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We came across this bridge inspection operation

between E-13 and E-12 eastbound on the Canal

in the town of Fonda, NY, not far from the speedway, which has hosted motor racing for 90 (!!) years,  and the fair, which is way older.

But the other day, Arnold D, of Seaway Marine Group, stood by and placed inspectors in the basket where they need to put eyes on the infrastructure.

 

For context on Fonda and lands immediately to the east, enjoy these shots.

 

All photos by Will Van Dorp, one of whose previous Seaway Marine posts involved stocking fish

here.

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For starters, let me say I should have visited the Chittenango Landing Canal Museum a long time ago.  And if you’re in the Syracuse area, it’s certainly worth a visit.

Now the museum is much, much more inclusive than this diorama, but the subject matter intrigues me . . .   My all-time favorite circus movie was Something Wicked This Way Comes, stemming from Ray Bradbury’s ripe imagination.  But I’d love to see a movie doing a rendering of life in central New York set in Sig Sautelle’s floating circus…   so many strands . . . 200 years of canal history, Civil War drummer boy turned circus guy, meow man cats, ventriloquism and maybe a split personality, and to

juice it up, there needs to be a murder or a sordid affair.

Maybe it involves a rival circus, and it could all get

scented up by a wayward whale . . . westbound, crossing paths with the eastbound circus!

More canal spectacle here, although additional surprises may lie around each bend.

 

 

Steel barges rules these days, although a few all wood or partly wood barges still exist as reminders of past stages of technology.  But a glass barge? And reading that it’s sponsored by Corning Museum of Glass …  that could give one pause.

As it turns out, I saw this barge opened up a bit later and took advantage to learn more.

Hot glass was in fact being shaped.

It turns out the “glass barge” is a set of kilns set up on a steel barge;  in summer 2017, the glass barge traveled to three locations in central and western NY state, as

a prep for a glass barge voyage from Brooklyn to Corning next summer.  Click here for a short intro to glass blowing, and here for a much more extensive video.

Wet newspaper . ..  yes, it’s the cheapest effective material for this stage of the process.

While researching this post, I learned that Corning already does glass blowing at sea demos on cruise ships. 

Who knew?  Stay tuned for more info on the glass barge and its visit to NYC in the summer of 2018.

All photos by Will Van Dorp.

Way in the distance where the waterway narrows, that’s lock E-11 and accompanying moveable dam, Amsterdam NY.  Click here for closer-ups of some of the Erie Canal locks and bank scenery.

I saw no names anywhere as this catamaran cut dynamic grooves into a calm river, where I was waiting–in vain–for a vessel in the opposite direction, hoping to get photos of it navigating through the morning mist.  By this time, that mist had dissipated.

Here Bear motorsails westward past Little Gull light . . .

Anyone help with the name of this large sloop in the sixth boro about three weeks back?

It looked to be about 60–70′  . . .

America 2.0 plied harbor waters operations

out of Chelsea Piers.

Off Croton Point, this metallic-looking catamaran headed upriver.

Again, I noticed no name, but the flag could say Bermuda.

Even as the mainsail is lowered, Clearwater is unmistakeable.

And this brings up back up to the Oswego Canal, it’s brigantine St Lawrence II;

her rig conspicuously missing tells me it went on ahead on a truck.  St. Lawrence II here was nearing Oswego.

And to close this out, here are three photos from Lake Erie, late summer.

 

 

All photos recently by Will Van Dorp, who by this time should be back on the St. Lawrence River.

 

Previous posts of Cheyenne can be found here.  But I think she never looked better than she did northbound between Fulton and Minetto the other day.

The Oswego Canal/River might be the narrowest wilds she’ll be in for a bit.

The waterfowl wheeled around to catch glimpses.

I look forward to seeing on the inland seas of the Great Lakes.

x

All photos by Will Van Dorp.

 

The photo below is not Lake Ontario; it’s Oneida Lake in the early morning as we outrun a storm.  If my numbers are right, Oneida is about 80′ lower than Rome NY.  Hence, the descent into Lake Ontario, which is another 200′ lower than Oneida.

If you thought we were descending–as a diver–into Ontario . . . well, that would be rewarding, but English is just ambiguous sometimes.  Anyhow, Oneida is big, not great, and that’s alright by me.

E-23 has a very friendly lock master, as do almost all the locks.  They’re happy to chat, especially when an ocean liner like Grande Mariner squeezes through.

