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Old 30-11-2017, 12:19   #16
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Re: Lake Ontario south shore - destinations?

Unless you are already a yacht club member, I suggest you join an inexpensive club that offers reciprocal privileges...that means free docks at reciprocating clubs. For example, Wilson Island YC used to offer a non-resident membership for something like $75.

As for destinations...Main Duck Island is top of my list. Other places I like are Big Sodus and Little Sodus. Both have good protected anchorages (like a cottage lake), and yacht clubs with reciprocal priveleges.

Oak Orchard/Pt Breeze is cool because you get to go so far up a creek with your boat, far from the lake, wind and waves. Again, nice YC but not much more.

Wilson NY is very nice, quaint, but no anchoring. There are YC docks and public docks though.

Port Dalhousie is a great spot. Lots to see and do near the docks, including a beach.

NOL is a nice town to visit, but the YC dock area is pretty much cement parking lot with a few bbqs.

50 point is nice, park like setting.

If you go as far as Hamilton, the city has made a ton of recent improvements to their waterfront. Its pretty nice.

Your best bet is to get a copy of the most recent PORTS book, and get all the details there, including waypoints, services and phone numbers.

I circumnavigated Lake Ontario a few years ago. Only sailed a few hours a day and tried to visit as many ports as I could. I think I got reciprocal nights at 10 yacht clubs, which was a bonus.

The south shore of Lake Ontario is very nice. The people are very friendly. Most of the ports are quite small and isolated. If you are looking for quiet, tranquil places to visit, you will find them there.
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Old 30-11-2017, 13:38   #17
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Re: Lake Ontario south shore - destinations?

Working from the St. Lawrence southward.

If you are coming up river, Cape Vincent makes a good stopping point. There is a free town dock, free docking at the Fisheries building (with showers and bath facilities), a small grocery store and a restaurant or two. Fuel and pump out also available. There is a real US Customs office there if you need to check in.

Sackett's Harbor is a trendy little town with a couple of marinas, some good restaurants and a brew pub. Also a video phone to clear customs.

Just to the west is Henderson Harbor, there is an anchorage in White's Bay that is well protected. Services are pretty limited in HH.

Dutch John Bay on Stony Island is pleasant and a decent anchorage unless the wind is from the north, then it gets rolly. The island is privately owned and the owners would like boaters to respect their privacy.

Main Duck Island is a delightful place. Uninhabited except for innumerable snakes, a lot of snapping turtles, and half the world's population of mosquitoes. School House Bay is well protected in all weather conditions and there is a decent dock. Anchorage in SHB is limited, I"ve found the holding decent, but with limited swing room, others have not had the same experience. The island has an interesting history. It was once farmland, I believe mostly for sheep, it was a waypoint in the bootlegging trade during Prohibition, it was owned by John Foster Dulles and his family. The buildings and what remains of them were from his family camp. After the Dulles Family it became a bird sanctuary and is now run by Parks Canada. The story mentioned earlier about Queen Elizabeth's visit is half true, she made an official visit on the Britannia's trip through the Great Lakes and on the way back, the boat made an unscheduled and unofficial visit. Anchorages on the N side of the island have decent holding, but are very exposed to the N.

Along the south shore from Stony Point to Oswego there are few places to stop. The river inlets along this leg are mostly geared up for fishing and may have shallow entrances. One exception is Port Ontario/Salmon River. A well protected river inlet with limited anchoring. There is dockage but it will be limited.

Oswego is a small city that has all the usual amenities of a small city. Many fine restaurants. An interesting Marine Museum, big box stores, an independent bookstore, a great candy shop, and more. Anchoring is possible, be wary of the the weeds. There are 3 marinas, Wright's Landing, International Marina/Oswego Yacht Club, and Oswego Marina. Wright's Landing can have some depth and weed issues. This is the place to visit if you need to resupply.

Others have mentioned Little Sodus Bay/Fair Haven, I'll not disagree with any thing that has been said. There are several options here. The usual anchorages are just off the State park launch ramp on the NE corner of the bay and at the entrance of a small cove about half way down on the west side. On the charts this is noted as Meadow Cove, locals call it Mosquito Cove, good holding and well protected. Fair Point Marina is located at NW corner of the bay offers transient dockage, fuel, pump out, and limited marine services. The downside to FPM is that the village is 3 miles away by road, if you have a dinghy this may not be an issue. Several decent restaurants in town, a few gift shops, and limited groceries.

