"Where have you come from?" - "Holland"
"How long did it take you?" - "Two weeks"
"I would have gone mad!" - "We were mad
to start with!"
It was strange, after two weeks with nothing but the
Atlantic ocean around the ship, to be within a few metres
of a raised platform crowded with Canadians visiting
the Welland Canal Centre and asking about our trip.
Meanwhile, in the owners cabin, the jigsaw was completed
This morning we traversed the length of Lake Ontario
without seeing any of it. The fog was so dense we could
not even see our own bow so the pilot was presumably
navigating entirely by GPS, radar and local knowledge
I just prayed that no small boats accidentally
strayed into the big ship lanes as I don't see how we
would ever spot them in time to avoid them. It was a
rather erie experience (no pun intended and wrong lake
anyway) steaming into a continuous unknown and leaving
it, still unknown, in our wake.
At lunchtime we reached the entrance to the Welland
Canal, which bypasses Niagara falls to take us up into
Lake Erie. Miraculously, the fog cleared abruptly and
completely just as we approached the entrance lock.
This is the first of a total of eight huge locks in
the canal, three of which form a sort of staircase with
one lock exiting straight into the next. Sadly they
do not pass close enough to Niagara for us to actually
see the famous falls at all. It was a long, hard working
day for the pilot, the officers and the crew and all
we could do was watch and try not to get in the way.
It is endlessly fascinating and impressive though, to
see them sliding this huge vessel in and out of these
skintight chambers time after time without mishap.
Somewhere close to midnight we entered Lake Erie and
the day's pilot left us to be replaced by next one,
again by the apparently precarious method of the little
pilot boat tucking in alongside our moving hull. We
expect to be in Cleveland by 10.00 tomorrow morning
and I am sad that this part of our journey is almost
over. I shall miss the Isa and her crew the ship
herself, and her company, inspire great confidence and
I feel privileged to have traveled with them.
The primary radar died in the middle of a area
called Thousand Islands, apparently the most beautifully
part of the saint Lawrence seaway - not that we saw
any of it because the visibility dropped from moderate
or poor to where the hell have my feet gone.
We passed the Welland Canal tourist center where probably
one hundred people were shouting questions, so to be
polite, and answer their questions, we let off the fog
The Harry Report
The visitors at the Welland Canal Centre looked like
they were in a zoo.
Hard hats that look stylish on mum don't on me!