Submitted by: Bob Stopper, Lyons
The Lyons Drydock on the
Erie Canal has been a “din” of activity during recent months. Welding, repairing, painting, refurbishing, and engine noises are all part of the annual routine in anticipation of the canal opening for another season.
One of the vessels ready for the new season is the Tug Seneca. The tug, now piloted by Captain Steven Wunder, was originally constructed in 1932 for the US Navy. It is now used as the “horse” to move canal maintenance equipment, and the “power” is provided by two 220 Cummins diesel engines. The tug is also used in dredging and tree removal operations and as a large scale tanker supplying fuel to remotely located equipment along the canal.
Another type of vessel at the
Lyons drydock is the SPS-54, the “Sea Mule”. The Sea Mule is a motorized scow with a unique motorized crane. The crane is used to pick and set buoys. It is also frequently used to remove debris and large trees from the canal. The Sea Mule is captained by Lora Lyman, assisted by a crew of three.
Just a glance at the pulleys, cables, and crane of the derrick boat DB 2A tells you it is a mean and tough machine. With “Captain Red” behind the controls, the derrick boat lifts and sets stones along the canal, and it can easily lift and remove a full sized tree which might have fallen into the canal from a severe storm or just plain old age. The DB 2A cannot move by itself- it needs a tugboat for power.
When boats are docked in the drydock, they sit on supports called benches. This arrangement allows an inspection literally from top to bottom. The floor of the drydock is truly dry!
Another winter “benchsitter” in the drydock in
Lyons is the Emita II, owned by the Wiles family and operated as part of the Mid-Lakes Navigation Co., Ltd of . The Emita II is a refitted Casco Bay Ferry. This double-decker is 65 feet long, 22 feet wide and can carry 42 passengers. In operation since 1968, the Emita II offers entertainment cruises as well as one, two, and three day cruises on New York Canals. www.midlakesnav.com Skaneateles, NY
In a few days, the above named vessels will leave the
Lyons drydock and become part of the 2012 navigation season. The din of repair and maintenance will now be replaced by the gurgle of the motor, the swishing of moving waters, and the sparkle of newly painted vessels- beautiful sights and sounds of the Erie Canal!