Next along the shore is Sodus Bay. Most of the activity is at the N end of the bay at Sodus Point, several restaurants, a large marina (Katlyn) with a small ship's store, and Sodus Bay Yacht Club. There are a few anchorages in the bay, one behind an island on the E side.

Pultneyville is between Sodus Bay and Irondequiot Bay. A small bay with a Yacht Club access is tricky and may be depth challenged.

The new marina in Rochester looks interesting. Haven't been there yet. Before the marina opened the only places were on the east side of the Genessee river, any place you wanted to go was on the west side and it wasn't easy getting from one side to the other.

Haven't been there by boat, however, Niagara-on-the-Lake is worth stop. It is popular so do some research on marinas and yacht clubs before you get there.

One last thought, if you are planning a trip around the lake, it may be better to do the N shore first and come back on the S shore. From time to time we get strong NW and W winds which make travel along the S shore less pleasant.

Enjoy!
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Old 30-11-2017, 13:54   #18
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Re: Lake Ontario south shore - destinations?

But, if coming from Canada.......
DO NOT forget to check in at Customs and Immigration in Oswego.
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Old 30-11-2017, 14:07   #19
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Re: Lake Ontario south shore - destinations?

Dave Lochner left out some of the historical significance of Oswego if you are a history buff. Oswego was a major shipbuilding center and supplied many warships for the War of 1812 and other merchant vessels. It was also the northern terminus of the Underground Railroad. It was here many escaped slaves were transported to Canada by benevolent shipowners and captains. It is also the only entrance to the Erie Canal from Lake Ontario.
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Old 30-11-2017, 15:01   #20
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Re: Lake Ontario south shore - destinations?

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Originally Posted by taxwizz View Post
But, if coming from Canada.......
DO NOT forget to check in at Customs and Immigration in Oswego.
Wonderful info, all - just the kind of thing I was looking for.

And in response to taxwizz's comment, I have to throw in an anecdote (everyone who knows me knows I love anecdotes.)

On a Great Lakes transport trip years ago I was with a captain and crew who didn't bother with such details. Having left a Canadian port, we stopped on the US side to pick up provisions, went back into Canada, and then eventually left the boat in North Tonawanda (suburb of Buffalo) for another crew to take through the canal and eventually to Kingston. All without bothering to mention this to Customs and Immigration on either side.

The crew on the canal portion got caught and, I'm told, had some rather embarrassing explanation to do, especially the one who was an RCMP officer and who really should have known better.

That was back in the good old days when we could pass between the two countries with little more than a smile. I shudder to think what might happen if you tried that today.
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Old 30-11-2017, 15:05   #21
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Re: Lake Ontario south shore - destinations?

Let's take a cruise! Come aboard, pretend it's mid-July and the warm, breezy air embraces you. The sun is setting behind the trees as you stow your limited gear below, I've the grill going, and wifey is below to hand up beverages. You're already feeling welcomed...you're on cruise.

We're going to start in Rochester, which though close I don't know much about. Reports are that the new marina is top notch and so is the restaurant. Actually, you're in Charlotte, it's a good 5km plus to Rochester, and there's nothing to see or do there. If you cross the street to go to the bars (and I mean bars, not pubs) be warned it can be a tough neighborhood; lots of weird stuff (including dead people) happens in Charlotte. So we had a great meal, though the view isn't much and the water is dirty.

The next morning we pick up a light SW breeze headed east. It's only an hour to Irondequoit Bay, which is good because we get hung up on the shifting bar in the channel. After a kind powerboater pulls us off, we head into the bay and pass Marker #5, noting the numerous paint and fiberglass marks on the buoy. There's plenty of water, so long as we stay in the center of the bay, but darn, to either side it's very shallow, muddy and weedy. This stinks, but what the heck, let's make the best of it. We anchor in 10' of weeds in the NW corner and have brunch.

Taking the dingy ashore, we make a short walk west to where LaSalle and later the Brits had a fortress. Nothing but a historical sign now, but dam it's amazing that explorers were right here almost 400 years ago. It's from this point in 1678 that Marquis de Denonville landed to begin his march 40km SE to destroy the Seneca stronghold Ganondagan. What a crappy march that must have been, through mosquito infested swamps and up and over every damned forested hill...and back.

