Seaway and Welland Canal opening

25th March 2010, 13:38
Today the Welland Canal will open for the season and the Captain of the first boat will get the Top Hat (not to keep)
The Seaway will also open today and its reported to be more or less ice free. A big difference from St.Clair river where the US and Canadian ice breakers are struggling to free the channel of massive ice blockages and navigation is halted.
Hope to have escorted passages later today.
Major problem is flooding as the ice is causing a dam and the river is backing up.

John Cassels
25th March 2010, 19:23
Keep up the good work Bill .

Bye the bye , saw Leon de Breucker ( old Cast agent) not so long ago, sends his regards
to you. He's still going strong but a little frail now.

29th March 2010, 19:34
Memories coming back here Lakercapt. We ran aground in the St Clair River in '61. Blocked the fairway both ways. You can guess we were not at all a popular ship.
After getting freed up (a story in itself), we backed into the sloping concrete wall on the lock approach in the Welland. Bent the rudder at full aport and bent the prop blades all to ratspit. Went under tow all the way to Montreal.

Ron Stringer
29th March 2010, 20:09
Some time in the early 1980s I had to go to Rochester, NY on business. The day before I flew out of London, in Lloyd's List there were reports of the Seaway still being closed and the river still being frozen over below the falls at Niagara. As Rochester is only about 40 miles from Niagara, I went appropriately dressed in a worsted business suit with scarf and woolen overcoat.

I arrived in Boston and switched terminals to pick up my connection to Rochester without any problem or delay - more or less straight through. When we landed at Rochester, I thought the hostess was joking when she said that the outside temperature was 92F. The cab driver must have thought I had lost it when I was removing clothing and asking him to turn the aircon on as we drove into town. I thought I would die before I could get in the hotel shower.

Things can change rapidly over there in Spring, I learned.

During the week of my stay, the morning TV weather reports showed Montana highs of 96F and 42F on successive days. How the Hell you would pack for a visit there I can't imagine.

29th March 2010, 20:56
I was on one of the last ships out throught the Seaway before it closed for the winter in 1968. My memory is of nose to tail ships in both the Seaway and Welland Canal.
So when my son was at a Canadian college a couple of years ago, I was very suprised and disappointed to find both waterways devoid of activity. My cousins in Sarnia tell me they hardly see a deep-sea ship passing through either.
The whole system must surely now be running at a loss.

30th March 2010, 00:22
Keep up the good work Bill .

Bye the bye , saw Leon de Breucker ( old Cast agent) not so long ago, sends his regards
to you. He's still going strong but a little frail now.

John, Leon was the waterclerk with Cast when I was with them in Antwerp in mid 70,s. Please give him my regards if you run into him again. Rgds. Colin

30th March 2010, 00:48
That would be one of the dinky little CCG icebreakers on the St Clair. The big ones are in the Gulf of St Lawrence or getting ready for the Arctic.
As for spring dress in eastern Canada, you layer. T shirt, shirt, sweater and 3 way jacket. Then you can mix and match for the weather. I was caught out last week. I flew from the West coast to Ottawa and prepared for a typical Canadian spring day-rain, snow, sleet, slush and cool to warm temperatures.
What I did not expect was 16-18*C temperatures. Pretty bizarre.

30th March 2010, 11:18
Welland Canal 2010 season now under way.
First up bound vessel was Upper Lakes Group of Toronto, 566grt 1966 built tug 'Commodore Straits' and 2647grt "barge" 'MarineLink Explorer' on passage from Port Colborne to Becancour, Quebec with a cargo of wheat. 'MarineLink Explorer' is in fact a seagoing heavy lift vessel but is being used dead engined as a barge with 'Commodore Straits' as pusher tug.
First down bound vessel was 'Agoeast', a 7886grt 1977 built tanker of Algoma Central Corporation, Toronto with a cargo of Bunker C Fuel Oil from Nanticoke to Montreal. This vessel was also first down last season.