Monday, May 12, 2014

Sunday, May 11, 2014 Day One on the Erie Canal

Happy Mother's Day to all you wonderful ladies out there!

power-cat ready to exit lock #2
power-cat in lock #2
We got up bright and early to be ready for the 7:00 am lock-through at Lock 2 in Waterford.  It's very close to where we tied up for the night and we can see the gates when they open. There are 2 other sailboats, Meridian and Orial C, as well as a power-cat that will be locking with us.  The cat took off the floating dock first, HHII next, then Meridian and finally Orial C.  It felt strange trying to get into the groove of maneuvering the locks again!  Locks 2-6, known as the 'Flight of Five' are so close together...a total of 1.5 miles...that as soon as we passed out of one lock, we are ready to enter the next.  It's going to be a busy day because the  'Flight of Five' takes 2 hours and we are going through a total of 9 locks,  #2-10!   After we complete the first 5 locks, the power-cat took off and we never saw him again...that put us in the lead.
approaching guard gate after the Flight
power-cat going thru guard gate
HHII going thru guard gate

Locking went pretty smooth today...considering the high wind gusts of up to 25 mph...until we got to lock 8 at Scotia.  Our handheld wasn't working properly and when I called the lock tender, the line was out of order! Great, how can that be?  I finally called lock 7 to get the new lock 8 number.
interesting bridge
Apparently the lock got a new number last year and they never changed it in the Erie Canal pamphlet that is given to all boaters when they purchase their canal pass!  As soon as we got the green light, we proceeded toward the opening.  The water was so turbulent because the dam next to the lock had all of its gates opened.  Once our boats rose to the top, the lock tender from lock 9 came over and talked to us.  He told us to slow down getting to his lock...5 miles west.  He wanted to drive to his lock and have time to lower 2-3 gates on his dam.  If he doesn't do this, he said the current is flowing so swift that our 3 sailboats would never be able to motor into his lock!!!!  Yikes!  We still got to lock 9 before the tender was ready and we had to wait 20 minutes.  This lock was the worst approach of the day!!  There was a construction barge tied up along the immediate north wall outside the lock opening.  Chuck really had to power down to get us past the barge becasue of the 'still swift' side current!  All 3 sailboats made it safely into lock 9 but we felt like we were white-water-rafting to get there!  Once locked through, our next challenge is to get to lock 10 by 4:40.  the locks are open from 7-5 and supposedly boats must be at the lock 20 minutes before closing.   We can make that but the 2 C&C's didn't think they could.  I called and spoke to the lock tender and he said he would wait for us because there's no place to stay between locks 8-10.  As it turned out we all got to the lock with plenty of time to spare.

    Riverlink Park
What a long and tiring day!  All 3 boats were ready to call it a day after 37.5 miles and 9 lockings. We tied up to the wall at Riverlink Park at Amsterdam, NY.  Their floating docks aren't in yet and the facilities aren't open but none of us care.   The wall is a great height and it has nice rubber bumpers running the entire length.  The only down side to staying here is that Amtrak runs right beside the park and is very loud and noisy. Once I fell asleep, I didn't hear a thing!!  Early to bed....

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