With not much to do now, we walk 400m south to Seabreeze Amusement Park. We're a bit old for that, but what the heck, why not? This is an old-school park, not one of those neo Three Flags types. The wood Jackrabbit roller coaster- still in operation- was the fastest in the world when first opened in 1920. You remember that the guy on CF told you that when he was young and operated the Jackrabbit on a slow night they'd send a guy off alone in the last car to see if he could make it to the front before the ride returned...stupidity of youth. All said, we spend a boatload of money without buying a single beer...but we had a great time.

We return to the boat and have to be careful boarding because of the incessant powerboat wake slamming the boat around. A beer, and then thoughts of dinner, which is rushed because of the beating. It'll slow down when it gets dark, we tell ourselves. But it doesn't. This sucks. When first light hits we're out of here.

The morning sun tries to break the low fog, my God this is beautiful! Is this the same place we were being beaten to death last night? Reality tells us it is, so let's move, and move now.

We chug out the channel on glassine waters. A few early risers are walking the pier, enjoying the pre-sun coolness and quiet. Turning east, we are headed to Pultneyville, a town steeped in local history...

stay tuned for the next leg of our journey...
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Old 30-11-2017, 15:46   #22
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Re: Lake Ontario south shore - destinations?

Cape Vincent is very nice...my kids love it. I like the free docks. You are allowed to anchor inside the breakwall, but the holding is poor. I'm told there are plenty of cars down there too, so you might not get your new rocna back at all!!!

I really like Clayton NY. While its just a few stores and restaurants, its bigger than Cape Vincent. There a pretty nice Big M grocery store nearby (walking distance). There are free town docks in two locations, both of which are busy during high season. But the anchoring in French Creek Bay is excellent and spacious. The water is particularly clean there and excellent for swimming. So Clayton combines a nice town visit with a cottage like setting to enjoy your boat too.

I notice Main Duck has been mentioned several times here. I'd like to add that the prevailing SW winds make the coves on the north side of the island very good for anchoring. This is where you will find the cleanest water on Lake Ontario. The swimming is great. And although everyone mentions the snakes, they really won't bother you at all. My daughter accidentally stepped on a big one and all it did was run away (slither away?) quickly. And the mosquitos can be avoided by simply anchoring a little further out, a trick many boats use in the 1000 islands.

You can see there are many posts here, because LO is a wonderful cruising ground. The only downside to the area is the short sailing season. You could easily spend the entire summer cruising just this one lake. I spent 30 days to go once around, and I felt rushed.

If visiting ports on the lake during July and August, you will not have any trouble finding docks...as everyone who can heads to the 1000 islands. Every yacht club I visited was half empty, with room to spare, often getting the commodore's dock or my choice of many. There are many interesting places to explore on Lake Ontario, but the 1000 islands are a slice of heaven. Its not just the geography, but the festive atmosphere and friendly boaters you will find everywhere.

I hope you give yourself plenty of time for your trip next summer. And if you need a local guide, experienced crew, or just someone to invite down to your boat for a drink...I hope you'll give me a call. I believe we met once when I was selling one of my boats, and we had a most pleasant sail!
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Old 30-11-2017, 16:14   #23
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Re: Lake Ontario south shore - destinations?

Hey wait a minute Tetepare. I failed to grow up in Rochester. Went to Charlotte High in the early seventies. Rochester has lots of fun stuff. Susan B. Anthony House, Frederick Douglas House, Mt Hope Cemetery with some of Rochester's notables. George Eastman House, that's the home of the founder of Eastman Kodak. Highland Park and the conservatory. Eastman Theater and Eastman School of Music. Lower, Middle and Upper Falls. Genesee lighthouse museum. Rochester museum and Science center with Strasenberg Planetarium. Maplewood Rose Garden. Bull's Head with the famous Nick Tahou's and the infamous Garbage Plate. The International Museum of Play. Just a few ideas.
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Old 30-11-2017, 18:32   #24
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Re: Lake Ontario south shore - destinations?

