ERIE CANAL ADVENTURE: Nothing is as it’s supposed to be

August 6, 2020

Story Location:
baldwinsville  New York
United States

BALDWINSVILLE, NEW YORK - We spoke yesterday with a sailboater heading eastbound,  He’s tied up along the wall behind us in the park-like setting in the middle of this nice town. We’re headed westbound and over the past several days traveled the canal in the direction he’s heading.

“How were things?”

We told him about the grounded sailboat - a 50-footer like his - we encountered several locks back.

Four people were sitting in the cockpit as if they were enjoying a weekend picnic. The captain - I guess - said they were aground.  We looked at our depth meter.  It read six feet. He told us he draws seven and a half feet.  Ouch.  “There’s supposed to be 12 feet of water throughout,” he said.

Operative phrase in that sentence: ‘supposed to be.’ Nothing is as it should be in thisd year of CoVid-19

We asked if we could help.

“Can you pray?” he asked.  “We need some rain.”  

I thought to myself: It’s going to take a whole lot of rain to float that boat. But he didn’t seem concerned.  “We have enough booze for two days.”

I don’t think he planned to pour it overboard to help with the lift.

At that point we had been watching the northward progress of Isaias.  

“Rain’s coming,” said Becky.

“So’s winter,” the man said. The alcohol, I think, was helping him deal with his fate.  He had probably called TowBoatUS and was waiting patiently.

Coronavirus held up a lot of the normal maintenance work in the New York State Canal System in this whacky year.  Many locks didn’t even open until this week.  We’re one of the first vessels to pass through in 2020.  Fortunately we only draw about two and a half feet so we should be OK.

The sailboater we were talking to in Baldwinsville felt confident despite our story of what lay ahead for him.

“I only draw five feet so I should be OK,” he said.

If he can get by the dredging operation we barely skimmed by about a mile past the grounded vessel he should be OK.  In that section we found only four and a half feet of water.

Just because it’s wet on top doesn’t mean there’s plenty of water below.

Onward and upward.



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