This is a Blog about helping Doug Thomas take his 46' Uniflite, "PAX", Through the Welland, Oswego, and Erie Canals to Kingston, New York, on the Hudson River.
Sept 19 – Oswego Canal - Oswego to Minetto
Today we are starting the Oswego Canal, which runs 24 miles from Oswego on Lake Ontario to meet up with the Erie Canal at Three Rivers, where the Seneca and Oneida Rivers join to form the Oswego River. This was an early meeting place for Indian tribes and was a rendezvous point for the Indians during the French and Indian Wars.
The Oswego’s seven locks raise your boat about 120’, from Lake Ontario (245’ above sea level) to join the Erie Canal (363’ above sea level). We will be going back “down” on the Erie Canal, eventually at sea level when we join the Hudson River.
We planned to run the entire canal, but the forecast showed thunderstorms in the afternoon, so Doug decided to stop in Minetto, just after the 4th lock, six miles in, with a free dock and 30 amp service.
We started off with a turn down a channel that wasn’t the canal entrance. Doug made a quick recovery and soon we were waiting at the entrance, for a downbound vessel, before we could enter the lock.
While we were first in line, we were soon joined by a 40’ Luhrs and two 70’ Flemmings. The Flemming is a top-line boat, both looking new and costing several million each. When the lock opened it didn’t look like there was much room for all those boats, but we all fit. We had to go through side-by-side and the lock was pretty crowded.
We locked through the first lock without incident and moved to the next lock a half mile upstream. This time, as we were rising in the lock, one of the Flemmings was using her bow and stern thrusters to keep off the wall. The stern started moving 5-10’ away from the wall, and kept going, its stern punching a hole in the side of the Luhrs. Then the captain over corrected and his bow started coming over toward PAX. We yelled at the boat and he was able to correct it before it hit us.
The next two locks went smoothly, and we tied up at the wall at Minetto, just after the lock.
Minetto has probably seen better days. The bathrooms at the dock weren’t working. We plugged into the power but it was failed. We did walk across a bridge to get to a local restaurant, the Prickerbush. After that we walked back to the boat just ahead of the thunderstorm. We ate dinner on the boat and it rained all night.
Our first lock on the Oswego (actually Lock #8). Water level in the lock is about 10' above the river level. It will take about ten minutes for the water level to go down, to river level.
Exiting the lock
Tight fit in the lock. The vessel on the left hit the one on the right, putting a hole above the waterline.
Tight quarters in the lock
Signs at each lock tell you about the next locks along the way
One of the Flemmings pulls ahead to the next lock
The Oswego river between locks...beautiful scenery
Homes along the Oswego River
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"Welcome to Minetto" - Free overnight tie up with three 30A power outlets. Unfortunately, the bathrooms weren't working so they were closed...and the power outlets blew out
Landscaping along the river at Minetto - Doug walking to the convenience store
PAX at Minetto - view from the bridge across the river to the "Prickerbush"