Changing of the Colors

Changing of the Colors

10-Jun-2021 Thursday  Village Marina on South Bass Island, Put-In-Bay OH to Alcyone’s dock (Todd and Patty), Gross Isle MI (32.6 nautical miles  37.5 statute miles)

42°06’21.0″N 83°08’59.0″W
42.105824, -83.149727
Elevation: 573 feet Lift 2 feet
States (2): Ohio, Michigan

Along the Way

Leaving Put-In-Bay

Nemesis of the Day

Todd and Patty graciously offered us a place on their wall for the night. We followed them home.

Todd and Patty live in a Wonderland. I wondered if we could make it in and if we did, I wondered if we could make it back out.

Changing of the colors.
Todd and Patty’s Gold Looper Flag was in the mail stack waiting for them at their house. We had the privilege of watching them change their colors.

Thanks Todd and Patty for your hospitality. We’ll see you in Florida.


Centipedes generally avoid water. They can swim for a short while but soon drown due to lack of oxygen. They take in oxygen from the atmosphere thro’ small pores located under their legs.

Drolleries and Yuks

How much room is needed for a fungi to grow?
~As mushroom as possible 

Islands in the Lake

Islands in the Lake

09-Jun-2021 Wednesday  Mentor Harbor Yacht Club, Mentor-on-the-Lake OH  to Village Marina on South Bass Island, Put-In-Bay OH  (68.1 nautical miles  78.4 statute miles)

41°39’15.2″N 82°49’05.9″W
41.654229, -82.818317
Elevation: 571 feet     Lift 0
States (1): Ohio

Along the Way

Rather than bounce along the southern shore of Lake Erie past Cleveland and Sandusky we decided to head straight across towards Detroit. The forecast said weather would be good for traveling all day but I didn’t think it looked that way.

An unexpected guest

The weather did eventually clear up.

The nemesis of the day was the nematocera. I just don’t where all the bugs come from when we are 3 miles or more off shore.

We traveled just south of the USA/Canada boundary.

There’s a small group of islands in Lake Erie just north of Sandusky OH. Some are in the USA and others are in Canada.

Entering Put-in-Bay OH on South Bass Island.

Someone somewhere along the line released a couple of koi carp in Put-In-Bay. They interbred with the local carp so it’s not surprising for the locals to see orange carp. It is surprising for the rest of us to see the orange carp.

We rented a golf cart and toured the island with Todd and Patty from Alcyone. They had been out here several times before and were great tour guides.

The 352-foot Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial monument is the world’s tallest Doric column. IT was constructed between 1912 to 1915 it stands 47 feet taller than the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor.

We needed to stop for one beer before we had to return the golf cart.

Good Night


The Battle of Lake Erie, sometimes called the Battle of Put-in-Bay, was fought on 10 September 1813, on Lake Erie during the War of 1812. Nine vessels of the United States Navy defeated and captured six vessels of the British Royal Navy. This ensured American control of the lake for the rest of the war, which in turn allowed the Americans to recover Detroit and win the Battle of the Thames to break the Indian confederation of Tecumseh. It was one of the biggest naval battles of the War of 1812.

Ponder This

Do song birds get mad at humming birds for not knowing the words?

Our day went like this

Our day went like this

08-Jun-2021 Tuesday  Presque Isle State Park, Erie PA  to  Mentor Harbor Yacht Club, Mentor-on-the-Lake OH  (68.8 nautical miles  79.2 statute miles)

41°43’35.3″N 81°20’59.2″W
41.726464, -81.349783
Elevation: 570 feet   Lift -1
States (2): Pennsylvania, Ohio

Along the Way

Our day went like this.

The Mentor marina is man made/dredged. There are two businesses, Mentor Harbor Yacht Club and Mentor Lagoons Marina. We stayed at the yacht club,

A shuttle runs between the Mentor Harbor Yacht Club and the Mentor Harbor Yacht Club docks

After sunset the shuttle took us back to our dock


Ponder This

If an electricians kid gets in trouble do they ground them?

Things got a lot more Erie

Things got a lot more Erie

07-JUN-2021 Monday  LaSalle Yacht Club, Niagara Falls NY to Presque Isle State Park, Erie PA (87.7 nautical miles  100.9 statute miles)

42°09’25.1″N 80°07’14.0″W
42.156970, -80.120550
Elevation: 571 feet Rise 9 feet
States (2): New York, Pennsylvania

Locks (1):
Black Rock Lock

Along the Way

Beautifully still this morning. Looking at the Grand Island North Bridge.

The sand flies were horrid. Tammy had to protect her coffee cup when she got up to tell us goodbye. I ended up with extra protein in mine. YUK.

A couple of last looks towards Niagara Falls. You can see the mist from the falls.

I got to thinking what DOES Niagara Fall look like on the nautical charts?

I have to admit I was more than a little confused about the geography of Niagara Falls and Buffalo. So I looked it up. Niagara Falls is on Lake Ontario and Buffalo is on Lake Erie. They are connected by the Niagara River which is 36 miles long.

Buffalo NY

We connected up with Looper Alcyone in Black Rock Lock. We had first met them in Everglade City.

Black Rock Lock is a Federal Lock, 650 feet in length and 70 feet wide. There is only one chamber and the total weight of the gate is 480 tons. The lock has been a part of Black Rock since the state of New York built the Erie Canal in 1833.

Wall of Fame. High school sports teams championships are painted on the wall.

Root for the Home Team! Toronto Blue Jays are using the Buffalo Stadium. Yankees will be playing them in Buffalo later this summer. All the seats for the series are are ready sold out. The community is loving it, having MLB in town.  It will be crazy when the Yankees are here. New York really likes their baseball.

International Peace Bridge

Things got a lot more Erie, Lake Erie.

The sand fly problem turned into a biting fly problem after we entered Lake Erie.

Again things got a lot more Erie, Erie PA.

Erie PA is bigger than I thought it was.

Presque Isle State Park

The biting fly problem turned into a mosquito problem after we entered Presque Isle State Park Bay,


We are anchored at the pin in the state park. This the first time we’ve anchored since leaving the Hudson River. It’s great not to have to worry about tides and currents.


As of today, yes dear… has traveled on all of the Great Lakes

By surface area, Lake Erie is the fourth-largest of the Great Lakes, with a surface area of 9,910 square miles. It is the eleventh largest lake in the world if measured in terms of surface area.

