We actually got up early today if you can call 9am early. We had a quick breakfast and then we were on the road by 10am.
Today we are going to drive around and see different parts of the Welland Canal.
We start off by driving to the last lock (#8) and the entrance to Lake Erie.. The town of Port Colborne ON.
There is a nice viewing area here at lock 8.
We made the extra effort to get an earlier than usual start so that we could watch the Rt. Hon. Paul J. Martin lock through into Lake Erie. Here she comes, right on time.
She was built at the Collingwood Shipyards and launched in 1973 and was originally named the H.M Griffith until 2000.
Once she is in the lock, the water level only needs to rise by about 2 feet in order to be at the same level as Lake Erie.
Once she is secure in the lock, a couple of crew members and their luggage leave the ship.
In no time at all, the lock door is opening and the Rt. Hon. Paul J. Martin exits and heads out into Lake Erie.
These board displays may help you to better understand the ships and the Welland Canal.
We got in the car and followed the ship out of the Canal as it headed into Lake Erie.
Then we drove to another vantage point to watch as she went past the Port Colborne break wall.
While we were in Port Colborne, we stopped by to visit the Historical & Marine Museum.
There are a few marine related displays, but mostly this is a historical museum for the area. I was expecting a strong marine presence. We did wind up buying some nautical place mats for our table at home. Plus I got a pin for our wall map.
There is a small village set with a blacksmith shop, a school etc.
Since it was after our usual lunch time, we wound up our visit to the museum quickly and then headed to the nearest Subway for a sandwich. After our lunch we drove to Welland Ontario.
To get there we drove under the Welland Townline Tunnel. One of 3 tunnels that passes under the Welland Canal. Trains also pass under the canal in the tunnel to the right.
Next we passed under the Welland Canal again. This time through the Welland Main St. Tunnel.
We drove through the downtown area and parked at various locations to get out and photograph the murals.
We wanted to visit the Welland Marine Museum, but it was closed. Nearby there was a nice little waterfront area.
We left Welland and headed to the Lock 7 Viewing platform. We are going to watch the Thunder Bay enter the lock. This is actually pretty exciting to see the Thunder Bay as she is the newest Lake Freighter on the Great Lakes. She was delivered on May 16 2013 to the owners CSL (Canada Steamship Lines) from the builder in China.
We learn that the Thunder Bay is behind schedule and is still in Lock #6 so we drive the short distance and find a place on the side of the road to park and watch as she exits the lock. She is 225 meters long (739 ft).
We can see that the Lock 7 doors are open and ready for the Thunder Bay to enter.
The Thunder Bay is now moving forward preparing to enter Lock 7.
If it wasn’t for the fencing, we could reach out and touch her. For a brand new ship, she has some fairly major scrapes and bangs along her hull.
I can now see why she is so scraped up as she rides her hull along the shore wall to get lined up into the lock. I suspect there is a problem with the bow thrusters, but this is certainly not the normal way for a ship to enter a lock. This ship is so advanced that it even has stern thrusters, so there is no excuse to be this badly scraped.
We drove back up to the Lock #7 Viewing Area to watch the Thunder Bay enter that lock. It is a tight fit.
That is enough ship watching for today. We decide to go and find the murals that are nearby. They are located on the walking/biking trail that runs the length of the Welland Canal.
Here are some of the murals we saw.
We have about wore ourselves out today, so we decide that enough is enough and we head back to our motorhome.
Along the way we pass through the Thorold Tunnel.
After dinner we drive to the Falls to watch the nightly lighting of the falls & the fireworks show. Unfortunately we could not find a place to park the car. We could have parked at the Table Rock parking lot for $20.00, but that seemed excessive for an hour or two to watch the show, plus it is quite far from where we would want to be to view the show. I got discouraged with driving around so we headed back to our Motorhome. If you have ever driven in this area, you know what I mean, the traffic is nuts. Our plan now is to ride the WeGo transit bus to Niagara Falls one of these evenings and not worry about figuring out where to park the car. There is a bus stop right at the KOA where we are staying in our motorhome. As it turned out, the fireworks part of the show was cancelled because it was too windy.