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Schenectady Yacht Club, Rexford, NY 6/8/2019
St. Johnsville Municipal Marina, St. Johnsville, NY 6/9/2019
Ess-Kay Yard, Brewerton, NY 6/10-11/2019
Schenectady Yacht Club
(Troy Federal Lock 1 – Erie Lock 7)
It was a beautiful morning and we cast off Shady Harbor at 7am. We entered our first lock (Troy Federal Lock)at 9:30am. It was a quick two miles to the Waterford Visitors Center on the Erie Canal where we tied up for 45 minutes until the first lock on the Erie would take us. The first five locks are very close together and you do them one right after the other since there is no where to dock or tie off in between the five locks. We ended up locking thru all five all alone and it only took us about 1 ½ hours to get thru all five. It was another pinch me moment locking thru on the Erie Canal.
We did one more lock (7 locks total for the day)and then slipped at the Schenectady Yacht Club. Dockmaster was great! The marina is right off the canal and was nice and quiet. We met a couple from Cape Cod, Peter and Sue on Osprey. They are doing the Triangle Loop (look it up ;) and were fun to talk about locking thru for the day. After dinner, we pulled our little turquoise bow chairs out on the front of Bella and enjoyed the Erie Canal and a gorgeous sunset.
St. Johnsville Marina (Erie Locks 8-15)
Another breathtaking morning on the Erie Canal. Water is like glass and the scenery is phenomonal. The Locks have been open upon our approach and the Lockmasters are great and often call ahead to the next lock for us. We are cruising at between 8-9 miles an hour between locks and just enjoying the beauty around us. The water is so flat that I made a full breakfast while underway. Thanks Grahams for the awesome eggs! They have a chickens (hens) and have fresh eggs daily. We arrived around 2:30pm and did our usual “off the boat” walk, but someone forgot their phone, so no pics from downtown St. Johnsville, which reminded us both of Hooterville, but on the water. Great little marina and town on the Erie Canal.
Lock 17 on the Erie Canal. The lock lifts every passing vessel an astounding 40.5 feet, replacing four locks on the old canal by just one. Construction on this lock was challenging. Design elements called for a unique feature, a water saving side pool which would allow about half of water from a locking to be reused on the next locking. Couple this extra feature with its massive size, the need to build it in solid rock, and keep the old Erie Canal open, which this was built directly on top of, required massive engineering. This design included a guillotine style lower gate and a concrete arch of which the boats pass under -- the only implementation of such a design along the canal system.
(Erie Locks 16-22)
Monday morning, Plan A was to cruise the Erie Canal another 4 locks and then tie up at a lock wall for the overnight since the weather wasn’t suppose to be the best Monday afternoon and by then we’d be tied up. By the time we got thru the fourth lock for the day it was only 12:30pm and Tom (aka Wallace the Weather Bear) took a look at the forecast, we conferred and decided to keep moving and try to make it to Brewerton another 50 miles and across Lake Oneida, since the forecast was for moderate rain and very little wind. We figured we wouldn’t melt in the rain in the locks and besides we’d rather be in a marina with power and water than on a wall for two days without waiting for crumby weather to pass.
The locks went fine and got thru the three of them by 4:30pm. I called the Ess-Kay Yard (marina) in Brewerton and they had room for us. All we had to do was get across the lake, which we thought would be calm and a piece of cake, even though it was raining. Not so much. By the time we got to the middle of the lake we had 2-3 footers. I couldn’t believe it. I thought I’d left that behind on the Atlantic.
We pushed thru and got to the marina by 5:40pm. Kim the dockmaster helped us put on fuel and get tied up. The wind was blowing and there was a nasty under current so docking both times was a bit challenging. By the time we got in our slip it was 7pm and we were wet, tired, hungry and ready for bed. We had leftovers and called it an early night.
Today, Tuesday we’ll stay in the marina. It’s still not nice out. The wind is blowing and it’s drizzling. Ess-Kay is a full-service marina, so we talked to them and they’ll be changing our transmission fluid again either today or tomorrow and we’ll get some planning done for Canada, provision and hopefully I’ll get Tom to work on his Fire Island blog. Fingers crossed!
Tom & Sue Slightam
Read along as we circumnavigate the eastern half of the United States and southern Canada on the Great Loop on our boat BELLA, a Cruiser 460 Express.