New York City!

Today is an exciting day, we will be sailing right through Manhattan and New York City! We have already been told by others to expect some busy traffic in the area with ferries, other boats, commercial traffic, etc. We will see what we get today and what the day has in store.

We left our anchorage around 6:30 am this morning. A couple of boat that were in the same anchorage as us had already left this morning by the time we were pulling up anchor. It looks like it will be a beautiful day for heading down the Hudson. We have a couple of bridges to go under today, however they are all have a large amount of clearance for us to get under them without an issue. First up is the Tappan Zee Bridge.

The landscape between bridges featured The Palisades, cliffs that rise up from the river to a height of over 500 feet.

After we passed the Palisades we could see our first glimpses of NYC with the George Washington bridge in the foreground.

Curiously, we began to encounter some commercial traffic, however the large ships we encountered were all anchored just outside of the middle of the channel. At the time we were passing through, we were fighting a flood current that was going up river and we were guessing these guys anchor and wait for the tide to turn and then keep on their way down the river when they have a favorable current. This is good news for us since all the commercial traffic seems to be standing still for now.

We came under the George Washington bridge and inched our way closer to the city.

Next we passed by the upper west side of NYC. This is where Park Ave is and the richer half live. You can’t necessarily see it in the picture but on the other side of the penthouse apartments is Central Park.

Here’s an even fancier part of the upper west side.

There are even big cruise ships at the port in Manhattan. The small sailboat in the picture gives you a pretty good sense of scale with the cruise ship and buildings.

Up next was a very cool looking building that looks like a sailboat. I learned that it is actually a residential building called 57 West.

Next up was a pretty good shot of the Empire State Building

Then we passed right over the Lincoln Tunnel. It’s weird to think that cars are going through a tunnel under the river and our boat heading down the river. Here is the entrance on the New York side that is visible above ground.

Next up is a unique structure called The Vessel. It was designed as an interactive sculpture. It is designed to be climbed and toured. Each of the interwoven sides of the vessel are actually stairways and landings. 154 flights of stairs, 80 landings and over 2,500 steps.

Next up was this unique green space that was built on stilts over the water in a terraced fashion to house a park and amphitheater. It is called Little Island Park.

The only picture I took of the New Jersey side of the river included a photo of this sculpture called “Water’s Soul” It depicts a woman with a finger to her pursed lips to signal quiet. The meaning of the sculpture is paying homage to the water. It invites people to be silent…to try to listen to their own thoughts, their own dreams, their own ideas in this incredibly time today in which we live. How very symbolic since this is exactly what we are doing about Painkiller.

Then we passed over the Holland Tunnel.

Next up was the heart of the financial district, One World Trade Center and the Battery at the end of Manhattan. One World Trade is the tallest building in the picture below.

Now we have officially left the Hudson River behind us and we are in the inner harbor of New York. Of to our right hand side is Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. The East River is off to our left hand side where you can see the Brooklyn Bridge, Wall Street and the United Nations building. It was rather interesting to hear the Coast Guard calling Securite warnings all morning about restrictions to navigation up and down the East River today due to various world leaders currently meeting at the U.N. building.

Here is Ellis Island

And here is Lady Liberty! I honestly thought that the Statue of Liberty would be bigger than it really is. It seemed small compared to all the skyscrapers in the city.

Then we decided to put the boat on autopilot and looked to ensure we wouldn’t bump into anyone hovering around the statue. Mark and I came along side the boat and turned so we could get a selfie of us in front of the statue of liberty.

Here is a photo looking up the East River with a nice view of the Brooklyn Bridge.

After our little tour of the inner harbor, we passed under the Verrazzano Narrows bridge that defines the inner harbor from the outer harbor and connects NYC to Staten Island.

We are heading to Great Kills Yacht Club on Staten Island to spend the next several days while we wait for our friend Tim to join us for our next leg of our journey. In the meantime, we celebrated our 33rd wedding anniversary today! The greatest gift was the spectacular views of New York from our boat on the Hudson River and the harbor. We ended the day with a fabulous dinner on Staten Island!

