Welland Canal

The trip though the canal was interesting. It always amazes me that so many people have lived around the Great Lakes and still don’t really understand the that the Welland Canal has eight locks and bypasses Niagara Falls. Some of our friends, Rodney, Ruby, Lea, Lisa, Jim and Micha met our hired Captain Mark in Port Colbourne and, at 10am, brought the boat around from the Marina to the start of the Lock system. There is a phone to call in from. They said they would be able to get us started in two hours. We sent all the kids and parents to explore the town and go to the park:)

Going to see the reason for the Welland Canal!

Waiting in Port Colbourne at the entrance of the Canal

Canadian Graffiti 

I phoned the Seaway control again at noon, and he said there was a laker coming out of the lock system. They would keep the lift bridge open, and as soon as he was clear of us, we could enter, All went well and we slipped lines and went under the lift bridge to the first lock. The first lock is just about six feet deep. You do not even have to tie up, The kids were all excited and watched the water lower, talking about how it was like letting the water out of the bathtub, After the first lock, there is a long sail to the next lock. There were definitely needed to tie up. The seaway control threw us lines and we slipped them around our cleats so that we could loosen them as the water level fell. One person stood in the middle to fend the boat off from the wall. 

Micha and Lea watch the bridge open

Riding the Main!

The water level dropped, and we loosened the lines and lowered the boat. The big lock doors at the bottom would open and Seaway control would call to us, to let go of their lines. Off we would sail to the next lock. Several of the locks are right beside one another, you sail out of one, and immediately into the next one. Most are port tie up, a few are starboard tie up. The wind was blowing at about 20 knots, and the starboard one was rough going, since the boat was being pinned against the concrete wall. Getting out was a trick, but we made it. It didn’t help that our throttle was malfunctioning and becoming increasingly difficult to move. Lisa and Jim and Micha decided to leave about lock four. They live right near the locks so, it will be easy for them to get home. 

Waiting at the entrance to one of the Locks

One of the alternate channels

Hanging out before entering a Lock - Need to wait for the Laker to come out!

We had to wait about an hour for a laker to come out of the last lock. Finally we were through, at just 9pm, eleven hours since we checked in. We dropped off the extra wood and old life jacket fenders, and sailed out across Lake Ontario and home. I was pleased with myself that I knew the way by sight. We had the charts to follow too, both electronic and paper of course, but I never needed them, and my confidence grew two sizes that night. We saw some lightning, and I was able to look at our weather monitor and see that it was over by Rochester and moving away from us. The storm had left a lovely breeze blowing and we were able to reach across the lake and make better time than if we had run the motor. 

I backed down the channel and into Cerulean’s spot at RCYC, and Greg was there to meet us. It was 2am, and a beautiful night. 

Inside a lock - starting to go down

Leaving a lock

Passing a Laker