Round The World 2008
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A Tight Squeeze
Day 14
Tuesday Jun 03 2008
370 Miles

Ian Rambles
We reached our first lock, near Montreal, in the early hours of the morning.

From the bow I could hear birdsong and distant traffic and I realised how used we had all become to the noise of the engine and the ventilation system running all the time.

The jigsaw is showing more black sky than underlying table.

Fiona's Journal
A day of locks/ecluses/sluizen/and whatever they are called in Polish. Typically, I managed to sleep through the first two, just past Montreal, in the early hours of the morning but I was up and about for the third one. As we approached the entrance it was absolutely obvious to me that we were too wide for it. We weren't, of course – they do think about these things when building ships “fit for purpose” – but it was an astonishingly tight squeeze! Looking down from the Bridge Deck it looked like an inch to spare on either side. In reality it may have been almost a foot.

My appreciation of the pilots' skills increased no end, watching them guide us into and out of these locks throughout the day. They saunter from one side of the bridge to the other eyeballing the gap and the angle of approach and gauging the ships speed and momentum and then adjust these subtly and continuously by shouting instructions to the helmsman (port 5, midships, starboard 10, and so on) and to the officer controlling propeller pitch (slow ahead, stop engine, dead slow astern etc). Each man replies by repeating the instruction back to the pilot so that it is immediately obvious if he has misheard something. It's a low tech system but very effective.

As the locks fill and the ship rises from the depths you can hear the occasional, teeth-clenching screech of metal against concrete but, as Ian says, paint is cheaper than fenders and there really isn't room for them anyway!

Between the lock canals the river is broad and beautiful and dotted with tree-covered islands. The big ship channel is clearly buoyed and outside of this are small fishing boats and yachts having fun. Over the course of the day we move from Canadian territory into USA (New York State) territory and back into Canadian waters by the evening.

Arthur's Log:
Endless sights to see today, I spent nearly the whole day on the bridge. The seaway is now only one hundred feet wide in places. We have a new pilot every six hours who know the places so well they can answer any question we ask. The pilot is basically the captain of the ship through water the captain has no certificate that says he knows how to do it (which requires a two year course for each 6 hours of water and also learn how to fit a 24m wide ship into a 25m wide lock!)

The Harry Report
We got into our first lock today which looked like it wasn't wide enough for the cargo ship to go in.

George's Musings

The Montreal Skyline

Leaving our first lock about 5am local time. The raised section of bridge carries a roadway over a railway

This is all the clearance available.

Work on the jigsaw continues.

Looking back as we leave a lock
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