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Here was the first in this series.  This is a well-painted and lubricated wheel that won’t be seen for a while.  Even you folks who are planning a trip on Erie Canal, you’ll be close and you’ll feel the effects, but you won’t see it.  So watch carefully as  .  .

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the wagon-body valve, the rectangular portion of which measures 7′ X 9′ , gets positioned where it’ll be invisible from now until some winter maintenance season in the future.  The entire valve–with wheels– weighs about 9800 pounds. If you’re standing near the upper door when one of these opens, you see a major whirlpool created by the rush of water through the water tunnel and through the port holes into the lock chamber.

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Bob Stopper took these photos just over two weeks ago.  Looking at them now, with mild spring temperatures in place, this feels like months ago.  The valve is hoisted above the water tunnel and

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guided into position.

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Think about this as you traverse the canal this summer.

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Many thanks to Bob.  Happy spring.   I can’t wait to see what exotic traffic passes through here this summer.  Of course, I’ll be looking for work elsewhere.  Anyone know anyone looking to hire a deckhand, now holding some paper and licenses?

Here are the previous posts by this name.

June 2014 . . . not quite 100 miles west of Albany.

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March 2015 high, dry, and cold maintenance time on Staten Island.

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Same time and place as the first photo above.  Actually leaving lock 19 and headed east.

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Again . . . winter maintenance.

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Outbound Oswego harbor, June 2014.

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And more Staten Island, March 2015.

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Hustling hither and yon along the waterways since 1958, if she could speak,

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I’d love to hear the stories.

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All photos by Will Van Dorp.

You may recall my wondering about a Canal Corp boat I saw last year while I was working on the canal.  Alan Nelson sent the photo below showing the type of vessel while it performed ATON (aids to navigation) service.

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Here’s what Alan wrote:  “It’s a 45’ buoy boat. Designation was “45 BU”. They were built 1957-’62 and in service through the 1980s. Used extensively on inland waters, they were powered by a GM 6-71 main engine and small Onan generator. Max speed approx. 8.5 knots.  Although they had a small galley and berthing area, they weren’t often used for overnight operations, and didn’t have a permanent crew assigned.   They were usually assigned to an ATON team to service small inland buoys and day markers. I ran one on the Delaware River around Philadelphia in the mid-1970s, until we took it up to New York for assignment to Lake Champlain. A slow and long trip, towed by the Coast Guard 65’ Tug Catenary.   The one in the attached photo is numbered 45301-D, the first one built. The one I ran was the 45306-D.”

Below is a further edited photo of the boat I saw.

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And here are some photos by Bob Stopper last month in the dry dock in Lyons.

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Alan and Bob . .  thanks much for your photos and information.

Now if you look closely at the subtitle of this blog, you’ll see a longer phrase there.  It now ends in “gallivants by any and all the crew.”  We are the blog crew . . .  you and me.  I’ve long stated in the “About Tugster” page drop-down just below the header of the Bayonne Bridge that “I like the idea of collaboration and am easy to get along with.”  I am thrilled by the amount of collaboration you all have offered.  So thank and let’s keep group-sourcing this blog together.

 

This photo of Doris Joan Moran that has been circulating on FB this morning.  Sorry . . . I wish I knew who gets the credit for this unusual shot.  Anyhow, it reminded me of a post I did five years ago here.

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Here’s a Doris photo I took last week . . . uncoated.

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So one reaction to the cold is to bundle up, grit your teeth, plod on, complain a little more . . .

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But you have to admit, winter in the northern latitudes gives us new senses of hulls on snow bases, or

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levitating above it.

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Here’s roughly the same angle . . . as I took it in September 2012.

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Thanks to Bob Stopper for the photo of tug Syracuse and to Erich Amberger for the winter photo of Wendy B.  The others I took, except for the top photo, and I’d still like to know who took that.

Uh . . . I just mis-read the FB info on the frosted over tugboat above.  It was spelled j-o-a-n, and I transferred that as d-o-r-i-s.  I’m sloppy sometimes.  Maybe I need an editor.

Frances . . . built on Long Island in 1957 looked quite happy yesterday.  She languished a few years a decade ago, but she’s now shiny and back at work. Click here and scroll through to see Frances as I first saw her in faux-wood paint.  Here are the basics on her.

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Cheyenne, a Brooklyn-built Bushey tug from 1965,  is a veteran of the canal, as seen here and here.  In the second link, she’s house down ducking underneath the bridge in Sylvan Beach with scows bound for the sixth boro.  Here she was this past summer in Oswego after traversing the canal east to west and Lake Erie bound.

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Also, some photos I took yesterday of Thomas D. Witte, built in Louisiana in 1961.  Her air draft now precludes her operating on the canal.

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All photos taken by Will Van Dorp, who will spend a few hours today at the NYS Canal Corp booth at the NYC Boat Show.

For more canallers, click here.

This photo was taken in late spring 2009.  Onrust had been splashed just a day or two before, as recorded in post 1 here and then 2 here.   But look over to the right side of the photo, the two bollards on squarish platforms in the water.

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These.  Well, at summer pool . . . when the water level of the canal is up to allow navigation, they look like so, but

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when winter comes and the state hydrologist directs draw-down of the pool, the bollards are on platforms that

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are actually concrete barges, ones that do NOT rise and fall with changing pool levels.  The snowy photos I took last weekend.

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Click here and here for some of the history of these century old barges.

