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Last spring, Edna A passed my location with a “nameless” tugboat.

The day before the official opening of the Canal season, Edna A climbed the Flight westbound with a light barge 82 heading for Albion NY.

Three days after passing Newark for Albion, Edna A and the 82 were back, heading east.

If you’ve ever wondered about the rationale for the design of a boat like Edna A, the next two photos should be adequate explanation.

 

Note the shrinkwrapped cargo in the 82.

What is it?  From what I read, it’s a 100-ton condenser manufactured in Batavia NY to be used on a nuclear submarine.  Ultimately, it’ll be delivered to and unwrapped in New London CT.  It’ll be coming down the Hudson soon . . . or maybe already has.   A cargo of 100 tons . . .  that needs to travel by water.

All photos, Bob Stopper, a friend and frequent contributor to this blog.

Here was part 1, all taken in Lake Erie port of Erie PA.

The next four photos were taken in the Lake Ontario port of Oswego, partway through the delivery of the newbuild to the sixth boro.  I share these photos now because my most recent article in ProfessionalMariner has just come out.  Enjoy it here.

 

Appropriate for today, I took these photos using ambient shoreside light before the rain that was supposed to happen the day the crew was going to enter the NYS Canals system at lock O8 on the Oswego Canal.

Fortunately there’s a bridge just before the entrance to O8, which protected my lens from the rain as I got this shot.   That bridge is the same one from which the top 1950s photo was taken in this recent post featuring Albert Gayer photos.

Here the boat is exiting O8 headed up the Oswego Canal to O7.  The clocktower in the distance is atop City Hall, an Oswego landmark.

A few days later I caught the next photos in Little Falls NY, as the boat approached the top of E17, the big lock.  Notice on the cliff just above the leading edge of the wheelhouse . . .

a climber about to rappel down a cliff on Moss Island.   A few years ago I waited atop the same cliff to get photos of Rebecca Ann pushing the new dredge Oyster Bay.

Lock 17 is worth a visit during the season;  the lift is the greatest in the Canal, 40.5′.

Here the boat was exiting the bottom of the lock, under the raised “guillotine” door.

 

All photos, WVD, who mentions both Oswego and Little Falls in various trips in these virtual tours.

When this tow came off Oneida Lake headed west, 

I wondered how many folks would interpret this incorrectly, that this was a tow and not a push.

Ditto . . . heading into lock E-23.

 

Of course, regular readers of this blog know precisely what is going on. After a long hiatus at the dry dock in Waterford, Urger has been pushed across the state to the dry dock in Lysander to be hauled out and mothballed, maybe and hopefully to be revived when the time is right, like a cicada or a future astronaut traveling light years in suspended animation . . . .

For more people than not in the “canal corridor” of New York State, Urger is without doubt that best known tugboat, the only one that thousands of New Yorkers have set foot on . . . . 

Who is that unmasked fellow with a t-shirt that reads “tug boating is a contact sport”?

I have it on the best authority that exactly five years ago yesterday, he was in the Urger wheelhouse piloting the now nameless vessel through this very same lock, very much mechanically alive.

 

All photos yesterday, WVD, who offers this post as contribution to #URGERjourney.

Edna A has appeared on this blog by that name;  it was also here as HR Hawk

But first, a reader “read” my mind and asked a question about the image below from this post a while back:  what are the square “hatches” directly below the wheelhouse glass?  Are they square porthole covers?  Another question while we’re back at this image, did that “upper wheelhouse” design work well?  How much additional visibility did a helmsman get?  Did they leak?  How was it raised/lowered?

Canal users have experienced some “section closures” this summer due to gear breakage, rainy-induced flooding, and wall collapse and subsequent low water.   A healthy attitude for canal transits is a willingness to smell the flowers, explore the small towns.

In the photo above, the small sailboat is second from the left.  Bravo to anyone who does long journeys in a 25′ sailboat, as here in the port of Lyons.

