Monday, September 28, 2009

Cruising the Champlain Canal in the rain

A couple of weeks ago, I was the high bidder at a silent auction fundraiser and got two tickets for a tour boat ride on the Champlain Canal. Yesterday, despite a steady drizzle, we drove to Schuylerville and spent an interesting hour and a half on the M/V Sadie piloted with relaxed skill and charm by Captain Foster. (This photo, taken before our ride, is of an earlier, smaller generation of the canal.)Champlain Canal Tours have two boats but due to the damp day, only six of us wanted to go out so we took the smaller Sadie, which looks a bit like the African Queen.
First, we headed south, down through lock C5. This took us from the canal into the Hudson River. Here, we are approaching the lock from the north. To the side, our captain pointed out the little one hundred year old boat, a buoy tender, which is still used for repair work on the canal.

Here, we are entering the lock.

In the lock, Captain Foster, formerly a Boston Harbor tugboat captain, explains how the lock works and adds some good historical details. He reminds me so much of my Maine coast raised grandfather and father and his raconteur brothers that it almost hurts: the New England accent, the easy comfort around boats and machinery...
Here, Captain Foster uses a homemade hook to keep the little boat from bouncing around in the lock as the water empties out into the Hudson below. Lock C5, our guide tells us, is the deepest in the Champlain Canal.
Here we cruise out onto the Hudson and head down river for a bit. Even in the rain, there is beauty in the gray afternoon light...

We cruise around Schuyler Island and head back up river.



Some leaves are beginning to turn...

Here, we approach the lock again, this time from the south, and wave to some hearty folks out fishing despite the rain.

Entering the lock from the low end...

Once the doors close, water begins to bubble dramatically as the lock fills to raise us up.
As we leave the lock...
a Canadian sailboat waits to enter it, heading south.We continue north to see the falls that the lock was built to get boats around. There are stone pilings and cables with buoys to help boats avoid going over the falls accidentally.
We see the remains of an old railroad crossing....
and more early fall foliage in the mist.


After our cruise, we headed back home to have a supper of steaming, spicy chili, cooked in my old dutch oven. It hit the spot.


Click on photos. Most will enlarge. I do not know why some will not. (Sigh.)