Haverstraw Bay

We made it back to the boat after about a week in Minneapolis and Painkiller was just as we found her, all safe and sound. We got unpacked and resettled back into boat life. Our plan was to leave Half Moon Bay marina, as we have now been here over a week. However, we still have time in our schedule to kill since we have a friend meeting us in New York and he is flying in on September 26th and will be joining us on the boat on Tuesday September 28th.

So, we decided to get some boat chores done while we are still in the marina. I defrosted the freezer, Mark bleached the water hoses that go from our fresh water tank to all the faucets in the boat. Occasionally, it’s good to sanitize the water hoses to keep our drinking water tasting fresh. We filled the water tank before we left the dock as well.

Half Moon Bay marina doesn’t have any diesel fuel, so we decided to head across the river to Haverstraw Bay to a marina that does have diesel fuel and top off our tanks. We also needed to pump out our holding tank for the toilet so we did that while we were over getting diesel as well.

With those chores complete, we headed a bit south from Haverstraw Bay to Haverstraw Cove, which is a nice protected area that we can anchor for a few days to wait out some weather and kill some time before we head down through New York City.

The entrance to Haverstraw Cove was a bit tricky and shallow but we found our way in just fine even at low tide and avoided the charted obstacles that were lurking just below the water off the point of the entrance. We found a nice place to anchor with the peninsula in front of us to block us from the wind.

Here are some photos of our anchorage

We stayed a total of 3 days at anchor in Haverstraw Cove. I was a combination of rain, thunderstorms, clouds, gloominess and winds for the entire 3 days we were there. We watched a couple of other boats come into the anchorage and yes, we spied on them with the binoculars, it’s what boaters do for entertainment. We played several games of cribbage. I took an entire afternoon inventorying all our food stuffs in the pantry so I can do some grocery shopping once we get to Staten Island and before our friend Tim joins us on the boat. I also made some Brownies.

It was generally a peaceful time at anchor in this quiet little bay or so we thought. Every night around 6 pm there was a concert of sorts in a little band shell on shore in this park not far from our boat. Now, I like music just as much as the next guy and you are thinking…a concert, how nice! However, this was a techno hip hop like concert that lasted 3 hours every night we were there. It was not our style of music and you could not escape the sounds of this concert.

Not a lot of pictures since it was rainy and gloomy most of the time we were here. However, we are looking forward to our next stop – New York City!!

We left Hyde Park around 7:30 am after a small weather front went through with 16 knot winds. After the front passed it was nice and calm, so we headed out. We only have about 36 miles to go today.

The scenery along the Hudson in this section is some of the most scenic. The hills start to rise up along either shore and there are lots of curves in this section of the Hudson as well.

A bit further down the river we came across a small island that had an old castle on the island. We later looked up the history of this castle and what was once here. Turns out it is Bannerman’s castle. Built in 1901 by Frank Bannerman. Frank was a munitions dealer who had collected cannons, guns and ammunition from the Spanish war and later World War I. His original store was in Manhattan, NY, however the changing laws of the city no longer allowed him to keep large stores of munitions within the city limits of NYC. He moved his munition stores to this island up the Hudson river and build Bannerman’s castle as a summer home to live.

We also passed by West Point military academy. Very cool site along the Hudson.

The scenery was just breathtaking in this area. Hard to capture through photos.

We came into Half Moon Bay marina in the afternoon and we were hungry. We were close enough to NYC that I wanted to see if we could get some NY pizza. We called a place nearby that delivers and had them deliver it to the boat. It was really good pizza however, I am certain there is better pizza in NYC. Here is a good view of the marina and our boat. That’s our mast in the middle of the picture. The tallest one.

The next day we grabbed an Uber and headed to Croton Dam. We heard that it was a great place to go, so off we went. The Dam was gorgeous and well worth the drive to find it. We ended up on the road above the dam and the park which turned out fine. We thought we would be in the park down below. The views from either location seemed to be great.

After a tour of the dam, we headed back toward the marina and stopped for lunch at this great little Greek restaurant called Piato Greek Kitchen. The food was amazing! We haven’t had Greek food for quite sometime so this was a great treat. Then we walked back to the boat at the marina.

