Monday, July 30, 2012

Waterford, NY - The Second Time

Today was a milestone day, for two reasons.  One, we traveled the entire Champlain Canal, all 57 miles and 11 locks in one day.  

Here’s the first Champlain Lock # 12 and the last Lock #1.

Second, and even more importantly, today we closed the loop!  We departed Waterford, NY heading west on the Erie Canal on July 3th and arrived back traveling south on the Champlain Canal on July 30th 

We’ve covered 718 nautical miles (957nm since we left Connecticut) and traveled through 99 locks (100 if you count the Federal Lock on our way up the Hudson River); 40 on the Erie, Oswego, and Champlain Canals, 45 on the Rideau, 2 on the Ottawa River, 2 on the St. Lawrence Seaway, and 10 on the Richelieu River.  Whew!

The Champlain Canal links the southern end of Lake Champlain with the Hudson River.  It started out as a ditch with green walls, unpopulated, until it merged with the Hudson and we began seeing farms and waterfront homes.  Since this area is so sparsely populated and it was Monday, there was almost no other boat traffic.

The advertised limit of the canal is 17’ vertical clearance due to the many older bridges, which eliminates commercial traffic and all of those tall, comfortable looking cruisers we had been seeing.  Sea Moss barely cleared the bridges, clipping an anchor light at one point in the process.  We quickly lowered our antennas to pass under the low bridges freely.

The first four locks lifted us to the summit at 139 feet above sea level.  We then began going down again and will reach sea level in the Hudson below the Troy Federal Lock tomorrow.
The rivers and canals, besides the use by boaters, is enjoyed by campers, kayakers, and fishermen...and there are fish in these waters. Here's one lucky guy we saw just as we exited one of the locks.

Midway there was an enormous dredging project underway. Below Lock 7, a place called Three Sisters, many barges were being loaded with mud by floating cranes. 

Starting at the beginning of the zone, a pilot boat guided our convoy through the maze of work boats and small tugs, which are used to move the barges through the locks back to Lock 8 where the sediment is unloaded.

After nearly 1000 Nautical Miles, River and Ellie have gotten used to life “under-way”. Once the engine starts each finds a favorite place to settle in for the long day's travel.

So the loop ends and tomorrow we'll start the final portion of our journey, down the Hudson headed for home. Sea Moss will do the same headed for New Jersey and since it travels faster than Dunworkin, we spent some time together exchanging contact infomation and saying our Adieu's.


  1. Fantastic accomplishment! I'm guessing that the tugboats and barges were even scarier than the locks. They would be for me. Thanks for the fascinating and thorough accounts and pictures.

  2. Best wishes for continued smooth journeys home. We had a great time celebrating Pat and Hanks anniversary last weekend and will be celebrating Pats birthday This Sunday with smaller group. Good family time.