Thursday, June 20, 2019

Canajoharie to Little Falls

When we went to bed last night we hadn't made a go/no-go decision due to the weather. Some forecasts forebode of thunderstorms, others only light rain. When we woke things were gray but dry. We dashed out around 7 am, being first to lock through. We traveled with two other boats, As You Wish and Sea Gypsy

Four locks to do. And I'll give a "woo hoo!" right now because they all went swimmingly! No dramas, no issues. The first two had some currents but my power-through strategy remains effective. It's at this point that you get off the Mohawk River and really ride on the Erie Canal. Most of it no longer exists, and has been dismantled, filled, and paved over. We didn't get to enjoy it much because...

The rain started.

Big time!

Soggy day
The third and fourth locks were taller; the first around a 20 foot lift and the next, 40. Other traffic was about today, so on both we had to wait for boats to come down before we could go up. The occasional flash lit the sky followed by rolling thunder that echoed off the valley walls. Being on the water isn't ideal when in thunderstorms, but I do enjoy a nice burst. This one was behaved. No nasty winds, just rain and rumbles.

Weather maps showed that most of the rain was west of us. We were going to travel into some of it, but the bulk was beyond. 

Russ in his rain gear
The fourth lock, lock E 17, was not only the tallest on the canal, but it filled reeeeaaaally slow - took nearly an hour to lock through. We all stood in the massive downpour, managing the lines, and riding the slow rising waters. Later we were told it's broken, which is why it fills slow. Once it fully breaks they'll fix it.

Just after the fourth lock was the town of Little Falls, our destination. We sidled up to the wall with ease right around noon. Other boaters were already there, and as the afternoon went on, others came in. By 3 pm, things changed. The waters had risen over a foot. The current was rushing by, bringing with it some tremendous flotsam -- huge logs and entire trees. 

Along the Erie Canal we've gone under guard gates, huge metal barriers that close off sections of the canal to control flooding. There are a set just before you get to Little Falls, which were opened when we came. They were closed by 3 in the afternoon. Moreover, we heard that the next two locks, 18 and 19, are also closed, at least for today. Possibly tomorrow. Lock 19 apparently has some mechanical issue and has failed. Lock 18 was closed to help manage the flow for 19. And all of this was because of the rain west of us.

Waters are so high they've flooded the entry to the
floating docks.
We plan on leaving tomorrow but ultimately, we'll have to wait on news about the locks.

Turns out Little Falls is a decent place to be. Today there was an art walk downtown. By 5 the clouds had parted, the sun came out, and the sidewalks are filled with people.

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