We spent the evening getting packed up and ready to go, as we are heading back to Minneapolis for about a week to attend Mark’s mom’s funeral and see family. We will fly back home from NYC which is just about 30 miles up the Hudson from NYC. We hope Painkiller will be ok while we are gone. See you when we get back.

Hyde Park, NY

We left Hop-O-Nose marina about 7:30 am this morning. The sunrise is getting a bit later in the morning than it used to be. We headed down Catskill Creek to get back out into the Hudson River. Along the way, we saw a few of our friends at Riverside Marina in various states of having their masts put back on their boats as well.

We saw David and Kendra on Blue Moon. Looks like they have their mast back in place already and they got some new rigging too while they were here. We happened to see David and Kendra out for their morning walk along the shoreline and they were waving at us as we passed by.

We also saw Jason and Sherry aboard their Island Packet 32. Looks like they will be getting their mast on soon!

We hope to see them both again. Perhaps at the Annapolis Sailboat show or the Bahamas.

Today is also the 20th anniversary of September 11th. It seems weird to be so near New York City on this day and thinking about and remembering all those who’s lives were forever changed by the events of this day. One of the smaller towns we passed by on the Hudson today was having a Sept 11th memorial ceremony. There were lots of first responders in the area. Fire trucks, ambulances, coast guard, etc. Both on land and on the water. They hoisted the American flag over 2 fire trucks as they held their ceremony and fire boats on the water streamed water high in the air.

Then we got hailed on the VHF radio by the Coast Guard. At first we thought…they aren’t going to board us again are they? Nope, he came back to let us know he was going to pass us on our starboard side. That was really nice to hail us to let us know.

A bit later we passed by this beautiful old wooden yacht at anchor off to the side on the Hudson. The boat is name Arriva. We later learned that it is owned by J.K. Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter series. Also, the boat was previously owned by Johnny Dep. Beautiful boat.

Then came all the large beautiful homes, or should I say estates. As we go further south on the Hudson the homes are getting bigger and bigger.

We docked for the night at Hyde Park marina which has an dock outside of their break wall right along the river. The marina itself is too shallow for us to get into it but the dock along the outside is just fine. It can be a bit rolly but we were just fine.

The next morning we awoke to a couple of skulls rowing up the Hudson. This one is made up of all women. By their looks on the faces, perhaps they thought of other activities that they could be doing this morning.

After we had our coffee and got ready for the day, we headed out to the Franklin Delano Roosevelt museum here in Hyde Park. We intended to take a Lyft to the museum but our driver did not show up, so one of the guys from the marina agreed to drive us over to the museum and we would take a Lyft back.

Here are some pictures of the FDR museum.

Next stop – Half Moon Bay

We are a sailboat again!

The guys at the yard at Hop-O-Nose started their day at 8 am and they got busy right away on getting our mast back on our boat. It’s an interesting process here at this marina with some equipment that doesn’t exactly look OHSA approved. However, the guys know exactly what they are doing and they did a great job getting the mast raised and back on the boat. I don’t have all the pictures of the process because it was just too nerve wracking to watch! I thought for sure our mast was going in the drink more than a few times.

First they lifted the mast with a small crane

This allowed them to get it high enough and moved out in the open so they could get the travel lift close enough to get a couple of straps under the mast and lift it with the travel lift.

Then they used the travel lift to move the mast toward the shore and docks where the boat was. They then floated a section of dock underneath the travel lift and slowly lowered the mast onto the floated dock section.

Then the move this floated dock section around to the other side of our boat and place it right beneath the larger crane

Then they use the crane to lift the mast off the floated dock section and suspend it in mid air and move our boat from one side of the dock to the other so the boat is now directly underneath the larger crane and the mast hanging above the boat. It was at this point that I couldn’t watch any longer and decided that they could finish the job and I could try to occupy myself and hope the mast wasn’t going to end up in the drink.

Well, the mast went in fairly smoothly. Sometimes it’s better not to watch. Mark was able to get all our electronics and gadgets that are connected to the mast all hooked back up. We secured all the rigging at least initially for now. The guys from the marina had done all their work and now it was up to Mark and I to finish the job of tuning the rig, putting the sails back on, putting the mast boot back on to ensure the mast wasn’t going to leak when it rained.

