Wednesday, August 25, 2010

BRIDGES on the St. Lawrence Seaway

2010 08 25
Summerside PEI

Travelogue in next post.  This is a followup to comments on Locking Through.

Here is correspondence from Wade Alerie of Joana fame.  He and Princess Diane traveled with us to Cuba last year - part way anyway.  They took a month of spa time in Veradero in lieu of 10 days arguing with Cuban mafia in Havana as did we.

Wade posted relevant comments on the BRIDGES along the St. Lawrence Seaway.  Here is our brief exchange which will be of interest only to boaters who may wish to traverse the seaway or those with an  unhealthy prurient interest in the private affairs of others:

On Tue, Aug 24, 2010 at 8:34 AM, Wade  wrote:

    Hi Bob,

    We've just read through your recent posts, particularly the very informative one about traversing the locks. I'm very curious to know if you had any difficulties with the BRIDGES.  Did any of the bridges behave as they were supposed to?  Did the RED light change to AMBER and then GREEN?  For us, they went from RED to GREEN just at the moment we passed under, with no AMBER.  We also had to wait a long time at nearly every bridge.  I wrote a very nice, accurate and damning letter to the St Lawrence Seaway Commission a few days later, but they never responded to me.  Everybody we talked to had the same comment, the bridges are a pain in the ass.

cheers, Wade


There was a reason I did not mention the bridges.  I was trying to be very positive.  Everything you claim about bridge operation is completely accurate.   In the end we got results from recalcitrant bridge operators by keeping the air horn on deck and blowing it insistently at the specified rate of 3 long blows in 5 seconds. 

Compressed air seemed to work and rarely did it take more than 2 repetitions for the recalcitrant bridge operators, all of whom are located physically in Quebec, to come to life and push the damn "UP" button on their control panel.  Such a demanding job.

We actually had a powerboater slow down and accompany us through the Beauharnois channel because we could get the bridges to operate.  At least these guys were not racists - they were just highly developed bureaucrats in the French "Who gives a (you know what)" school of public service.  I think it is Parisien French: "You are shit.  You cannot treat me like a dog."

As for lights we never looked for amber.  The amber lights we were involved with were timing lights and they only came into play at one lock.  Odd that 2 1/2 minute interval for amber lights, non?

Both the Snell Lock and the Lambert Lock created inordinate delay - we were forewarned in each case that those operators were assholes.  Locking down the Chenal de la Rive Sud we came on 18 pleasure boats in a scrum.  They had just been locked up together like a single ball of snakes.  Wonder how long some of those boats had been waiting. 

All the best


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