By volume Lake Erie is the smallest of the Great Lakes with 116 cubic miles of water.

Lake Erie is the shallowest of the Great Lakes. The lake’s average depth is 62 feet, while the maximum depth is 210 feet.

Ponder This

Did the guy who coined ‘one hit wonder’ ever come up with any other popular phrases?

The Erie Canal saves the best surprise for last

The Erie Canal saves the best surprise for last

06-JUN-2021 Sunday  Free Dock, Middleport NY to LaSalle Yacht Club, Niagra Falls NY (33.1 nautical miles  38.1 statute miles)

43°04’22.1″N 78°59’08.2″W
43.072805, -78.985607
Elevation: 562 feet Rise 50 feet
States (1): New York

Locks (2):
Lock E34 – Lockport
Lock E35 – Lockport (Elevation 564 at top of lock)

Along the Way

Wester Erie Canal is not at all like southern Florida ICW. Everything is shiny new and big in southern Florida. You never see an older boat (unless it’s a Looper boat). Here, you never see a new a new boat.

I wonder if they hung the right doors. There’s a different color and the down arrows are missing.

The weirdest thing of the day award goes to something I didn’t get a picture of. Some guy in his 60’s came roaring down to the canal edge on his four wheeler with his little dog on his lap. He skidded to a stop, lifted up his little dog and pointed to our boat so the dog could see it.

The Erie Canal saved the best for last.
Lockport. Sections of the original Erie Canal have been persevered. Other sections are in their original state. (Warning: I’m picture happy)

Lock E34 – Lockport (Lock 1)
Originally there were two sets of five step locks at Lockport to allow boats to travel both East and West at the same time. These two sets of five step locks have been replaced by two locks with significant lifts (~45 feet each). One set of the original locks have been preserved and are used for overflow.

At the top of Lock E34 you directly pass into Lock E35 – Lockport, the last lock until the Niagara River.

Signs of the original Erie Canal are very evident on the starboard/right/north side of the canal. You can still see the old mule path cut into the rock, forming a ledge. Rocks along the waterline have been worn smooth by the water through the years. The mule path was removed from port/left/south side of the canal when it was widened years ago.

Oopsies. I accidently bumped a button on my camera. The next set of pictures are in some sort of special effects cartoon mode. I thought they were kinda funky so I included more that I should have.

The closer to Niagara River we got the bluer the water got.

Kayak breeding grounds. This place is a zoo.

Give them the horn Dom!

The Erie Canal ends where it enters the Niagara River.

It’s hard to say goodbye. Rather than saying goodbye, Brandi Jo (Dom and Tammy) took us home with them. We headed down the Niagara River towards the falls to their yacht club. The waterway was Florida crazy.

Tonawanda, which means “swift waters,” was the name given to the area by Neuter and Erie Indians, the area’s original inhabitants. It probably refers to the Niagara River current.

Back to reality. I discover my oopsies and reset my camera.

Brandi Jo’s home marina is just before the North Grand Island Bridge.

Dale and Tom put the boom back on the sun roof. The Mooch was returned to her spot on top.

Then Tom snuck off to Minnesota. It was great having you aboard!

Current Status and Elevation


The Niagara River is a connecting channel between two Great Lakes, Erie and Ontario. Niagara Falls has moved back seven miles in 12,500 years and is thought to be the fastest moving waterfalls in the world.  700,000 of water travel down Niagara Falls every second.

It is believed that the word Niagara originates from the Iroquoian word ‘Onguiaahra’ meaning ‘Strait’. Making reference to the narrow waterways that flow north from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario.

Ponder This

If there is an earthquake on a dairy farm, is it called a milkshake?

The Erie Canal continues to surprise

The Erie Canal continues to surprise

05-JUN-2021 Saturday  Free Wall, Holley NY to Free Dock, Middleport NY (22.8 nautical miles   26.2 statute miles)

43°12’45.3″N 78°28’38.3″W
43.212570, -78.477301
Elevation: 512 feet Rise 0 feet
States (1): New York

Locks (0):

Along the Way

We watched another boat head out this morning before we left. The guy on the bow is holding an upright pole. As long as the pole clears, the boat will clear.

Today’s entire run was above grade. Mind blowing. And windy too. 20 mph wind. I’m glad we are not on Lake Erie today.

Recently reinforced banks or just power washed the rocks?

I’d have loved to stop in Albion for a quick walk about. It’s known for its old churches. Alas, there was no room to tie up with the dredges and barges on the free wall.

Albion was the home of George Pullman, the guy that invented railroad sleeping cars. He got the idea from watching canal boats.

A roaming operator works both the Ingersoll bridge and the Main Street Bridge in Albion.

I somehow messed up my camera. A lot of todays pictures are a blurry. How can you mess up autofocus??
Continuing on.

The Erie Canal continues to surprise with beautiful farmland and orchards.


An Erie Canal surprise!
Near Medina the Erie Canal crosses over Culvert Road on an aqueduct. This is the only place a car can driver under the Erie Canal. It’s not that amazing from above but I bet it is mind blowing to see a boat pass over road on the aqueduct from below.

As Brandi Jo approached the kayakers Dom honked his horn. They scattered like baby Canadian geese being chased.

Back to an area of cement walls. The cement walls are about 3 feet high and have cable mounted for water emergencies (e.g. something to grab on to if you fall out of your boat or have boat trouble). It’s au naturale on the other side.

Medina, another Erie Canal surprise. The north side the canal is an 61 foot embankment. The canal elevation is 512 feet and the land/lake below is 451 feet elevation

Medina is known for its Medina Sandstone, a stone used widely in buildings across the region. Some local examples include the “million dollar grand staircase” at the New York State Capitol in Albany, the Richardson Olmsted Complex in Buffalo, and in buildings at the University of Rochester and Cornell University. Sandstone varies in color from light grey to a deep reddish brown. It can also be found at Buckingham Palace and the the streets of Havana.


On occasion I still need to check the bridge height.


Downtown Middleport is one block long. All the buildings in downtown Middleport, both sides, are owned by one person who is trying to develop it.


Dale read us a bedtime story while we ate our epilogues.

