At 6 am this morning Christopher woke up for his real birthday time – and so we could cast off by 6:30 to catch the opening of the lock at Troy – our last lock! The idea was to get out early because this is where the Hudson is first affected by tides – which means for part of the day the river flows up and part it flows down. Going with the flow is good. So an excited Christopher and mom and dad took off as planned. The lock went well – although we were surrounded by ooey-gooey stuff and weeds which proved to be more serious later. We left the dock and hit the downstream current and were making good time. Then I noticed a different sound, different exhaust and the heat gage was climbing. “Dang!” I said. Shirley took over the wheel, we stopped the engine and I leapt ever so gracefully into the cabin to check the through hull strainer that catches gunk for the cooling water. Aha – full of weeds! With a mighty thrust I removed the villains and claimed victory. And off we went. But a few minutes later the same thing! “Double dang!” I said (or something similar). So the same routine – only this time I wisely poked at a few other things. No good. Poking works so well with the computer, but not here. So I took the strainer off and opened the through hull valve – which is supposed to flood the boat with water. No flood. Good but bad. That meant something was stuck in the intake, which we didn’t know how to get at. Finally we made it to a dock and got in touch with a mechanic who came and saved the day. Yay! And showed us how to do it ourselves should this nasty event occur again.
So now it was noon and we were cruising down the river heading to the place where we can put the mast back up. The race was on now to fight the upstream current and make it there in time to have supper and a decent birthday celebration. Cranking the engine hard we were only making 5.2 knots. But then the tide turned and we zoomed the last couple of miles triumphantly!
And so it was that Christopher endured a crazy day for his birthday in wonderful and helpful spirits and got to have great birthday boat party – with cake, singing, reading the many birthday emails, listening to voice messages, talking to Grandma and Uncle George and presents! Thank you to all the senders!!! A young couple from Montreal in a boat next to us came over with a card and a present as well.