life in the islands, but they were glad to return to the
cornucopia of fresh vegetables, meats, Costco, West
Marine, and Home Depot.
At this point the family decided on the next phase of
their voyage—they wanted to spend the summer and
fall cruising north to the Great Lakes, crossing through
Canada into the St. Lawrence Seaway, and visiting
Canada’s Maritime Provinces before heading back
south. They were sure the variety of cruising conditions
they would encounter on this voyage would adequately
expose them to all possible situations at sea.
NEW YORK, THE HUDSON,
AND THE ERIE CANAL
The Besemers left St. Augustine, Florida, bound for
New York on an 800nm offshore run. David spent
considerable time evaluating the weather window and it
Academy at West Point. The town of Waterford, New
York, at the entrance to the Erie Canal was the highlight
of the Hudson for the Besemer family.
Left: Three@Sea and crew spend the night listening to crickets while moored to a lock wall in a sleepy, rural area of Ontario,
Canada, along the Trent-Severn Waterway. Right: Nantucket’s traditional gray-shingled homes bear quiet witness to the
proved to be excellent for the entire 111-hour trip.
On April 26, 2009, they arrived in New York Harbor at
night, keeping a careful watch for commercial traffic and
working to distinguish navigational aids from thousands
of shore lights. They tied up at the 79th Street Boat Basin,
but after a couple of nights exposed to the wash of
passing traffic, they picked up a mooring ball. “It was a bit
less convenient because of the dinghy ride, but where else
can you stay in Manhattan for $30 a day?” said David.
After five days visiting friends and family, it was time
to head north on the Hudson for the next leg of their
journey, which would take them through the Erie Canal
and into the Great Lakes. The objectives of this phase
of the trip were to experience locks, visit David’s family
home on Harsens Island, Michigan, and see the North
Channel and Georgian Bay of Canada.
For the next two days, they cruised up the Hudson
River and enjoyed the colors of spring foliage, the
impressive estates, and the walls of the U.S. Military
THE NORTH CHANNEL AND BEYOND
The next phase of their voyage took them to the
North Channel and Georgian Bay. After a 40-hour
voyage up Lake Huron in stormy weather and a stop
at Mackinac Island, they cleared Canadian customs in
Little Current, located on Manitoulin Island, is
the crossroads of the North Channel. Besides having
everything a cruiser needs within a short walk from the
town dock, it is also home of the Little Current Yacht
Club, located in an upstairs room of the Anchor Inn.
Roy Eaton, commodore of the club, hosts a cruisers’ net
each morning at 9 a.m. on VHF Channel 74, which is
an excellent source of cruising news, weather, and up-to-the-minute commentary on the North Channel. He
had read about the Besemers’ voyage on the Internet
and asked Ayla to broadcast her “Save Our Seas”
presentation over the air.