P.S. Dale fixed my camera settings so I’m good to go for tomorrow 🙂

I’m liking the Lifts

I’m liking the Lifts

04-JUN-2021 Friday  Free Wall, Spencerport NY to Free Wall, Holley NY (11 nautical miles   12.7 statute miles)

43°13’39.8″N 78°01’15.3″W
43.227713, -78.020925
Elevation: 512 feet Rise 0 feet
States (1): New York

Locks (0):

Along the Way

I’m liking the lift bridges.

Some bridge operators run two bridges. The bridge operator at the Spencerport Union Street Lift Bridge also runs the Adams Basin Lift Bridge ~3 miles away.

Large sections of today’s run ran well above the grade of the land. The Erie Canal, probably like most canals, is truly an engineering marvel. Not only did the early designers have to design the canals across peaks, valleys and flats, they had to identify water sources and build aqueducts to feed the canal. It takes a lot of coordination to keep the water flowing, pools at the correct height and not deplete the water sources.

Bridge inspection. Checkout the outrigger pontoon stabilizers.

Continuing on.

Dale has been “little towned” to death. They all have a head shop, a restaurant, a shitnack store, a grocery store, a Dollar Store and maybe a hardware store. I love them. We stopped at Brockport.

The hardware store in Brockport was a time capsule.

We went to find the Fire Department Museum about 5 blocks away on the edge of town.

Apparently some of the drivers around here have a little difficulty judging the height on the bridge. I understand the problem. It’s the same problem we’ve been dealing with on yes dear… But, so far we’ve been able to clear all these bridges.

The Fire Department Museum was closed.

Diversity in housing

Kayak and other personal craft launching station. I haven’t seen one of these before.

We docked yes dear… on the Holley Canal Park free wall for the night and went off to find the waterfalls.

Canal Park has has this weird thing going on with painted rocks. They are just kinda laying around like Easter Egg or something. A local resident told me I could take one if I wanted. I didn’t.

Holley Canal Falls is one of the more unique and historic waterfalls in New York. It is a man made waterfall and part of the Erie Canal system. When the canal was widened over 100 years old, a water overflow outlet was created in Holley. Water that flows out of the canal plunges off a 35-foot sandstone cliff and makes its way into the East Branch of Sandy Creek.

Canal Park, along the canal

Ponder This

If dentists make their money off bad teeth… why should I trust the toothpaste that 4 out of 5 dentists recommend?

It’s pretty incredible after pretty incredible

It’s pretty incredible after pretty incredible

03-JUN-2021 Thursday  Free Wall, Newark NY to City Wall, Fairport NY to Free Wall, Spencerport NY (22.1 nautical miles   25.4 statute miles)

43°11’33.0″N 77°47’57.8″W
43.192505, -77.799385
Elevation: 512 feet Rise 50 feet
States (1): New York

Locks (2 up):
Lock E31 – <NO LOCK>
Lock E32 – Pittsford
Lock E33 – Henrietta

Along the Way

The Newark lift bridge is lifted for repairs.

The western portion of the Erie Canal, for about the next 100 miles to Buffalo, resembles the original Erie Canal, a trench dug through the landscape with a tow path on both sides for the mules.

It will be mostly 15 foot bridges and 15 foot guard gates today. Cringe.

Interstate I490.
It looks a little dubious from below.

Continuing on.

Some of these canal boats have tiller steering. I wonder how that works for docking?

I finally got to the point where I’m not cringing under every 15 foot bridge. I still keep a cautious eye though.

Lock E32 – Pittsford. This was crazy. If I understand correctly, the giant stream of mounded of water get diverted to fill the locks when the doors are closed.

The echoing waterfalls, leaks in the doors, dampened as the chamber filled. Lock walls crumbled as I pushed to keep yes dear.. off them. This lock too is in need of repair.

They are making some updates. They’ve recently swapped out the weighted lock lines for cables attached to the bottom and the top of the lock wall. We wrap a line around them old on and has the water depth changes. They are a lot easier and safer than the weighted lock lines.

Lock E33 – Henrietta also had a giant stream of mounded of water. Scary.

The powerhouses house equipment used to generate electricity to power lock gates and valves. Almost all the locks have a powerhouse.

Lock E33 is the last lock for 42 miles. (NO LOCKS TOMORROW!!!!)

At this point the Erie Canal is skirting Rochester along the southwest corner I390 beltline.

The runner is running slightly faster than we are traveling (6.2 kts/7.1 mph). Note the grade. If the canal wall fails it will swap the area.

It’s pretty incredible after pretty incredible.

The “Rock Cut”, miles 260-264, required some of the most extensive excavation of the entire Erie Canal. The deep cut was made through solid rock without the aid of modern earthmoving equipment.

Canal Relics

We are here.

Junction Lock – The original Erie Canal used to go into downtown Rochester. This was the original canal and lock entrance to downtown Rochester.

I haven’t seen any turtles the entire length of the Erie Canal.


About 10 days ago there was a breach in the the canal walls some where around here. Guard gates were closed and the canal was drained to repair the canal wall. The water is about 1.5 feet low in this section of the canal as they are still trying to raise the pool to normal height.

Tomorrow we will pass under the Union Street Lift Bridge. Pedestrians can cross the bridge when it is in the down position or the raised position. The bridge walkway, on the left, raises with the bridge to the height of the red steps for pedestrians to pass.

Good Night

Thanks Tom F for the great picture.

Ponder This

How many times do you have to click “I accept cookies” before they send you the cookies?

Like a dock out of water

Like a dock out of water

02-JUN-2021 Wednesday  Free Wall, Newark NY to City Wall, Fairport NY (17.7 nautical miles  20.4 statute miles)

43°06’03.8″N 77°26’27.5″W
43.101057, -77.440964
Elevation: 462 feet Rise 28 feet
States (1): New York

Locks (2 up):
Lock E29 – Palmyra
Lock E30 – Macedon

Along the Way

First bridge was REALLY low. None of us were paying attention. Good thing we didn’t hit. We were all looking at the street light on the bridge.

Joseph Smith founded the Church of Jesus Christ Latter Day Saints in Palmyra in1830.

Lock E29 – Palmyra. Another lock in rough shape.

The aqueduct that feeds the pool between Lock E29 and Lock E30 collapsed about the same time Lock E17 went caput. It’s been stabilized but a lot of rain is needed to fill the aqueduct source. Vessels with a draft of 5 feet or less can plow their way through. Lock E29 provides each vessel locking through with a depth map. It’s a lot worse at the western E30 end than at the eastern E29 end.

