From Ilion to Oneida Lake

Leaving Ilion on a rainy Sunday morning.

Since the rain doesn’t stop we agreed, “let’s keep going”. It would have been so easy to succumb to the tempest and stay in bed, drink coffee, watch the Scottish Open (on the iPad) and just be “ok” on the wall in Ilion, NY, but “nah”. We can be persistent too. We departed at 8:45 and completed this section of the Erie, which is the one in the same with the Mohawk River. This entailed high water, lots of logs and missing or misplaced markers. Conversely, it meant a peaceful steady rain on the boat, a beautiful green landscape, a solitary river to ourselves, encountering the heartiest of lock keepers, and being visited and entertained by beautiful flocks of geese and by eagles, sandpipers and herons. At the first lock of the day, #19, we noticed upon approach that a giant log, actually a fallen tree, had wedged itself across the entrance and was not moving. I radioed the lock keeper and we talked about our options and he said in the most beautiful accent, “I’m going to go try to move it”. Keep in mind it was huge, stuck at least 30 feet down an embankment from him, oh yeah, and raining. We watched and wondered and marveled at his strength with a very long pole that had a spear on the end of it. We cheered him when he successfully held it off for us. Thank you, Demitrie from Belarus, our first hero of the day. Again, wish I had a picture, but you will need to imagine this scene. We were too busy being present in the moment to remember to capture a physical image.

Right around here in our travels, the Mohawk River diverges from the human-made canal, and the debris from the heavy rains became less frequent and we could make up some time with a few extraordinary exceptions where the dams control the canal levels were flowing heavy into the canal and creating log jams. Again, I wish I had pictures dear reader because you would not believe your eyes. But, it was all hands on the wheel with David on the deck with a boat pole and a pointer arm through the canal fields full of logs and brush. We made our way through locks 19, 20, 21 and 22, but not without a few more events that were memorable. Especially at lock#19 where ONLY ONE lock door would open. Mind you, IRENE is 11.5 feet wide and the doors are just a bit more, there’s wind, current, and debris. The lock keeper cheered and said, “you made that look easy”. The walls are tall, the chambers are kind of ominous and we are human so our hearts beat a little faster for a minute.

When one lock door closes you pray to Spirit that at least one other door opens 😉
Going down 26 feet~~~
Making waves.

The last section of the human-made canal between Utica, Rome and Sylvan Beach is straight, flat, green and narrow. You’ve been raised up hundreds of feet and at the last two locks, you are lowered to the level of Oneida Lake. It’s a funny feeling to make it to this point because you’re elated at the same time that you wonder, “Now what”? Once there we miraculously found a space on the free marina wall. Of course, it was Pirate Carnival Weekend complete with rides, fried dough, Harley’s, young couples, lots of traffic and more. As Leda said once, “American Pirates are like Yarrr, give me a hot dog…” LOL It was a scene until late into the night. Not being pirates, we grabbed a pizza and turned in early to listen to the festivities, slept like babies and rose with the sun.

We wanted to run ahead of the rain and cross Oneida Lake to Brewerton, NY (30 miles) to stop at the Brewerton Marina to address a problem with our generator shutting down unexpectedly. It was a glorious morning. A peek at the sun before we hit fog followed by glorious sunshine, fishing boats, waves on clean, waving, open water (hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah).

This is us outrunning the rain at Sylvan Beach. Sayonara!
Heading west across the Oneida Lake.
Stopping to watch a fisherman reel in a walleye.

We made it to Brewerton in bright sunlight and were greeted at the dock by a few folks we had no idea we would come to know quite well. Why? Because the little generator issue? Well, it’s still a big issue. Day two of “trouble shooting”. New impeller, new switch, new sensor, every part inspected and cleaned, and it’s not the control panel, but wait, almost no water pressure….I am not making this up. We are here for a whiiiiillllllleeeeee. OH, also a moot point as the locks ahead are all closed due to rain in the Mid-West, the Oswego Canal is closed and the guard locks are down in Rochester due to high water. In true Noah style, as I type this, we are having an enormous hail storm (the first David has truly experienced in his life). The boats are rocking, lightening is cracking and thunder is real loud. I think this was foreshadowed last night when the setting sun was bright red from the wild fires farther out west. This earth of ours is going through some big changes and we are all ascending at our own pace. Blessings and prayers my friends.

May the road rise up to meet you. May the wind always be at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face; the rains fall soft upon your fields and until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of His hand.

6 thoughts on “From Ilion to Oneida Lake

  1. kathyyost01

    Great post!  Your constitution must be in over drive!  How far have you gone about 1/3 of the way.  When you were talking about this adventure I was beyond naive about how arduous it was going to be.   I am in awe of the two of you your courage, determination, skills and kind souls have guided you and supported you.  I am praying for a break in the weather for us all but it looks like more rain in all our futures! Keep those post coming we look forward to them.  Be brave my sweet sister you were made for this!♥️♥️

    Sent from Yahoo Mail for iPad

  2. Douglas

    Great post! Damn mechanical generator. Perhaps a new one is in order? We’ve had too much rain…. drought be damned, enough!! Hopefully, the locks will open up and you will be on your way to new adventures. DDD

  3. Wendy McGrath

    Holy moly! What an adventure! Single door locks! Logs! Pirates! (you were wise not to get involved with the hot dog-eating ones 😉 Foulest of weather! And mechanical troubles galore, oh my! It is a real seafarer’s tale! You are so brave and huge hearted, and so hugely inspiring!!! Sending you oceans of love today and always. XOXOXOXO


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