Getting Laid (up)

I have been up to my eyeballs in work, getting the ship ready for the 2011 navigation season. Two weeks now, getting all the systems up and running, getting all our welding done, and various defects looked after. Some projects will be orphaned until next year, but overall I am please that the boat, I think, will be in better shape than last year, so I think that is progress.

Here on the “East Coast” of Canada, most Canadian ships tie up, or “lay up”, for winter, as the St Lawrence River freezes over, and the St Lawrence Seaways closes for the season. All due to the cold weather, snow and ice, which makes sea passage impractical. Some deep sea vessels will continue for most of the winter, bringing goods to and from ports on the St Lawrence up to Montreal.

The lay up is a much needed down time, to tend to our very old ships. All along the great lakes and along the river, ships will weather the winter months in a safe harbour, from late December to late March, with only a ship keeper on board. This year, many ships, including ours, laid up in Montreal – as a matter of fact the port was reportedly “full”.

With the mild temperatures of last week, a few of our berth mates have ventured out for their first cargo. Meanwhile the rest of us are on a mad dash to secure the necessary expertise to wrap up all the projects, before putting “to sea”. Our charterers are on the phone, asking us to join them ASAP; could be worst, we could not have cargo…

Hopefully the minus 11 Celsius weather we are experiencing this week, will abate and we should be underway Friday night. Having had the usual initial missteps and numerous “surprises” after lay up, I hope that good luck will finally look down upon us, and the rest of the start of our season will be smooth and uneventful.

The opening of the Seaway is usually the official start up time for most charterer contracts for the region, so yesterday, it officially opened. You can read about it here and here.

Pictures from Internet sources.

This article has 3 Comments

  1. jeeze Martin, you have another 1000 miles before you get to Eastern Canada. You Westerns always get that wrong LOL
    It is only in the river they lay them up, we keep them running down here, ice and all.

  2. I know I know, I don't know why "they" always called it east coast, when its not anywhere near it. I've heard anything west of thunder bay is west coast, well that's a bit far fetch. You'll notice I put "Central Canada" as a tag, I think the St Lawrence and the lakes should be central canada, perhaps it is, but everyone keeps calling it "East Coast".

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