Exiting Lock E29.

Like a dock out of water.

At least we didn’t need to worry about bridge height for 1.3 miles until the next lock.

Old Lock 61 from 1862.

Lock E30 – Macedon. Our Lock E17 friend Clyde and his dad got stuck and had to be drug through the shallows. His 5 foot sailboat keel to was too deep and got stuck. A kindly trawler tossed him a line and drug him through. Wonder what his keel looks like now. yes dear… was vertically challenged too. We draft 3’9″. The canal bottom by the wall seemed soft. We didn’t feel any bottom contact but the depth on the depth finder was unsettling.

Free and clear! Whew! This should be just about it for the western Erie Canal challenges. Only four more locks to do until we are out of the Erie Canal.

Long about the Wayneport Road at Wayneport the daymarks are no longer numbered.

I think there were 2 more number signs after these but I didn’t see them.

It’s very different from Florida, but its still “WOW look at that house. WOW look at that house. LOOK at that DOCK”.

The lift bridge at Fairport is in the Guiness Book of World Records for several reasons. One end is higher than the other, it’s built on a slant and no two angles on the entire bridge are exactly the same. Constructed in 1913 it’s been closed for repair since September 2019. DOT hopes it will be complete in June 2021. Think about it. Some poor dude had to figure that all out in 1913 by manual calculations.

Walk about. Dom and Tammy want to go the the Italian Market in town here. We followed. They haven’t steared us wrong yet.

Italian Market. Baccala (codfish). It sure looks like lutefisk to me. They are both dried and salted cod.

Interesting shops

We did a pass through at the Iron Smoke Distillery.

Stopped for a beer at the Triphammer.


Drolleries and Yuks

What’s the leading cause of dry skin?

Low Bridge Everybody Down

Low Bridge Everybody Down

01-JUN-2021 Tuesday  Free Wall, Baldwinsville NY to Free Wall, Newark NY (48.3 nautical miles  55.6 statute miles)

43°02’50.9″N 77°05’41.3″W
43.047480, -77.094808
Elevation: 434 feet Rise 62 feet
States (1): New York

Locks (5 up):
Lock E25 – Mays Point
Lock E26 – Clyde
Lock E27 – Lyons
Lock E28A – Lyons
Lock E28B – Newark

Along the Way

It wasn’t enough to simply have mannequins on the dock…. Dale and Tom had to critique their skin tone and wardrobe.

Cross Lake. Exactly what we did. Head straight across the lake heading for the hole in the trees. (Cross Lake is not cross shaped.)

Farmland. It’s been a long time since we’ve seen farmland along the waterway.

Bridges…. The bridges on the western side the Erie Canal are lower than the bridges on the eastern side the Erie Canal. We made the decision to run it and see what happens. Today will tell. Some of them look like they have been built by fairies and others look like they have been built by trolls.

Checking out the bridge heights. Just because you’ve made one at 15 feet it doesn’t mean you make another at 15 feet. The pool levels between the lock might flux due to rain or other conditions.

Low bridge. Everybody down.

This guy is sitting in the weeds. Bet he’s full of ticks.

It’s looking like we can clear the bridges. It’s the electrical wires I’m starting to worry about.

High density housing. Not everyone can afford the Finger Lakes region.

Everyone has a golf cart. A guy could make a fine living here fixing golf carts.

It’s a mixed bag of landscape. Fun to see farms again. I miss the mountains though.

Cayuga-Seneca(C-S) Canal to the portside. Daymarks are always interesting where channels split.

Remains of the Montezuma Aqueduct where the canal of 1862 crossed the Seneca River.

Lock E25 – Mays Point – Fishing bobbers used for trawling 🙂 Interestingly they are painted different colors on each end.

18 foot practice bridge

OK. Cleared.

Lock E26 – Clyde

Water spider about 4 inches across. It crawled up the wall as the water rose.

This train bridge is supposedly the lowest bridge on the Erie Canal. 15 feet. Our moment has come. Take it slow.

We just saved ourselves $1,000! We won’t have to hire a captain to take our boat through the Welland Canal in Canada to circumnavigate Niagara Falls.
Through history there has been heavy competition between trains and boats for tonnage along the Erie Canal. The sneaky railroads built their bridges as low as possible to impede the boat traffic.

Lyons Lock E27

This bridge must have been made by trolls.

Lyons Lock E27

There was a time in Lyons when you could smell peppermint wherever you went in town. Hundreds and hundreds of acres of surrounding farmland was devoted to growing peppermint plants. Lyons was once a major producer of peppermint. The H.G. Hotchkiss Essential Oil Company exported its product internationally, and in addition to early medicinal uses, it provided the palate-pleasing tingle of Beech-Nut Gum. 

Lock E28A – Lyons

Lock E28B – Newark. This lock was in really rough shape. One of the worst so far.

Welcome to Newark

Good Night


On the Erie Canal it takes 100,000 gallons of water per foot of lift. AND they do it for free.

Drolleries and Yuks

Why did the cattle rancher buy a dachshund?
~ He heard someone say get a long little doggie.

Memorial Day

Memorial Day

31-May-2021 Monday  Ess-Kay Marina, Brewerton NY to Free Wall, Baldwinsville NY (20.1 nautical miles  23.1 statute miles)

43°09’23.2″N 76°20’13.0″W
43.156440, -76.336933
Elevation: 372 feet Rise 3 feet
States (1): New York

Locks (2):
Lock E23 – Brewerton (down)
Lock E24 – Baldwinsville (up)

Remember all those who have sacrificed this Memorial Day.

Greater love has no one but this,
Than to lie down their life for a friend. John 15:13

Along the Way

Woo Woo. They put a sign on the women’s restroom door. It was a little interesting yesterday. I walked into one of the restrooms yesterday turned around and walked out. I figured I was in them men’s because it was painted all blue. As I went to check out the other restroom a guy stepped out of it. He’d checked both of them out and decided to use the one with the urinals. Guess the all blue one must be the women’s.

