Ships Log Erie Canal: Brockport September 8-12, 2005

We left Middleport early on the 8th. It was cloudy and the weather reports called for rain in the afternoon. We thought we could beat the rain to Brockport, we couldn't. Oh well.

Around 2:00 PM in the afternoon we arrived in Brockton. The community had recently built a "Welcome Center" for the boaters on the Canal with laundry and showers to entice people to stop at their town. We were merrily greeted by one of the several volunteers, "The Professor". He taught Poly Sci at SUNY @ Brockton for many years and he was very knowledgeable about the community.

The next day we bumped into the former Mayor Jo Matela who believes that she was voted out of office because of the "Welcome Center" that became a major campaign issue. Evidently, the same members of the community don't support boaters.

The town is great. They have a wonderful bookstore called Lift Bridge Books, Java Junction, a coffee shop with WiFi, Bitter Sweet, a boutique clothing store and Mythos, a lovely Greek Restaurant. The real reason we stopped in Brockton was for the movie theater named the Strand. They had four screens. We had a lot of movies to catch up on.

Erie Canal: Fairport With clear skies, we reluctantly headed out of Brockport to Fairport. The bridge tender at Brockport mentioned as were we leaving that we should stay center channel when get to Rochester because the Genesee River dumps a lot of silt where the Canal Crosses the River and we were warned that it could be a problem for our vessel at 6 foot 3 inches draft. As we made our way down the Canal, at first the water was clean, with lots of fish and birds, and people swimming and fishing. Then, as we got close to Rochester, all that changed. Rochester is the home of Kodak, Dow Corning, and numerous refineries and other toxic industries. Downstream from the city, the water gives off a stench, and there are no fish and no birds. There are expressway ramps where the banks of the canal used to be.

Then, at the Genesee River crossing, Mike aimed for the center channel and accelerated to hull speed and had both of us brace ourselves, and just went for it. Charging ahead, we felt a thump and we lifted 6 inches and almost came to a stop. It is a good thing we did not have masts on board. Then, in an instant, the momentum and thrust from our Perkins engine pulled us through.

Further down, the canal widened and wetlands flourished on both banks. Wetlands help to clean the water and as we got closer to Pittsford, home of the Ryder Cup, the water became cleaner again. We tried to dock at the town dock but it was silted there as well. So, off we went to Fairport. We pulled up to the Town wall and walked about 10 feet and went to the Lift Bridge Café - the Seafood Bisque was heavenly and the sandwiches were pretty good. Then we went off to do some exploring. The Main Street lift bridge, built in 1912 is the only lift bridge in the world built on an incline. Just off Main, stands the Green Lantern Inn, built in 1876. We found a statute of "Sal" the mule in the Erie Canal Song. The Village was an active canal port, but developed into a booming industrial town with companies like the De Land Chemical Company, which produced baking soda, and the Fairport Vinegar Works, which developed pectin, and Cobb Preserving, which became American Can. None of those companies survived here today.

That evening, we went to the Fairport Village Coffee House and Wine Bar to listen to the Maggie Mullens Jazz Quartet. They were very good and the guitarist was excellent!

Just before dawn, Mike looked out the side porthole. Even though he was foggy headed, he could tell that something was wrong - he was looking not across the canal, but down it's length!

WHOOOOA!!! During the night, someone had cast us adrift. Mike dashed to the deck, found that the power cord was still attached and pulled us back to the bank. Another boater had seen our predicament and was rushing to our aide. He said that this had happened to him three times before he got smart and started chaining his boat to the dock. We chained Raven to the dock immediately and later noticed that many boats were also chained. As the ex-Mayor had learned, it seems that there is a variety of feeling toward boaters among the Canal residents.

Lighthouse photos through out our site are of ones we passed and relied on for safe navigation.