Locking and Rinkers

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July 2nd 2010
Published: July 2nd 2010
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lock 7lock 7lock 7

watching a small boat lock through
Our planned departure from Waterford was delayed by a few hours, as the flight of five set of locks was shut down. Mark had hatched a plan that would have seen us tackle 10 locks today, I was skeptical of the plan. Moot point since Lock 2 did not open until shortly after noon. We also waited inside lock five ( gratefully) until lock 6 was ready. One of the other boat asked why not let us out. Well if you have never done this you exit into a sort of cement bathtub with currents and not a lot of room. Today began quiet, but became quite windy which can also cause problems in the 'bathtub' between the locks. How do I know this you might ask? On our way down one of the locks did not open and we were some considerable time fighting current and wind with no place to tie up. Not fun by anyone's definition.
Lock 7 is another fairly big lock and we decided to call it quits there. We spent the night tucked behind their wall, away from the large dam which has lots of water beside yhe lock. Our neighbour is one of
lock doorslock doorslock doors

the sight that greets you
the very nice Erie Canal workboats, this particular one was commisioned in 1928. The captain of said vessel took our lines and offered us a power hook up as well.
So June 29 saw us do 6 locks not 10, seems a more reasonable number. A drink, dinner and planning for the next set. Planning because you cannot stop at all the locks and some of them are a fair distance apart. Hoping to avoid marinas and so on.
At lock 17, the highest in the system at 40.5 feet one has to tie up on the south side. Which means to port, those who are familiar with Witchcraft know this is not her preferred method. However it all went well. The big gate dropped down, looking somewhat like a giant guillatine, since this is not a pair of gates but a huge metal item that goes up and down.
The interesting moments happened after we all left the lock. Power boats that have to be ahead of sailboats began to behave oddly in the very narrow channel in front of us. One tried to go wrong way round the rocky islet, the other just stopped dead in front of us. Now we can/t exactly hold station the same way a Rinker for example can. This all occurs in front of a power plant in take with considerable current. We commented to the Rinker that this was not the best place to stop. Further along the Rinker decided to dock at the Canal Park. This was an exercise in cutting in front, then coming back out, staying in the middle of the channel crossways, ( oh the channel is still narrow at this point since there is a largish damn to starboard)! We sort of hope we dont meet these folks again. We have shared locks with them several times the last couple of days, and hope to miss the pleasure again. He tends to forget about his aft line in favour of taking photos, leaving the vessel to swing across the lock!
In any case a couple more days should see us in Oswego. Two more up locks, then it's all downhill.
Must mention the weather, after sweating our way in high humidity since Fort Pierce, I have put on long pants, socks and shoes and a jacket for the first time in months. The lack of humidity is welcome, but what the heck happened to summer weather. Everyone is decked out in warm cloths, not just me .
Onward and soon to be downward. Home is in sight.


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