt when things happened quickly. Then the mooring field was full and we had to drop anchor while the storm plowed through. But we were visited by a flock of ducks when they got the all clear sign.

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Wonder what tomorrow will bring?

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