The Erie Canal begins at the junction with the Champlain Canal at Waterford, near the Federal Lock at Troy and runs west some 342 miles to the Niagara River near Buffalo. The Canal varies in character. Much of the eastern canal follows wide rivers, and much of the western canal is hand dug into a hillside with small picturesque towns. There are 34 locks and 15 lift bridges. We will be taking only the Eastern Erie Canal up to Lock 23 and then follow the Oswego Canal to enter into Lake Ontario.
Left at 8:00 and were in the first lock of the flight with 5 other boats, 3 which were loopers and 2 other Canadian sailboats, and a 50 foot power boat.
It was tight quarters and several of the boats were using thrusters in the lock to keep them against the wall, which made it difficult for some of us. There was a delay in this lock as several of the boats hadn’t bought their lock passes, so we didn’t get out of it until almost 9:00. Some of the locks had both ropes and cables, where you tied off mid ship on the cable, whereas others only had ropes. The ones with ropes were a little more difficult to hold tight to the wall as the wind was gusting at 20-30 knots. We were though Lock 6 at 10:40, we had only gone 2.2 miles in the 5 locks but had risen 169 feet in elevation. And made it through Lock 7 by 12:20.
Lock 8 at 2:10, Lock 9 at 3:10 and Lock 10 at 4:10. At this point we were exhausted from holding ropes – so called it quits and tied up at the Amsterdam River link Park at 4:30.
We met loopers, David and Claudia on Stillwater II, who had arrived earlier in the day.
Andy and I went to the restaurant at the marina for supper and met some of the Amsterdam Power Squadron members who were having a meeting. Should sleep well tonight, although there is a rail line very close to us- not sure how often the trains run. The wind is still gusting- so glad we are tied up securely.
Well I found out that through the night, trains come by about every hour and a half, and after 6 a.m. they come about every 20 minutes. We left the marina in Amsterdam at 7:40 and were through Lock 11 by 8:05.
This was a rope only lock and because we were by ourselves we went 2/3 of the way in and selected 2 ropes. We told the lock master about how difficult we had found it yesterday and he told us that with high winds he would never have allowed 6 boats in together.
We were through Tribes Hill lock 12 at 8:55, which was a rope and pipe lock. At about 9:20 a storm was blowing through with rain, so we tied up to a wall in the town of Fonda for about 40 minutes to let the storm pass, this is where the Henry Fonda clan is from. We made it through the Randal Lock 13 at 10:58. We continued down the Mohawk River and went through Canajoharie Lock 14 at 12:14. We were still locking alone, however the wind was gusting quite strongly and holding the ropes was becoming a chore. We decided to only do one more. On the approach to Lock 15, we saw this bridge was all cocooned up maybe it didn’t like the wind either!
We made it through Fort Plain Lock 15 by 12:50 and had contemplated tying up to the East side of the lock but the wind was brutal, so we continued on.
There was supposed to be a dock at mile 69.7, but it wasn’t there, so Andy called the St. Johnsville municipal marina.
We tied up there at 1:30. In 6 hours today we went a total of 31 miles it’s slow going in the Erie Canal!
An hour or two later, David and Claudia from Stillwater II joined us. We had docktails together after 5.
In the evening, a couple came and turned on the lighthouse which is nearby, which is dedicated to Bernie who was the harbour master here for many years.
I saw these wild flower and included them as they were purple.
View of the river at 5:45– calm with some fog, as it is only 42F here.
We are about a mile and ½ from the next lock, which we will tackle this morning, and then only 2 more ( one is a 40 foot lift and the other 20 ) today as our destination is Ilion.