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.
Pax Sept 23 – St Johnsville to Amsterdam
We left St Johnsville around 1000 after topping off diesel at 2.39.9 a gallon, one of the lowest prices we’ve seen. Then we headed East again on the Erie.
Another eastbound vessel, “Golden Eye”, joined us in Johnsonville last night. He was from Toronto, and his destination was Panama. His daughter was going to help him, but she got a job offer, so now he is doing the canal singlehanded. As the saying goes, “We don’t question his ability, but we question his judgment!” We have enough challenges with a crew of 5, holding the lock ropes (or looping a line around a pole or a cable) to control the boat, then keeping PAX off the wall as the lock fills or empties. He admitted that in one lock his boat spun around 360 degrees when it filled. You don’t want to lock through with a boat like that.
He left prior to us, and we caught up with him at the second lock. Since his cruising speed was slower, he let us pass, and we went through the rest of the locks without him. This section of the canal, from about mile 70 to mile 38 (Amsterdam), is mostly canal, a straight ditch (with a few turns) that parallels the smaller (at this point) Mohawk River. As the river gets larger, the Erie Canal joins the Mohawk, and we are actually running the river, which runs mostly west-to-east, but with a number of turns. Compare the canal with an interstate highway, and the river with a winding country road.
We run five locks, totaling 31 miles, and lowering the boat a total of 47 feet. We tie up at the Amsterdam Municipal Dock, with power, water, showers, and a nice café that opens in the afternoon. We enjoyed appetizers and beverages. Doug walked into town to a True Value hardware store to pick up some line for his fenders – the old lines were getting pretty frayed. Although the docks were separated from town by major train tracks – Amtrak or freight “rolled by” every 15 minutes, (along with a whistle because of intersection with crossing) – there was an elevated pedestrian bridge across the tracks that led to the dock.
I went over after our appetizers and picked up some soup and egg rolls from a Chinese restaurant just across the tracks.
Pax Sept 23 – St Johnsville to Amsterdam
Radiation Fog in the morning
Golden Eye, out of Toronto, is traveling solo. He hopes to reach Panama. Handling the canals is hard for a single sailor - he said he did a 360 in an earlier lock...
Sign for St Johnsonville Marina - "Redneck Boat Club"
Doug takes on 100 gallons of diesel at the "lowest price on the Erie Canal" - $2.39.9
Beautiful scenery. The Erie Canal now follows the Mowhawk River
One of many creeks and streams feed into the Mohawk
Farm country along the Mohawk
A smalll island along the canal - channel is to port
Dam at Lock # 15 near Fort Plain - 8' drop
Dick holds forward "canal" rope while MJ gets a boathook to "fend off"
Most of the Erie Canal has ropes attached to the side. You grab the line to control the boat, holding it near the wall. Pay out the rope as you go down, take it in if you are upbound. Oh...be shure to have gloves. These are fairly new lines, but most are caked with mud and slimy water
A view toward the stern shows you the upper water level, and the 8' drop to the next level
A view behind us to the exit of Lock #15. The vessel exiting behind us is "Golden Eye," who locked through with us
Four miles and another lock later, we pass Canajoharie River Front Park with free tie-ups
I-90 parallels the Erie Canal. For long stretches, we can see traffic on the interstate.
Some large cliffs along the way - I-90 is between us and the cliffs. I think this is part of the Appalachian Mountains
Upbound vessel coming out of Lock 13 as we approach
Crew enjoys the beautiful Mohawk River
Wall at Fonda, N.Y., original home of Henry Fonda clan. We stopped here with "Island Girl" in 2006
A dredge on the canal near Amsterdam
Brian and Dick preparing to cast off - St Johnsville
PAX Tied up at River Link Marina, Amsterdam
Restaurant at River Link. Blue-red structure in the background is a pedestrian bridge across the RR tracks into town.
A short walk over the RR bridge takes you into town
Looking at PAX from pedestrian bridge over the RR. Restaurant building is in the foreground
MJ, Dick, and Linda enjoy appetizers at the restaurant at River Link