Saturday, July 26, 2014

Lock, Stock and Barrel

With our mast down along the top of the boat (making our 35 ft boat into a 53 ft jousting boat), we went through our first lock in Troy, NY. A lock, for those of you, who like I was, had never had the "lock experience", a lock, used in rivers and canals, is used to lower or raise water levels. We motor into a lock, grab a line or sometimes use our own to hold the boat against the wall of the lock, they close the doors and we either go up or down, depending on the water level on the other side of the lock. It's pretty easy, the hardest part is making sure the 10 ft of mast sticking off the front of the boat doesn't hit the wall (which I can't say has never happened...). We began our way through the 12 Champlain Canal locks (actually there's only 11-they never made lock 10, but didn't feel like renumbering it!).

We made it through locks 1-7 before they closed for the day, and tied up to a free dock in the very, very small town of Fort Edward, and had a quiet dinner on board, until (after seeing some of the shady characters in town) thought we were under attack, but turns out it was just a random slew of very loud, very close fireworks. Do these people know how to have fun or what?!

Going into the locks
Going doowwnnn

One of the very "colorful" yards in Ft Edward
We had these on the BBQ! ha!
Really? You needed a personalized license plate? I think we know who you are
Just mowing the lawn!
Docked in Ft Edward
We finished the Champlain locks the next day and made our way to Essex, a countryside town in New York where Johns cousins Carole and Laura live. It's also where he would come every summer and learnt to sail. We anchored right in front of his families boathouse and beside his cousin Laura's sailboat Laughing Gull. Essex is so beautiful, surrounded by the mountainous Adirondack's, and their property, with it's garden and so much land and trees, reminds me of something out of a Jane Austen novel, only with a pool. 

Loving the lilies

We were fortunate to go out for 2 sails on the Champlain River on Laughing Gull, which is a 19ft marina that uses tiller steering. It was especially nice since Topanga is currently sail-less, before carrying on.

We said our goodbyes to New York as we crossed the border. The customs on the water were much easier than in the airport. They asked us maybe 2 questions before sending us on our way, not even asking for Dexter's papers or even stamping our passports!

We then made it through 9 locks in the Chambly Canal all in 1 day, almost leaving without Dexter as he leaped off the boat to sniff a cute dogs butt. Luckily the Lockmaster (yes, that's what they're called), brought him back. These locks are all hand wound, and done the same way since 1843, which is cool, but it does take a bit longer!

Our last lock was the St. Ours lock, which was the easiest, but also most expensive (did I mention we have to pay to go through them?). For this one lock, it was $30, meanwhile for the 12 Champlain locks, it's only $15! I'm already missing the lower prices of the US! Now, only a couple more days until we're back home!

Beautiful Adirondack's
Dexter loves his winch

Like me, Topanga also has a passion for fashion


  1. Great pics! Of course the shots of Dex are always my favorite ;) Congrats on almost being home!

  2. Most locks around the house nowadays utilize a chamber locking instrument, which works by utilizing small metal sticks that fit inside thwhich lock opens everything
    e barrel to keep it from turning.