Out of the Canal
26 October 2010 | Waterford, New York
We got a late start this morning. Actually, we got two late starts. The first time was after 9, when we thought the fog had thinned enough to see. We took off with me on the bow looking for the next buoy and pointing it out to Bud. This part of the canal is in the Mohawk River, so you have to watch for the channel markers. The GPS is not accurate enough to steer by - it would consistently show the boat on the edge of the canal or the wrong side of the buoys as we were proceeding nicely down the channel. Radar would have shown the buoys ahead like light posts, but our radar is lying down with the mast. The chart plotter is helpful, even if the icon for the boat is slightly off it does show you where the channel is and the buoys. So Bud was using that and I was using the chart book to decide where to look for the next buoy, but still we were almost on top of them before you could see them and if there was any distance at all between them you were going blindly. After less than a mile of that Bud said. "Let's go back. We don't need to be doing this." Just then I saw the next red buoy. "Can't we just keep going slowly forward?" This from me, the one who is usually ready to give up. We went maybe three more buoys when I conceded that this was crazy and we should go back. We turned around, and it was so foggy that is was almost as hard to find our way back. We left again at 10:45 as the fog really was lifting. This time Lost Navigator came too. At first I was still sighting buoys, but the ones that had seemed miles apart we could now see were pretty close together.
Before long the last of the mist cleared and it started getting warm. I took the bib overalls from my foul weather suit off. Then I took the jacket off and had on just three layers. By the time we reached the famous "Flight of Five Locks" that was too warm, but I didn't want to change. The locks really come one right after the other. The longest distance between two locks is .6 mile, but most the rest are less than a quarter mile apart. The picture is looking out from the second of the five locks when the lock was still full. You can get some sense of the valley you're entering. It's not a great picture because I was taking it with one hand while holding the locking rope with the other, and hurrying to get the shot before the bow drifted in too far towards the lock wall. I always have one hand on the rope and the other on the boathook, to push the bow off the wall. The last thing I wanted to do was get distracted and let the mast sticking out the front of the boat get over the edge of the lock so it got caught as we were lowered.
In short order we'd locked through all 5 locks and were in Waterford by 2 PM. We got through the canal in 6 days; we still had four days left on our 10-day pass. We have to lock through the Federal lock at Troy as we head down the Hudson, then we are done with locks until we decide to do the Panama.
There is a free dock here. The book said to tie up to the floating dock so you had power. There are also restrooms and showers. Wahoo! It really is pretty, but the power was pulled yesterday! And when we took a walk this evening and went to use the restrooms, they were already locked for the night. At least there's WIFI and it's still on.
We walked up to the post office to see if our Racor filter gaskets had arrived. We got there at 2:45 only to find out that the window was closed from 2 to 3. So Bud and Fuzzy and I took a bit of a walk along the old Champlain Canal. It was sunny and so warm that we were in short sleeves. I took a picture of the canal; it's in the gallery. I thought as we were walking that this is what it might be like once we get out of the cold, so we don't have to push so hard. A leisurely stroll in the sun, what a treat.
Then Bud reminded me that we had better hurry if we wanted to rebed the stainless ring where the mast enters the deck. We figured out that was the cause of our leak in Little Sodus. Remember the pot on the dinette table? We haven't had to deal with it because the hole where the mast comes though is covered while the mast is down and the life raft is over it all. But if we wanted to fix it we needed to do it while the mast was down. So after finding out that our package hadn't arrived, Bud went to do the grocery shopping and I came back and started working on the stainless ring. I was still cleaning the old bedding material off of everything when the sun started to go down. It was getting cold!
Bud came back with a whole cart full of groceries. There are at least two stores right across the Hudson (and the Hudson isn't too wide here) that will let boaters take carts back to the town dock. There are carts lined up like in the cart corrals. The stores come and get them on Saturdays.
Once the groceries were put away, Fuzzy fed, and dinner started, Bud came out and helped me set the stainless ring back in place with its new Boatlife caulk. We bolted it back in place, and hopefully, once the mast goes back up, the leak will be gone.
So here we are spending a third night without power. Tonight it's warm enough that we didn't even use the generator. We did turn on the inverter to use the microwave and charge up the phone and the hand held VHF radio. The wind has picked up, so maybe the wind generator will help keep the batteries charged. The solar panels might even have helped today! This whole thing might work after all.