We continue our journey along the NY Canal system towards the Hudson River.
Week 2 (September 16-22)
We arrived in Little Falls, NY on Saturday, September 16th. Little Falls was a short motor from Herkimer, only one lock away (#18). We tied up at the municipal marina, which provided hot showers, laundry, power and a cozy club house for $1/foot. We had read the town was quite cute, so Ken, Whisky, Shane and I grabbed our cameras and backpacks and went for a stroll. The town was indeed picturesque, with rolling hills and old steepled buildings. The folks we met along the way were friendly, going out of their way to chit-chat, and ask where we were from and where we were going. One person said the town is beautiful at Christmas, when the snow has fallen and the lights are lit. It wasn’t hard to imagine.
Back at the marina we filled our water tanks and gave Foggy, grimy from the locks, some TLC. We also said goodbye to our tablet when Shane pulled on our water hose and knocked the tablet off the tie-up wall into the silty water below. He dove for it, raked for it and used a magnet over the next couple of days, but couldn’t find it. Losing our tablet was a big loss. It left us without internet (our brand new Raymarine YachtSense router had stopped working) and without a decent sized screen to see our Navionics charts. (We also have Lighthouse charts loaded on the plotter but they don’t have charts of the Erie Canal – what the heck!!??) Anyway, it took poor Shane 72 hours before he was quite right again, before we ordered a replacement which will be waiting for us at a planned stop along the Hudson.
There were many attempts to recover the tablet. Started with just one rake until a local came by to help and kept bringing other tools to help.
Late the next day, we moved a short distance down river past lock 17, within walking distance of Little Falls. This was a free wall tie up, but not nearly as pleasant as our previous accommodations. We were under a large highway overpass (like trolls and not good for our solar), by the train tracks and downwind from a sewage treatment plant. He, he, we figured, all part of the adventure. The plan was to stay just one night, but we got lazy and stayed put another night, then had fairly strong sustained winds the next day which kept us tethered for yet another day. Not what we planned, but we took the opportunity to get some things done. We submitted our paper work to extend our boat insurance into the next two southern zones. We hounded Raymarine technical support (without resolution). We went to the lovely Stonemill Cafe, and used their wi-fi to post our first full blog of the trip (excellent ‘dirty’ chai lattes and banana bread, by the way).
Shane and I took a walk up the canal trail to the Herkimer home historic site. The estate, we learned, had been owned by General Herkimer, who fought in the Revolutionary War. He died of his wounds shortly after his comrades delivered him home. We also had some close raucous games of crib (Jay cheats, or rather pretends to cheat – trickery!).
Wednesday, we set off again without a destination in mind. At lock 16, there were too many boats (five) to go through at once so we waved Whisky through with the others. We tied up to a wall for about 45 minutes waiting for the lock to be readied again. When it was time to go, I threw the lines on Foggy’s deck and Shane motored towards the lock….without me. He thought he heard me jump on the deck, but what he heard was me throwing lines onto the boat. I’m still suspicious, but he did come back to collect me and we proceeded to have our most embarrassing lock entrance to-date. We missed our lines multiple times, then had to kick the boat off the wall to protect the haul and mast. Even with the kicks, Foggy’s bow got kissed and she now has a yellow freckle of lock paint on her nose. Sometimes we go into locks, and it goes so smoothly, that we are left feeling rather smug. Other times (like when your Skipper gets distracted talking to the Lockmaster), it’s a circus. I’m sure idiots like us keep Lockmasters entertained: “Lock #15, lock #15, live one coming your way…get the cameras rolling.”
Locks 17 to 12 were being inspected on Wednesday, which meant a one-hour closure at each lock that slowed our progress. One of the Inspectors offered to keep the locks opened late so we could make it through to Amsterdam, NY, but we decided instead to stop on the West side of lock 12, just before Amsterdam. We woke up Thursday to a chilly, foggy morning and had a leisurely morning waiting for the fog to lift before moving on. We left as a group, but Whisky stopped after lock 12, and the rest of us continued to lock 11. We’re hoping to see him again as we move southward.
Amsterdam’s facilities at Riverlink Park offered a pump out, showers, electricity and water for a $30 flat rate. There was also a cute riverside bar and ice-cream shack on-site, but it had already closed for the season. We went into town for a few groceries and a new SIM card to replace the one lost in the tablet, then went for a lovely walk along the water and over a foot bridge laden with sculptures and mosaics. Friday night, on Chez Foggy, we made one of our best Pad Thai dinners ever. We ended up staying in Amsterdam two days, in order to watch what Hurricane, then Tropical Storm, Ophelia would stir up on the Hudson.
Overall, week two was as wonderful as week one. Shane and I have definitely found out boat groove (it usually takes us a few days). We feel ourselves getting stronger as we use muscles that have been dormant for too long. (Shane’s pants are a bit baggy and he’s not sure he brought a belt. He, he.) In addition to Whisky, Jay and Ken, we’ve met lots of other wonderful boaters: Mathew and Judy on JUMA; Nick, Stacy and their little one Myla on Bellos (who are also from Peterborough!); Petty and Charles on Dassie; Cathy and her husband whose name I can’t remember (!); and, several others. I got a bit homesick this week, especially missing the kids. We tried to have a FaceTime while outside of lock 17, but the frequent trains made it comically difficult to hear each other. I know how incredibly fortunate we are to have the support, means and health to be on this adventure, so I’ll just suck up my bit of sadness and carry on. I am incredibly grateful.
Animals seen this week: bald eagles, blue herons, king fishers (for sure), mallard ducks, common mergansers, Canadian geese, great white egrets, and one determined snail.
- Boat bruises this week: 2 new
- Dents to the ego: 1 (thanks lock 16)
- Distance traveled: 36.5 NM
Fun fact: We use to live just blocks from the ocean when the kids were little. If the foghorns were blowing at night after story time, I’d tell the kids how lucky they were to have a Foghorn Lullaby. That’s how Foggy got her name.