26 May 2011

Little Falls to Sylvan Beach: a last day afloat

I would be lying if I claimed that today's arrival is OK with me. These past several days travelling by boat have been such fun and so easy. I appreciate having a room where all our stuff stays; I appreciate being able to retire there when the company gets to be a little much; I appreciate not having to comply strictly to a schedule. And, all that ends first thing in the morning. But, we have today and my task -- and I did choose to accept it -- has been to engage the day. But, to risk a touch of melodrama, I have been aware that I've been doing some things I have liked so much for the last time.

This is the lounge shortly after 7:00AM, featuring the big, popular coffee urn and morning activities, like reading, checking e-mail, the jigsaw puzzle in the left front, the daily newspaper thanks to, Lisa, our early-rising cruise director,

Our departure was leisurely, our travel distance less than 50 miles with four locks to negotiate.  Tal and I enjoyed another walk around the harbor, noting that all the watercraft we saw at nightfall had departed, leaving the dock empty except for the Grande Mariner

At Lock E18 shortly after we left Little Falls the canal parted company with the Mohawk, the river off on our starboard side turning into a meandering, fly-fishing stream beyond that point.  For the only time this trip we shared a lock with another vessel, the occupants looking not quite at ease with the situation.  Once the lift was done, the Irresistable moved out with haste and we didn't see it again.

I know those folks were silently pleading "close gate, quick, close the gate!"

And, I love the looming shadow cast by the bow of the Grande Mariner.

Railroad bridge and doors to Lock E19

The approach to Lock E19 looked ominous, boasting the lowest bridge we would encounter with a clearance today of 21 feet.  We proceeded under with care, the captain noting that all we would need was a train to take to the bridge at that moment, which would lower the bridge as much as an inch.  It was close.  We eased into the lock with a train crossing the bridge behind us.

Today's section of the canal is straight and on the industrial side in some places and remote-looking in others.  We passed viewing stands with waving locals, fishermen (and women) in the shade of bridges, dredging crews.  We encountered lowering clouds and rain, debris in the high water (a water heater being the most unusual item), wildlife.  I only left the deck for lunch and to begin packing.

Approaching Lock E21
At Lock E21 we locked through down rather than up, a mementous moment meaning that we were nearing Sylvan Beach.  It felt sort of odd, the disappearing from view rather than rising into view.  That sad sentiment was hard to shake, but I had help (see below).

Here's Tal doing his best to keep me cheerful! I can't resist that cute face.

So, like it or not, we arrived in Sylvan Beach for the night.  We docked alongside an RV park.  While our appearance was something of a novelty, when the park's residents learned the boat could be there from three days to a week, they were not thrilled, since the Grande Mariner blocks the view of the the water for some 85 feet.   It's hard to fathom that they didn't like it as much as I do!

The RV park residents prefer this to my boat?  Makes a girl wonder ...

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