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Navigating the Charles River Locks

Navigating the Charles River Locks

When you approach from the water...all you see is darkness and some red lights. - photo by Sonia Kiss

Never one to shy away from a challenge. (that’s a lie by the way). I decided that my first solo journey had to be one that would put me to the test. So, not only did I attempt to navigate the Charles River Locks for the very first time…without having ever been thru though….I decided to do them under the cover of darkness.

If you’ve never gone thru the locks at night. Trust me, it’s a trip. As you approach the locks all you see is a lineup of red lights. Where do you go? which one am I supposed to enter into? All of the uncertainty is heightened by the site of the “Harbor Police Headquarters” staring at you as you approach. I couldn’t help but think. God, i hope they don’t come out to me and discover that I’m Capt’n Fraud.

But, like many things in life, things often work best when you just throw caution to the wind and jump in with both feet.

After a few horn blasts and one “I see you, I’m coming” response on the PA system, The giant concrete & steel locks doors were opened….and I eased inside. I was let The locks themselves are really interesting.  As soon as you enter, the door behing you closes. You’re sitting in a concrete tunnel of vulnerability. I couldn’t help but have flashbacks to the trash compactor in Star Wars – A New Hope. And with no C3P0 to call, I found myself quickly planning my escape.

Passing the lock was not the only hoop I had to jump through to reach the Charles. After the locks, I had to navigate the low hanging Commuter Rail bridge by pulling my boat slowing thru using nothing by my hands and the steel girders as leverage.

After all was said and done. Reaching the Charles was worth it. Simply Gorgeous. I’ve always said the best view of Boston was from Memorial Drive in Cambridge.  But being smack dab in the middle of both Boston and Cambridge surpassed it. And for the record. The best view of Boston is from right in the harbor at night. (Where I later unsuccessfully anchored. I’m talking really unsuccessful. )

All of the photos below were found on   I CAN’T LAY CLAIM TO ANY OF THESE.  Unfortunately, the iPhone stinks at night photos…so I needed to reference these.

And last but not least. I stuck the landing big time when I pulled into my beloved Admiral Hill Marina. It was as soft as a mother’s kiss on her sleeping child.

Sure looks easy to see where to head when it's daylight. For the record. I entered through the lock on the right. - photo by Shyto

The view on the Charles River - photo by Chris Devers

Once evening on the water led me to the Barking Crab. And as you can see....there is never a shortage of spectators to watch my abysmal dockings. - photo by deniseolrich


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