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T minus 23 days,  that is, for all of us who remember the early days of NASA  . .  . 23 days until the NYS Canals open soon after sunrise on May 21.  If you have the opportunity, get yourself to one of the portals and see the excitement.

At several intervals before then, I will post countdown photos of NYS Canals boats;  all photos of old boats they are, ones that require lots of maintenance, but many folks find them beautiful and desire they be kept in some functioning condition, like old horses put out to clover, not the glue factory.   All these photos I took during the 2014 season, when I worked on the canal.  I won’t include a lot of text here;  besides time constraints, I’ve already included such info in previous posts and years.  Also, let me introduce a new archive, an ongoing project by a young, active Great Lakes mariner. See it here, and the root site is here.

June 2014 in Little Falls, day one of my employment, I waited on the wall for the 1901 Urger. That’s a Quarters Barge #14 (QB14) to the right, a  lodging afloat for canal workers assigned to projects far from home. I slept in the quarters on Urger.

Seneca escorted a tender across Oneida Lake and has arrived at the east end, Sylvan Beach.

Urger here passes Governor Cleveland in a previously unpublished photo.

Syracuse here near the Oswego portal illustrates

the NYS Canals connection with the Great Lakes.  This can be and is a portal to the Gulfs of Mexico and Saint Lawrence, and thence to all the watery parts of the planet. 

Derrick Barge (DB) 4 here transfers dredge spoils from a scow to a bank needing bolstering;  in the distance you can see the beauty of rural Mohawk Valley.

Tender #6, here near Albion, can no longer be seen unless you’re breathing air from a regulator 80′ down 2.5 miles off Shinnecock, a very distant corner of NYS.

Heading for the western end of the canal in Tonawanda,  the aptly named DeWitt Clinton chugs along with purpose between Medina and Middleport.

Pittsford here stands by an ancient scow on another bank near the Rochester suburb of  . . . Pittsford.

All photos, WVD, who has many more to share before the canal opens.  I’ll avoid replication as best I can.

If you want to see more of the canal now, check out my April 2020 covid project, a virtual tour, here.

 

 

DB here expands to “derrick boat, not a term that had been in my vocabulary before this season.  Why DB #4 has been dubbed “the chief” I don’t know.

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The next two photos show DB #4 eastbound near Schenectady a few days ago, pushed by Grand Erie and

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boom resting on a scow.

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Here’s the same derrick boat working on reinforcing a canal wall east of Herkimer back in August.  The white tour vessel is Lil Diamond III operated by Erie Canal Cruises Herkimer.

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In late September, here was DB 2A working near Newark.  Note the elbow boom.   Tug Syracuse is standing by with the scows.

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Here’s another shot of those units.  I’m not sure how the nomenclature makes this DB 2A.

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Here’s DB 13 at the Genesee Crossing, i. e., the point where the Erie Canal and the Genesee make an X.  Standing by here is Tender #9.   I’m planning an encyclopedia of canal tenders soon.

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I don’t know how many other functioning derrick boats work the Canal.  One non-functioning one is here in Oswego.

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Here’s what the sign out front says.  I’m wondering if the other derrick boats above date from the same era.

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Two shore mounted derricks are this one in Fonda and

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this one at the junction lock in New London NY . .  between Rome and Syracuse.

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All photos by Will Van Dorp.

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