July 8, 2009
As planned, we left the Hudson River and entered the Erie Canal at Waterford, N.Y. a week ago today. The ‘free’ dock at Waterford was reserved for a steam boat festival so we simply carried on through the flight of 5 locks and tied up at a dock several miles west along the canal. We secured ourselves about 15:00 just before the heavens opened and poured for the rest of the night. The Macaulay’s’ arrived around 21:00 to drop Larry off.
We made good time each day since then till Saturday. We planned to cross Lake Oneida Saturday afternoon and stop in Brewerton to refuel and recharge. Ma Nature had different plans. The wind was blowing stink out of the west and Lake Oneida looked a lot like Lake Erie at its worst. At the entrance to the lake, Sylvan Beach, we sailed past Whippoorwill. One look at the Lake and we did a 180 and tied alongside the wall ahead of Whippoorwill. Abe and Karen were there to take our lines.
About 11:00 Sunday the lake had settled enough that we crossed and stopped in Brewerton 4 hours later at Ess-Kay Yards where we had stayed last fall heading south. Grace C had a new transmission installed there and we repaired our ignition and replaced a leaky hatch. They remembered us; called us by our first names, inquired about Niki and generally made us feel like it was only last week that we had been there. How nice is that !! We refuelled, filled water tanks, used their courtesy car to get groceries at Walmart, spent a relaxing night and got underway next morning, all for a dock fee of 95 cents a foot.
Whippoorwill chose to go on to Lock 23, three miles on for the night. We caught up to them Monday morning at Lock 24, Baldwinsville, to learn that the canal has been closed at Lock 28B at Newark, N.Y. A dredge had sunk in the canal ! With no idea how long the lock would be closed or how crowded the docking facilities would be Whippoorwill chose to stay at a comfortable dock with facilities in Baldwinsville and we chose to carry on the 50 odd miles we could still travel in hopes the lock would reopen by the time we reached lock 27, Lyons, the last practical place to stop before the closed lock 28B. We arrived at Lyons Tuesday mid morning to find the courtesy dock empty but lock 28B still closed for an indeterminate time. So here we sit. We have shore power and, courtesy of the Lyons Fire Department which we are beside, we have clean showers and fresh water as required.
We are hoping the canal will reopen in time for us to get Nice Butt back to Port Stanley before our family reunion in Huntsville on the 19th.