Photo by Kerry Batdorf
In The Shade at the Pittsford Dock
July 16, 2007
Joined the Grand Canal Journey of the Lois at Pittsford ,NY, driving up from my home port of Kingston, NY. As I approach the docks, a flurry of activity is happening as a van of fresh supplies and fresh volunteers from the museum has also just arrived. I immediately join in to unload before any introductions- not sure if the crew just thinks I am a Pittsford good Samaritan.
I nod to 1st Mate Erick who was busy with the media frenzy of the Lois- four Rochester TV stations and several area papers each wanted either an interview or a sound bite- I don't disturb him from his labors since public relations and community partnerships are the key to a successful voyage like this.
The Town and Village of Pittsford has certainly shown graciousness and cooperation in organizing this port visit, rolling out the red carpet for the Lois McClure and her crew. Every want and need seems to be answered in a flash by the Town pf Pittsford Recreation Supervisor Flo Dorsey and her assistant, Matt Fowler.
The waterfront has been revitalized into a beautifully landscaped Canal Park on both sides of the canal. Pittsford is an affluent suburb of Rochester.
The crew sets about bringing aboard the supplies and by now, some of the crew assume I must be a new male arrival- Adam and Bill have rejoined after two weeks off. LCMM Lab tech intern, Molly is joining as well, but she has come in the weekly support van from Vermont. Joining as well is Erick's daughter Emily for the next part of this adventure.
After the crowds along the shore thin down, Molly and I are given our safety orientation by Erick, and the Ship's purser Kathleen gives our orientation on the rations, the galley, and KP instructions.
The tent for the LCMM's Ship's Store had to be stocked so a caravan of crates begins to surface from below deck. It passed the vital ice supply which goes down into the galley hold.
After the set up, ESL Bank provided a sumptuous catered meal of prime rib, chicken, fish, greens and more, with sinful dark chocolate covered strawberries for dessert. This port is certainly spoiling us. A few of us settle down for the night on deck.
July 17, 2007
Morning begins on deck with the words of 1st Mate saying "that's OK, they have to get up anyway." Morning is abuzz with taking the schooner back to the 1860's - hiding any modern convenience or anachronisms, making things shipshape and finishing setup of the ship's store.
Ducks float in stillness on this quiet morning more like decoys than animate objects. From 9 to 12, a group of private tours go through, and then at noon we open to the public, before closing at 6 PM, over 1050 people will visit the ship. Erick will also do an evening lecture. The evening seems damp, so I encamp below in the cargo hold for the evening.
July 18th, 2007
Another 1150 visitors come aboard from 10 Am to 6 PM and after my initial day on the ship and intro yesterday, I have settled into the shipboard routine of life aboard the Lois McClure and do interpretation for the public all the bustling day. We meet many enthusiastic Erie Canal fans, and tell them about the large boulders in the cargo hold that everyone is curious about, and explain common cargo, modern ballast, low bridges and how high Lois sits in the water with our flat bottom.
The Lois started her journey to Pittsford from Vermont, a few weeks ago. It so happens that Pittsford, NY was named by War of 1812 Colonel Caleb Hopkins after his home town in Vermont. It just so happens that the Schooner Lois McClure's namesake and benefactress went to college here at Nazareth College. As so, Pittsford's simpatico relationship continued with our vessel as the town opened itself up for our visit. The next ten days of my billet aboard cannot help but be filled with new experiences.