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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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So close to the Erie Canal but so far...
08/22/2008, Tonawanda - Wardells N43o01.321 x W 78o52.862

Okay, after sleeping I'm still not impressed. The other boat left and he was putzing around the yard so I called over there on the phone. I could hear the phone ringing over here as he ran for the office "Wardells" "Hi, I can hear your phone ring across the river (laughing)" "ya, I suppose it's a bit loud". "Can we come over?" "I've got a guy coming over first, to step his boat - it won't take long, I'll call you over after that" "You need to take everything off though first, so do that" "Okay - roger that".

The picture shows us tied up at the seawall across from Wardell's and in front of the boat you can see the bridges blocking our way into the Erie Canal jusssst beyond our reach.

Continuation to first Lock and we're not at the Erie Canal yet!
08/21/2008, Black Rock Canal NY

Since we were down bound and it was 4:45pm we had a 15 minute wait to figure out how to do this lock business. A loud voice from skyward (a huge speaker) boomed out "there are ropes for you to grab on the port side of the channel". Wow - how cool. Wayne went forward and I kept the stern. With poles in hand, we fished for the yellow ropes and my hook came off the pole and sunk out of sight, into the yucky water. "oh - hon, slight problem here... do the hooks float?" "What?" "ummmm - do the hooks float?" "The poles?" "Um, nope, just the hook - it came unscrewed" "No!" "Okay" I managed to snag the rope anyways but the entire time kept looking for our new hook in the garbage in the water. Lost cause ...

As the water level dropped the rope started getting nastier and I wished that I'd thought to grab my gloves but this drop was only 6-8 feet so it wasn't to bad. We tried to keep the fenders off the side (it was a weee bit slimey) but they still managed to get Black Rock Rot on them anyhow.
On exiting the Locke we called Wardell's to see if they had a slip for us, give our vital statitistics and to make an appointment to unstep the mast. I was told, no problem, come on down. We told him where we were and he said we were about an hour away. We pulled into Wardell's a little before 7pm - up to his gas dock and he told us to tie across the river to the wall (where it said not to - by permit only...) he had a boat there already that had it's mast unstepped. He didn't want us over here in the way of the gas pumps or next to them. He said he had customers he needed to take care of. Well, alllllrighty then... We evidently had no boat slip, no power, no water, after all... Why would he tell us that he could accommodate us if he couldn't? Wayne told him we were new at this and needed to build a cradle too. He said no problem. He'd call us over when the other boat left and he was ready for us. I had a baaad feeling at this point but there wasn't much else we could do. His place is right before a low bridge that's the entrance to the canal so we couldn't go forward and it was to long of a ride back to Buffalo up the strong Niagara River current. Two night travels weren't in the plan, so we swung around and tried to tie to the metal seawall (which was fun) a couple times before finally finding things to tie on to with a little help from a walker passing by. Too tired to do anything but sleep. Too tired to sleep even... I'm not impressed with Wardells. There's no room at the inn so why would he say there is? At least I see the crane, so I know the mast will get unstepped. This is a busy place, boats all up and down the river going into the canal. Long day. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz...

Continuation of a long day - Lift & Swing Bridges
08/21/2008, Black Rock Canal - Erie, PA to Buffalo, NY to Tonawanda NY 1

The Bascule is a lift bridge with a vertical clearance of 17 feet so we had to wait. The Bridge tender said there were 3 boats coming from the other direction and asked if we could wait - sure not a problem. Forward a little, neutral, reverse, kinda good practice for me. From there through the Black Rock Canal to another bridge - this one a swing bridge. When we called, nobody answered on channel 13 so we tried channel 16 too. Still no answer, then we noticed a sign that said wait here until the light changes. More good practice - forward, shuffle to the right, neutral, shuffle back to the left, reverse - don't go past the sign that says stop here... the Black Rock Swing bridge (we soon discovered) opens up right to the Black Rock Locke (say that fast) that lets down bound traffic through the lock on the hour, and up bound traffic through on the hour.

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