Before we finished our work, it was about lunch time and we decided to take a walk into town and see if we could have some lunch. The Catskills is a nice little town with some interesting buildings.

But one of the interesting things were all the cat statues located along the main street. The origin of the word Catskills translates to Cat Creek. Not sure if there were a lot of cats around here?? But the statues were sure cute.

As we walked into town, we passed by a business that said “Henderson Oil, Propane and Monuments” Now that is an interesting combination of business. They sell cemetery monuments as well as oil and propane. Not sure what these have to do with one another but they seemed to be a thriving business. We stopped in briefly on our way to lunch to ask about propane and could they fill our propane tank on the boat. We use propane for cooking with the stove and oven on the boat. They said sure, so after we ate lunch we walked back to the boat, retrieved our propane tank and walked back into town again to get it filled. The guy fired up the truck that held propane in the parking lot and filled our tank in just minutes. We were about to leave after paying for our propane and he said, “Your not going to walk with that are you?” He offered to give us a ride back to the marina to avoid having to carry the now heavy propane tank. That was super nice, thanks!!

Once we were back at the boat, we finished up all the little jobs of getting the mast and rigging all back to what it should be. We tuned the rig, finished the mast boot and and added the sails and any remaining rigging. By the afternoon, we were exhausted and called it an early night after a nice dinner of homemade chicken chow mien.

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.

Waterford is a really cool stop since virtually all boats tend to stop here when they are starting the Erie Canal or ending the Erie Canal depending on which direction they are traveling. They have a great visitor center with helpful staff, lots of space on the wall for at least 12 – 15 boats. There’s a great little town to walk to as well.

We left a bit later this morning from Crescent since we really didn’t have far to travel today. We only have about 4 miles to travel today. However, in that short distance is the 5 locks of the Waterford flight that we have to go through. I can’t imagine encountering the Waterford flight heading west on the canal as your first experience going through locks. This would definitely be a trial by fire, but I guess on the flip side, you would learn to locks quickly.

The good news about these locks are once you start, they open the next lock and and ready and waiting for you to enter the next. They are so close together that you literally leave one lock and enter the next just a quarter of a mile further. We were able to get through all 5 locks in about 90 minutes and we were the only boat going through. As a general rule of thumb, it takes about 30 minutes per lock to get through, so 90 minutes for 5 locks was doing really well. Not that we are in any kind of a hurry.

Over those 5 locks, we drop about 170 feet in elevation. That’s about 33 – 34 feet per lock. As evidence by they drop in elevation. The landscape has also changed in this area. No longer is it flat ground for miles but we are starting to see some hills and contours to the landscape.

Once we got to Waterford, we checked in and got settled and decided to explore town. We also had to do some laundry. We haven’t done laundry since we were stranded on the wall at Newark. So, we loaded up our bags and headed into town. We were told there was a laundromat in town, no laundry at the visitor center by the wall where we are parked. Conveniently enough, we found the laundromat right across the street from an Irish pub. I think every laundromat should have an Irish Pub across the street. We popped the clothes into the washer and headed to the pub. Put them in the dryer before our food arrived and had fresh laundry waiting for us after our lunch. Easy-peasy!

Of course all the walking around town and the hard work of doing laundry and perhaps a bit of the Irish Pub, led to an afternoon nap.

I spent some time walking the dock and getting acquainted with all the other boaters on the wall. I met a couple on a large 45 foot motor yacht who just purchased their boat and were headed back home in Ohio. Also met another couple on a sailboat who had just left Ithaca, NY; Michelle and Robert. They too are headed to the Bahamas, so perhaps we will see them along the way. After a bit, we heard the lock opening at the far end of the wall, so we looked to see who was exiting the lock. Sure enough, it was our friends on Blue Moon, David and Kendra. They pulled up to the wall in Waterford for the next day or two. We also saw Dale aboard Veritas coming out of the lock. However, Dale kept on going and didn’t stop in Waterford. We also heard through their blog that s/v Undone had passed us this morning and kept heading down the Hudson and didn’t stop in Waterford. It’s fun keeping track of the people and boats that we know or have met along the way.