To digress and use a photo I took near the east end of the Canal three years ago of GM exiting a lock, behold the ocean liner.

At Three Rivers, we leave the Erie, and enter the Oswego Canal, formed by the confluence of the Oneida and the Onondaga, a canal with a slightly different history.   Before lock O-1, we pass the Syracuse (Canal) Maintenance Shops, located in Lysander, another one of those classical names.

In Phoenix adjacent to O-1, we see a dam with Tainter gates, named for a Wisconsin engineer named Tainter.

Below lock O-1 also there’s a drawbridge.

Just above O-2 in Fulton, Fourth Street and Nestle Avenue cross, but the other side of the Nestle plant looks

like this, after a century of production.  Another former product of Fulton–once called the city the Depression missed–was shotguns.

As evening falls we start the first of the descents in Oswego, O-6.

O-8 is the end, and marked by tug Syracuse.

In the morning, we head out early, but not as early as folks fishing, taking part in enterprise valued at over $110 million.

There’s the lighthouse in Sodus, where I learned to swim, in spite of my best efforts to resist it.

Rochester looms beyond the ridge, and we

choose to hold up some hours in the port.

As we tie up at the dock, a charter boat from the Canadian side–we do share the Lake–heads back out.

All photos and focus and any errors attributable to Will Van Dorp.  From here and the rest of the trip, we climb again.

 

 

GWA is “going west again,” and here we start at about 130′ above sea level.  We’ve just passed the road sign included in a post here in 2006. Ahead of us is lock E-2, the beginning of the flight of five, located in the town of Waterford.

Above E-3, my former vessel waits, along with Chancellor. Those two boats alone have a combined total life of 196 years between them.   In the foreground is the business end of a cutter suction dredge.

Recreation boats come from everywhere.

Beyond the guard gate atop E-6 is Grand Erie, who also came from away, the Ohio River in her case.

Locals know how to enjoy the 200-year-old waterway.

Below E-11, we get a green light in the early morning drizzle.

Squeezing a 183′ x 39′ vessel through the locks involves a skilled crew and vigilant lock master.

Drivers on the Thruway at this point are 42 miles from Albany, 190 from NYC.

At E-15, still in the drizzle, a Florida boat —Sharon Ann–waits as we lock through.

Above E-16, the 90-year-old Governor Cleveland attends dredge pipes, maintenance dredging being ongoing.  Yes, the canal needs maintenance, and so does the Thruway, any street, RR tracks and infrastructure, my car, my body . . . .

A boxer takes its human for a run . . .

More guard gates–width is 55′–to squeeze through.

Lords of the air watch all along the waterway.

At E-17 we share a lock with Tender #5.

Since we tie off above E-18, Lil Diamond II has to maneuver around.

An SPS lands a crew on the bank for preventative maintenance … keeping dead trees from falling into the water and jamming lock gates.

More recreational boats from far-off ports.

More maintenance above E-19, this time with dragon dredge and the electric tender . .  . #4.

Reinforcement of the canal walls is a canal priority this year.

 

I always imagine the mythical Utica lies beyond the berm marked by the open tower. Central NY was once included in the “military tract,” land distributed to Revolutionary War veterans.

Above lock E-20, we are at the high point of this portion of the Erie Canal,

and Rome was the original high point/ portage in the Mohawk portion of the waterways that pre-date Europeans settlement of North america.

We are now 456′ above sea level, where we’ll pick up the journey tomorrow.

All photos by and any errors attributable to Will Van Dorp.

 

More than a week ago, these tanks entered the Erie Canal system at lock E-2 in Waterford.  Sunday afternoon they tied up for the night in Lyons below E-27.  Let’s call the first nine photos here Batch 1.

 

This morning early, they made their way through E-27 and then on to E-28A.

Here’s a view back toward E-27 and the village of Lyons . . . around the bend.

The forward most barge gets pushed in, unmade from the second barge, and then CMT Otter reverses out with that second barge.

The unaccompanied barge is moved out the upper gates by means of the capstan, a machine as old as the Barge Canal and very infrequently used.

After this barge is moved forward and secured to the wall, the gates close, the lock is drained, the lower gates opened, and the rest of the tow enters to be raised to the level of the forward barge.

These next photos taken west of Newark . . . E-28 B . . . show just how narrow this part of the Canal is, and

silt that’s lain on the bottom gets stirred up.

Here’s an article from the NYTimes, but I wish the author had spoken with a wider range of informants.

