Tuesday, August 18th - Locks 35 & 34
This morning we met Dennis Wardell’s father, the founder of the Wardell boat yard. He is working on restoring an old boat at the yard and was quite fun to chat with. Dennis was kind enough, after we had walked over to the grocery store for provisions to pick us up and drive us back.
So, with the mast, boom and everything else of ours back on the boat we proceeded down the
Jerry and I agree that for at least the first 30 miles the
So far we have seen 2 other sailboats making their way east to west.
For those considering a transit:
The entire canal is on channel 13 ---
We locked thru the first two locks coming east – locks 35 and 34. The lockmaster was very helpful and after purchasing our 10 day canal pass got us hooked up and ready to go. These are very deep locks back to back in
What we didn’t know was that the lower lock feeds into a 200 yard stretch of the canal with a lift bridge that does not open unless you call it separately. I guess there are lots of boats that come out of the lock and then stop (there is no place to stop!) Fortunately a tour boat was in the lock with us and notified the bridge that we were coming thru also. Then, just so that captains can exhibit their skills holding an 11 ton sailboat in the center of a 100 foot wide channel in a crosswind there is a second lift bridge 500 yards further down the canal. It too does not open. We have been told that the bridge operator opens the first bridge, closes it, gets in his car, drives to the second bridge and opens that. Clearly a system that provides a major hazard to navigation, fortunately for us canal traffic has been very light and we only shared the “holding pen” with the tour boat so we had a bit more room to maneuver. I bet with three or four sailboats it could be quite a show.
So far the cruising guides have not been much help, and the NOAA charts do not cover the area we are transiting. The NY State Canal Corporation publishes a guide that includes charts of the canal and that is what we have been using to keep track of our progress. With all the focus on locks it is easy to forget that there are quite a few lift bridges. They are marked on the charts but not in an obvious way. Each bridge that crosses the canal is labeled. After a couple of surprises you start looking for the word “lift” in the bridge description.
Garmin obviously did not put a lot of stake into getting the
We spent the night in
Tomorrow we grind thru as many more miles of the canal as possible; we have about 300 more to go. We go about 7 miles an hour, so you do the math!