Guard Gate 2 to Waterford, End of The Erie Canal
09 September 2008 | Waterford, NY
T storms/rain Cold Front moved it
It was a dark and stormy night... errr day... that is... (cold front moved in this morning around 7:30)
HAPPY BIRTHDAY MARY!
Got up at 6 (and yes - I need my coffee) and eyed the sky. Wayne went topside to have his coffee and Heinz came by and told us that they'd be lifting the Guard Gate shortly.
They went through and we vacillated - to wait - or go... These are the last 5 locks on the Erie Canal and there is no stopping over. Once you start - you have to finish, and it takes about 2 hours to transit them (they're pretty close together - all 5 are within 1.5 miles). The" flight of 5" We decided to go - so cast off about 7:30. You could see the front approaching from behind us.
We managed to transit Lock 6 (33ft drop in elevation) no problem. Cold front was whipping up the winds. Lock 5 (33 ft drop in elevation) we got a quarter of the way down and the rains came down in buckets, thunder and lightening ensued and the Lock Master apologized and told us to tie up and wait it out. Hope we didn't mind... I looked at him like he was crazy and yelled - you're the one standing on the metal gate - get in out of the lightening! He grinned and disappeared with a wave and we tied up using the canal ropes then went below and cut the power and instruments for the boat, and had our second cup of coffee, while we waited out the lightening storm. I thought about it and we were in the safest place we could be - about 12 ft below the winds - sheltered by 4 walls (granted the walls were metal, the gates were metal, the rails were metal, etc... but we were now below the level of strike). I had to laugh because I was actually having fun!
After the lightening lessened the Lock Master yelled back down to us to untie now, so we did and went on to Lock 4 in the rain (man it was pouring buckets until we managed to tie up in Waterford). It was amazing. All the algae that had covered the lock walls was gone... and on our boat... When we came topside, there was black flakes and spots all over our deck in massive amounts. We had to circle and circle until Lock 4 opened (he was transiting up another sailboat -westbound). So I'd pull near the wall in my circle and chase the gulls off the wall - couldn't believe how many were perched there. A lot of the algae was flushed off by the heavy rains, that which didn't get flushed... oh well... Lock 4 was a 35 ft drop, then Lock 3 in the torrential rain (35 ft drop also). I yelled to Wayne in Lock 3 "Man! This is fun!" "What?" "I said - I'M HAVING FUN!!!" and I meant it. I was having fun traveling the locks in the thunderstorm, then the torrential downpours. Then the rain lessened a bit and when we got to Lock 2 (34 ft drop) we noticed that Heinz and Marlena were still in the Lock holding their ropes in the rain (nice raingear too). It looked like the Lock Master was waiting for us for the last lock. So we transited 169 ft down within 1.5 miles. I think that this is the steepest gradient drop anywhere.
We followed La Buena Vida into Waterford, the docks were really filled - so many tugboats all along the free dock (with the power and water). We later found out that there had been a Tug Boat Competition this last weekend - which explained all the tugs tied to the wall. La Buena Vida pulled into the one free spot, and we went ahead and circled back waiting for someone to leave (which they did) and we pulled in as they pulled out. This area has a very high wall and has 15 amp power lines lying along the grass - none of which reached our boat so Wayne got our trusty adapter and extension cord and wella - I have power to type up my journal. They're supposed to have wireless here, but it doesn't show up... oh well... I'll post these when I can, but type and download my pics first. A fire truck and rescue boats came by and launched off the boat dock next to us and the truck that launched the rescue boat got stuck so the fire truck had to hoist him back up. I guess somebody said a boat got loose so they were launching a rescue. Only problem was - there were no boats that got loose. I figured it was probably just a drill...
When we got all tied up, I had to pop some bubbly! 346 miles down and this was our last lock on the Erie Canal. Salude!
Yes, yes... 11:00 am, but that Asti was just calling - "It's 5:00 o Clock somewhere!?" So leg two - of the Erie Canal - over. Next up is the Hudson River and New York City Harbor... Cheers!