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Captain Log ID: 1042
Title: Erie and Oswego Canals to Lake Ontario
Boat Name(Id): BlueJacket ( 58)
Sailor Name(Id): Geoff Schultz ( 306)
Geo Region: NY
Date of Occurance: 2008-07-01
Latitude: N 43º   27.72'
Longitude: W 76º   30.6'
Sender (if email-in): wcz5101@NO_SPAM
Earlier log from "BlueJacket":  1033
Newer log from "BlueJacket":  1035
        Page visited 593 times since created         Edit This Log

Ahoy from the shores of Lake Ontario!

I'm very happy to report that we've made another significant milestone. We've made it through the Erie and Oswego canals and we're now on the shores of Lake Ontario in Oswego, NY. I've dreamed of getting BlueJacket to the Great Lakes, and we've finally done it. Yeah! Granted we won't spend a lot of time here, but it's still pretty cool.

LockI've completed a video of the trip from Ilian, NY to Lake Ontario. You can view it at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pp5hMuioTCY. You can also find a still photo album at http://www.geoffschultz.org/2008_Sailing/Photos/.

When I last reported we were in Ilian, NY, which is in the eastern section of Erie Canal system and were up-locking. Eventually we reached lock 20 in New London, NY, which is 420' above sea level, and then began working our way back down. I must admit that the section from Ilian to Lake Oneida is very boring. It's pretty much straight, man-made canals which are lined with trees. To make matter worse, we had heavy rains the night before which caused a lot of logs to flush into the canal system. As a result you have to be constantly vigil as running into a big log wouldn't be good. Sometimes they've not visible until you're right on top of them, so on more than one occasion we made rapid course corrections.

I must say that down-locking is much easier than up-locking as the water simply drains out and there's little of the turbulence associated with the rush of the incoming water when up-locking. But by the time that we started down-locking, we definitely had our locking routine down. I'm still very happy that we shipped the mast. When up-locking you can really get pushed around and having a very expensive mast sticking 11' past the bow and the stern of the boat would simply be asking for trouble. It was also very nice having the deck be free of a cradle when you're running up and down it on a constant basis.

Beautiful AreaWe spent Tuesday night at a free dock in Sylvan Beach, NY, which is on the shores of Oneida Lake. This is a very popular tourist destination as they've got an amusement park and lots of associated ticky-tacky restaurants and shops. I didn't realize that we would become part of the side show as it seemed that everyone who walked by would want to talk. They would typically ask one or more of the following: (1) Where's your mast? or (2) Is that a sailboat? After a while we were tempted to put up a sign saying that the mast had been trucked to Oswego. But hey, it was a free dock and we weren't there on a weekend...

Lake Oneida is about 22 mile long and other than having to dodge lots of fishing boats, it was pretty uneventful. You exit the lake in Brewerton, which is a delightful town. Unlike the boring, straight canals of the day before, we were treated to beautiful scenery and houses along the canal. We also had a wonderfully crisp summer day, so that also helped, but I can't tell you how many times we commented on how pretty it was. 160 miles and 23 locks from the start of the Erie Canal we reached the junction of the Erie Canal and the Oswego Canal. We made our turn on turn down the Oswego canal headed towards Lake Ontario.

OswegoWe arrived in Oswego, NY, which is on the shores of Lake Ontario, on Tuesday afternoon. Our mast and associated parts were waiting for us, so we quickly set about getting them ready to be stepped onto BlueJacket. Yesterday all of the parts were mated and we now are a sailboat again! It was a long day, as the mast didn't get fully in until 1 PM and then I had a ton of re-rigging to do. Lots of lines had to be run, sails installed, wires reconnected, etc, etc. We didn't finish until 9 PM and nerves were a bit frayed by then.

From here we'll head out into Lake Ontario and we'll clear into Canada in Kingston, Ontario and the surrounding Thousand Island area. This should be a beautiful section of the trip and we're really looking forward to it.

-- Geoff & Sue