We were waiting for our neighbors to leamoove. Waiting and waiting and waiting. They are too tall to travel the western side of the Erie Canal and need to use the Oswego Canal. Lock issues on the Oswego Canal are preventing them from continuing on today. They didn’t want to move their boat…
At about 11:00am we asked them to move their boat so we could get out. The captain decided to walk the 110 foot boat back rather than start the engine.

We barely squeezed past.

yes dear… is so dirty again we look like nautical Beverly Hill Billies, especially when dragging The Mooch.

Lock E23 – Brewerton (down)

This is the Three Rivers section of the Erie Canal. We came in on the Oneida River and exited on the Seneca River. The Oswego Canal/River heads north to Lake Ontario here.

We continued west on the Erie Canal following the Seneca River.

Just down from there we found a guy having troubles with his ski jet. We dragged the ski jet back to the party for him. His friends picked him up and dragged ski jet back into the marina.

Today’s Rant
All the docks have aprons on them. I just don’t get why. Further more, why are the boards nailed on vertically? It seems to me it would be a whole lot easier to nail longer boards horizonally.

Lighthouses are a thing here too.

The thing that puzzles me most are the private marinas and private canals just carved right out of the shoreline. No way could you do that in Minnesota or Wisconsin.

These docks don’t have aprons. It’s interesting how they are cantilevered out from the shore.

Lock E24 – Baldwinsville (up)

I rarely feel comfortable tossing a line to anyone on a dock. I’d feel comfortable tossing a line to anyone of these four people. Tammy, Mary, Dave and Dom!

We headed out for summer but got stopped up at the bridge to watch the fishermen. The fishermen were fishing the river about 20 feet below. They had a custom fish net, just the right length, to net the fish.

We ate supper at the B’ville Diner. Great food at a great price!


We told Dave and Mary good bye again. They decided to turn around and go out the Oswego Canal. An aqueduct broke up river on the Erie Canal and they draft too deep to continue on.
Superman was their boat Starlight’s original owner. She was custom built for Christopher Reeves before he had his equestrian accident.


The New York State Canal System (formerly known as the New York State Barge Canal) is a successor to the Erie Canal and other canals within New York. Currently, the 525-mile system is composed of the Erie Canal, the Oswego Canal, the Cayuga–Seneca Canal, and the Champlain Canal. In 2014 the system was listed as a national historic district on the National Register of Historic Places in its entirety, and in 2016 it was designated a National Historic Landmark.

The Erie Canal connects the Hudson River to Lake Erie; the Cayuga–Seneca Canal connects Seneca Lake and Cayuga Lake to the Erie Canal; the Oswego Canal connects the Erie Canal to Lake Ontario; and the Champlain Canal connects the Hudson River to Lake Champlain.

Current status and elevation

Drolleries and Yuks

Crossing the “Thumb”

Crossing the “Thumb”

30-May-2021 Saturday  Free wall, Sylvan Beach NY to Ess-Kay Marina, Brewerton NY (19.2 nautical miles  22.1 statute miles)

43°14’22.8″N 76°09’01.0″W
43.239655, -76.150284
Elevation: 369 feet rise 0 feet
States (1): New York

Locks (0) yippee

Along the Way

Heading into Oneida Lake.

Looking back.

Oneida Lake is a great fishing lake. Dale checked out all the fishing boats. He’s trying to decide what kind of fishing boat he’s going to buy when we get back to Minnesota. It WON’T be a center console boat.

We were attacked by hundreds of midges that wanted lift. Dale went crazy and kicked them all off the boat.

Hangman’s island for seagulls.

Heading into Brewerton on the west side of Oneida Lake.

More unusual style buoys

Back into the Erie Canal. The Erie Canal follows the Oneida River on this side of the lake.

Brewerton’s a quaint community.

The big event for the day was dropping the dinghy and removing the dinghy boom. With the boom removed, cross our fingers, we will be low enough to travel the western end of the Erie Canal. We had thought we would have to head out the Oswego Canal to Lake Ontario.

I took a nap while the men dropped the boom and nestled it behind the bikes for storage.


The blue boat needs to leave before we head out tomorrow morning. Hope it leaves by noon.


Oneida Lake is the largest lake entirely within New York state, with a surface area of 79.8 square miles. It is about 21 miles long and about 5 miles wide with an average depth of 22 feet. While not considered one of the Finger Lakes, Oneida Lake sometimes is referred to as their “thumb”.

Ponder This

Zebras are just horses with barcodes.

Upside of E17 and downside of E20

Upside of E17 and downside of E20

29-May-2021 Saturday  Lock E17 Erie Canal, Little Falls Rotary Park Marina, Little Falls NY to Free wall, Sylvan Beach NY (43.5 nautical miles  50.1 statute miles)

43°11’39.9″N 75°43’49.1″W
43.194414, -75.730296
Elevation: 369 feet rise 10 feet
States (1): New York

Locks (4):
Lock E18 – Jacksonburg (up)
Lock E19 – Frankfort (up)
Lock E20 – Marcy (up) peak at 420 feet
Lock E21 – Rome (down)
Lock E22 – Rome (down)

Erie Canal Day 9 – Status and Elevation

We stopped for the night at Sylvan Beach on the west shore of Oneida Lake.

Along the Way

Upside of E17. Our travel mates left at 8:00am. We hung around the marina to do laundry hoping the weather would improve before we took off. Typical Memorial Weekend, cold and wet.

Lock E18. Looks like we are going to following a cat today.

Lock E19 is a starboard tie only; another lock that’s only functional on one side. It’s a small, narrow lock that can usually only fit 3 boats at a time. We had to wait for the next lift.

Canal spillway and feeder.

Lock E20 – small peak at 420 feet

Lock E20 had a lot of toys.

The Erie Canalway Trail between Albany and Buffalo is 365 miles. 87-percent of it is off road. The bike trail closely follow the Erie Canal in many areas.

This was weird. It a bunch of old barges lashed together, just sitting here. It shows up on the navigation charts as a small island.

This was interesting. The Erie Canal no longer leverages/follows the Mohawk River at this point. Below is a picture of where the Mohawk River crosses the Erie Canal, both a spillway and a feeder.

Continuing on.

A lot has work has gone into preserving the waters edge. Many miles of it is lined with rock.

Lock E21 – Headed down! The lockmaster works doubly hard. He runs both E21 and E22 a mile away.

Bank beaver crossing the canal. A tail slap and splash.

Canadians taking flight.

