In this Section:
UPDATE #10 06/08/06 - 06/14/06
#10 06/08/06 through
period 4/1 thru 6/07 has been covered in Updates 1 through 9.
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06/08/06 THURSDAY Waterford, NY
Today is yet another day in Waterford, NY.
We are still waiting for a break in the weather and news that the
Champlain Canal Waterway has dropped the water levels enough for us to pass
under the bridges. With all the
rain lately, both the Erie Canal and the Champlain Canal have been water
swollen resulting in excessive currents, turbulence, and debris.
Many of the locks on the Erie Canal have experienced closures due to
these problems. I must say that
if we have to take a delay, this is really a wonderful place to have it
happen. The people are wonderful
and the local facilities are great.
Donna and Judy were begging for their “Wal-Mart Fix”.
After another delicious breakfast at Don & Paul’s Restaurant, we
boarded the city bus to Troy and Latham.
Now for today’s history lesson.
Most of you are very familiar with the term “Uncle Sam”, but how
many of you know its derivation and origin?
Well, perhaps it’s time you knew.
“Uncle Sam” Wilson, a local meat packer during the war of 1812,
stamped beef with his initials: “ US Beef.”
Later, a caricature of Sam Wilson came to personify the United States.
His grave is in Troy’s Oakwood Cemetery.
A large statue commemorates this important icon.
our return from the “shopping spree”, we enjoyed an evening aboard “Skinwalker”,
hosted by Lynn and Wayne. Lynn
made homemade pizza from scratch.
Still no change with the conditions upstream on the Erie Canal or the
Champlain Canal. We have conceded
that we must re-arrange our plan and routing.
We will cancel the Champlain Canal, Lake Champlain, and the Richelieu
Canal. We will now plan on
traveling the Erie Canal for about 160 miles to Three Rivers, thence, via the
Oswego Canal to Lake Ontario. We
are planning on adding a visit to the “Thousand Islands” region of New
York on the south side and Ontario, Canada on the north side of the St.
Lawrence River. This re-route
should provide us with a wonderful diversion from our original plan.
The lineup of waiting boats at Waterford Visitors Center was
The local Laundromat was clean and nice.
Judy and Donna had the detail.
Judy and Donna scrubbed tirelessly on AMARSE.
She looks so nice all clean and shiny.
Wayne and Lynn joined us, along with a couple of their friends, Joe and
Dolly from “Gypsy”, for snacks and cocktails on the sundeck.
SATURDAY Waterford, NY to
west side of Lock 8
Finally, it seemed to time to depart for points west.
The forecast was for improving weather, although, a stiff breeze and
overcast skies might prevail. We
cast off the Waterford docks at 9 am and entered Lock #2 for the first of the
“Flight of Five”. These are a
series of locks in fairly quick succession that lift the boats some 165 feet
into the Mohawk River portion of the Erie Canal.
As we exited the first lock, the showers returned and the wind picked
up. This made for much more
difficult handling of the boat and rather uncomfortable for the deck crew.
A stop at the Schenectady Yacht Club was needed to give us the needed
fuel for our advance westbound. A
rather steep price limited us to only 100 gallons.
We will be able to get more at a lower price in a couple of days.
The winds were very stiff and the current caused turbulence at the lock
openings that made for altogether too much tension.
the waterway, there are quite a few of these floodgates that are lowered to
control the flow of the water through the canals.
Some are only raised when a boat needs to pass and serve to redirect
the water flow through the spillways.
Had I anticipated these lousy conditions, we would have remained in
Waterford for a couple more days. As
we exited Lock #8, the lockmaster warned us of deteriorating conditions at the
next lock. Other boats had found
wind and turbulence conditions exceeding those boat and crew capabilities.
With our number 1 rule that “Nobody Gets Hurt” guiding our
thoughts, we opted to tie up to the long wall just west of Lock 8.
Here, we would get some shelter from the brisk winds.
It was already 4 pm and we had only traveled 23.4 miles today.
In as much as the wind made barbeque impossible, I fixed this chilled
and tired crew some Clam Chowder. I
believe it was the best that I have ever made and the gals agreed that they
had never had better. Sleep was
welcome and came easily. Temperatures
would drop into the 40’s tonight.
SUNDAY Lock 8
to Canajoharie, NY
The morning showed 50 degrees and winds of 10 to 15 miles per hour
under overcast skies. The
forecast was for much of the same. It
seemed much better that yesterday for our start.
At 7 am, we headed out. Much
to our dismay, the winds began to increase again above the forecast level.
Locks #9 and #10 were absolutely brutal with these winds, debris, and
We modified our technique somewhat to put both Donna and Judy on the
bowline until it was secured to the cleat while I maneuvered with power.
Judy would then secure the stern line.
I would then join Donna on the bow to help tend the taut lines.
As Judy would put it, “What a Bear.”
By 1:30 pm, we had traveled through 5 more locks and only
about 30 miles. We decided
to take the dock at Canajoharie, NY. It
was a welcome respite for these weary travelers.
We went to lunch at a local café.
Our Haddock fish dinners weren’t as good as we had hoped for.
We walked around the little town a bit and generally enjoyed our visit.
NY to Utica, NY
Thank goodness, the weather has finally come around.
We were delighted to have calm conditions and 56-degree temperatures.
Without the wind and current problems, the locking operations went
smoothly and easily. It is
absolutely amazing “what a difference a day makes”.