Waterford is a pretty area.

Here are a few pictures from town. I guess I didn’t get a shot of the Irish Pub.

So now that we are officially done with the Erie Canal. Here are some stats for the entire length of the Erie Canal. Because a lot of people have asked me already, how many locks did you go through? Definitely, a lot! But hey, we got pretty good at them and after one or two clumsy attempts early on, we rather enjoyed it. The scenery along the Erie Canal was really beautiful and it’s a area we would really like to go through again in the future.

Total Erie Canal Stats:

Miles traveled – 303 miles

Lift Bridges – 11

Fixed Bridges – 250

Guard Gates – 19

Locks – 35

Countless pictures and beautiful vistas, priceless new friends met along the way. It was a great experience on this leg of the journey. We are looking forward to the next part of the journey as we head down the Hudson River and into NYC.


We woke up this morning in Amsterdam, getting ready to head to Waterford today. It will be a big day with 10 locks today. However, the minute we stepped outside the boat, it became readily apparent we were not going anywhere. We were fogged in! You could not even see the surface of the water or past the boat. Certainly could not see the banks of the canal. We will have to wait until the sun comes out and starts to burn off this fog before we start moving.

So, we made coffee and chatted with Ed and Evelyn about the fog and the travels for the day. We are looking to go about 40 miles today and we will have to go through 10 locks today in that 40 miles. There are 5 locks that are dispersed along the canal but then there are 5 locks at Waterford that are in very quick succession and very close together. These 5 Waterford locks are collectively known as the Waterford flight. Once we start on the Waterford flight of locks you must complete all 5 locks and you may not stop along the route once you start.

We heard from our friend John today, who was stuck in Newark with us, and he is at lock 19 and looking to head to Little Falls today. He was curious about the wall there and what was available. It’s nice to have others that we know scattered at different points along our route and we can all share information about what is happening at different points.

We decided that once we were able to see both banks of the canal, we would declare that the fog had lifted enough for us to depart. Still a bit foggy but pretty.

As we came through lock 10, on the east side of the lock, you can see remnants of damage to the lock from Hurricane Irene from 2011.

A bit further down the canal are the remnants of an aqueduct that was built in 1842.

Just as we were making our way to lock 7, our VHF began alarming and gave us a weather warning. There is a severe thunderstorm warning and a tornado watch for our area. We see the darker storm clouds heading our way and we checked out the radar to determine where this weather was in relation to us. It looks like there is a small blog of rain that will catch up with us, but there is a second wave of weather that appears to be building and getting red on the radar that has us more concerned.

We texted Ed and Evelyn ahead of us and let them know we made the decision to pull up to the wall just before lock 7 and wait out the weather. We felt better being tied to a solid wall rather than running about during the roughest of the weather. It was a good time to make lunch as well. Of course, as I was making lunch the skies opened up and rain down upon us. The wind had picked up pretty significantly as well. The wind was now 20 – 25 knots ahead of the storm.

Once the rain let up, we decided to go through lock 7. Because the wind was still fairly strong, we had a bit of difficulty in the lock getting secured. We got the stern line well enough, however the bow got away from us and was quickly drifting away from the wall. I was able to quickly extend the boat hook all the way and try to reach for the line on the wall as we were drifting away from it. Ed saw we were struggling before we even knew we were. Ed was next to the boat before I knew it and he grabbed the line and tossed it out to me so I could grab a hold of it and get the bow secure. Thanks Ed!

After lock 7, we decided that given the weather and the fact that we were getting fatigued from going through the locks today, we decided to not go through the 5 locks of the Waterford flight today and we would pull over and spend the night at the wall in Crescent and do the Waterford flight of locks when we leave Waterford and we are fresh. 10 locks in one day is too many locks!

The wall in Crescent was not glamorous but it was a place to stay to sleep for the night. There is really only room for 1 or 2 boats here and the wall is in rough shape.

