June 6 – 7 Erie Canal Lock 11 in Amsterdam to Sylvan Beach

June 6 Erie Canal Lock 11 in Amsterdam to Lock 18 in Jacksonburg

It rained all night but we woke up to a nice sunny day. We shoved off the wall and headed out. I’m not sure if I mentioned it before or not, but please excuse some of the photos of the Lock placards and their info. It is very hard to get them sometimes, depending on where they are located at the top. After the lock doors open and I let the ropes go, I have to remove my gloves and try to catch it as we exit. But I post them anyway so you can see the height of the lift. Photos of the day’s sightings along the Mohawk River and the canal are captioned below:

Lock 12, Tribes Hill

Canal Builder sign at Lock 12

At the end of Lock 12, we had to pull over because our engine was overheating. Our raw water intake was full of debris. We had the same issue coming back in 2015. The water is so full of debris possibly from the spring run-off.

Beautiful, warm day and gorgeous scenery on the Mohawk River

Lock 13, Randall

A Welcome Center and rest stop in Randall brings back memories of the Welcome Center in the Dismal Swamp 🙂

Lots of truckers taking a break there

Canajoharie, where we spent a couple of days on the dock at Riverfront Park

Lock 14, Canajoharie

Lock 15, Fort Plain


Lock 16, Mindenville

And shortly after, another Guard Gate

About an hour later, we came to the city of Little Falls

Lock 17 is here and it is the highest vertical lift on the Erie Canal System at 40.5 feet. It has one huge door instead of two and it is lifted vertically. So yes, we got wet.

That is a long, long way up

The door slowly going down

And once it was all the way down, the lockmaster opened it back up to wait for another boat that had radioed for a lock through. We found out after we got to the top why he waited. One of their intake valves was broken so the chamber filled very slowly. It took us 30 minutes to get to the top! Although I must say, when we got lifted in the lock on our way back in 2015, the lockmaster at that time, filled the chamber very fast and we had a hard time controlling the boat. We kept being pinned against the wall. Not a great feeling!

Lock 17, Little Falls

As we exited, there were a lot of rock walls. Rock climbers were there when we went through last fall

Little Ducklings

My, we are way up high

Another Guard Gate

Lock 18, Jacksonburg

We tied on to the wall after exiting the lock at 16:45 and had travelled 40.3 nm.

June 7 Lock 18 in Jacksonburg to Sylvan Beach

It was a bit foggy when we pulled the lines from the wall and headed out at 06:00. About a half hour later, we came to the Guard Gates in Herkimer.

Just around the bend is a long wall where you can tie up your boat up for the night or to go to the restaurant there. We tied to that wall when we came through in 2015. The Erie Canal cruise boat ties up there too.

The fog lifted and it was warm and pleasant as we meandered along the Mohawk River and through the canals. Some of our highlights of the day are captioned below:

Pretty phlox along the canal

A couple of work boats tied up along the wall; the second one had a placard saying Gov. Roosevelt 1928! And the man walking in the first photo got on the boat to start his work for the day

So scenic

Lock 19, Schuyler

Lock 19 is where Ken and Frances brought my lens cap to me last fall after their visit, that I had left in their car the night before. I realized when we got back to the boat I had taken it off to take a photo but didn’t want to call them. The only reason they noticed it was because that morning when they went to leave the hotel parking lot, they had a flat tire and had to get their spare out of the trunk and moved some things to the back seat. Then they had to take the tire to be repaired so called us and said they would meet us at Lock 19. That turned out well. Sorry about the flat guys, but it was lucky for me. 🙂

Dredging going on right after exiting the lock

And we could see on the hill where the silt from the dredger goes

A nice little restaurant along the canal with a wall to tie up to

A pretty little waterfall

The sign for for the city of Utica on top of a tower for all to see

Lock 20, Marcy

There is a nice picnic area there too

Just past the lock is a floating dock where we tied up last fall. Ken and Frances came from Ottawa and met us there. She brought lunch and then they took us to Walmart for groceries. Later they treated us to a yummy supper at a restaurant in Utica. Great memories!

Another dredger in the canal

An hour later, another Guard Gate

You can see the canal is straight down as we enter through the Guard Gate. It would stay straight for the next 10 miles

A half hour later, another Guard Gate. We had signed up for email alerts and got one telling mariners to use caution at this one as the south side was not all the way up.

Then we came to Rome. It is known as the Copper City

There is a lovely waterfront

As we came to Lock 21, we realize that we were at the summit! At this lock we would start going down instead of up.

Lock 21, New London

It seemed strange seeing the top of the lock and the buildings going in. We were used to seeing the high walls going into the chamber and the buildings at the top after being raised.

And just a short distance to the next lock, also in New London.

Lock 22, New London

They yacht club in Sylvan Beach

The long wall along the canal

We tied off on the canal wall at 13:45 and travelled 40.8 nm. It was a very hot day; 30C/86F. We stayed a couple of nights on the wall here last fall. It is a nice little village, that at one time was booming in the summers with their amusement park. A couple of the rides were actually going around later in the evening. (If you’d like to see more photos of Sylvan Beach, you can revisit our September 12-13 blog post.) We went for a walk later in the day and took a few photos. We ate supper at Eddie’s where we ate last fall and loved it. The restaurant opened in 1934 and is a busy spot.

We sat on a bench at the canal and enjoyed the warm air and the sights and sounds of a beach town. The manager at the restaurant was telling us that it was their first warm weekend without rain. And that was very evident with all the boats and sea-doos heading out to Oneida Lake. There were also lots of motorcycles out cruising around. Bring on summer! 🙂 We watched some TV and turned in early. It sure had been a long day.

6 thoughts on “June 6 – 7 Erie Canal Lock 11 in Amsterdam to Sylvan Beach

    1. It has been quite a journey, Pat. And you would love Eddie’s. The older restaurants are sometimes the best (you can’t fix what’s not broken). haha Everything on the menu sounded delicious and watching the food trays go by, made you wonder if you ordered the right thing. lol Their homemade pies are so yummy but we were full with our entrée, which included clam chowder and rolls!


    1. Yes, Little Falls is lovely and Rome, I’m sure is very nice. Their waterfront is beautiful. If we had a little more time, we could have spent a day there too. I bet you enjoyed Sylvan Beach too. We were just so excited when the canals finally opened, that we headed for home. 🙂


    1. Yes, the summit on the Erie Canal is between Locks 20 and 21. The summit level drains west toward Lake Ontario and east toward the Hudson River. The little newspaper and handouts they gave us in Waterford at the Welcome Center have come in handy and were much appreciated. We were raised 169 feet in the first 5 locks. Then just kept going up until we got to Lock 21 when we started going down. The Erie Canal rises through a series of locks in the Mohawk Valley to an elevation of 420 feet above sea level . Then we kept descending through the Oswego Canal to Lake Ontario. The canals and locks are truly an engineering marvel!


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