Waterford, NY to Pine Tree Island. The Loop Closes.

We left Waterford bright and early on Thursday and joined a trawler Karma for the day’s first west-bound opening of the Lock 2 - 6 series (there is no Lock 1) that lifts boats up to the Mohawk River. The weather was perfect; the temperature and humidity had dropped, the wind was light, and the sky blue. Karma and Cosmic C stayed together all day until we approached Lock 14 at Canajoharie, NY at about 3:15 p.m., where the lock keeper informed us that “they are moving concrete trucks across the lock so there will be some delay.” We both moored at the Canajoharie town dock and waited. An hour later the word came that the delay would continue for some time. Karma decided to stay overnight and I wanted to do likewise, but Mary was all for pushing on to Little Falls if possible. So at 7:45 p.m. we found ourselves approaching the unusual vertical gate of Lock 17 at Little Falls, inching our way in completely blinded by the setting sun until the very last minute. Shortly thereafter we were tied up at Little Falls Canal Harbor (which used to be free, but now charges $1/ft) having a margarita before dinner aboard.

The next morning we backtracked half a mile to the tiny town dock and had breakfast in Canal Place before walking into town to stretch our legs and get some groceries. Friday was another lovely day on the Erie Canal. Lake Oneida was absolutely calm (our weather luck again), and we arrived at the free dock in Brewerton ready to relax at the nearby restaurant. The last time I was moored at this dock it was very quiet and the restaurant uncrowded. But today was Friday, and the dock and restaurant were jumping while the roar of racing cars from a nearby track occasionally filled the air.

We were up early on Saturday morning, and waiting to lock through Lock 23 sharply at 7:00 a.m. together with a trimaran sailboat which had moored at the lock wall overnight and a trawler. The lock gates were open but the red light remained on. It soon became apparent that we were to wait for a tug and barge transporting a big generator to Duluth to arrive and lock through before us. The tug took three-quarters of an hour to arrive, plenty of time for us all to have locked through before it, nevertheless we were doomed to follow that slow tug all the way to Oswego.

Eventually two other trawlers, a big motor yacht, and a Rossborough joined the group following the tug. The big motor yacht Trilogy would enter the lock first and we would follow and slot in beside them, with the rest filling in behind us. The Trilogy kept station at the lock wall by using her bow and stern thrusters, and the wash from them kept us firmly against our wall too. When the lock opened we would exit first and lead the group to the next lock, when again Trilogy would enter first. We insisted on this arrangement for fear of being squashed if Trilogy (probably 70 feet to our 25) veered slightly to one side. The Trilogy captain said there would be no chance of that but accommodated us anyway.

In Oswego just before 4:00 p.m. we were about to stop for the night because of the forecasted thunderstorms with high winds and hail when we decided to look at the weather radar first. The radar showed all the storms to the south and east and moving further east, so instead we headed out onto a flat calm Lake Ontario and made the crossing in comfort. Our weather luck has really been extraordinary. At 7:22 p.m. the Cosmic C “crossed her wake” as we approached Pine Tree Island to the waves and cheers of our next island neighbors.

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