Lock E22 – Down again.

Doug Griggs on Boomerang! Doug is from Madeline Island WI. We haven’t seen him since he surveyed our boat and gave us piloting lessons. It’s a small world full of great people.

Reading the signs. Whatever works.

Just keep heading west.

The town of Sylvan Beach. Oneida is at the end.

We all went out for supper one last time. Craig and Terri Calle II, Mary and Dave Starlight, Dom and Tammy Brandy Jo, Tom, Mary and Dale yes dear…

Good Night

Drolleries and Yuks

How does a lumberjack track how many trees he cuts down?
~He keeps a log.

No longer our worries. Boats have been advised E17 will only be operational through Wednesday, June 2. If they want to be locked through they must there by 4:30pm. The crane is being taken down and returned to its jobsite in PA. It’s unclear how and when E17 will be operational again. They are hoping to get another crane in soon.

The estimate is two months to fabricate a new gear.

Pretty Dam Lucky

Pretty Dam Lucky

28-May-2021 Friday  Lock E15 Erie Canal, Fort Plain NY to Lock E17 Erie Canal, Little Falls Rotary Park Marina, Little Falls NY (14.1 nautical miles  16.2 statute miles)

43°02’04.3″N 74°51’56.7″W
43.034536, -74.865749
Elevation: 359 feet
States (1): New York

Locks (2):
Lock E16 – Mindenville
Lock E17 – Little Falls

A watched kettle never boils.
A watched lock never raises.

Along the Way

The honey wagon is here! ~Mary
Sweet! ~Dale
Sweet has nothing to do with it. ~Mary
Ok awesome. ~Dale

Like a cat with a clean sandbox I was in there to use it. I strongly prefer the head in yes dear… to the port-a-potty.

The call came! We were given permission to leave Lock E15 and head to E17 at 10:30am.

Boats were still waiting at Johnsonville Marina for their turn at the Johnsonville Marina we passed by.

We could tell they were quite miffed because boats behind them were moving forward FIRST. They stood by their boats and glared at us.

Walled… Forty-five minutes later we were stopped at Lock E16. The first group of boats had still not locked through Lock E17. We tied off on the wall. 

The lock walls were very rough and in need of patching. We fendered well.

We weren’t the only ones stuck at Lock E16.  Boats were tied off on the wall above Lock E16 and also tied off waiting inside Lock E16.

The Johnsonville Marina boat were HOT and hot on our tail. Dale got on the radio and schoomzed them telling we had been sent off by the Lock 15 staff letting them know that we didn’t know they were still there or we would have waited.  If Mufasa, the light blue boat, would have had torpedos, I’m sure he would have sunk our boat. Dale assured them they could go first and we would wait. 

Mufasa has been a jerk all the way up the river. He was asked to move off the fuel dock at Johnsonville Marina about the same time we passed by so another boat could come in for fuel. He wouldn’t. The marina actually called the mayor of Johnsonville to come down and throw him out of the city of Johnsonville. The mayor did.

Guard Gate 3. The water was skinny through here. Brandy Jo went first, then followed by yes dear... to survey the water depth for the deeper draft sail boats. Sailboats Starlight and Calle II cautiously picked their way after us.

The infamous Lock E17. We walled-up again to wait our turn.

The GODs conversed. (Guys On Docks). The gate is open in the below picture. You can tell by the height of the crossbar it is hoisting.

Going through Lock E17 was like being in a movie set. Anticipation, exhilaration, anxiousness, drama, cold, rainy, caring, concern, cheerleading…..

Through! We are pretty dam lucky.

We rafted up to make sure everyone who wanted to could stay overnight at the marina.

Woo Woo! Hot showers and a club clubhouse!

Canadian Craig on Calle II through a surprised birthday pizza party for his wife Terri. Happy, Happy Birthday Terry!

Thanks for the pizza and wings Craig!

Good Night

I did the Dale thing when I crawled into bed. I crawled into bed with ALL my clothes on to pre-heat the space before I put my nightie on and crawled in for good. I was tooooo cold. I never got out to put my nightie on. I even wore the hood on my favorite Kawarthas pullover sweatshirt all night long.


NYS Canal Corporation On Saturday, May 22 the lifting mechanism that hoists the lower gate at Lock E-17 (Little Falls) broke after 64 years of continuous operation. At 40.5 feet, Lock E-17 has the highest lift on the Canal system as the Erie Canal steps up through the Mohawk Valley and the seven-foot diameter gear was custom designed and fabricated by the Philadelphia Steel Company in 1957. It is one of two identical gears that operates the lower lock gate and due to the lift required, these gears are unique to this specific lock. The gears are made in two halves that are bolted onto the side of the sprocket gear that holds the chain for lifting the gate. The broken gear was disassembled and we are now developing a plan to custom fabricate the repair. While this work is underway, the lower lock gate will be temporarily operated by a crane.

Maybe Tomorrow

Maybe Tomorrow

27-May-2021 Thursday  Lock E15 Erie Canal, Fort Plain NY (0 nautical miles  0 statute miles)

42°56’22.1″N 74°37’21.6″W
42.939473, -74.622678
Elevation: 301 feet
States (1): New York

MAY 27, 2021

The New York State Canal Corporation today announced that boaters’ services are nearing full capacity on the Erie Canal between Lock E-8 (Scotia) and Lock E-17 (Little Falls). Only local vessel traffic will be passed through locks in this area until Lock E-17 reopens for navigation.

The Canal Corporation will soon announce a temporary operating schedule for Lock E-17 with instructions for mariners that will ensure all waiting to transit the eastern Erie Canal can do so in a timely, orderly manner.

Things are looking up… The E-17 lift is the highest lift on the Erie Canal. We’ve heard there are 28 boats ahead of us waiting for the E-17 temporary fix. We have also heard E-17 is in such rough shape boats can only tie off on one side the lock during the lift. IF they can cycle 4 boats through in an hour we should all be able to get through in one day. Maybe tomorrow…

Photos courtesy of

Along the Way

The log masters came by to pick the lock.

Another lock man was pushing smaller logs over dam.

Heading off to unload logs.

Picture perfect! Nice job trimming trees.

Thursday night car show at the grocery store.

Drolleries and Yuks

Why should you stand in the corner when you are cold?
~Because it’s usually around 90°!



