This online document is a means of sharing the adventure of traveling on America's waterways with friends and family. Last Dance is continuing to take her crew to historical, natural, beautiful, and interesting places. Enjoy the ride.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

New York - Hudson River - Erie Canal

As Last Dance approached the final stop on Long Island Sound, Port Washington, the sun was setting behind Manhattan, providing a beautiful view of the city.  The trip up the Sound, moving toward the Erie Canal, was accelerated by the closing of the canal.  The Erie Canal experienced a number of problems in 2013, including a closed period of 6 weeks in the spring, a time when many Loopers were traveling through the area.  In September, it was closed again due to a washout under one of the locks.  A one-weekend opening was scheduled in October to allow boats to move through the canal.  The quickened pace, moving west and north, was required to make this short open period.

Port Washington is a small town on Long Island, not too distant to New York City, reachable by the Long Island Railroad.  The biggest attraction of this town to cruising boaters is that they offer free moorings for 72 hours.  With the high dockage prices in and around the city, this is a much-desired attraction.  The only image of Port Washington to share is left, an old clock mounted in granite on a downtown building.  Speculation would be that it was originally built as a bank.

A ride on the Long Island Railroad delivered the crew to Grand Central Station for a visit to the City.  A famous, and delicious, Jewish deli lived up to their reputation with outstanding food and experience.  To examine the claim that it was the world's largest, a hike through Macy's Department Store was made.  Their claim will not be refuted.  A combination of frugality, restraint, and the fact that there is no room for anything more aboard the boat, had the crew leave the experience at Macy's with only a small bag or two.  And, the highlight of a visit to the city was another dinner with future son, Jon.  The restaurant selected was a great experience, but the time with Jon was what made the evening.

The East River, flowing appropriately on the east side of the island of Manhattan, was the route chosen to the Hudson River.  One expects lighthouses along the Maine and Florida coast, but not in the middle of New York City.  But, if you look closely, high in the sky, a lighthouse looms over the river.

Hudson River

The Hudson River is a beautiful river valley while remaining a major commercial transportation route.  Commercial traffic moves cargo on the river and on railroads which follow the banks of the river carrying passengers as well as cargo.  In the photo at right, a tunnel has been carved through the stone hillside for the trains to pass.

Some large commercial traffic ply these waters.  Large boats share the sometimes narrow channel in what erroneously appears to be a wide river.

As the 2013 cruise was approaching its terminus, the cruise ship American Glory passed by heading south.  On the first day of the cruise in March, heading north from St. Augustine, Florida, American Glory passed by Last Dance, heading south.  It is often a small world on the water.

The Hudson River is a majestic cruising area.  It is also the only route north to the canals that lead inland.  It is good to have the required path to be a beautiful one.  Last Dance's first trip up the Hudson River is documented in the blog of Loop One:

To conclude this trip up the Hudson, some images of the Hudson River lighthouses:

Erie Canal

The town of Waterford, which lies at the beginning of the Erie Canal, offers a free dock with a welcome station.  The first lock on the canal, Lock 2, is just past the silver bridge in the photo above.  Some of the boats along the dock had been there for two weeks waiting for the canal to open.  Waterford is a small town, the downtown comprised of only 4 blocks, but offers many amenities for cruisers with some good restaurants and a grocery that allows those on boats to take the shopping carts back to the town dock.

Fall had begun showing its colors along the river banks.

Last Dance approaches Lock 8 on a gorgeous fall day.

The Erie Canal is a cruising destination with scenery and countryside changing as the canal moves up and west.  Charter companies rent canal boats that are often rented for a week's cruise.

A rainy day image through the flybridge window shows the heavy traffic of boats heading east so they could move south for the winter.  Only a few of us were traveling west, all with the intention of leaving the boats to be stored for the winter.

Some interesting boats were spotted along the canal.  At Little Falls, NY, RA, a solar-power boat attempting to complete the Great Loop, was tied along the town dock.  Maybe this gray day wasn't the best for boats powered by the sun.  RA is another example of how different boats can be in design.  It appears that the skinny hull, for efficiency and ease of movement through the water, with outrigger hulls for stability was taken from Polynesian canoes.

Also at the Little Falls town dock was a cruise ship, a quite different cruise ship.  To clear the low bridges and lock structures the boat has been designed with a very short air draft.  Makes for a different looking ship.

Winter Harbor, Brewerton, NY

Just west of Lake Onida and north of Syracuse, the town of Brewerton lies along the canal.  One of the bigger businesses in town is the marina, boatyard, and storage facility named Winter Harbor.  As could be surmised from the name, a major portion of their main business is the storage of boats in the winter, in heated buildings.

The location, which will provide a northern starting point for Last Dance's cruise of the Canadian Great Lakes during summer 2014, was a strong factor for selecting Winter Harbor.  But having the boat in a warm environment rather than going through freezing and thawing cycles, which could reek havoc on systems and the hull was the major factor.

Moving a large, heavy boat from the water into a building is an intricate and delicate process.  The boats are first removed from the water by a travel lift, using straps under the boat.  After a bottom pressure wash, a low boy, self-powered trailer slides under the boat for transport to the building.

Then the boats are precisionly placed only inches apart, and for Last Dance, under shelves that will hold two smaller boats higher in the building.

A sense of loss was experienced leaving Last Dance after spending two and half years aboard.  The beauty and adventures shared as a couple cruising North American waters are an experience difficult to express fully.  Hopefully, the two Last Dance blogs will bring some of the experiences to others so that they may gain a glimpse into the journey along the waterways.

So, the crew is back to dirt dwelling with the major project to be an addition and remodel on the home in Flagler Beach.