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Friday, August 25, 2023

Oswego to Fulton, wall

Starting to move south, now.

Rather than make Saturday a longer day with 8 locks or so we decided to put in a couple of hours this morning and get the a mid point, Fulton. We've never been to Fulton. When we looped we went from Phoenix to Oswego. Always good to try new things.

While a short day we did get through 4 locks.

Rainy morning, so locking was dampish.

<slight lock rant>

Right away we noticed a striking difference between the Canada locks and the US/NY locks. These locks (Oswego, Eerie, and Champlain Canals) are similar to the Canadian locks (Trent-Severn, Richelieu, Chambly, and Rideau) in that they are used largely by smaller vessels or personal crafts. The US canals still do get the occasional tow, but they are typically small. 

The walls are crumbling, and the bollard
is waaaaaaay out there.
We're tied on a wall that is eroding. Highwind found some rings to use, but we only had large bollards we could secure to. 

When we hailed the first lock, Oswego Lock 7, someone from lock 6 answered. We realized later that one guy is running both. He was telling us he was on his way.

Meanwhile, the Canada locks had well groomed parks and walls for boaters. Every lock had a number of people working at it. I think the fewest we saw at any lock was 3. To be fair, these locks will not be open most of the year. The job of lock master is coveted by college kids on summer break. They were happy and enthusiastic. One we talked to was thrilled to get the gig, which saved her from a summer of working at Subway.

The canal is quite lovely, even in the mist.
Today, the first lock guy (the one working 7 & 6) was friendly. He offered conversation and even made an announcement (Lock 5 was having a power outage, but it was fixed by the time we got there). He genuinely seemed to enjoy his job. The other 2 lockmasters, not so much. Only one answered a hail, the other we had to call by phone. They hid in their little houses as we floated out of the chambers avoiding eye contact.

It is true, there is no hailing the Canada locks. Frankly, there is no need to. They see you coming, they ask where you're going, and they notify the locks and bridges ahead of you. Oh, and they ask for your pass number.

And this is the biggest difference: We pay to go through the Canadian locks. You can either buy a one-way trip, or you can purchase a seasonal pass, which gets you mooring privileges too (meaning you can stay on the walls for free). That is $20 /foot of your boat, so for us about $900. And totally worth it.

Waiting for a vessel to lock down we got
against another wall, also a bit of a mess.
There was only 1 bollard to tie to.
My point here is I'm flabbergasted that NY doesn't do something similar. Let the commercial vessels move about for free, but us little guys should pay to use the the channels. On this trip we're going to go through all three of their canal systems, all of which were lovely and full of nifty little towns. I can't help but think a "seasonal pass" would help the locks to be maintained, the walls to be fixed, and maybe pay their employees more. Maybe even get some college student an interesting job so she doesn't have to work at Subway.

</slight lock rant>

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