Next stop, Port of Newark saw a two-week “making merry” as shallow areas to the west made it prudent to stay put between E-28B and E-29.

Rarely has Newark seen this many boats, tied up on both walls.

 

To the west, water levels were still low between E-29 and E-30, because of a breach.

And this has to win some awards for Bob, as a heron stands guard while Knotugal enters.

All photos, Bob Stopper.  And for full disclosure, these photos were taken in Wayne County NY, where I grew up.

 

 

See the caption on the photo from 1963.  Eugenia Moran is in the foreground.  Off its stern is a tugboat that looks a lot like Urger, but has the name Seneca on it.  Which Seneca was that?

Eugenia herself is quite interesting.  She would be wearing Moran colors for only a year here.  She’s from 1938, Jakobson, Brooklyn.

Many thanks to Jason LaDue for the photo.

Here’s the Seneca I know . . .

And talking about the Erie Canal, central NYS has seen a lot of rain the past few days, draining it all through the Mohawk Valley, making some current (understatement) and resulting in string of locks being closed. Check the notices and alerts.  Cohoes Falls might be looking mighty these days. 

Happy 120 years old, Urger!  I urge you  to read the note at the bottom of this post.

And . . . .Oops!  I read the timer wrong. Bidding for Grouper, in Lyons NY,  ends about six hours from now. 

Lyons is a county seat, but it’s possible to take a photo of lock E-27, right in the town,  such that it appears to be rural.  A row of buildings to the right separates the canal here from a major street, Water Street;  to the left, there’s a strip mall along NY-31.

Lyons is the home of Muralmania, and it shows;  this was one of two murals just west of lock E-27.  The next lock, E-28A, is about a mile away.

Just before getting to lock E-28A, you see the section workshop buildings.

That’s Route 31 paralleling the canal.

At the top of the lock chamber, you have a great view over into the Lyons Dry dock.  Whatever is in the dry dock during the navigation season is surplus, in need of repair, or beyond repair.  Grouper is there, its rusty stack with its yellow ring visible in the foreground.

Staged and waiting for deployment are a set of tugboats, dredges, and a quarters barge aka “floating lodging,” like the one being auctioned off with bidding ending late this afternoon.  To repeat, I’d misreported closing of bidding in an earlier post, but today it ends.

We negotiate another low rail bridge before coming up to lock E-28B, about 4 miles to the west of E-28A.

 

In the port of Newark, I catch up to Sweet Love, a small trawler I caught at the Narrows last August.  The lovely storefronts in the village disappeared thanks to the misguided efforts in the 1960s called “urban renewal.”

West of Newark at Wide Waters is the hamlet of Port Gibson, Ontario County’s only port along the Erie Canal.  During the 19th-century iteration of the canal, this was a port.

The bridge here has just been refurbished.

From there, the canal narrows as we head west.  The rain started falling as well. 

 

 

We had miles and locks to go, but we called the trip “over” when we got to the Port of Palmyra, because of a breach in a spillway ahead. 

All photos, WVD.

Sign the card here to celebrate Urger‘s 120 years.  Its future too is threatened.

Here I get to prove once again that you can never step into the same river twice, or you can never see the same stretch of canal the same way twice.  Click here to see what I did with previous set of photos.

The photo below was taken from the NE corner of the triangular island I’ll now call Midway Junction (the CS and Erie Canals meet here), Midway Triangle, or (my contribution) Tadadaho Island,  if you want to learn about this indigenous spiritual leader, click here.

Two miles west from Tadadaho Island, we approach Lock E-25 in

May’s Point NY.  Click here to see the location of the lock relative to the NYS Thruway.

What would you expect to see when the lock is in a National Wildlife Refuge?

A small boat could cross here and enter Tschache (“shockey”) Pool. 

There’s a campground and marina here.

Lots of these and other wildlife are here.  Someone on the boat saw a coyote on the south bank.

The Clyde River intersects the Erie Canal several times.  Follow the channel markers. 

