Today was not a good day, at least not a good sailing day. I have no complaint with the beautiful sunny day, nor the temperature which was a typical Sydney winter’s day of 16C. My discomfort came from the wind – swirling, blustery, never-ending gusts.
On the Erie Canal the wind posed no problem. BUT, once we turned northward on the Oswego Canal it was another story. We needed to descend the Oswego River via six locks – and these locks were substantial heights to be locked-down, ranging from 18 to 24 feet.
At each lock we were blown sideways to starboard. As we do not have thrusters, Mark had one shot at getting me (on the bow) to the overhanging line to snag and hold on for dear life. Mark then cut the engine and raced for the stern overhanging line. With the effect of the wind, sometimes this was not pretty!
Once we were secured fore and aft, the lock master lowered the level of the water. At this stage, Bushranger started a little jig of bow / stern tip. Mark and I pushed off the lock walls as best we could to save our fenders from becoming dosed in slime and crud, as well as saving our wooden handrails from damage. All the time, we clutched the overhanging lines, trying to keep some sort of control to the washing machine motion. The lines were wet, slimy and slippery even while wearing gloves. In two locks, Mark and I were almost overcome with the force of the wind and Bushranger’s momentum, needing to secure the line around a cleat whilst trying to pay out lengths of line slowly and judiciously. Thank goodness we did not share any of the locks with other boats.
I do not wish to repeat today’s sailing conditions. I am pleased we survived the day intact, only a little muscle sore. We now reside in the lovely town of Oswego. One more lock and we will be on Lake Ontario. Tonight, we reside gently bobbing alongside the town wall, safe between the last two locks.
The day was not all bad. After tying up, we went exploring on foot. We visited Fort Ontario, erected in 1755, which has seen many battles with the French, Indians and British. It was used in the Revolutionary War, War of 1812, American Civil War, and during WW1 and WW11, where it was used as a Jewish refugee camp. We also visited a barracks which has been converted into the Safe Haven Museum showcasing the Jewish refugees and their life at Fort Oswego.
The sun has set. The wind has dropped.
Such is Life!