Welland Canal and Lake Erie

Island Dancer ntered the Welland canal at 10am Friday…. there are horror stories of it taking 17 hours… then others in just 4 or 5…
Calling Welland Canal control on channel 14, they advised me to stop at a marina and call them on a land line..
I radio’d back a few minutes later to clarify which marina… and then they started asking the key questions… have you paid.. do you have 3 adults on board.. etc etc..
So in the end we didn’t have to stop and were put right into the system,… awesome!
The locks were fairly simple.. Raise about 45 feet in each one (8).. the first 3 were no issue… Then came Number 4…
With only one other boat going through, the first few locks we had good separation… The lock is 1000′ long and were 54’… spacing them out is a good idea.. isn’t it?
Pull up.. pull up… says the operator to Timbo…OK.. now we are 10 feet from the cruise ship… nice…

Then the fun started….Wholly crap…
The lock operator must have thought we were a 1000′ laker… It would have rose no quicker if they just opened the gate…

I had to run the engines at high RPM just to keep the cleats from pulling out of the deck.. we were on a RIDE!!!
Getting to the top I had a word with one of the operators… Is there a way to fill a little slower next time ??
Of course the answer was certainly not… thats a slow as we can go…

Entering the next lock we had a Girl operator.. Now Island Dancer was placed 900′ behind the other boat… and it filled about a slow as nice bubble bath…
What a change! I was sure to give her our appriciation when we hit the top!

At 5pm we found ourselves cruising out into Lake Erie!! Time for AutoVanHelm to take the wheel… He loves to steer through big open lakes!

The wind went to ZERO.. the lake was Glass… motoring along over 8 knots all night and all day Saturday…
That was until a new noise arose…. Timbo was just jumping into the shower… what the hell is THAT??
Running up to the deck Robin already had the starboard engine slowed down.. its running fine.. but the noise is different.. kind of like we just got a new loud muffler installed..??
Nothing obvious in the engine room… fired it back up.. sounds great.. rev it up… no something is different.. it’s louder…
Looking in the water it became obvious… as we slowed down.. a long 200′ nylon rope floated to the surface… Ahhhh Ha…! That would do it!
Appears we ran over some debris.. its not a net.. just a very long line..
Tried the motor in reverse.. but it just started winding the rope up.. forward same story..

ALLIE!!! Time to go DOWNSTAIRS!!!!

Being in the open lake.. and likely a very chilli open lake.. Timbo suited up also….. Nice have scuba tanks on board.. its a long way down to the props.. For Timbo anyway…
I put one toe in first.. hummmmm… The water actually wasn’t that bad…
Allie suited me up in all the scuba gear.. pushed me off the deck with a splash.. then threw her gear in the water.. She put her’s on after jumping in just to show off…
Taking a peak under the waterline there was no surprise to see the line was wrapped many times around the prop.. And a secondary line wrapped around the rudder!

Our starboard engine was fine.. so we could continue on.. but at a much slower pace.. and going up the St. Clair river would be a crawl! Lets fix this now!

Thanks to Ray setting me up with a fine collection of very sharp knives.. we had the line off, back on the boat and underway less than 30 minutes from the first noise ..…

If we don’t run anything else over, or run aground too hard.. we should make Sarnia Sunday morning, or early afternoon… Its going to take more than a rope to stop us now.. ha!

Have a GREAT DAY!!!
Timbo!!!

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