Friday, July 5, 2013

Big Chute to Midland

 We elected to stay adjacent to the Big Chute Railway at Big Chute Marina!  Our journey to Midland was 20 miles and 2 locks.  Here is the marine railway being  lowered into the water for our journey down the 70 feet to the lower canal.  

 We pulled to the blue line at 9:30 AM awaiting direction from the lockmaster.  They requested us to enter the railway at midships at the rear.  I had to be careful as there was a cross current from an adjacent dam.

As we entered the lockmaster tightened the straps to lift our 43,000 pounds.  The props and rudders were hung over the railway and the keel set on the frame.  I asked the lockmaster to do a visual check on the props, he reported all looked good.  After 240 miles in shallow water I was relieved.
The Railway dropped us into a canal that at times was very narrow.  I announced our intentions on the marine radio, luckily it was a Friday and no upbound vessels.
Unforgiving rock was a trap for the unwary just outside the channel.

 Our last lock, number 45, (the railway was 44) dropped us into Georgian Bay which is the northern portions of Lake Huron.  Very tight channel barely wide enough for our vessel, with a stiff current.  And to top it off a channel marker was going viral, as it was like a pendulum on the current, swinging back and forth.  I hugged
he other side of the channel and 
missed it by inches.  Glad that was 

Finally open water but still a narrow channel due to rocks.  We enjoyed a slow cruise of 20 miles to Midland a city of 7500 people after 240 miles on the Trent Severn and 45 locks.  My crew celebrated. 
We tied up to the marina wall at Midland Municipal marina and enjoyed the sunset.   The objects in the cool water are swimmers.
 This mural adorns the grain elevators near the marina  depicting the Jesuits in the early 1600's converting the local Indians.  Quite impressive.
 The park adjacent to the marina is complete with metal sculptures
 Downtown Midland is also adjacent to the marina, great for provisioning and laundry.  We also stumbled on an ice cream shop.  How I loose weight on these trips I will never know.  We also enjoyed two good restaurants, the Library and the Explorers Cafe, both a short walk up King Street.

We enjoy the evening in the cockpit.   
We had a car today so we visited a nearby shrine, called the Martyrs' Shrine. Built in the early 1900s and visited by the Pope in 1984, it commemorates the sacrifices of early French Jesuit missionaries in the 1600's in this region of Canada.  
Link to Martyr's Shrine

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