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The First Mate's Journal
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Great Lakes to The Bahamas
Who: Wayne & Pat
Port: Jackson
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Fonda to Guard Gate 2
High Pressure - Sunny 70s
09/08/2008, N42o48.370 x W73o42.877

Locks 12 to 7 today, so a long day for us. Lock 12 had no power but got it back 5 minutes after we got there. There was one guy standing there watching us come in and when the Lock Master said "Morning Captain" to me, I said "oh no, he's the Captain, I'm the helmsmen" We laughed (except the guy watching me). The observer turned to the Lock Master and said "we'll they need to learn sooner or later aye?" in reference to my handling the boat into the lock. I cozied up to the wall, threw the engine in reverse, stopped the boat in front of the rope, picked it up, looked him in the eye and said better sooner than later aye?" He didn't like that, but looked me square in the eye and said where you heading? Wayne said "the Bahama's. I just smiled, and he left.

Lock 11 went without a hitch, but when we got to 10 and locked in, he had some problems and let us know. "Letting the water out is no problem, but letting it in there's only one inlet working". Then we sat for a while and he yelled down at us that he couldn't get the gates open, do we mind? Well, no. But do we have a choice? 5 minutes later he asked if we could get out if he got one gate open? We said we're 12 ft wide, and he said it's 20 ft, so shouldn't be a problem. 10 minutes later, they both started opening, so it wasn't a problem. The rest of the Locks went without a hitch. So a total elevation drop today of 98 ft.

We Tried to stop at the Crescent Terminal Wall in Saratoga County at the free dock east of Bridge E-6 but it was filled with two barges and a tug so we went on to Guard Gate 2 hoping to be able to tie up there. There was room behind another green sailboat called La Buena Vida so we pulled in behind them and they came up and caught our lines. Nice couple from Kingston, Ontario Canada - Marlena and Heinz. They're heading down for the Bahamas also (they've made this trip several times already). Very nice boat and very nice people.

A cold front is supposed to be approaching late night/early morn with some severe thunderstorms heading our way tomorrow. The following day is supposed to be nice though so we'll see.

Sausage & garlic/butter egg noodles for dinner (wish I had some sauerkraut to go with mmmmmm). Theoretically - Waterford and power tomorrow.

Oh the picture for the day? The second lock we went to was next to an industrial area. I spotted this VW Beetle on top of the smoke stack. Don't know the story behind it but Wow I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't seen it...

Little Falls to Fonda
Mostly Sunny, Low to mid 70s
09/07/2008, Fonda, NY

Started out the day (after coffee of course) going to Amsterdam but didn't make it. The locks close earlier now that the summer trade has ended. Instead of closing at 7 they close at 5pm so we ended up putting in at Fonda (where Henry Fonda was born - for those to young: Peter Fonda or Jane Fonda; for those still younger - grand daughter Bridgette Fonda).

Lock 17 was our first Lock of the day. Wow! It was a 40 and a half foot drop. Spectacular, then we had to go UNDER the gate to get out. We were baptized in Erie Canal water as the gate rained down on us. It was pretty exciting for me (honest), until I saw how greenish brown the water wrang out of my gloves (yuk - LOL).

Going up to Lock 16 (6miles further down stream and another 20 ft drop), it just didn't look right and I couldn't figure out why until we got closer. There was a huge commercial Canal Boat that filled it completely so that they had to take the lines out of the water - I mean it filled the Lock! As it was lifted up it looked enormous! We barely had room to get out of the way when it left the lock - quite impressive! All the people (some kind of cruise boat) were waving at us and I could hear the captain come on the loud speaker talking about how sailboats de-mast to transit the canal and go south for the winter. Once we got into the lock we had to fish for the ropes to hang on to because they were all up on the wall.

7 miles more and at Lock 15 (another 8 ft drop) we were the entertainment for an audience of little girls that were waving their hands off- at us (they were so cute). I waved until I was below their line of site, then noticed that they ran ahead to watch us emerge at the bottom. I miss the days when we had little girls to explore the world with - it's sad that it ended and it seems so abruptly...

3 miles further to Lock 14 and an 8 ft drop. There was a 5 engine train hauling oil tankers that would have made a spectacular picture if I'd have grabbed my camera in time, then once we traversed another 8 miles to Lock 13 we decided that there was no way we were going to make it to Lock 12 before 5pm. It was 3:30pm and with almost 13 miles to go at 5.5 knots per hour we were looking at a little over 2 - 2 and a half hours so we tied up in Fonda on the North wall before the Bridge (N42degrees57.023 minutes x W74degrees22.276minutes). This was an interesting stop. The bollards to tie up to were not made for smaller boats - we had to connect 2 ropes together to reach the next bollard and there wasn't a cleat or anything in-between that we could use. This was definitely a place for barges to tie up to. It smelled of thyme and dead things... I kid you not (hopefully not Henry). Every time the wind shifted to over the back of the boat from up stream on shore of the park it smelled like something had died up there (gag)... Luckily the wind didn't shift that way to often so the BBQ Pork chops/broccoli/cheesy potatoes for dinner smelled and tasted pretty good... This looks like a public works park that we tied up to - the gate to the park closes at 3:30 but to be honest - it's not a park I would stop at unless I had to (we had to).

Still in Little Falls
Wet, Rainy 70s
09/06/2008, Little Falls, NY

Woke up to the patter of raindrops at 5 am and ran around the boat in the dark closing all the ports and hatches. It looks like the remnants of Tropical Storm Hannah have caught up to us so we stayed put today. Why go stand in the rain and fight the slippery ropes in the locks if there's no real hurry...

Walked into Little Falls with our rain slickers on (yep out walking in the rain) and went to the Post Office (Hannah - watch for the mail), Farmers Market, Bank, and Grocery store. Got another better picture of a train for Blade but still not with the engine.

Wet, gloomy day but with power - I got the chance to work on uploading pictures to the website. For those wondering why I'm not in the pictures? I'm taking them J
Can't wait to get the sails back up! Bill your comment cracked both of us up. Ahhhh I can feel the gentle winds now Ha Ha Ha

There's a fisherman outside our boat (3 actually). I told him we get every third one and he said we wouldn't want them - mercury poison, and a host of other things are in the canal. He called what they were doing a "certain type" of fishing, which I took offense at and told him I didn't think fish could be "ignorant". It went over his head. I hate when people use racial terms, be they white, black, or green... I came back in and want nothing to do with him...

Oh hey - my cell phone works - Nathan called earlier - and left a message so I tried calling him back (one of my favorite students). I think Allie was there too (another favorite) but she didn't say anything. Hope they're doing well and in college now!!! Allie has a terrific eye - wish I could take pictures like she does... Oh well... Enough - lets see if I can get my pages uploaded... Called Steph - JESSE's playing football tonight!!! Wow - go Jesse!

09/21/2008 | Alli
:) I was so there.

& I gave in and took a photography class this year...
I looked at your pictures on your website, and they're quite goood! :D

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