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Negotiating the Locks

1130 hours Tuesday June 22, 2010

PRIDE started to “climb” the step-ladder of locks in the St. Lawrence Seaway System between Montreal and Lake Ontario this morning.

The process of “entering” the Seaway is rather procedural. It requires a pre-inspection before being permitted into the system. For new vessels to the system this is readily obvious to be sure the vessel will fit and no damage to the lock or the vessel will occur. For returning vessels the pre-inspection is required upon the first arrival to the system any given year, but not again until the next year, no matter how many times the system is transited. Arranging the pre-inspection requires several phone calls and radio conversations to verify information and to coordinate the logistics of moving the vessel for both the inspection and the beginning of the transit. As always, until PRIDE is actually in the Seaway system she must have a Montreal Harbor pilot for any movement. This time we required two pilots because the Seaway was unable to accommodate the inspection during the first locking procedure. So a pilot was needed to move us this morning to a nearby mooring location to the first lock. Then after the inspection was completed…took about half an hour…another pilot was required to make the last 1000 foot shift from outside of lock number one to inside lock number one. This second pilot for the last 1,000 foot move will add expense to entering the first lock that was not incurred two years ago when the Seaway was able to accommodate the inspection during the first locking…back then only one pilot was required to go from anchorage to inside lock number one.

Meanwhile just ahead of PRIDE in the Seaway system is ROALD AMUNDSEN, the German sail training vessel that is going to participate in the Great Lakes Tall Ship Challenge (GLTSC) organized by the American Sail Training Association (ASTA) in partnership with various Great Lake port cities hosting the tall ships for maritime festivals. Behind us, not yet in the Seaway system is LYNX (American West Coast), EUROPA (Dutch) and ROSEWAY (American Northeast Coast). Of this group of tall ships PRIDE and LYNX are the only vessels visiting Oswego, scheduled to arrive there Thursday.

Looking ahead to the weather forecast…it looks like rain with threat of thunderstorms starting tonight and going through Wednesday and Thursday before clearing again with south to southwest winds Wednesday and early Thursday, shifting to west winds later on Thursday. More headwinds to motor against…not what I was hoping for…but nothing to be surprised by.

Jan C. Miles, Captain aboard Pride of Baltimore II