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Note the reference numbers below and

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below.

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Here’s how they look on google satellite view.   For more on the builder behind these, click here . . . G. A. Tomlinson.

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All photos by Will Van Dorp.

 

The imp in my head wants to mess with the title and permutate this to “tugmotives and locoboats,” and I’m guessing way back when power began to be applied to hulls, there were those who thought they were seeing “loco boats” but I digress.  First, a historical photo to set the context.

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Just east of local 19, here’s Margot pushing a barge underneath the main line.  I don’t know the exact number, but these rails cross over the canal at least a half dozen times between Waterford and Tonawanda.

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As you’ll see in most of the next photos, it’s hard to get a photo of a complete tug and a complete locomotive if you happen to be moving on one of the other.  Difficulty notwithstanding, I kept on trying.

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With a drone I could have gotten the locomotive . . .

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or the rest of the tugboat.

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I know there’s no locomotive in sight, but the boxcars were colorful.

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Here’s an ALCO-built Genesee Valley locomotive, which may have been built at the Schenectady plant, itself once right on the south bank on the Canal.

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We had to wait at the top of lock 19 and my camera was ready, but no trains came.  As soon as we descended and started heading eastward . . . one passed.

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When one passed right near us, of course it was backlit.

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I took this shot from the upper wheelhouse.

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So at the end of the season, I had to conclude this was my loco-tug moneyshot, which had to be taken from neither.

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All photos by Will Van Dorp, whose focus will soon be leaving the canal.  Having said that, part of me wants to get back up there when the water levels are drawn down and the snow covers the ground.   Click here for some history of the relations rail/canal in the first quarter century after the opening of the waterway.  Click here for a basic introduction to the canal levels monitoring from the state hydrologist.

 

Now this could be a productive combo, after all there was a DeWitt Clinton, which was NY’s first locomotive and it ran between two cities at the eastern end of the Erie Canal.

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What does Governor Cleveland have to do with it?

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Well, it just happened to be tied to bollards just west of Lock 14 . . .

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but no bollard will ever stop the frequently passing locomotives and cars .  . .

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All photos by Will Van Dorp.

 

This is probably the last of this series as well.  These photos were all taken between October 2 and 19 in an area of the western canal, the extreme western portion of which is now more than a little snow-covered.  I don’t know much about this little 1985 one-off (I was told) fiberglass tugboat named Tilly.  Not the Tilly that’s currently underwater.  

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Mandalay . . . said to have down east fishing origins from the first decades of the 20th century . . . is a stunner.  Reminds me of Grayling, third photo down here.   Mandalay is on the Genesee river, not technically the canal, although their waters commingle.

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Capt. Green . . . another Genesee River denizen said to be a converted landing craft.

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Any word(s) on this?

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Truly a unique craft of western NY, cobblestone architecture–its height came during the first few decades after the completion of the Erie  Canal)  is celebrated in this museum just north of the canal in Childs, NY.

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Heidi, a 37′ 1941 Richardson, is truly a gem on the western canal.

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And this looks like almost too much fun!

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This brown “sculpture” made no sense to me when I first saw it, but then at a farmer’s market in Lockport, I notice a reference to “farm to pint” and local hops sales and tasted a range of local craft beers . . . of course . . . it’s a huge representation of a hops cone.

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Hobbit house?  dungeon?

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Try . .  outlet for a 19th century water power system in Lockport.

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And for a feat quite unimaginable to DeWitt Clinton and his cronies, here’s the Red Bull take.  Click on the photo below.

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Finally . . . I know I’ve posted a version of this photo previously, but this culvert under the canal begs a tip of the hat to that craftwork of an earlier era.

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I was truly fortunate to see this variety of craft, but for a time traveler’s view, you must read Michele A. McFee’s A Long Haul:  The Story of the New York State Canal.  One of my favorite sets of photos from the New York State Archives and featured in her book relates to Henry Ford . . . his 1922 vacation on the canal and subsequent decision to ship auto parts on the canal.  In fact, on p. 193 there’s a photo of new automobiles shipped across the state NOT by truck or train but by barge!

 

 

I’m working backwards still . . . all photos in this post were taken between October 22 and 28.  M/V Mystere . .  works the Hudson river now, but I’d never seen her before this encounter above lock 7.

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The next three photos were taken just above and just below lock 11 Amsterdam, showing use of small boats on the Canal/Mohawk River for bridge and dam work.  Click here to see what park this bridge footing some day will support.

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The repairs have been necessitated by the flooding of 2011.

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Artania II is the last wooden Matthews, built in 1970 and just restored in Michigan, headed home near lock 14.  Click here for photos of the restoration at E. J. Mertaugh Boat Works, satisfying but it loads slowly.

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Here Artania II passes Governor Cleveland.

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Zooming ahead of us is the largest Sea Ray I’ve ever seen . . . Just Because . . . but I forget the loa’

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This Honeywell boat has probably been working on the dredging of Onandaga Lake, now  declared finished.

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I don’t know the story of this vessel, although at first notice I thought it a sporty very low-slung yacht.

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Lil Joe had been doing bridge inspection earlier in the season, as are

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these guys.  I love this Harcon bucket boat and its hydraulically-actuated outriggers.

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And finally . . . taking advantage of the ambiguity of the word craft, here’s the very definition of a bucolic scene, less than 300 feet from the bed of the original Erie Canal in Lyons.

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More canal craft soon . . . maybe tomorrow.

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