|Dan Wiles in Baldwinsville with his Plaque|
The Final Words on the Emita II from Captain Dan Wiles:
I did not want to deliver the Emita to Michigan City. Now that the job is done, I am really glad I did. In hindsight, shepherding the boat that had been such a focus of my life for so long to her new home turned out to be more of a privilege than a chore and gave healthy closure to the only career I have ever known. I had time to reflect on the endless parade of “characters” that had walked across her gangplank. I considered the milestones in my life that were shared with my “boat family” and the all too many moments I missed with my real family at home.
My brother, sisters, father and mother all contributed so much to the reputation and character of this storied vessel and of course the hundreds of crew members over the years who all left their mark whether they know it or not. Lisa Wiles, Ben Horne, Duane Morton and Steve Wunder teamed up to make this last move with us to Indiana and the Emita paid us back with an amazing 1200 miles of flawless mechanical brilliance! She continues to be a remarkable boat and her future looks pretty bright to me. I would be lying if I said I won’t miss her. I had a feeling that saying good-bye would be difficult and I was right. But I’d also be lying if I said I wasn’t looking forward to doing something new and different this summer.
To sum up the past 44 years I need to say just one thing…Thank You! Thank you Emita for keeping me and all who have traveled with you safe. Thank you for the living you have provided me and my family. Thank you for paving the way by defining canal tourism and education and recreation. And lastly, thank you for all the friendships and relationships that have enriched my life over the years. My Emita II relationships are very different from my land-side relationships. Must be that whole “shared experience” thing!
~Captain Dan Wiles
P.S. Because of his knowledge and life-long commitment to the New York Canal System, Dan was recently elected President of the Canal Society of New York. You can follow him and support the Canal System he loves by becoming a "friend" of the Canal Society of New York on Facebook. And be sure to visit the Emita II when you are in Michigan City!