....we continue our journey from Charlotte to Pultneyville, headed east along the southern shore of Lake Ontario. It's quiet as we pass the lakeside McMansions on bluffs, the diesel chugging in constant rhythm with the sput-sput-sput of the exhaust.

With plenty of time and flat seas, I hand up some warm oatmeal. The ladies awaken soon after, and the aroma of piping hot coffee preceeds delivery to the cockpit.

"Why didn't we tour Rochester?" you ask. "30YL said there's some cool stuff there..." Well, I reply, in the big picture, not really. There's history stuffed in old landlocked homes, but if you want to see the real history of the area we'd head well south, the the Finger Lakes towns along the canal. Rochester is a third rate city; there's nothing you can't find in Baltimore or Minneapolis. The stories might be slightly different, but it's like any other has-been rust belt city.

We motor along the southern coast, an almost steady stream of small lakeside homes. We pass Ginna nuke plant, imposing like something from the 1970s anti-Soviet propaganda.

Reaching Pultneyville, your host recounts the St. Pete, a coal schooner sunk off Pultneyville in 1898. She'd been headed west, almost making the western shore, when a severe storm blew in from the west. The skipper turned her about, trying to outrun the storm, and she was tracked the whole way by shoreside observers who'd seen her go past, then turn tail. She went down off Pultneyville, with the Captain surviving, and went undiscovered until 1976.

We reach the dragon's teeth of the Pultneyville harbor, and you remark how glad you are that we didn't arrive in a Norwester, which would have largely concealed the jagged stones forming a very low breakwater. We enter this shallow creek, and land on a dock, unsure of welcome.

But P'villers are welcoming, and as muddy and weedy as the harbor is, we find the few local boaters to be friendly. There's no market, but across the street is The Pickle, a friendly sub shop with accessories and even a pub upstairs! It ain't Kingston, but it's an interesting stop for the scrapbook.

It's an early night in, beating the skeeters. Tomorrow is a big day- Sodus.
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Old 30-11-2017, 18:53   #25
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Re: Lake Ontario south shore - destinations?

We depart P'ville at sunup, again under power. There's a bit of a southerly, but not enough to drive us at any speed. It's silent, and peaceful. The cockpit coffee aroma fills the belowdecks as well as the area behind the dodger. Despite being July, we're in fleece.

We slowly pass shoreline cottages, and those high upon bluffs. Cosmopolitan money chases us, as we head a couple klicks offshore. We kill the motor and ghost along at 2.5 knots, in no great hurry despite a rather lack of occular stimulation. We cross several stone shoals, visible only when the depth is under three meters, and stare at the head-sized stones that comprise the bottom.

Hours later, we're still 5km out of Sodus. Here, around the 100 foot mark, your host offers that in this area he'd marked on the fishfinder a schooner that stood upright. However, noted wreck explorer Jim Kennard claims he covered the area with side-scan sonar and found nothing. Was there nothing? Or is Mr. Kennard keeping this one quiet?

We approach the Sodus light, clearly standing out with the giant bluffs in the background. It's a good thing we're doing this in daylight; your host offers that on a crossing some years ago he couldn't spot the light, or lighthouse, until 10km out due to light pollution, despite knowing exactly where the light is.

Go take a break. We're headed into Sodus, and it's going to be a very long weekend...
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Old 01-12-2017, 05:06   #26
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Re: Lake Ontario south shore - destinations?

Quote:
Originally Posted by taxwizz View Post
But, if coming from Canada.......
DO NOT forget to check in at Customs and Immigration in Oswego.
There is a video phone check in at Sackett's Harbor and another at Oswego at the marina on the eastside of the river.

Quote:
Dave Lochner left out some of the historical significance of Oswego if you are a history buff. Oswego was a major shipbuilding center and supplied many warships for the War of 1812 and other merchant vessels. It was also the northern terminus of the Underground Railroad. It was here many escaped slaves were transported to Canada by benevolent shipowners and captains. It is also the only entrance to the Erie Canal from Lake Ontario.
Yes there is a lot of history in Oswego and a College. Visit Fort Ontario high on the east side bluffs to learn more. Then there is the seldom spoken of role of Oswego during prohibition.
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Old 23-07-2022, 10:46   #27
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Re: Lake Ontario south shore - destinations?

Hah! Exactly the information I was looking for! Thanks Dave!
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