Ed and Evelyn decided to go ahead and go through the Waterford flight and stay at the wall in Waterford. So, it’s here that we said goodbye to our new friends Ed and Evelyn.

Stats for today:

Lift bridges – 0

Fixed bridges – 9

Guard gates – 0

Locks – 4

Amsterdam, NY

That’s Amsterdam, NY not the Netherlands. We haven’t crossed the Atlantic, yet! We left Little Falls around 8:30 am and headed toward our first lock for the day, which is lock 17.

Lock 17 is a unique lock on the Erie Canal. It has the highest water level change of all the locks on the Erie. This lock will drop us 40 feet. The other unique feature is that it is the only lock on the canal that has a lift gate on the eastern end of the lock which means your boat needs to pass UNDER the door that lifts open to get out of the lock. There are only 2 such locks in all of North America and this is the largest one.

Here we are nearing the low water in the lock after we have already dropped the 40 feet.

Mark managing his line and keeping us off the wall with his boat hook. The doors behind him in the lock do typically leak water and create a nice water feature inside the lock.

This is my view from the bow of the boat, holding on to my line. 40 feet is a long way down. And yes, the walls are really slimy.

Here is the lift gate that we had to go under to get out of the lock. Again, this is the only lock on the entire Erie that is like this.

As we went along the Erie Canal today, we spotted a campground ahead and it just so happened to have a classic car show or some such event going on. We saw all these cool old cars on shore. It was awesome to see. Would have liked to pull over to go check it out but there was no place to pull over.

Here’s a really nice view of one of the dams by lock 15 as we went through this area.

Then we got some rain on and off for the next hour or so.

Finally we pulled up to the wall in Amsterdam. We were initially worried that we might find a lot of boats on the wall in Amsterdam since last night in Little Falls was full. However, as we pulled up, we found there was no one there. Just Mark and I and our friends Ed and Evelyn. We had the place to ourselves. It was a nice park like area near the wall but everything was really quiet and nothing around this area seemed open at all. There was a restaurant right near the water that was closed today. There was also this tall structure that had stairs and an elevator that turned out to be a pedestrian bridge over the highway and train tracks behind us.

I was able to get some great photos from the top of the tower.

We had a nice dinner aboard Jersey Grace with Ed and Evelyn. She made a nice tortilla soup. With the rain today it was starting to feel a bit fall like and soup sounded really good. After dinner we headed over the pedestrian bridge to check out the town. The town was like a ghost town, literally nothing was open, however it is a Sunday, so I guess that makes sense.

Stats for today:

Lift Bridges – 0

Fixed Bridges – 9

Guard Gates – 1

Locks – 7, the most locks in one day!

Little Falls….Maybe

We were up with the sun this morning to make our way from Brewerton to Little Falls. It’s about 75 miles which will be our longest day yet on the Erie Canal. And we will have 6 locks to go through today. Also the most number of locks we have done in one day on the canal. Generally, they say that it takes about an additional 30 minutes per lock that is added on to our overall run time for the day. So, an extra 3 hours to get through 6 locks.

First up, we have to cross Lake Oneida. This is one of the largest lakes in New York, other than the Great Lakes. The lake is 21 miles long by 5 miles wide and an average depth of 22 feet. It’s because of this shallow depth that with any sort of significant wind, the chop on this lake can get significant quickly. We timed our transit for the quiet of the morning. The sunrise was spectacular this morning:

Big open water after weeks on the narrow canal. We hardly know what to do. We are glad auto pilot is back in action. It was difficult to use the auto pilot in such a narrow canal. Now we can sit back, set the auto pilot and enjoy our morning coffee.

It took a couple hours to transit the open waters of Lake Oneida until we got to the other end where it narrows again into the continuation of the Erie Canal at Sylvan Beach. As we got closer to the Sylvan Beach area, there was a significant amount of debris in the water that we needed to dodge. This always reminds me of the movie Twister. You might remember the scene where a house rolls into the road way and then an entire tractor lands in the road. “Debris people! We have debris!” Yes, that was true in this case, not just a twig but an entire tree!

