You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘Erie Canal’ tag.

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.

 

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 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.

 

Here’s the post I did the day my season on the Urger ended.   The boat seriously needs a reboot now, a rewind, since it will NOT been operating season of 2017.  None of the photos here have been posted before, and there’s a surprise at the end of this post, stemming from a conversation last night  I am grateful for. Here’s Urger approaches the guard gate at the top of E-6 on the last day of the 2014 season.

Here the morning of that last run, she’s docked above E-11.  May she not grow into the bank the way that fence has been consumed by the tree.

The entire four-person crew fits into this shot at E-14.

As the sun clears the horizon, Urger‘s out and running east, here under the onramp to the Thruway below E-17.

A few seconds earlier, she exited E-17.  Note the 17 at the top of the lock frame.

Bathed in the warm October sunrise, Urger waits for the guillotine door to raise before exiting the chamber.

Here’s the boat on the wall in Little Falls in midsummer 2014.

A month or so back while it was still winter, I returned to E-17, and there was ice on the wall and in the chamber, and I put my camera away quickly so that my hands could return to the pockets where I’d stuffed chemical heat packs.

This would have been the 25th season for the 1901-built Urger as an ambassador/educational vessel. This role for her was created –as I understand it– through a private/public  partnership fronted by Schuyler Meyer.  Here’s some more of the story of the boat and the program, which was initially operated by SCOW, State Council on Waterways, which appears to have had its last event in 2009.

At the start of this post, I mentioned a surprise.  Last night (finally) I uploaded to YouTube here a half dozen short recordings I made of of Urger underway, with closeups of her Atlas-Imperial engine.  Crank up the sound and enjoy them.  Please share widely.  The program and the boat  are too precious to be permanently lost.  Here is a post I did when Urger last visited NYC’s sixth boro.

All photos and opinion entirely by Will Van Dorp.  Thanks, MB, for the conversation.

 

Unlike the sixth boro waters, freshwater New York changes state.  As illustration, here is a color photo I took yesterday, and

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below is roughly the same view (looking down from E-5 in the Flight) taken in late September 2016, almost five months ago.   What’s departing lock 4 was reported here.

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But I digress.  Here’s what tenders look like in February.

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And the long-suffering Chancellor, after the pool level has been lowered.

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Floating and working, it’s the art deco tug Syracuse.   She has been working since December 1933!

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And can you identify the vessel in the foreground?

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Indeed, it’s the 1912-launched Grouper sustaining yet another season in Niflheim.

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All photos taken by Will Van Dorp this week except the first one.

I shouldn’t be surprised to find pricey boats in a city like NYC, but I still am.  I took the first two photos here in Chelsea Piers, and I imagined their understated elegant lines meant they were affordable.  Well, maybe they are easily affordable by the incoming executive branch standards, but for most folks, not so much.  Look them up . . . Van Dutch boats.

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I also shouldn’t be surprised how fast some boats travel on the Hudson, but this one flew past at

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least 35 knots, and it wasn’t small.  I’ve no idea who the manufacturer is.

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Traveling in the canal makes for a slower pace, with people going for the distance, like

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Pioche.  They must know about some new navigation canal infrastructure plans I’m not privy to.  And I wonder who they hope to meet in Pioche.

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If I bought another cruising boat, I’d want something like this . . .

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here upbound the St Lawrence.  I’m not positive it’s a pleasure boat, but PCF does not mean patrol craft, fast.  It could be Provincial C___  for Fisheries?

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I’m not sure what this is, besides a boat.  Anyone know the story?  She was up north of the Scarano barns in Albany.

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All photos by Will Van Dorp.

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