Friday, September 16, 2011

Portsmouth NH - Buffalo NY Update 4

Monday, 12 Sept 2011
As we last left our intrepid voyagers, the Erie Canal had been closed for the rest of the season (and probably most of next year) due to severe damage to three locks and dams on the system. We are moored in Kingston NY waiting for the flood waters in our alternate route, the Champlain Canal system, to recede. We have removed the hard top and radar arch to make our air draft 16 feet and 6 inches.
We have been waiting now exactly one week, with daily updates checked on the internet thru and daily calls to the Federal Lock at Troy NY and Lock C3 on the Champlain for updates on their progress. Today, we finally received word that the Federal Lock will be reopening tomorrow and that the locks on the Champlain Canal will reopen at 0700 on Wednesday.  So, it is with this renewed confidence in our situation that the family went next door to the Hudson River Maritime Museum for our last day in port.

To celebrate, I rented an SUV and we went to town for steak dinner followed by a couple of lines of bowling in Ulster NY at the Hoe Bowl. It was great to break the mental frustration that a week’s delay created. Fun was had by all!!

Tuesday, 13 Sept 2011
We get underway today for the 54 mile run up to Troy and the Federal Lock. The plan is to pass thru the lock and proceed on to Lock C1 and tie to the lock wall for the night so we are in position when they open at 0700 on Wednesday.
1000: We have a late departure to coincide with the change in tide and thus we will enjoy a push all the way past Albany. We head out to Rondoubt Creek Light and turn left to continue up the Hudson River in the company of the 44’ Californian “High Spirit” with Bill and Barbara from Boca Raton.
As we get closer to Albany, we see more and more signs of just how high the water got when Hurricane Irene passed thru. It explains why we are dodging trees on our way up the Hudson.

But besides watching out for debris, there are other sights to see on the Upper Hudson.
 Saugerties Light
Hudson-Athens Light
 Anyone who has run up the Hudson to the Erie or Champlain Canals knows Troy Dock as the last stop for food and fuel before entering the Federal Dock. After the flood took out the docks, they are done for the season.
We arrive, like clockwork, to the Federal Lock and it makes us all happy that they are in operation; after waiting all this long! We lock up with “High Spirit” and another sailboat. Bill on “High Spirit” is stopping at Waterford as we proceed further up to tied up on the wall at the first lock in the Champlain Canal. This will be the last we see of “High Spirit.”
Just before 1700, we arrive at Lock C1. There is a lockmaster in the office. He hasn’t seen a private vessel since Hurricane Irene and called his supervisor wondering if the locks were open. We explained to him we just wanted to be ready when the lock resumes operations the following morning. And with that, we turn in early after a home cooked meal in the “wilderness.”
Wednesday, 14 Sept 2011
0600: Reveille. The crew are up and ready for action!
0700: The lockmaster (a different one form the night before) arrives and is a bit surprised to find a yacht already waiting. No one else has arrived early, so the lock is ours!
As we get to the top of Lock C1, the lockmaster takes our $20 toll for a two day pass. We inform him that we intend to run the whole system and asked if he could phone ahead to Lock C3 and have them lower their lake section so we can get under the railroad bridge above the lock.
0930: We arrive at Lock C3 and we inform the lockmaster that we will require 16’6” for the bridge above the lock. He rolled his eyes and said, “I think you can make it.” We asked him how the water got during the flood and he indicated this high!
After locking thru at 3, we look ahead at the lowest bridge on the Champlain Canal. The book says it is 15’5” at normal lake level and if called in advance, the clearance can be as much as 17’1”. However, our concern is that with all the flooding, what will the clearance be today? Our answer was shortly before us.

After clearing the bridge, it was all downhill from there… actually, uphill for the first 8 locks and downhill the last three. No problem with bridge clearances and the weather was bright and sunny.
We ran the whole day and arrived at Lock C-12, the end of the Champlain Canal system, at 1730; a half hour after the locks close for the night. Fortunately, Lock C12 is located at White Hall NY. We secured the vessel and walk a half mile to Joe’s Pizza for dinner.
Tomorrow… Lake Champlain!! More to follow…

No comments:

Post a Comment