"The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in
its net of wonder forever."—Jacques Cousteau

May 24, 2017

May 23 - Sylvan Beach

Sylvan Beach Free Dock

"Tourists don’t know where they’ve been, travelers don’t know where they’re going.” ―Paul Theroux
Today was a much better day on the water, lots of sunshine and warmer by this afternoon, but still cold this morning. We enjoyed having the heater on as we ate breakfast. The past two days our travel on the Erie Canal was mainly in the Mohawk River, lots of bends and meandering...today's travel was in a man made canal. Mostly a straight shot from Ilion to Sylvan Beach and we only had four locks. Two lifted us up and two brought us down to the elevation of Oneida Lake. 

Morning mist on the water
Lock 19...my favorite lot on the Erie Canal
We spotted a lot of birds today...we even saw an eagle several times, but I didn't get a blog worthy picture
Our first lock down on the Erie Canal (Lock 21)
Waiting to lock down, the canal in front of us is 25' lower
Our typical view today
We got to Sylvan Beach in good time and it looked like a reunion…almost all the boats from Waterford are here. Water levels in Lake Ontario are still high so most are waiting a few more days before heading that way. We found a nice little restaurant on the beach to enjoy happy hour; we even got to visit with another couple that has been going through the locks with us the past few days. Then we enjoyed spending a little more time with our new friends Shelley and Kevin from Mrs. P. It was nice having the down time after three long days.

Sylvan Beach...looking back at Harpoon Eddie's where we had happy hour
Our view for the evening
We had an amazing sunset tonight
Pictures from our new friend Pierre as he was leaving Waterford
Kevin on Mrs. P took this picture as we locked through Lock 2 on Sunday...notice all the clothes we have on?
More pictures from Lock 2 on Sunday...these were taken by Chris and Gina. Thanks everyone for all the pictures.
Thanks for reading our blog and spending part of your day with us. The Pearl is also on Facebook - stop by and say hi or follow us on Instragram or Google+.

May 23, 2017

May 22 – How a Lock Works

Ilion Marina and RV Park

We traveled 44 miles, locked up 104’ in six locks and pumped 200 gallons of diesel...in the rain today. The countryside was beautiful, but not a good day for photography, so I thought I'd use today's blog to explain how a lock works for those who might not understand or can’t quite picture it in their mind. 

A lock is a device used for raising and lowering boats between stretches of water of different levels on river or canal. The difference in elevation from the Hudson River to Ithaca on Cayuga Lake is 383’; in order for us to get there we will go through 25 locks. The largest lift at one time was in lock 17 today…40’.

A boat enters a fixed chamber of the lock where it can be raised or lowered to meet the next section of the river or canal. Water flows into and out of the lock through underground plumbing by the force of gravity; there are no pumps involved in the process. That means in order to climb hills there has to be a natural supply of water from either a lake or a river above the lock. The supply has to be enough to work the locks during dry summers and periods of high traffic when the lock is cycled more frequently. Finding these sources was one of the key challenges of the early surveyors of the Erie's route across New York State.

You can see how far a boat has to be raised or lowered to get to the next part of the river. In this picture a boat is entering on the high side, the gates will close behind it and the water will be released until the boat is at the lower level. Then the front gates will open and the boat will move on...it's like a water elevator.
 Here a boat is entering the lock chamber
This picture shows the water entering the lock chamber 
This is a picture of the top of a lock with water at the higher level 
In a flight of locks, like this picture shows, a boat moves from one lock chamber into the next. This enables a boat to move up or down a hill.
Information boards like this one are at each lock 
Here is a simple video of how a lock works

Thanks for reading our blog and spending part of your day with us. The Pearl is also on Facebook - stop by and say hi or follow us on Instragram or Google+.