Coming into Sylvan Beach

We are still traveling in the company of John; Ed and Evelyn and Dave and Kendra. John decided to pull over at Sylvan Beach for the night and the remaining 3 boats decided to push on to Little Falls.

Today we actually have 2 locks that we have to go through in fairly quick succession that are up bound locks when heading east. All the remaining locks heading east are down bound locks. We hadn’t yet really experienced being raised up in the lock as yet. One real difference is waiting for the lock doors to open. As they drop the water level inside the lock, there is some water that leaks through the closed doors as this process happens. This creates a bit of turbulence in the water as we are waiting for the doors to open. We had always had this existing the locks but now we have it waiting to enter the lock. These 2 locks will raise us 25 feet each for a total of 50 feet in less than a half mile.

We still go in slowly and grab the lines hanging down, this time the slimier end of the line for sure. As the water action raises us up in the lock, the boat gets pushed into the wall. This is a real work out using our boat hooks to keep the boat pushed away from the wall as the water fills. These 2 up bound locks are locks 22 and 21. Decreasing numbers as we head east bound.

Shortly after we got through locks 22 and 21, we got a text from Dave and Kendra. “Is lock 18 and all remaining locks only open until 5 pm?” Mark and I both look at each other….say what? Now the sections of the Erie Canal we have been on so far, the locks and lift bridges have been open until 10 pm everyday, so it didn’t really dawn on us that all the other locks wouldn’t be open until 10 pm as well. Well, we didn’t double check and come to find out that yes, 20, 19 and 18 that we need to get through to get to Little Falls, close at 5 pm today.

Well, right now it’s only about noon, so we can definitely get through lock 20 and 19. Right now our ETA to lock 20 is about 1:15 pm. So we should be good there. We will also be able to get through lock 19 in time. However, lock 18 is looking questionable since our ETA to that lock is right about 5 pm but that doesn’t account for the added time we know we will need to go through locks 20 and 19.

We have 2 power boats ahead of us that we don’t know and then us and Dave and Kendra traveling in a loosely defined pack. Fortunately for us, the power boats got held up and had to wait for the lock to open a bit at lock 20. This allowed us to catch up to them and get to lock 20 with no wait for us and we simply just locked right through. Had we not locked through this lock with the 2 power boats and had to wait for another cycle of the lock, we would have had no hope of making it to Little Falls tonight.

After lock 20, the 2 power boats again got ahead of us, however it was only 5 miles until we got to lock 19. So once again, we were able to catch up at the lock and the lock master held the lock as we straggled in with the 2 waiting power boats. Again, had we not made this lock timely we would not get to Little Falls tonight.

Now the afternoon is wearing on and we are pushing our speed as hard as we dare to try to make it to lock 18 before they close at 5 pm. Ed and Evelyn are a full lock cycle ahead of us and they will make Little Falls easily today. We have about 11 miles between lock 19 and lock 18. Our ETA right now is 4:55 pm and we can’t run any faster.

Mark gets on the phone and calls the lock master at lock 18. The conversation goes something like this:

Mark: Yes, what time do you close today?

Lockmaster: 5 pm

Mark: What time do I have to be there to ensure we can still lock through before you close?

Lockmaster: 4:45 pm. You must be here by then to lock through today.

Mark: What if we were just 10 minutes later than that?

Lockmaster: You need to be here at 4:45 pm to lock through

Mark: What would it take to hold the lock? We have 2 power boats and 2 sailboats heading your way and will be there just before 5 pm. What would it take? Would beer help?

Lockmaster: Sure, beer always works!

Yes, we just bribed the lockmaster to hold the lock for us with beer! He agreed he would wait for us and we prepared a bag and emptied some beers from the fridge into the bag as a care package for our new favorite lockmaster!

As we pulled into the lock, we set our care package at the edge of the wall and thanked Dave the lock master profusely for the favor of holding the lock. Thanks again Dave! Cheers!

We texted Ed and Evelyn that yes, we would make it through the lock and we would be able to meet them at the wall in Little Falls. Ed was waiting to help us tie up.

Painkiller all tied up on the wall at Little Falls

Dave and Kendra behind us

We enjoyed a little happy hour with the six of us in Little Falls