Way more than 15 miles

 

DSCF0407Everyone on the Erie Canal is a waver, and that’s a lot of people—other boats, bikers walkers, bridge tenders—everyone. I love it.

Early morning, tied up next to a lock

Early morning, tied up next to Lock 25, and our friends on Faluka

View from the bottom of the lock, as the gates begin to open

View from the bottom of the lock, as the gates begin to open

We’re mid-way through our canal transit, and it has been lovely. We haven’t seen as many boats as we expected, and very few sailboats such as ours, making our way to the ocean and points south. Maybe we’re a bit early? Either way, we’re finding this section of our trip pretty relaxing and stress-free.

 The “flight of five” historic locks in Lockport; as seen from the bridge at left, and from the water after exiting the modern locks at right.

Sometimes, a canal just has to go over a road...

Sometimes, a canal just has to go over a road…

The canal area, like much of the midwest, has been in a drought; we had a brief rainstorm one night, but otherwise, it’s been hot and sunny. We’re glad for the bimini; the fans down below have been going 24-7; we’ve been swimming in some less-than-pristine waters, just to cool off.

F, post-swim

F, post-swim

At 5 to 6 miles an hour, it’s taking us a while to motor across the state. The days are pretty long, but we’re feeling solid in our lock transiting skills—it’s already become routine to motor in, grab a fore and aft line to hold with our work gloves, and drop down into the cool well of the empty canal. The smell is not so great, but we enjoy the shade while it lasts.

Solar shower area off the transom

Solar shower area off the transom

Herons everywhere!

Herons everywhere!

Stairway to nowhere. If a pedestrian wants to cross the canal when a lift bridge is up, they just climb the stairs and walk across.

Stairway to nowhere. If a pedestrian wants to cross the canal when a lift bridge is up, they just climb the stairs and walk across.

We’re already past the lift bridges—the last one was at Fairport—but for a long stretch, we had bridges and lock tenders keeping track of us, radioing ahead to the next stop so they knew we were coming. Some tenders take care of more than one bridge; they’d wave and honk as they passed us on the road.

We are starting to tire of the engine noise; the heat and humidity are oppressive; we’ve banged our heads on the mast more times than we can count. But we’re still happy to have such protected water, and worry less about the weather; we’re also enjoying so many free places to tie up for the night, and the friendly people we’ve met along this path.

Picking up lines along the lock wall

Picking up lines along the lock wall. This was taken the same day I lost a shoe overboard in a lock. Whoops!

 Primary form of public art along the canal: the mural

3 Comments on “Way more than 15 miles

  1. Hi Water Puppies,
    I am sending this request so you can send to Rachel, my daughter. She has been collecting stories about the junk boat rafts on the Mississippi in the 1990’s. There was a Merry Prankster kind of culture where a bunch of folks made boats form recycled stuff. Maybe you know about it. They would also get off and entertain people along the way and have some wild times in various locations. Anyway, I would love for her to see your pictures. She paints murals. She is also is kind of a gypsy between here (Ashland) and the SF Bay Area.
    She will be so happy to see your photos, as am I! Thanks for including us on your adventure.
    So much Love! from your Aunt Elizabeth Bee

  2. May I forward this blog to Mary and Alan Brutger who are my friends and have done a great deal of sailing like this, in the past?

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