We had another wonderful and busy trip to Seattle, starting out with an impromptu day walking around the Ballard locks with friends – slightly ironic given what we would be spending the next week doing! As usual, every night we had plans to visit with various friends and family. I also spent a day with some work colleagues in downtown!
The week flew by and we were soon returning back to Highwind on the Hudson. After a red-eye flight, we arrived in the morning and then spent the afternoon working on a few projects, including replacing the original VHF antenna and cable.
We then left Shady Harbor and cruised north to Waterford where we tied up on the free wall for the night. This is the furthest north that we had ever been on the Hudson, as it is the point at which you take a left and enter the first lock of the Erie Canal when doing the Loop. From this point forward, everything is new! Since it was the day before Memorial Day, and late-ish on a Sunday night, pretty much everything was closed, so we had dinner together with Russ and Jax on the boat and called it a night.
The next morning, we headed north to enter the Champlain canal. This is a series of 12 locks that bring you from the Hudson to Lake Champlain. Since it was a holiday and neither David nor I had to work, we were aiming to get through as many as possible.
After the first few locks, we knew there would be a low bridge with just over 17′ clearance. We had been asked our height at the first locks and the lock masters upstream had worked to lower the water depth as much as possible. Even so, I hopped out on the balcony to eye our progress. It was going to be close with the FLIR on the front of the roof clearing with mere inches. I told David to slow down. As we kept moving forward, I kept my eye on the radar dome (on the collapsed antenna). I shouted to David – we were not going to make it! He quickly grabbed some tools and with our boat half under the bridge, detached the dome from the antenna and I held it in my arms as he returned to the wheel and moved us forward. We passed under the bridge very slowly with literally 1 inch of clearance!
For the remainder of the day, we proceeded to pass through at least 20 more of these low bridges – some with only 4 or 5 inches of clearance. At this point we had fully detached the radar dome! Russ and Jax very much appreciated that we were in the lead since they were a little shorter than us and knew that if we cleared the bridge, they could pass on by without worry!
The remainder of the day passed without incident and we made it all the way to the wall at the base of the last lock on the canal. Since it was back to work for us, the next day we did a quick lock through as soon as it opened and went only a few more miles north to tie up at the free wall at Whitehall before our day of calls started, but we had made it to Lake Champlain!
For some reason, we never feel particularly rested after a weekend of boating…