The whole idea of canal systems is pretty ingenious and the Welland Canal is no exception. I have never seen a bridge with a roadway get lifted up at least 120 feet into the air but that is exactly what we sailed under upon entering the canal. Immediately, we entered an equalizing lock and dropped only about 3 feet or so, and it wasn’t until after motor-sailing 17 miles of remote grass lined banks of the canal that we entered into the lock system.
Husband stood at the bow and while I was at the helm looking like I knew what I was doing as we approached critical signal signs and red/green lights with steel erector set type gates dropping in front of my face, he was taking pictures? Up to this point, the sun was shining and warm westerly winds were blowing across port side. We entered the big lock, positioned the boat steady against the lock wall, lock tenders threw what felt like 50 pounds of line at each of us, and as we descended down about 45 feet of cracked concrete lock wall, the skies changed to a torrential downpour and remained so for the entire traverse of the canal which took no less than 7 hours.
After 7 locks total, heavy rains, strained muscles, no food or drinks, and the unnerving experience of passing alongside 68,000 ton freighters so close that I could spit and hit their hulls, I was beyond beat. As a final note, I believe that the ability to move 21 million gallons of water in 10 minutes is nothing less that pure human mechanical genius and pretty amazing to witness.