Ship’s Log, Schooner Lois McClure, Baldwinsville, NY

Drew Stierhoff

Lock 24 at night

After a long day of interpreting in Rome, the crew woke up bright and early for a long transit day. With weather forecasts looking grim for the next day, we decided to make the run from Rome and try to cross Oneida Lake in one trip. We moved Churchill up to tow ahead on a long hawser rather than her usual spot on the hip of Lois. This way the potentially choppy waters on Oneida Lake wouldn’t damage the boats as they bang together. We then moved our gray inflatable, Oocher, to tow behind Lois, so the fleet was in a line to cross the lake. Although it was a long day, we were glad we did the trek when we had high winds and buckets of rain dropped down on us the next day on our way from Brewerton to Baldwinsville the next day. With soaked clothes, the crew persevered through the rain to make it safe and sound to Baldwinsville.

Churchill towing ahead of the Lois McClure on Oneida Lake
Trees headed for Montezuma Heritage Park

In Baldwinsville, the crew had a much needed off day to recover after 3 long days in a row. That night we ordered some pizza to say goodbye to our first mate Isaac, who would be leaving us the following morning. After a short break he’ll be heading back for his final year at Maine Maritime Academy. Isaac started crewing as a volunteer while still in high school. It’s wonderful to have him return with new maritime knowledge and skills. Some people are just natural mariners, and Isaac is one of them. He will be sorely missed, as he is a hard worker, natural leader and carries a positive attitude no matter what’s afoot. Thanks for your service Isaac.

It was a good thing we weren’t travelling, since that day they closed the canals due to high water levels and currents on the Seneca River. The persistent rain on already saturated watersheds was having its effect. The closing did leave us in a bit of a predicament, as we were supposed to be open in Weedsport the next day. We had made special arrangements with Cheryl Longyear of the Montezuma Historical Society  who pulled together a special group from Chittenango Landing Boat Museum and the Camillus Erie Canal Museum to come by and check out the boat. With some last minute phone calls Cheryl was able to get the word out that the boat would be open in Baldwinsville instead of Weedsport, and an enthusiastic group of canal historians were still able to come down and check things out and speak with Art. Thanks to everyone who made the unexpected trip to Baldwinsville to check out the boat!

Heavy currents on Seneca River

We remained stuck in Baldwinsville for the next two days, putting us slightly behind schedule. Baldwinsville was a good place to be stuck, as there was a diner, library, showers, and plenty of pubs within walking distance. We also opened up the boat from 3-6 every day to give the Baldwinsville community plenty of opportunities to check out the boat. The Canal Corp crew at Lock 24 made us feel right at home.

Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge

Luckily this gave the crew plenty of time to rest before our long days ahead, where we would need to make up time on our schedule. The fast currents of the Seneca River slowed the boat down to a painful 3-4 knots from our usual 5-6. We spent the night docked below lock 25 in the Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge. Plenty of mosquitos came by that night to tour the boat. The crew had to make sure their mosquito nets were tucked in, or else they would be eaten alive! We left the following morning for Lyons. We pushed back our stop in Lyon’s by a day, and opened for an afternoon whistle stop.