It’s been almost two months since our last blog post, and what months they’ve been. In late June, Niagara got underway for a rare trip down the Welland Canal into Lake Ontario, and for an even rarer adventure down the St. Lawrence to Quebec City. Along the way, the ship attended tall ship festivals in Bath, Ontario; Sorel-Tracey, Quebec; and, of course, Quebec City itself–a UNESCO World Heritage City and home of the best honey lavender ice cream this sailor has ever eaten. Also, to be fair: the only honey lavender ice cream this sailor has ever eaten. We made a surprise late-night visit to Montreal, stopped in Rochester, New York for a triumphant homecoming (more on that later), and ate a shocking amount of poutine.
By the time Niagara docks in Erie on August 8, she’ll have been through thirty locks (eight in the Welland and seven in the St. Lawrence, down and up) and prepped the ship for lock systems four separate times (everything outboard has to come inboard, so we don’t crunch spars against the lock walls; we also set up fenders to protect the channels and hull.). We’ve housed the topgallants so many times that some of trainees have pushed up masts more often than they’ve set sails. It’s been an incredible, unusual, and sometimes grueling experience. The rewards–a week in Quebec City with forty other tall ships from around the world, a massive parade of sail where we exchanged salutes with the U.S. Coast Guard Barque Eagle, the chance to brush up on our French nautical terminology–were abundant.
We’ll post more about the ship’s Canadian adventures over the next week (there’ll be anecdotes! Interviews! A picture of our very own captain meeting Prime Minister Justin Trudeau!) and let you know when Niagara is back home and open for deck tours.