Chris Mace from the club recently sold his Bayfield 36 and bought an Albin 43 trawler, and was looking for help delivering her from Port Colbourne through the Welland Canal. I had never goine through the canal, and jumped at the opportunity.
We met at the club at 6am on the holiday Monday.
We loaded the truck up with the jack stands and canvas, and Jim drove the truck back to Whitby.
We thought that Chris should name the boat "Parallel Dementia"
We loaded the boat with our gear and got familiar with her:
|At the dock at Sugarbush Marina|
|View from Ssalon|
The boat is in really good shape. Dual 240hp turbocharged Perkins diesel engines, generator, and bow thruster. Her brightwork needs some work, but in great shape.
We left the dock and headed into Lake Erie:
|John and Chris on the bridge|
We arrived at the first lock a little before 10am. Calling "Welland Seaway" on channel 14, they had a backup downstream of lakers coming up to Lake Erie. Commercial traffic gets priority, so we parked at the town docks to wait it out.
|John and some random guy fishing|
We had to hang around until after 3pm for all the upbound traffic to go by
Shortly after this ship went by, we cast off @3:42pm (almost 5 hours!). In our haste, we left Frank at the dock and had to go back and get him:
They left the bridge up from the Polsteam ship and we proceeded down the canal
The first lock was about a mile past the lift bridge.
|Frank on the bow|
This lock is a shallow (drops about 5ft) control lock that keeps waves/storm surges out of the canal.
We then proceeded to mile 12 (first lock is at mile 20) downstream.
We cruised along at the speed limit 8 knots at 1,100 RPM.
We passed the "St Marys Cement II" which was heavily loaded with cement from Bowmanville:
We waited around from another couple of hours and the wall while several upbound boats came through the lock. We also had to wait from the downbound red boat that passed us in the early afternoon. You cannot go into the locks with these ships, and just had to wait it out.
We waited until for "CSL Niagara" to pass us:
|Canada Steamship Lines Niagara|
These ships are huge, most were empty coming back to Lake Erie to get grain and salt.
|Chris on his phone waiting it out|
We had to wait for another upbound ship and were in the lock at little after 9pm
You would wait for the light go to from red to green and proceed into the lock.
Canal staff would pass bow and stern lines to us, and they would let the water out of the lock.
Frank/John were on the bow, while I was on the stern.
As the boat lowered, we would use boat hooks to keep the boat off the wall, and the lines to keep the boat from drifting too far off the wall.
Each lock would drop about 50 ft into about 5 minutes. AMAZING
|Leaving the first lock|
A couple miles later, we came to a series of step locks, each dropping about 50ft. These double locks separate up/down bound traffic. On the last step lock, we had to wait for a train to pass over a lift bridge on the other side of the lock We had to wait almost an hour!
|Waiting for Train to pass|
Here is a YouTube video of the train passing:
The 2nd last lock was the slowest and took over 30 minutes to drain.
Alas we were through the last lock, and out into Lake Ontario. The half moon that we saw earlier was gone and it was VERY dark.
Here is our GPS track to Port Weller Marina:
It was dark.
It was cold.
Everyone was tired and punchy.
We ran aground.
We took a slip on the end of a dock stuck in the mud.
Hooked up to shore power for some heat, and went to sleep at 3am.
What have a learned from my Welland Canal experience?
Thanks for the experience Chris!
Trip Odomter: 26.17 miles
Avg Speed: 6.6 knots
Moving Time: 04:05:00
Stopped Time: 16:50:00 (!!!!!!)
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