Okay here we go, planning a trip to take with my husband Anders so we'll be together for Christmas, I got my ETA a few days ago December 12th 1 Am.
December 3rd....40 knot gale winds on Lake Erie, Coolbeans has to anchor in Long Point Anchorage.
December 10th....Now normally that weather would DELAY my trip but in this case..Anders had a schedule that was going to bring him to Nanticoke a few times from Ashtabula then head to Superior, I was going to hop aboard on one of those trips to stay aboard until lay up. Well he called me that afternoon and told me the trips had been cancelled, he wouldn't be coming back to Nanticoke until much later if at all. So I had 5 1/2 hours to get ready for this trip .......could I do it??? Now what do YOU think???? I had to call the kennel and see if they could take our dogs a few days early, go to the post office and ask them to hold our mail ( note to Cathy our postmaster in Vermont...do you know they CHARGE you to hold mail here in Canada???? ) Lets see , then I had to do laundry, pack my clothes, clean the kitty boxes, empty the trash, clean out the fridge, e-mail all my friends and call my family to let them know I was going to be gone. Somehow the day was gone like a flash and soon I got a call from Anders giving me my one hour notice! I had just enough time to shower and get dressed, load up the car and go. Well I admit I had a few minutes, no reason to go early anymore as security won't escort you down to the ship until its all tied up and in position to unload. I had to get a ride down this time too since I'd be leaving my car in their lot until the ship was laid up for the year in Hamilton. I was really excited to say the least. The security guard drove me and the new electrician down to the ship once Anders called him to say he was secure at the dock. Anders was down on the dock waiting to help me with my luggage it was GREAT to see him!! He had a bunch of paperwork to do when we got back up to his office so I sat down in the living room to watch my favorite TV show CSI crime scene investigations. By around 8:30 he said he was tired and was going to bed...oh well it was a rerun anyway so away we went to get some rest, the trip across the Lake was a quick one so we have to rest when we can. I admit I was asleep in a flash even with the unloading noise in the background. Well NOW I know why we went to bed so early too. 2 AM I wake up to the sound of that STUPID buzzer next to Anders bed. Yep its time to get up.....whaaaaaaaaaaa???? So up we got, got dressed, up to the wheelhouse...quick!! where's the coffee???!!! Anders turns on all the equipment in the wheelhouse and writes in the logbook. We left the dock around 3 am. Then about 1/2 hour later we were back down in his office , he was doing all that fun paperwork, customs forms, immigration forms, vessel traffic, ballast reporting, you name it there's a form for it and a certain time he has to get them faxed into the right place. Its so very nice to be back out on the lake, now that we are underway, the movement of the ship is so very relaxing. I could go back to sleep in a heartbeat but my Sailor Guy aka THE CAPTAIN (THE BOSS) says we are staying up until we finish loading in Conneaut. Anders has to plan his sleep for the trip ahead, the trip ahead is down through the Welland Canal across the lake to Lakeview then back up through the Welland Canal to Ashtabula to load coal for Lambton.. Its an exhausting trip with not much sleep. (The Canal, I STILL am totally confused about the up/down thing. Where I am from UP is North, when you go DOWN in the Canal you are heading NORTH, it makes NO sense at all. I know, I know, I know your heading DOWN the locks, but your still going UP north, just confusing for a non sailor guy person...:o) See Anders explanation here...
Anyway back to my story... 5:30am we both were getting tired so decided to try to grab a couple hours of sleep since it would be a long day. It sure was great sleeping on the ship even if it was only 2 hours before that buzzer went off again with someone saying "1 hour to the piers" When we got up to the wheelhouse, we found out that the Calumet was in there loading already so Anders was going to take the waiting dock. It was a cloudy, drizzly day with a good amount of wind too. The current was pretty strong at the piers so Anders took the ship inside the piers then turned her around to back down to the waiting dock.
The Calumet was still loading and didn't expect to finish until around 2 that afternoon so we will just hang around and wait here. Anders called down and told the crew that they could go ashore but not me...here I am in my own country but I can't leave because immigration won't be down until we are at the loading dock this afternoon.
The crew gets cleared just once in the spring and only needs immigration when a new crew member comes aboard or when the ship has visitors like me. Oh well nothing I needed in Conneaut anyway and it looked nasty out there too!
I think all these different piles of stone and sand look really neat..they look like teenie piles from here..I kept wishing someone would walk by them so I could have a reference for size.
Looks like guys put their name in this crossword puzzle when they are here...I found a place my name would fit but since I couldn't get off the ship I couldn't paint it in...darn!
Anders using the bow thruster to "park" the ship.
Its 10:15 am and Anders is writing night orders...I always get confused about that too. Its morning but yet the book says "Nightorders". He did say this time he is writting them in preparation for this evening as when we leave it will be a quick 7 hours to the canal so he wants to sleep as soon as we clear the piers here and doesn't want to have to go down to write them then. The night orders are for the wheelhouse guys letting them know his instructions. The mates are required to read them and sign the book stating that they've read them. The Calumet finally left around 2PM.
The wind was getting pretty strong by the time they were ready to shift the ship to the loading dock. Backing down there the mates were giving spots all the way to let Anders know how close, they make it look really easy "parking" a boat longer than the Main Street here in our new town in Canada. :o) Immigration was there as soon as we got tied up, so I could go ashore now but still didn't want to, it was too darn cold out! Very windy and snowy. By 3:00pm we were down relaxing in Anders room ...well I was relaxing, Anders was doing more paperwork. Oh my poor sailorguy!
Just hanging out..:)
Anders calculating the trip across Lake Erie to the Welland Canal.
We ended up taking a nap shortly after dinner. (steak night on the ship..Yum!) Amazing how tired you get when you can't get a straight 8 hours sleep. Although for me just being on the ship makes me tired. The motion, the sounds its just all very relaxing. Anders got called around 11:00 PM one hour notice to be finished unloading. So up to the wheelhouse we went. The Joseph H. Thompson Jr. was there waiting to take our spot when we left. Busy day here in Conneaut!
Out on the lake it was 1am when we went downstairs, the ship was rolling a little bit in the swells. I was so looking forward to sleeping across the lake! I was hoping that maybe finally I'ld see some big waves!! (But too tired to stay up to wait!)
We got up around 6am the ship is still rocking a little, slept like a baby like I expected. Anders had his computer work to do, I swear everytime I come here there is another new form for him to fill out everytime he goes to a different port.
Entering Port Colborne at Bridge 21 heading towards lock 8
Lots of neat shops along the water front. Oh yeah, tug boats too! - Port Colborne, Ontario
A whole bunch of exclamation points which have been taken out of the water til next spring!
Lock 8 Port Colborne.
My Sailor Guy working.
I always like the sounds of the locks, the guys calling the spots, the lock master telling how much further to stop, lots going on in that wheelhouse making the locks.
a parade of cars met us when we arrived , groceries, office staff, crew change what have you !
Heading towards Bridge 11. The yellow light in the center was flashing telling Anders that bridge control knows
he's coming. But the ship can't go by the yellow flashing light until the green light is lit on the center
of the bridge. There is no one on this bridge anymore it's run by some automation now. Before we
got to this point they were having a problem with the bridge and now we were heading to it
and the light is still yellow....its very weird! Finally the light turned green though ...whew!!