23 October 2010 | Utica Marina
We left this morning at first light. Since it was an overcast morning that was about 10 after 7. We got off from the dock without too much trauma, considering I was at the helm. We may have woken up our neighbors, because I was yelling for Bud to get on the boat. He was fending us off the dock while standing on the dock, and I was worried that he was waiting too long and he'd get left behind and I would have to get the boat back to him, and that would not be pretty. Bud thought I should take the helm because there was no wind and "there's almost no current". I don't know why I bought that, as the day before we'd been talking with the mechanic there about how surprisingly much current there was. Anyway, I tried to just ease it back from the finger dock into the canal and the current took the stern and pushed it towards the dock and the fender board caught on the dock and the base of the mast, sticking out front, rubbed on the tall piling between the slips and I yelled. But no real harm done and we were underway.
We wanted to leave as early as we could to make sure we crossed Oneida Lake before there was any wind. It was really hard to see the channel markers when we first got in the lake, so I think we did start as early as we could have. The wind stayed down, the engine ran fine, the fuel filters continued to bubble and not only did we make it across the lake, we took the time at the far end to recalibrate our course computer, as the last time we tried it there was a bit too much wind and it was still not correct. You have to drive the boat in slow circles to calibrate it, then drive a steady straight course for a few more minutes. We got it very close this time. We stopped at the wall at the far side of Oneida and pulled the stern over close to the wall. I put the protective cap on the socket for the windex. Bud had taken the windex off in Phoenix, but I didn't know and didn't tell him there was a cap to go over the socket. We also checked the filters. They had seemed to be bubbling a lot but the diesel wasn't down much.
So off we went and did another 25 miles and 3 locks to get to the Utica Marina. It's a municipal marina. We weren't sure if the power was still on as no one answered the phone number given for it, which turned out to be the Parks Department. The lockmaster at Lock 20 asked us if we were going to try to make Lock 19 that day. We told him we wanted to stop at Utica if the power was still on, but if there was no power we'd try to go on. He called us on the radio when we were a few hundred yards beyond the lock to tell us that he had phoned and the power was still on. That was nice! I guess he knew who to call.
Another nice thing is that we are now starting to go down in the locks, and it's down all the way to the end. There is much less turbulence when they drain the water than when they fill it, so it's a lot easier to keep the boat off the walls.
The picture is of Earendil at the marina. It's kind of strange, the building says Utica Historical Marina (built in 1999?) but the whole building is now a restaurant. The book said docking was $1/foot and a sign said the same; the sign had the restaurant name on it as if they were the ones to pay, but when Bud went up no one was there. There now seems to be a banquet going on and no one is asking us for money, so we're hoping this becomes another free dock.
We debated on whether we should just push on through lock 19, but decided not to for three reasons:
1. The engine was running a little hotter than it had been after we went through an area where they had been dredging. Bud asked me to look at the raw water filter for the engine and I could see a lot of weeds. We didn't want to push it without stopping to clean that filter.
2. They now weren't expecting us at lock 19.
3. It was a good run for the day and it would be nice to give Fuzzy a break.
So when we got here and the dock looked decent, we stopped. We made 50.8 statute miles, 44.7 nautical miles for the day. We checked the fuel filters again and although every time I had checked they were bubbling, Bud had to add almost no diesel. I'm starting to be a bit more comfortable.
Another good day and another warm night, and maybe free. Not bad, not bad.