I think Donna was especially pleased to see that locking could be an
Locks 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, and 19, as well as several overhead
floodgates, were all traversed with ease and joy.
Had I anticipated that the two previous days would have been so
difficult, we would have been just departing Waterford today.
Oh well, lessons learned.
Just prior to entering one of the locks, we passed under an active
railroad bridge. The noise was
The dock at Utica was quite nice.
We found a wonderful, wonderful restaurant called Delmonico’s
Steakhouse. They specialize in
Italian and Steak dishes. WOW!!
I savored the huge piece of Lasagna while Judy and Donna selected
wonderful sirloin steaks with mushroom sauce and Garlic potatoes.
After a 1.5 liter bottle of Chianti, we had a nice glow.
If you travel this way, I can definitely recommend this restaurant and
location. It’s so nice to be
relaxed and peaceful again. We
have now completed almost 100 miles of the Erie Canal.
Lee and Katie from “Good-Bye Joe” docked right in front of us and
we enjoyed chatting with them again.
TUESDAY Utica, NY to
Sylvan Beach, NY
We were off the dock at 7:15 am this morning.
30 minutes later, we had completed the lift in Lock #20.
Some of the lock walls are quite high and their surfaces are quite
next lock is the first in the Erie Canal to lower the boats.
From this one on, all the locks would be going down until we reach Lake
Ontario and on into Canada. Locks
21 and 22 went very smoothly. A
lock down is generally easier that a lifting lock because the water is rushing
out and so there is very little turbulence inside.
Often times, there is considerable turbulence just as you exit the
gates from the rapidly exiting lock waters.
At 11:45 am, we were tied up at Sylvan Beach, NY.
The guidebook says it is “the Atlantic City of Northern New York.”
I don’t know were that came from but I think it takes a much more
vivid imagination than mine to picture that.
We ate lunch at Yesterday’s Royal restaurant and dined on Haddock
sandwiches. OK but nothing real
What was real special was our time spent with Dan, Denise, and Kelby
from the 36’ S/V Quixotic. They
are Canadians returning from wintering in the Bahamas.
Home is just a few days away now for them and they are already longing
to set out again.
Tonight is Bike Night, so after cocktail hour on AMARSE, the six of us
had a chance to see well in excess of 500 motorcycles parked along the
Main Street. As the DJ
played a variety of tunes, the riders strolled along admiring each other’s
machines. We joined in and had a
at the “Crazy Clam” included a long Happy Hour with $1 beers.
Dan and I swapped sea stories and consumed “mass quantities”.
That Sam Adams Summer Brew is just too good.
Beach, NY to Brewerton, NY
Sylvan Beach is located right at the eastern edge of Lake Oneida.
A little after 7:30 am, we began our crossing of the lake.
The waters were exceptionally calm and there was not a ripple on it
except those made by other boats.
were lots of good ole boys out fishing along the shoal area.
At 10:10 am, we had completed the lake crossing when we entered the
canal on the west side at Brewerton. We
selected Ess-Kay Yards. George
and Kim greeted us. Very friendly
Friends of ours had pulled their boat here last year on their way
through. We thought it would be
good to check out the bottom and replace the zincs.
Even though the props and shafts looked great, they strongly suggested
checking the props more thoroughly. I
was smoozed into saying OK. That
was not the right answer. They
were out of stock on our sized shaft zincs. This would mean an all-nighter in
the lift. Much to my
surprise, the zincs were almost all gone away.
For those unfamiliar with “zincs”, here is the story.
Boaters attach these chunks of metal to the external metal components
of the boat. The idea is that the
zinc is a sacrificial metal. When
metals are submersed in an “electrolyte”(seawater), and there is there is
a differential electrical source (boat electrical systems), then atomic
particles of metal will transfer along with the electrical flow.
When two boats are in proximity, and they have a different electrical
polarity, then the “electrolysis” occurs.
If a zinc is available, it will be that metal that moves away from the
boat. This protects the more
valuable metal parts from literally dissolving from your boat. AMARSE
has ten external zincs and several more in the engines cooling system.
There was quite an accumulation of barnacles on the rudders, struts,
shafts, and trim tabs. Fortunately,
the prop blades were almost clear.
They talked me into a power wash for the bottom in addition to the
scraping of the barnacles. I had
wanted them to replace a hose in my washdown pump, but they didn’t have the
right type of hose. Oh, well,
tomorrow is another day and they will order the needed items.
We ate lunch at a Waterfront Café.
It was OK, but nothing to rave about.
After lunch, the mechanic put the prop on a “balance arbor”.
He was not capable of using a dial indicator or other method to check
trueness. He merely cleaned off a blade or two with a 3M pad till it balanced.
To check the shaft, he merely started the engines, engaged the
transmissions momentarily, and visually checked the shafts.
A more competent facility would have used a dial indicator or laser
alignment tool. This check was a
total waste of effort. I would
not recommend this facility for this type of work.
Oh, well. “live and learn”.
We dropped off the laundry at a “Wash Dry Fold” place.
This turned out to be a good move and saved a lot of hassle at the
Laundromat. Dinner turned out to
be fast food that we enjoyed quite a bit.
We slept pretty well in the hoist despite the inconvenience of climbing
ladders and not having water supply available.
The marina bathrooms worked fine.
Hopefully, tomorrow’s activities will go smoother.
Tonight is Donna’s last night aboard.
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