Thursday, 18 September 2014

Erie Canal

We have completed the trip through the Erie Canal!

September 6th, we are finally in the Erie Canal system. Originally built in 1817 to 1825, it had a depth of only 4 feet, was only 40 feet wide and had 83 locks. Horses or mules would walk beside on a towpath and pull the canal boats along.   Today the Canal is managed to a minimum depth of 12 feet, 123 feet wide and many of the locks have been eliminated. It now transverses 35 locks from 565 feet above sea level at the Niagara River to the Hudson River just north of New York City. We have found this to be a hidden jewel. The scenery is beautiful the towns welcoming and the lock and bridge masters pleasant and helpful.
Exiting locks 34 & 35 at Lockport. This is a staircase lock where one lock drops you down into the next for a total of 49 feet.

It pays to buy the better boat hook. Yep, used it once and it's gone. Well we have a replacement handle now! 
 Early morning on the canal

 Friends George and Cindy were visited by their friend Lubo at Bridgeport. We enjoyed the antique car show and antique market. Lubo found a solid brass lamp which he says is perfect for his trawler back home in Midland. We find a bargain on a beautiful nautical blanket and a game that we spend hours playing.

Sweet ride ..this is a Corsair 95. 

 Sept 7th we spend the night at a free dock in Holley. These signs are posted at many of the towns along the way. Holley is a beautiful stop with a lovely park complete with a waterfall just below the canal. Bike and walking paths go for miles along the canal and we are greeted with waves and shouts of “where are you headed?

Copper Penny and R Kalliste’ at Holley.
Paul, Paula & Hannah biking at Holley's park. Waterfall in the background.

 Fairport lift bridge is in the Guinness Book of Records for several reasons. One end is higher than the other, it is built on a slant and no two angles on the entire bridge are the same.

 Free docks are found everywhere along the Canal. This night we spend beside a grave yard. I was a quiet night!

Heading out into Lake Oneida

 Having a pilot house is really nice when it's cool or raining outside. Here we are crossing Lake Oneida and its a bit cool this morning.

Trimaran looks almost too wide for the lock!
We have to be quick to get a picture as she moves past us fast! Someone on board asks us where we are from and when we say Erieau he yells back ..."Hey, I'm from Rondeau!"
And she's gone

Paul braves our 1st cold and rainy day.

The weather has been terrific so far but today, not so much. I venture out from the pilot house occasionally to offer tea, coffee and a break.

Our friends Cindy and George on Copper Penny just happen to have an extra roll of tinted plastic from Sailrite for making dodgers and side curtains. They generously offer it to us and Cindy and I spend the evening sewing zippers into the tops of 3 panels that we will ultimately finish with canvas and additional zippers. (This was one of the projects that we did not have time to even think about) It makes a world of difference! We now have a very comfortable cockpit!

Hannah staying warm! 

Fog - Thank goodness for radar, depth sounder and chart plotter!

Finally got some pictures in one of the locks. The ropes are wet and slimy so our work gloves come in handy!

I use a boat hook to fend off the wall and Paul uses one of the baseball bats donated by our friends Dack and Wanda.   

Paul needs to keep the dingy from hitting the wall.

Some of the locks have cables the you attach a line to while most others have ropes that hang down.

We have seen some beautiful scenery. 

All was going great...then there was a glitch. There are guard gates all along the canal that are  lowered in the event of a lock failing to prevent flooding further down the canal. Guard gate 2 is the only gate that is always closed. You need to radio ahead to have it raised so you can go through. Our luck...there is a problem and the gate will only raise to 12 feet 5 inches. We would likely have been OK as we are 12 feet 2 inches. Our friends were slightly higher with their wind generator blades. 

We decide to take a break, enjoy the park setting and stay the night while the technicians work on fixing the gate.

More boats join us in the wait for the gate to open.

The next day the gate is still stuck however we now have 13 feet. George and Cindy have removed their wind generator and we decide to move on.

Copper Penny just clears the gate.

R Kalliste's radar dome slips under the door...phew!!!

Mast up, sails on! We are a sailboat again!

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