0800 hours Wednesday June 23, 2010
PRIDE OF BALTIMORE II passed through The Thousand Islands region of the upper St. Lawrence River this morning. A faster than anticipated transit of the Seaway System starting from Montreal yesterday morning brought PRIDE into the 1000 Islands much sooner than I can ever recall being able to do in the 12 trips up the St Lawrence River that I have made thus far in schooners since 1981. The speed of the transit up river from Montreal appears to me to be due to reduced current flow downstream after a very mild winter with reduced snow fall on the watershed that supplies the Great Lakes, and reduced commercial shipping traffic as a result of the downturn in the economy. This is the first time ever there has been no waiting line delay to pass through a lock. As a result, instead of passing through 1000 Islands in the afternoon of the day after entering the Seaway System we are passing through early in the morning. Such timing coming up the river and a change for the better in the overnight rainy weather created a beautiful early morning sun-breaking-through-cloud-cover vista. Cameras broke out before breakfast to record the morning beauty.
Behind PRIDE the ROALD AMUNDSEN pulled off to the side of the river late yesterday and anchored after I spoke with her on the radio welcoming them to North America. They are quite early for the first full fleet rendezvous in Toronto scheduled for June 30. I asked if they had other interim obligations. After learning that they were not pressed for time to get somewhere before getting to Toronto, I described some good anchorages that could be used at night that were also good swimming locations due to not having a lot of current.
EUROPA, LYNX and ROSEWAY arrived Montreal yesterday morning and remained overnight. During communications with LYNX yesterday afternoon I learned they intended to get started up river around 4 am today with hopes of catching up with us for a sail together across Lake Ontario to Oswego on Thursday.
That sail will likely prove interesting. There is a second low with an associated trough preceding another cold front coming through late Wednesday night that is likely to bring heavy thunder storms along with winds between 15 and 25 knots flowing first from the south and veering through southwest on its way to west and northwest by the middle of the day Thursday. Winds from the south to southwest would not provide PRIDE an easy sail. So I am hoping for the wind to change early Thursday to the west to provide PRIDE an “easy” reach to Oswego. But even if that comes to pass and we manage not to have a significant experience with a strong thunderstorm, sailing in Lake Ontario after it has been kicked up by strong winds from the southwest may prove to be not much fun. Fresh water is lighter than salt water hence when the wind blows the wave size in fresh water can be quite a bit larger than for saltwater. According to Canada the forecast for wave size for Lake Ontario on Thursday could go to 2 meters or about 7 feet and the distance between crests could be very close making a situation where PRIDE can feel like it is a battering ram losing the battle.
Jan C. Miles, Captain aboard Pride of Baltimore II