Today I went to the C&O Canal to photograph some snails. It turned out that it was the inauguration day of the new canal boat. The previous boat had a fun name: The Canal Clipper. They gave the new boat a boring name, Charles something. Whatever...
In the first photo you see the boat going into the Lock 20 in front of the Great Falls Tavern Visitor Center. Once the boat is in, the guy with the hat closes the gate.
As you can see, the boat fits into the lock tightly. Now they are waiting for the lock to fill with water. Those things that are sticking out from under the awning are not exhaust pipes; this being a special day, there was a band sitting in front of the boat. They didn't play much, though.
This is the other end of the lock. It is almost fully filled and the boat has risen.
Finally, the front gate is open and the couple of mules on the towpath on the right have started to pull the boat. You would think that 2 mules would have a hard time pulling a rather big boat loaded with fat people, but they are pretty good at it.
Once the boat is out of the lock, the actual trip in the canal is rather short (the boat doesn't go thru any other lock). Today's trip seemed especially short; I think they only went out for about 200 m before turning back.
But it is fun to watch the entire operation. Put it on your list of things to do the next time you are in the area.
(I'll post the snail photos on Monday.)