It has taken us a week to transit both the Oswego and Erie canals, starting in Oswego Canal Lock 08 in Oswego, NY and ending with the Erie Canal Lock 02 in Waterford, NY (check out our route here). Our pod of three boats have made forward progress every day, getting up early and throwing off dock lines just after the sun comes up. Although we weren’t always able to travel as a pod of three (boat issues were usually the culprit), we made sure to check in with each other via text or phone calls. We are looking after each other on the water, fixing boat issues once docked, sharing info and advice, discussing options of where to go and when to go. We have an easy group that works really well together and all of this is so much easier being part of a three-boat pod. It has been a joy.
As we were preparing for our journey, we received lots of great advice from friends and family. One of the ones that has resonated the most then and even more so now came from a Trident Yacht Club member. It was “It is a big journey but just remember that it is just a series of day trips”. Oh my gosh – Yes! They were comforting words to hear before we set off, making what laid before us appear far more familiar. I mean, we are very used to moving the boat from one place to another. This journey is just a bunch of those strung together 😊.
Now that we have headed out and have finished our first week, those words “just a series of day trips” have taken on a whole new meaning. Moving the boat every day is tiring - working through the locks (not always easy!), avoiding shoals and deadheads, fixing boat issues, planning, and lots of re-planning, and just being at the helm for 7 or 8 hours at a time. Every day. Yes, very tiring. But we are also gaining new skills and confidence as we move along and that is making each day that much easier than the day before. I mean, if you had told me that I would be responsible to step off Wild Horses and quickly tie her three dock lines (bow, mid-ship, stern) to a single bollard by myself while being pushed off the rough dock wall by wind and current, I would have said you were crazy. Yet, here we are. And it isn’t even a thing. Mike echoes this sediment. This morning he docked Wild Horses at the free dock in Waterford, NY. This wasn’t just a swing into the dock and throw the keys to the valet situation. No, the docks were immediately after we exited Lock 02 and they were crazy full. The only space available was rafting up to a barge or taking the space being vacated by a catamaran. The maneuver Mike needed to get Wild Horses into the catamaran space was a little like parallel parking a car...on ice...with bald tires. But he did it smoothly and then immediately got to work helping Sensai raft up (attach alongside) to us. With Brise rafting up to the Barge, we were set for our night’s accommodation. Certainly, all six of us are learning as we go and learning a lot. It is extremely rewarding. I am not sure I have said “I am so happy” so many times in my life. 😊
We have a bit of weather to work through over the next few days but soon we will be on the Hudson River, facing tides and current for the first time ever. Very shortly after that, we will be in the Catskills to have our mast re-stepped and Wild Horses will, once again, be a sailboat.
Victoria is a hiker, dog-lover, blog writer and planner extraordinaire. Oh, yeah and she is kind of fond of living on a boat.