Thursday, September 16, 2010

Through the Erie and Oswego Canals

Our trip is coming to a close. We arrived today in Oswego, NY on the south east end of Lake Ontario. It took us five days in total to get through the Erie and Oswego Canals.

Day one was fairly uneventful, we got an early start, did the first seven locks with little incidence, and arrived at Lock 8 to find it closed as they were having technical problems with the lock. We tied up for the night on the wall below the lock. It was in a very secluded area, so we enjoyed a quiet evening and dinner on the boat. We really noticed the seclusion, though, after dark when every bump in the night had us jumpy! It's amazing how you get used to the noise of civilization!

Day two we travelled from Lock 8 to Lock 16. We had initially worried about doing the locks without extra crew. Our worries were unfounded, as we handled the locks like old pros. We had Henry in his lifejacket with a tether to the binacle, and he was told that in the locks Henry's job is to look after Henry so Mommy and Daddy can look after the boat. It worked! He's getting to be such a big boy! We tied up for the night on the wall below Lock 17, the biggest in the canal system. We were next to the town of Little Falls, and set out to walk to the nearest store. After about half a mile, though, we discovered that it was unrealistic to go that far without a stroller. Henry likes to walk, but not when you need him to! We met a rock climber, though, who offered to drive Andy to town after he conquered his rock. He was really nice, and Andy was able to pick up a few essentials and bring back MacDonald's pies and sundaes to boot!

Day three was to be Lock 17 through to Lake Oneida...didn't happen as planned. There must have been a lot of muck in the water around the lock because we sucked enough of it in to clog both the engine strainer and the thru-hull. The raw water intake was clogged enough that the pump ran dry and caused the impeller to fail. After Lock 17 we managed to go only a mile to the nearest marina, where Andy spent the day travelling around searching for a replacement impeller, then installing it and a T valve so he could flush out the thru-hull and get us up and running yet again! He had a few choice words for the boat by this time! He even threatened to burn her to the ground. Not our best day, but, on the bright side, they had hydro hook-up and nice hot showers and Henry and I got a quiet day to rest and recover from our colds.

Day four we were underway and running beautifully. We got through Locks 18 - 22 and stopped for the day on the east side of Oneida Lake. We had dinner at a little bar and grill with some fellow Canadian sailors. Of course they are headed in the right direction for this time of year, South!! After dinner Henry and I took a walk and found a little park to play in. It was a lovely day until I had to retire early with a migraine. The cloudy unsettled weather is getting to me.

Day crossed Lake Oneida with 3-4 foot following seas. The boat handled it with ease and we arrived at the west end of the lake ahead of schedule. We decided to skip the fuel stop after the lake and just get through the Oswego as we thought we'd be hard pressed to make it by the five o'clock lock closing time. Oops! We ran out of fuel between the first two locks on Oswego. Luckily Andy had 12 gallons on deck in geri-cans. He fueled us up in the pouring rain and bled the system like a pro. We were only drifting for about 10 minutes in total. I really am proud of my Handy Andy! Don't know what I'd do without him. So we got through the rest of the locks, turns out they were closer together than charted in the canal book so we were done by 4:00! We tucked into the Oswego Yacht Club and called it a day. Dinner was delivered by a local Italian restaurant and we are all tuckered out and ready for bed.

Tomorrow we have an appointment at the Marina across the channel for mast stepping, and then it's off across Lake Ontario. We have a two day window of fair weather, so I think we're going to skip the originally planned stop in Cobourg and just head straight for Toronto. It's about 125 miles across, so if we do an overnight Friday night we should be in mid-day on Saturday and have a day or two to rest before it's back to work for Andy.

When we started this journey Andy said we'd be two weeks, which to me meant three...and he says to him meant probably four. It will be four weeks on Tuesday since we left. Not too bad, I guess, and we got a new home out of it, not to mention a whole lot of memories!

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