We received a few inquiries about how we are faring in the Erie Canal, so we apologize for the delay in this post. After a full day of locks we were just too tired to write!
Leaving Waterford, NY the first day, Captain Craig was nervous for Joy Girl as we heard horror stories of out-of-control boats ramming others, hull scratches from the lock walls, locks breaking, etc. But we’ve had great neighbor boats, the locks are not too turbulent so it’s fairly easy to keep Joy Girl steady, and things have run smoothly.
Here’s the drill: we drive through the narrow lock gate, secure Joy Girl by either grabbing a line that drops down from the top or wrapping a line around a cable that extends the height of the wall, then hang on, keeping the boat near the wall. The lock then slowly fills with water and raises Joy Girl. The tallest lock lifted us up 40 feet.
One afternoon – while Niki took a nap out of sheer exhaustion – Craig toured the hundred year old Lock #14 (the canal was begun in 1817). The very friendly and informative lock master named Chris took him on an extensive tour of the lock’s inner workings and mechanisms. While they were talking, a tug boat came into the lock and, under careful supervision, Craig was allowed to open the valves and run the lock. Many captains go through the locks but not many are privileged to operate them!
We have been through 23 locks so far…whew! Since First Mate Niki does most of the line handling, she is now pooped (although not too pooped to party!)
About the canal itself…it’s pretty, filled with Cottonwoods and deciduous trees. But if I am brutally honest, I was spoiled by the East Coast. After a day of travel, it was wonderful to visit world-class cities like Charleston, Annapolis and New York City. Upstate New York is a quieter, country atmosphere and, unfortunately, there is not a lot of money or industry here anymore and the towns are struggling.
We have nine more locks to go before we arrive in Oswego, NY, located on Lake Ontario and the end of the New York state canal system for us. For now, we are taking a much needed three day break in Brewerton, NY in a sweet marina called Ess-Kay Yards.
Tomorrow, we do not travel…ahhhhh!