First Day on the Hudson River

So we left Waterford at about 7 am this morning. You can see the map below, the Mohawk River is the same as the Erie Canal. From Waterford, we just head a little east and take a hard right and we are now in the Hudson River. We will head south through Albany and about another 30 miles south of there to the Catskills area of New York. In total we will travel about 40 miles today.

First up on our journey today, was the Federal lock at Troy. And you thought we were done with locks! One left which is this one at Troy. It is not part of the Erie Canal system and is separately managed. Where the Erie Canal system of locks are managed by New York state. The lock at Troy is a Federal lock, managed by the Federal government. This lock will drop us only 14 feet. We also went under a series of bridges, some fixed bridges with the lowest being only 25 feet clearance. We still don’t have our mast on the boat and our mast is waiting for us at Hop-O-Nose marina in the Catskills, which is where we are heading. After the Catskills we won’t have to contend with any low bridges.

Here is one of the more unique bridges on our journey today. This is the Green Island Bridge. It has quite a modern look to it and the center span between the two towers lifts up to allow clearance for vessels that require it. We didn’t need to have it raised since our mast is not on the boat at the moment.

We quickly came up on Albany and we took in the downtown skyline and the other interesting buildings in the area.

We noticed how wide the Hudson River seems in comparison to the Erie Canal. Also for the first time we have to contend with and think about tides and currents. We have had some currents in rivers before now, such as the Detroit River or the St Clair River, however the tides are a new thing for us.

For those unfamiliar, the ocean and the waterways connected to the ocean, such as the Hudson River have 2 high tides per day and 2 low tides per day. The tidal range in this area of New York is about 5 feet. The Hudson River runs north and south geographically and the flow of water generally heads south toward the Atlantic ocean. So, during a flood tide (high tide) – water coming in from the ocean the current would be flowing north on the Hudson River. During an ebb tide (low tide) – water going back out to the ocean, the current would be flowing south on the Hudson River. The speed of the current hits a maximum of about 1.5 – 2.0 knots of speed. So, when transiting this area you generally want to go with the tide and current as it would make your boat go about 1.5 – 2.0 knots faster. If you go against the tide and current then it will slow you down by 1.5 – 2.0 knots. You can certainly do that, but it will slow you down. Lucky for us the ebb tide starts early in the morning which is exactly when we would want to get going anyway, so that works out pretty well.

We also started to see commercial traffic once again. The Erie Canal is not used for commercial shipping any longer and ships will go through the St Lawrence Seaway to get into the Great Lakes, so there was no commercial shipping traffic on the Erie Canal. We ran into a few today on the Hudson however. Well, not literally ran into. Motored past.

We pulled into Hop-O-Nose marina about 1 pm. Our mast was there waiting for us up on blocks in the parking lot area. Once we got docked, we started in right away unpacking our mast of all the shipping material that we used to protect it on it’s journey to Hop-O-Nose. In case you forgot, we had it shipped on a truck from Buffalo, NY here to Hop-O-Nose. The mast arrived a couple weeks before we did and has been waiting for us to return to it’s rightful spot. We also had to re-attach all the wires (stays and shrouds) that hold the mast upright. Re-attached the spreaders and all the instruments that adorn the top of our mast. One thing we discovered is that either in Buffalo or here at Hop-O-Nose someone mowed the lawn near our mast and it was coated in now dried and very stuck clumps of grass. I had to get a bucket of water and wash down the entire mast to remove all the grass that was stuck to it.

As we were working on the mast, we noticed another boat pull into the marina. It was a boat we knew from our time in Newark, NY. It was Dale aboard Veritas. His mast was here as well and we thought he was looking to get the mast put back on. However, we learned that he was hauling his boat out for the winter and will have to leave his boat here until next spring. We learned that this was not in his plan. His wife was at home in Wisconsin and fell walking the dog and broke her hip and a couple of ribs. Dale would need to cut his trip short and head home to help his wife. That is really too bad. Hope her recovery goes smoothly!

After all our work on the mast was done for the day, we took showers and headed to the restaurant at the marina for a nice dinner. Tomorrow the marina staff will be putting the mast back into the boat.

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