25-May-2021 Tuesday  Lock E15 Erie Canal, Fort Plain NY (0 nautical miles  0 statute miles)

42°56’22.1″N 74°37’21.6″W
42.939473, -74.622678
Elevation: 301 feet
States (1): New York

We are all feeling fernweh. Fernweh, is a German word that describes a feeling stronger than wanderlust. Basically, the opposite of homesickness. We’ve to to get away. We’ve completely exhausted things to do at this lock and little town.

On the bright side we are not paying marina fees.

Along the Way

Dale just finished a moustache trim on a 45 foot boat.

The highlight of the day was a guy pumping out the port-a-potty and dropping off a second one for boaters only.

Status update

The crane has been delivered to Lock E17 and set-up. A couple of high-powered engineers are trying to identify a pick point for lifting the door. It seems there is more than just a pin that needs to be replaced. One gears is broke and a new one needs to be made. It will take about two months to do that. People are still optimistic about getting through E17. There is discussion about using the crane to operate the door until the gear is ready.

Impromptu pot luck again tonight.

Good Night

Ponder This

Waffles are just pancakes with abs.

I won’t be blogging again until we are on the move again.

Lock Life

Lock Life

24-May-2021 Monday  Lock E15 Erie Canal, Fort Plain NY (0 nautical miles  0 statute miles)

42°56’22.1″N 74°37’21.6″W
42.939473, -74.622678
Elevation: 301 feet
States (1): New York

Good Morning

Along the Way

A young Amish couple came down to the lock today for a picnic and watch boats pass through. They were a little disappointed the lock wasn’t open, but they stayed and enjoyed their picnic.

‘Craig the Canadian’ and I went up to look at the horse. ‘Craig the Canadian’ in his prior life raised and raced Standardbred horses. A lot of Amish and Mennonite people buy] Standardbred racehorses because they are so well trained.

A barge came through the lock and it wasn’t happy with the boats on the wall. In fact, he was down right mad. Clearance was pretty tight. He told us we need to MOVE.

Before he came back we worked all the boats up the wall as far and as tightly as we safely could.

Incoming barge. When he returned, the guys were either going to smooze the captain over or really piss him off.

Schmoozed. The captain was happy that we were able to give him about 15 more feet clearance.

Outgoing barge. Dang that captain is good. (I’m glad we weren’t the last boat on lock wall.)

Every lock has a powerhouse to operate the locks. The windows were so high off the ground I had to stand on my tippy toes and hold the camera as high as I could to take the pictures. I got lucky with a couple shots.

Impromptu pot luck picnic in progress.

But of course we all needed to go to Stewart’s for dessert.

Ponder this

Who ever said out of sight out of mind never had a spider disappear on the bedroom.

Waiting on a pin

Waiting on a pin

23-May-2021 Sunday  Lock E15 Erie Canal, Fort Plain NY (0 nautical miles  0 statute miles)

42°56’22.1″N 74°37’21.6″W
42.939473, -74.622678
Elevation: 301 feet
States (1): New York

Waiting on a pin

Lock E17 has a guillotine style gate, a massive guillotine gate. A pin on the gate was sheared/broken and needs to be replaced. The gate, because of it’s weight, needs a super crane to lift it so they can replace the pin and adjust the door. It could be fixed in a 2 days or 2 weeks. It all depends on how soon they can get a crane up to the lock.

We’ve been told boats are backed up all the way down the canal. Lock E2 at Waterford has closed until the system is up and running. All marinas prior to lock are full. There is no more room on the lock wall. Boats are triple rafted with others. For the most part there no or very limited services (e.g. no pump outs, no electricity, no potable water). One marina has a pump but it is not working.

So, after everything’s fixed who first?

At least we have a town nearby and bicycles.

Along the Way

Tammy from Brandy Jo scrubbed the entire lock walkway to remove the goose poop. Bless you! You deserve a medal!

Dale elicited help from a local to fix my bike breaks.

We were off to Canajoharie. Dale and Tom on bikes. Me on the scooter. I get to see the Art Museum after all!

Arkell Museum
Bartlett Arkell, the first president of the Beech-Nut Packing Company (1899), founded the Canajoharie Library for the people of the village of Canajoharie. When it opened, gracing its walls were a dozen paintings from Arkell’s personal collection. It now holds 350 painting from the Arkell family collection.

The floor of the museum lobby was a map of the Erie Canal. (We are on the lock wall at Fort Plain)

I found the collection of ‘Beach-Nut’ paintings the most fascinating. The Beach-Nut Company/Arkell would acquire famous pieces of artwork then incorporate them into their marketing and gift box designs.

There were panting from many famous painters.

I took my time scooting back to the boat.

Spring flowers were abundant

It’s crazy how many trains pass by here.


Drolleries and Yuks

How do you stop Canadian bacon from curling in your pan?
~You take away their little brooms.

At 15 Locks on the Erie Canal

At 15 Locks on the Erie Canal

22-May-2021 Saturday  Lock E8 – Scotia NY to Lock E15 Erie Canal, Fort Plain NY (35.7 nautical miles  41.1 statute miles)

42°56’22.1″N 74°37’21.6″W
42.939473, -74.622678
Elevation: 301 feet rise 186 feet
States (1): New York

Locks (7):
Lock E9 – Rotterdam
Lock E10 – Crainsville
Lock E11 – Amsterdam
Lock E12 – Tribes Hill
Lock E13 – Randall
Lock E14 – Canajoharie
Lock E15 – Fort Plain

Today’s route

Along the Way

Hand painted aids to navigation (ATONS)

There are eight movable dams between Schenectady (Lock E8) and Fort Plain (Lock E15) that regulate water flow on the Mohawk River. Dam gates are lowered into the river to form navigable pools during the summer but are completely pulled out of the water in winter to clear the way for ice and debris-filled floodwaters. We locked past the first movable dam E8 yesterday. The rest we locked through today.

There was lots of debris around Lock E9 – Rotterdam.

Humm. There’s also painted markings on the trees?

Figured it out! The buoys are pulled for winter. The painted markers markers aid in resting them after the ice is out.

Lock E10 – Crainsville is a portside only tie-off for upriver bound vessels. Only the valves on the riverside of the lock are working. When the valves were open it felt like we were hit by a tidal wave. The whole lock is in pretty rough shape. The steel lock wall are severely rusted and blistering. The rest of the lock doesn’t look so good either. A chunk fell off gate and cut a dockworkers wrist, requiring stitches, a couple of days ago.

