Saturday, June 16, 2012

Fender Envy

Days on Cruise:  84

Miles Traveled Today:  36

Travel Time:  4 hrs, 3 mins

Locks:  2 today, 24 total

Total trip odometer:  1,992 statute miles

Normally fenders (referred to as “bumpers” by some) are deployed while docking, then quickly stowed away once the boat leaves the dock. In fact it’s considered bad seamanship to be seen traveling with them on the side of the boat. While traveling the Erie Canal, no one bothers putting their fenders away. With 22 locks coming at you in rapid succession, it makes no sense, and at no point can you travel more than about 10 mph for 10 miles, so we all leave them dangling while underway, as we’ll need them again, deployed on both sides of the boat, at the next lock.






In fact it almost seems there’s a bit of fender envy among  boaters: the boat with the most fenders wins. Protecting our gel coats from those rough lock walls is really important!


But fenders are expensive.  The long cylindrical fenders are $80-$100 each, and the larger ball fenders which are better for the rough lock walls are even more expensive.  Bob bought a couple of those in a consignment shop before we left home, but it’s better to have them on both sides of the boat, not just one, as you can’t be certain on entering a lock which wall you’ll be able to tie to.  So today we went to Wal-Mart and bought two exercise balls and two laundry bags. Combined cost $30, they ain’t pretty, and they may not last all that long, but you can’t beat the cost!


Today we did the last two locks on the eastern segment of the Erie Canal.  We turn north tomorrow and go up the Oswego Canal, with eight more locks, to the southern shore of Lake Ontario. These last two locks take you down, not up, which turned out to be easier to manage. At the peak height on the Erie Canal, we were more than 400 feet above the Hudson River level, all achieved through locking.


At the end of the eastern Erie Canal, or summit, we entered Lake Oneida, which is 22 miles across: the first big water we’ve seen in a couple of weeks.


We’re now in Brewerton, NY, at the southern end of the Oswego Canal.  We arrived about noon and pulled into Ess-Kay Marina where we filled up with fuel and are getting an oil change and replacing all the fuel filters.  We want to get  this done before we enter Canada in a couple of days to avoid the higher fuel and oil prices there.

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