Many thanks to Bob Stopper (1,2, 6, 7) , Jason Ladue (8, 9) , and John Van Dorp (3, 4, 5) for these photos.

Now Batch 2, thanks to Bob Stopper.  Bob took this batch this morning very near my “upstate home,”  between Newark and Widewaters.  Note that this batch is moved by HR Pike.  

For a long tow, this part of the Canal  (same as here) is very narrow.

It’s mind-boggling that these inland waters are directly connected to the Pacific Ocean and China, but it’s the case.

The school bus here is crossing the Whitbeck Road Bridge, a span I’ve crossed probably a thousand times . . .

Many thanks to all, especially to Bob Stopper, who was unstoppable in getting these photos just this morning.

 

 

 

Here from Lock E-28A, Bob Stopper’s photo of Canal Corp’s efforts to get the Canal open for season 200!

The rest of these photos come from Jan van der Doe, starting with Sandra Mary, 1962,  in McNally colors and built by Russel-Hipwell at Owen Sound in 1962.

W. N. Twolan, also 1962 built, alongside Menier Consol.

At the end and off the stern of W. N. Twolan, it’s the last side-wheeler ferry to operate on the Great Lakes, PS Trillium, launched in 1910.  To see Trillium after a 1975 refit, click here.

In what I first thought was an unusual military dazzle pattern is actually a 1966 Davie Shipbuilding former cargo vessel that’s been reborn as a floating dry dock.  Click here for Menier Consol transporting pulpwood. 

Last but not least, it’s William Rest, 1961.  Toronto Dry Dock is one of so many places I need to visit.

Many thanks to Bob and Jan for these photos.

Here are previous posts with this title.  Another unusual cargo that passed through here were these barged US, British, and Russian jets five years ago also in May.

I owe all these shots to Mike Pelletier and other folks who were at E2 in Waterford yesterday, as the Erie Canal opened for its 200th consecutive season.  It’s cause for celebration that Day 1 brings significant commercial cargo into the Canal.

The job will entail moving a total of 12 identical tanks from the Hudson River level to the Rochester level. At the end of this post, I share a photo I took at the Rochester area a few years ago in the fall.  Can you imagine what that part of the Canal looks like?  But I digress.

If you don’t know the story, let me highlight some details, although you can read more here.  The cargo here consists of three tanks, each 20′ x 60′ and fabricated of stainless steel.  If each tank holds 2000 barrels, or 661,000 cans, and if I drink an average of two six-packs a month, one tank holds a 4,500 year supply of Genesee for me….  Another way to think of it . . . if a party was held and each guest had three beers, all twelve tanks would contain enough beer for 2,644,000 guests!  That would be enough beer @ two or three beers each for every 21+ person in Wyoming, Vermont, North Dakota, and Alaska . .  and quite a bit more left over.  But I’ve really digressed.

Here the tow lies alongside the wall below E2. #Toast the tanks is the tag Genesee wishes “social media makers” to use to group-document this journey.

Here CMT Otter pushes the tow into the opened lower gates of E2.  Here is a previous post featuring Otter and fleet mates.

So, here the tow is inside and the lower gates closed. The shot above was shot from midpoint on the catwalk over the gates beyond the stern of the tug.   The lock chamber valves are now set to fill. The two crew lower photo are radioing distances to the captain.

 

Now the camera is back to that same catwalk.  What else do you see?   I missed it the first times I looked at this photo….

See the drone?  It’s between the catwalk rail and the portside stern of CMT Otter.  I’m guessing this is CMT’s camera team.

Believe it or not, this is the Canal through which these tanks will travel near the end of their journey to Gates . . . Rochester, beyond E33.   From the Canal, Rochester is mostly invisible.

Now some speculation . . . I believe the tanks arrived in the US aboard Wladyslaw Orkan on a voyage that began in Shanghai around March 13.  My guess would be that the manufacturer is Lehui, possibly in Xiangshan Ningbo.  If all this is true, I’m curious about this stated goal on the Lehui site:  “During a two-decade-plus journey, Lehui exercises “European Quality, Chinese Price” philosophy, which won Lehui “the most outstanding beer/beverage equipment manufacturer” in China.”  Where were previous Genesee tanks fabricated?  With concerted several decades effort, a 21st century plan to return more manufacturing to the US might be held on course with a mantra something like ““European Quality, Chinese Price, US Essence, ”    . . . concerted effort . . .

Click here to see the tentative schedule.

Thanks again to Mike Pelletier.

 

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