Defunct Mohawk Carpet Mill. It was destroyed by fires in 1992 and 1994.

You can put buoy numbers on just about everything that doesn’t move.

Amsterdam NY

Lock E11 – Amsterdam’s gates were open and waiting. The cement lock walls are crumbing.  It too is in need of TLC. 

VW must have better traction than I knew. Wonder how it got up there.

Remains of two original locks in Pullman Park.

Lock E12 – Tribes Hill had a lot of debris too. Their log picker-up boat is not working at the moment.

Original Erie Canal aqueduct at Schoharie Crossing park.

Holy Mountain Budha Land and Our Lady of Martyrs Coliseum Church.

The village of Fonda is named after Douw Fonda. He was a Dutch-American settler who was killed and scalped in 1780, during a Mohawk raid in the Revolutionary War, when the tribe was allied with the British.

Contrary to Dale, Peter Fonda was NOT born in Fonda NY. However, the Henry Fonda clan is from Fonda.

The Adirondacks extend southward from the St. Lawrence River valley and Lake Champlain to the Mohawk River valley.

Lock E13 – Randall. One of the lock gates has been partially removed. The piece of equipment that lifts the gates is called a mule.

Lock E14 – Canajoharie I had hoped we could anchor here but the water in the pool was too low as the Lock E13 had a gate partially open. Canajoharie is another extra credit town name if you can pronounce it. It has a small art gallery with some 350 paintings by American artists.

We needed a new plan. We decided to head up river several locks to a small marina.

Lock E15 – Fort Plain

At Lock 15 we discovered we needed another new plan. One advantage of traveling with people very familiar with the Erie is that they are connected. Brandy Jo found out Lock E17, the guillotine lock, was not in operation. All the up river boats were jamming up with no place to tie off or anchor. We quickly decided to tie off at E15. They had room for us. We knew this was open but didn’t know if St Johnsville Marina had room. (Good call because we later found out St Johnsville Marina didn’t).

The lock was is a pretty primitive site. Limited electricity, port-a-potties and no water. Brandy Jo has solar power. They lent us their power cables so we could cobble together a line to run one of the two power banks on yes dear… The lock boss man told his staff to do everything they could to make things good for the boaters. The locked opened up their showers so we could all take showers.

Once settled in we were off to Fort Plain, but not to see the fort.


Callie II slid in behind us while we were at supper.

We had traveled with them earlier but they had sped up and were further up river at the Lock E17 mess. They had called to see where we were at. We said come on back. Worst case you could raft with us.

Callie II figure head made by the owner Craig using melted down pop cans.


Floc’ed out.

21 Miles on the Erie Canal

21 Miles on the Erie Canal

21-May-2021 Friday  Erie Canal Lock 2 Entrance Waterford NY to Lock E8 – Scotia NY (21.1 nautical miles  24.3 statute miles)

42°49’52.5″N 73°59’35.4″W
42.831252, -73.993161
Elevation: 224 feet rise 115 feet
States (1): New York

Locks: (7)
Lock 2, 3, 4, 5, 6  – “Waterford Five”
Lock 7 – Niskayuna
Lock 8 – Scotia

Today’s route

Along the Way

The line up for the 7AM opening started before 6AM.


The Eastern Erie Canal follows the Mohawk River most of the way. The Mohawk River is named for the Mohawk Nation of the Iroquois Confederacy. It’s pretty much canals and small waterway on the Western Erie Canal to the Niagara River at Tonawanda/North Tonawanda, just north of Buffalo.

The first set of locks on the Eastern Erie Canal (E2, E3, E4, E5 and E6) are collectively called the “Waterford Five”. The “Waterford Five”, is one of the highest set of lift locks in the world.

We’ve partnered up with another Looper for the run, Dom and Tammy on Brandy Jo. They aren’t actively Looping now but they have been running the Erie Canal for 20+ years.

At 1:20pm, 2 hours 20 minutes of travel time, we had traveled exactly 1 nautical mile and traverse 3 locks.

The Lock Master at Lock E2 told us they were short staffed. The sad truth is that no one wants to work.  The guy on Lock E3 was also running Lock E5 and we were waiting for him to come back to open the lock. 

I’m sure it didn’t improve the situation that one of the other boaters was working hard at trying to piss off the lock master. Every 20 minutes or so he would crankily get on VHS and demand to know what was going on and how much longer it was going to be. He had NEVER had to wait so long and he wasn’t about to this TIME!

After about 2 hours the Lock Master from Lock E2 came up and opened Lock E3. THANK YOU! (His advice was never again travel on opening day.)

When the lock opened it was like a Disneyland line, the Mohawk River kept curving until we could see the Lock E3.

Continuing up the “Waterford Five”.

Lock 6 ended the “Flight of Five”. We had climbed ~170 feet in 1.6 miles.

Lift dam guard gates help to isolate sections of the canal in case of emergency, such as a break in the canal wall, accident, or extreme high water. They are also used when a section of the canal needs to be drained for maintenance or winter freeze protection.

The Lock E7 – Niskayuna NY was huge. I thought we were at Niagara Falls at first glance.

At Schenectady we encountered speed bumps. (Schenectady is one of those towns you get extra credit for being able to pronounce.)

Nemesis on the Mohawk. Crew boats. It was good for them till the Erie Canal opened

Lock E8 – Scotia is a movable dam. The dam gates are pulled completely out of the water for winter to prevent ice build up. It was the end of the line for us today. We tied off on the west side the lock.

Good Night


Erie Canal start of construction: 1817 in Rome, NY

Canal dimensions, 1825 Original Erie: 4 ft deep x 40 ft wide; locks 90 ft long
Canal dimensions, 1862 Enlarged Erie: 7 ft deep x 70 ft wide; lock 110 ft long
Canal dimensions, 1918- present Erie Barge Canal: 12-23 ft deep x 120-200 ft wide; locks 310 ft long

Cost to build:$7,143,789
Return on Investment:10 years

Number of aqueducts to bypass rivers and streams: 18

Travel time from Albany to Buffalo, 1825: 5 days
Travel time from Albany to Buffalo by Stagecoach: 2 weeks