Monday, June 19, 2017

Traveling the Erie Canal - The Flight of Five +1

Day 55 … Wednesday, June 14, 2017 …  20.9 miles traveled/ 4 hours, 40 minutes
Waterford Visitor Center, Waterford, NY to the Village of Scotia Municipal Docks, Scotia, NY
Lab Partners leaving a lock
Thanks for the pic Kia Mae

We start the Erie canal today, but first … our buddy boats and us need to pump out (remove waste from our holding tanks). Each boat moves up to the pump out station, pumps out, moves to a wall by the lock entrance. 4 of us end up being pumped out and ready when the lock opens back up. Others have already left before us.
The FLIGHT OF FIVE … 5 locks raising us 169’ in less than 2 miles. Once you start the Flight of Five, you must finish. NO stopping allowed in between. We were the 4th boat of 4 to enter and to exit each lock.
the bridge height is 21' or more. We are 19'10" without lowering our radar mast

one of the working canal barges

section of the original aqua duct 

leaving a lock after it raised us 23' so we could go past a dam
sure cannot go up the dam

Heaven to Betsy, Kia Mae and Bad Habit entering a lock

Rip drives the boat in and eases her over to the wall and I am to catch a rope or pipe depending on what the lock has to hold onto. These 5 are all the same, so you start to get the hang of it. Rip and I have headsets on so we can talk to each other. He tells me which rope or pipe he wants me to get and I tell him when I have it so he can line up the boat, put her in neutral and then run down from the fly bridge to catch another line to keep us by the wall.
here we are in a lock starting to raise us up

here - almost up to the top
just able to start seeing what is around us now

waiting for the doors to open to go out a lock

boats enter the lock on the left to avoid the dam on the right!

another original section of the old Erie Canal system

you never know what you will see

There is turbulence when the lock starts to fill and it or wind can move the boat about. You must stay by the wall and not let the bow or stern drift out. In theory, it is easy and people do it all the time, but each lock and each trip thru is different.

It is funny when you come up and are at eye level with the top of the lock.

The Flight of Five is complete and we all did pretty well! Saying this was nerve racking might be a stretch, but it certainly gets your attention.

1 More lock to go before we stop for the day. This time isn’t perfect. Rip does great easing us in and I do grab a line well … but then all of a sudden Cally is off the flybrige and on deck. NOT where we want her as we need all concentration on holding the ropes/pipe. Rip hold both while I get her back up on the flybridge and get her gate closed again. Not sure how the gate became unsnapped at the top or how she went over it … but she did it. I race back to re-grab my hold point and we finish.
down in a lock coming up

in the Erie you do not have to stop the engine ... so lots of exhaust until you are up higher

it's a little intimidating ... easier each time
neat bridge

raised up and ready to exit

Another boat, Heavens to Betsy, ahead of us didn’t fare well in this lock. Betsy accidentally put her line around a rope to ride up, not a pipe. The pipes are what you put a line around as they are attached at 2 both ends. The ropes that hang down are only attached at the top with a small weight at the bottom. Their boat stern swings out into the middle of the lock and somehow Steve is able to maneuver (muscle) the boat back to the wall. We couldn’t see how he did it with a boat in-between us, but great job Steve!! Unfortunately, we heard later Betsy fell when they were docking … they had stopped at the first marina after this lock. They waited there for Betsy to feel better before moving on. We hope they catch up and we can see them again soon.

Just some of the piled up debris caught and not floating down the river at us

while trees floating or snagged at a buoy

quite scenic
 We went a little farther to Scotia, the dock is at a very nice and rather large park. There are trails, ball fields, vast picnic area with lots of grills & trash cans, plus a grass amphitheater. There are supposed to be free concerts at here on Wednesday nights. It’s Wednesday … but, they start next week with … Taylor Hicks, from American Idol.

This is also the home of the US Ski Show Team. They practice on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Alas, we will leave in the am and miss the show. Bummer. That would have been fun.

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