May 31, 2016 – Today, we entered the Champlain Canal, part of the New York State Canal System. There are 12 locks on the 69 mile canal, and they rise a total of 140 feet. Each canal has an operator that works the front and rear doors, and you “ride” the water up or down holding onto ropes that are attached to the side. The most rise in any lock was 19 feet. Definitely interesting to do. We thought that it would be a bit more crowded than it was – we were the only boat for our second day, and on the first day we were one of about 3 boats that went through. There is a fee of $50 to use the canal, and we feel they should have charged us more given the staffing and operational needs of the locks. There were also several low bridges to clear. The top of our boat (minus the anchor light atop a small mast that can be lowered) is about 15.5 ft. The lowest bridge was about 16-17 feet, so pretty close!
We started in Waterford, a town just north of Albany. Kelly and Ally flew back to NC, and Scott & Kaity, newly graduated Mechanical Engineers from the University of Arizona, joined us. We’ve known Scott since he was a wee tyke. His dad went to school with Bob and I, and Donna actually introduced Scott’s mom to him. Mom Lynne was a nurse that worked with Donna while we were in grad school. Nice to have some workin’ engineers on the boat to help us hop these engines up (or just fix them)!
We left a bit late as we had to get some engine parts made and installed on the boat. Once done, we moved up the canal and stopped later in the afternoon. We spent the night in a small town called Fort Edward right by lock 7. It makes you appreciate how small towns are struggling. While a cute town, there was one restaurant, and a bunch of empty storefronts on the main drag. However, the docks were free, with power and water, so we had a great night out, then proceeded on to finish the canal.
After the locks, we headed into Champlain Lake. The lake takes a while to widen out, and is surrounded by beautiful mountains and scenery. Our plan was to potentially make it to Burlington VT today, but decided to stop at Chipman’s Marina a few miles south of Fort Ticonderoga. The marina is based out of an old building that was built in the early 1800’s, and you can see the ax marks on the timbers where is was cut and shaped.
Tomorrow we will cruise up to the fort, anchor, and use the dinghy to get to shore, tour the fort, and proceed to Burlington in the afternoon. Going to be a fun day!