About six miles farther, lock E-26 appears.

See that rusty bridge a quarter mile beyond the lock?

It’s the E-93 West Shore RR bridge;  see both outside and inside here. It’s the bane of any boat that exceeds 15′ on this stretch of the Canal.

But we made it through. 

Along long portions of the Erie Canal the railroad follows along the bank.  Chances are quite strong that these containers not long ago were at sea, transferred onto railcars in the sixth boro.

Again, follow the channel markers.

Right around that bend is the village of Lyons, county seat of Wayne County NY.  The small boat Cayuga ahead of the captain’s view is a “drive it yourself” rental from Erie Canal Adventures.

All photos, WVD.

What I said about the futility of trying to step into the same river, you have a “three-fer” here: here is my post on my canal bike ride from October 2020.

 

Quick post today, almost on time.  I’m resting up after travels, reunions, summits, setbacks, ravines, tech glitches that turned out to be excessive cookie of the electromagnetic sort, and  . . .  more.

I took all these Lyons, NY photos in the past few weeks, although I missed all the excitement of the sixth boro, including a few CMA CGM boats . . .  Magellan this morning.   If any of you got photos, please get in touch. 

Tug Syracuse may be looking for a captain.  Contact me if you’re looking for a tugboat.

More on all this soon. 

Happy to be back . . .  WVD.

In six days, the gates along the NYS Canal system will be staffed and lifting/lowering vessels across the state.  This is the third in a series of posts about the vessels that have worked to keep the canals functioning. 

Not all these vessels, like Wards Island below, remain;  it’s now over 50′ under surface of salt water on Hempstead Reef, scuttled.  The bow of the tug here, Syracuse, does continue to work as she approaches her 90th birthday.

Below you see the 88-year-old tugboat Syracuse towing a group of canal vessels late in the season back in 2014.

Tender #1, along with most of the other tenders, are now in their 10th decade.

Ditto #9.

Curvaceous boats are out, and state-of-the-art boxy ones are in. 

Boats like Waterford approach their eighth decade. 

Grand Erie and Urger, both inactive, have been featured here many times.

And boxy, mostly nameless replacements have replaced them.

Urger here exits the lower side of Lock 17 in Little Falls as the sun illuminates the chamber.

All photos, WVD, who salutes the crews who operate these boats, even the finicky old ones.  If you’re sailing the canal this summer and see these boats and crews, give a wave but also give them wide berth, as they diligently work to keep the waterway open.

Of course, if you need a guide, check out my virtual tours based on my boat transits and my one bike trip.

Here was T-23 days.  Now, in less than two weeks, the canal will be open.  Some of the vessels operated by NYS Canals to perform maintenance were featured in the T-23 post;  more are in today’s post.

Let’s start with Tender 2, T2, in Utica, nose to nose with tug Erie.

Tender #3 is tied up here just west of the dry dock in Waterford.

Left to right here are a self-propelled scow (SPS 60 maybe? the number) and Lockport.  That land derrick marks this location as Fonda.

Port Jackson is one of the new boats operated by NYS Canals.  The location is just west of lock E-13, and Grande Caribe, as well as her younger sister Grande Mariner powering her way west to Chicago will likely never be seen in the Canal again.

Tied up here in the shade east of Utica is Governor Roosevelt.

At the Utica section yard, it’s Erie again.  Note the NYS Thruway maintenance vehicles in the background.

Just west of lock E-19, the Dragon dredge gets support from Tender #4.

And on another occasion, it’s the same dredge assisted by Tender #5.  I took the photo between locks E-6 and 7.

And closing this out, how about a shot above the culvert of the tugboat that turns 120 years afloat this year, Urger.

All photos, WVD.  If you’re planning to transit the canal beginning on day 1 of the season  . . .  May 21, these are some of the maintenance vessels you’ll see. But don’t postpone a trip along the Canal because some of these could disappear any year now.

WVD is solely responsible for any errors of fact.

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