Story and Photos by: Robert Stopper, Lyons
It’s a long ways from South Africa to Lyons, NY on the Erie Canal, and for Wayne and Allison Sollars aboard BLUE HEELER, arrival in Lyons was the beginning of a restful and perfect two evening stopover- they left South Africa in February and arrived in Lyons on July 10- they have been at sea for four and one half years!
|Wayne & Allison Sollars aboard the Blue Heeler|
Aboard BLUE HEELER, a Hallberg Rassy HR39, Wayne and Allison left their homeport of Melbourne, Australia in January 2011, seeking adventure, excitement, and new knowledge of the world. They have not been disappointed and have visited many faraway places including Indonesia, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Madagascar, South Africa, The Caribbean, and Bermuda, and now, the USA.
At the moment, Wayne and Allison are navigating the American Great Loop. Lucky for many of us, especially in Wayne County, they have chosen to experience first- hand the many communities along the Historic Erie Canal.
While in Lyons, they visited stores and especially enjoyed shopping at TOPS Friendly Markets. They walked and biked the community and surrounding area. They also were the first tourists to bike a recently composed and soon to be released trail and tour for the Lyons area: Erie Canal and Cobblestone Bike Tour- Lyons, NY, composed by avid bikers Glen and Joan Wallis. They left the dock, headed west, with freshly picked Peppermint Sprigs and a sample of Peppermint Oil.
Why the name BLUE HEELER? According to Allison, “Several years ago when we were in the process of purchasing this boat, our long time pet, a Blue Heeler, passed away. Naturally we were devastated. We decided to name the boat in memory and honor of our pet”.
Four and one half years is a long time at sea, and being confined to a small space for over a month while on the ocean with no visible land might seem even longer and quite boring, but according to Wayne, “Such is not the case. We are very busy planning, anticipating the unexpected, and caring for the boat. Sleeping patterns change. You rely on the electronics, but you also study and watch the weather and the sky. We are both avid readers. And suddenly, you see land again”!
On behalf of Lyons and all of Wayne County, thanks for choosing the Erie Canal as part of your Great Loop adventure. Our special wish is that you also celebrate another 33 years together “Sailing through the Sea of Marriage”. Wonderful indeed!