Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Big Chute

The Big Chute was a highlight lock event of our Trent Severn Waterway experience.  We arrived in the evening and were able to check things out before our big ride in the morning. 
 This beautiful rock formation is located right next to the "The Big Chute" was suppose to be a temporary solution while construction was underway for the new canal.  After many years they realized the rail system was the way to go due to excavation difficulties/site challenges 
 This is the view from the Observation Deck above. 
 This is the Little Chute which was the first chute used for many many years and then was the back-up until recently put out of commission. Thank goodness....as it is basically a glorified train car.  The neat thing about the Big Chute is it's design to stay level utilizing four different tracks during the transport.  It is quite a steep hill.
 The night was calm we enjoyed walking the grounds.
 The kids had a chance to swim and play in the water.
 The next morning I opted to stay on land and take photos of the boat going through the lift lock. It was a tough decision, but I made a good one!  Pictured here is Big Chute moving over the passing road and into the water to pick up our boat!
 Craig and the kids got the Negotiator in place (Morgan made a great First Mate in my absence).
 Notice the man knelt down next to the boat....hmmmmm. The problem is that our boat is a true 42 foot Chris Craft Catalina with a 6 foot cockpit at the stern.  All of our running gear is set up as a 42....not a 48!  We ended going back into the water and repositioning the boat for safety reasons.
 The lockmasters claim this is the first time they've had a boat like this. The Negotiator was substantially hanging off the back of the lift. The lockmaster asked if we were loaded with gas in the back tanks and YES we were!  We hold 600 gallons of fuel plus fresh water.  It was all hanging off the back!!!!  This is quite a balancing act.  He still put us through.....
 Craig was amazed to see the pictures later on.  It's hard to believe they made it across.....and VERY quickly! This photo doesn't do it justice, but we have approximately 15 feet hanging off the lift.  It's a good thing the kids had all of theirs toys and treasure collection stuff located in the bow....we hoped this teeter wouldn't totter! 
 I was running to take the photos. I had the CB radio on my neck with Ryann, the commentator, giving me details of her thoughts onboard the boat.  Jaxon chiming in how I should be on the boat and when am I coming back?  I have great videos of all of it.
 It was a rather quick ride!
 No wasting time...they pulled out seconds after arrival into the water.
 Morgan was ready with lines and Jaxon ready to have me back on the boat. 
 We met a trawler traveling the area and were able to watch him go up the lift too.
 We pulled out of the lift and around the corner to find this sign.  It's not an uncommon site here.
 Lock 45 is the last lock that we went through. It is the smallest, most narrow one of them all with a big current to contend with for eastbound vessels.  We made it through without a hitch, but I can't imagine the westbound vessels approaching their first lock with this experience. 
 Moments after leaving the lock there were a series of buoys to traverse through.  It's not an option to go outside the channel and made for a tight pass thru.