Friday, June 14, 2019

Shady Harbor to Waterford

A couple of milestones were made today. First, we've reached the farthest easterly point of the entire Great Loop. From here on in it's westward. Kinda cool.

The second is we say farewell to the Hudson River and start along the Erie Canal. The canal will be our last US run northward, ending in Oswego on Lake Ontario, then it's up into Canada.

We knew yesterday would be cold and damp, and it was. But today was supposed to be warmer, just a bit, and sunny. IT. WAS. NOT. A little windy when we left, but overcast the entire trip. We even had a drizzle or two. 

The day's voyage was only a couple of hours, but it did include the first lock we've been to since the Dismal Swamp. This is also the start of many locks to come.

After we pumped out we headed northward and toodled our way up to and through Albany, NY. After that the Hudson became more industrial looking, full of big docks, factories, and barges. We passed a barge on the way up, in fact. First time in a long time we had to hail a vessel and ask where did they want us. We ask because we don't want to assume anything, given their lack of mobility.

Downtown Albany
The entire trip up we followed As You Wish, our buddy boat. Just before the lock a tour boat left its dock. I slowed, giving it some room, and it (of course) headed northward ahead of us. He hailed the lock and was told that it would be about a fifteen minute wait, and he would be the first in; all other boats (us) would go in after. Once again I got to practice my "hold position", which was tricky with the wind kicking up. Eventually the gates opened, the light turned green, and the tour boat went in the lock.

On the wall at Waterford (second boat)
We'd been told we were going to tie on the port side but another boat, Zin, caught up to us, also wanting to lock through. The lockmaster asked that either As You Wish or Cat-n-Dogs take the starboard side to give the third boat some room (the tour boat was BIG and occupied a fair bit of lock space). We volunteered since Russ (being ever prepared) prepped both sides of the boat with line and fenders.

As You Wish got on their wall. Right away a wind kicked their stern into the lock. I held up while they got situated. 

Our lock experience thus far was that we'd get two lines to hold for the ride, one for the bow and one for the stern. Here, however, they only had a pipe set into the wall. We crept up to the starboard side. Russ wrapped a line from one cleat, around a pipe, and back to another cleat. He would manage that, making sure it held the boat in place while we moved upwards.

Once the massive doors shut water flooded in the lock, causing some churn. The lockmaster warned us we (on the starboard wall) would get the brunt of it, but As You Wish seemed to have a hard time keeping against the wall. I went to the stern to help keep the boats from bumping together.

Lock #2, to be done Sunday
As the lock filled with water, things settled, and once filled, the doors opened and the big boat left. Then As You Wish moved out. Then it was our turn... just as the wind came up again. Now we were much higher. The wind pushed us against the wall at the same moment I started to move forward. I couldn't push us away. So I did what we usually do, which is twist the bow in, using the front of the boat as leverage to press the stern out. Then I untwisted, bringing the bow into the channel. Again the wind tried to push us against the wall. This time I added a bit of speed to rush us out of the lock. We got out without scraping the walls, but the fenders got a good grind a couple of times.  

From there it was a quick trip to the Waterford wall. Several boats were already there, so we had to pick a space and fit into it. We took the first one that looked big enough, right under the bridge. This time, the wind would be an asset. I lined Cat-n-Dogs up with the gap and the wind just blew us right in - I just throttled forward or back a bit to keep us in the gap. Smooth as butter! We powered down and started our clean up when "thunk-thunk" went the bridge. I really didn't want to hear that all night as traffic came and went.

Canadian Geese and goslings
So we walked the wall a bit and found a large gap further down. We dashed back to the boat, donned our headsets, and moved about five hundred feet closer to the lock. Again I used the wind to my advantage and docked without issues.

Someone approached us as we walked the dogs. He asked which one of us was piloting when we went perfectly sideways and parked under the bridge. I raised my hand. He asked, "Can you teach me that?"


  1. Very cool! Proud of your boat handling talents,
    ( Amon all your other talents).
    Still, this all makes a mother very nervous.


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