May 22, 2017

May 21 – Tribes Hill, NY

Erie Canal Lock 12 Wall

“Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer” —Unknown
Looking west at Lock 2 and 3. Waterford is on the right
We went through eleven locks (264' up) today. The first five are known as the Waterford Flight and must be done all at once. “The Waterford Flight” is a set of five locks, built in 1907, which raise watercraft 170 feet in a mile and a half. It raises boats from the Hudson River at Erie Lock 2 to the Mohawk River at Erie Lock 6. This is the greatest lift in the shortest distance on any canal system in the world. These five locks are necessary to navigate around the Cohoes Falls. Lock 2 in Waterford harbor is the most visited lock on the Erie Canal. The American Society Of Civil Engineers has named the flight of locks as a significant historic civil engineering landmark, because of their innovative design and protective gates.

We traveled up the Mohawk River today and it’s a beautiful area. The sun eventually came out to warm us up. We stopped for the night at Lock 12, it's in a rural area with lots of trees and grass. It would make a great stop for anyone that has a dog. The train tracks run right along the river so train noises are something you get use to…even with a few trains we had a peaceful night.

Mrs. P entering the Lock 2 (there isn't a lock 1) of the Erie Canal just above Waterford
In the lock chamber waiting for the water to raise us up. This lock lifted us up 34 feet.
Stan holding on to a line as we raise up
Gina and Chris came to watch us lock through...and tell us good-bye. They also brought us more Erie Canal info and a nice flag.
Lock operator Leroy...such a friendly place. We're going to miss everyone.
The Governor Cleveland tug...this is the boat Chris works on.
The flag Gina and Chris brought us...we'll fly it while we're on the Erie Canal and then it will have a place on the wall in our salon. That's an inlet valve out of a tug's diesel engine that the flag is contented to...another treasure from Chris.
The Pearl after going through Guard Gate 2. Thanks Chris and Gina for the picture.
The beautiful Mohawk River
A little of the flood debris that is floating down river. We have to kept an eye out to make sure we don't hit any of this stuff. 
An aerial view of Lock 12 and our home for the night.
Our view from the flybridge...very peaceful and relaxing.
Thanks for reading our blog and spending part of your day with us. The Pearl is also on Facebook - stop by and say hi or follow us on Instragram or Google+.

May 21, 2017

May 20 – Waterford, NY

Waterford Canal Welcome Center

“So we shall let the reader answer this question for himself: who is the happier man, he who has braved the storm of life and lived or he who has stayed securely on shore and merely existed?” ― Hunter S. Thompson
Our decision not to leave with the crowd yesterday was a good one. It was fun to watch the boats moving west through Waterford, but getting to enjoy the Troy Framers Market today was even better. We took the Black Bridge Trail over to Troy again...what an easy way to get around. 

Shelley and Kevin from Mrs. P joined us and we had a great time. The market is one of the best we've ever been to. Although there weren't a lot of booths selling vegetables yet (too early in the season) there was a great selection of other things to choose from...cheeses, wine, beer, granola, soaps, gift items, bread, jams, honey and many more things. They also had entertainment and a great selection of breakfast and lunch items to eat. We had a great time sampling things...especially the Harvest Spirits Distillery samples. All their liquors are made from apples and made locally in the Hudson Valley.

It was a great place to spend the morning and we would have stayed longer, but Waterford was having a Canal Festival at the Welcome Center and we wanted to check it out. By the time we got back to the boat the waterfront was packed with people and we enjoyed the afternoon visiting with people and watching the crowd. Gina and Chris came by this afternoon, Gina is the engineer on the Grand Erie and she gave us a tour of her boat. The Grand Erie is the Canal Corp's largest towboat, but is sometimes used as a stage like in Friday's celebration of the canal opening.

Just a few of the wonderful things we saw at the market
Harvest Spirits selections...everything we tasted was wonderful. 
Enjoying the fruits of Harvest Spirits
Monument Square in Troy
The Waterford Canal Fest
The Grand Erie
Stan at the helm of the Grand Erie
Happy hour on The Pearl 
Thanks for reading our blog and spending part of your day with us. The Pearl is also on Facebook - stop by and say hi or follow us on Instragram or Google+.