5. The Delivery – Part 3 Clyde to Sylvan Beach

The final leg of the first voyage took two more days. The first was a run from Clyde to Baldwinsville. It was a very pleasant day of locks and sunshine. After passing the junction with the Cayuga Seneca canal, we entered familiar waters for the first time this trip. We’d all traveled this part of the canal before, but never together.

New York State, The Improved Canal System — from: The Canal System of New York State / Charles L. Cadle — Re-issued and revised (Albany : J.B. Lyon Co., printers, 1921)

The feeling of familiarity must have got the better of me, because at one point, where the river forks, I took the wrong fork. Everything looked normal enough, until it didn’t. The next bend looked narrower than it should have, and something just felt weird. I slowed down to clutch ahead, and consulted the chart. It was close to what was supposed to be there, but not quite a perfect match. I checked the depth sounder and saw that there was very little water under me. I stopped the engine, and broke out the plotter on my phone. I hadn’t checked it in a while. It was around then that we heard something that got our attention.

There was a woman a couple hundred yards away, waving her arms and shouting at us from her back yard. She was trying to warn us that we were going the wrong way.


Well, thankfully we didn’t run aground, and I quickly realized where I’d missed my turn. We spun around and retraced our steps to deeper water.

Feeling more than a little stupid, I decided to pay more attention to where I was, even though ‘I knew where I was.’

The rest of the trip to Baldwinsville was smooth and pleasant. We tied up at the free wall, and my sister and brother in law came down to visit us. It was their first time seeing the boat, so we did the tour, and went out for some dinner in B’ville. It was a lovely night.

The last day of the trip for Mom and Marc dawned, and we set off east for Sylvan Beach. We stopped at Winter Harbor and took some diesel, and a recurring problem showed itself. For whatever reason, my diesel fuel fills extremely slowly. It constantly gurgles up. It’s like the vents are blocked, but as far as I can tell, they’re not. The result is that fuel stops are painfully slow and embarassingly messy.

Oneida Lake was a bit splashy. The worst seas we’ve encountered so far, with 2-3 foot chop, which Sylphide shouldered like the champ she is. We made it into Sylvan Beach and tied up at the free wall.

Mom and Marc went home to familiar plumbing, and I went home to get some more junk.

It was a wonderful trip, and I’m so happy that I got to share it with family. My parents gifted me with years of boating when I was a kid, which make up some of my fondest childhood memories. It felt good to be able to return the favor, at least a little bit.

A very successful journey.

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