|| Sept. 1, 1999
|| World Trade Center, Baltimore, USA
|| Jerome Bird, Director of Education,
Pride of Baltimore Inc.
Pride of Baltimore II's Travels During Your Vacation
Welcome back to school, mates! What did you do over vacation?
Take a trip? Go to the beach? Go to camp? Hang out with friends?
Watch TV? Read a book for a book report (uggh!)? Or just chill out?
Vacation is always fun, just because it's different. But getting back
to school is OK, too, because there's lots going on there. Right?
Me, I did a lot of travelling with Pride of Baltimore II
- our boat, where we'll be virtual shipmates this year. I was the
"Advance Man" for Lake Michigan. That means I went to ports on Lake
Michigan where the ship was going to visit to make sure all the
arrangements were OK. Like I had to find out if the water was deep
enough at the dock so we wouldn't run aground. (The captain gets real
upset when the ship runs aground.) Later on, I went back to those
ports a day before the boat arrived to make sure everybody there was
ready. "OK everybody, shape up - here comes Pride II!"
But whoa! I'm getting ahead of the story. You will probably write a
composition in school entitled "What I did on my summer vacation."
Well, here's a composition about what Pride of Baltimore II did during
your summer vacation.
The first thing Pride II did this summer was go to a
party! Actually two parties - one in Wilmington, Delaware, and the
other in Norfolk, Virginia. Both were tall ship parties. Folks in
Wilmington and Norfolk invited a bunch of tall ships, like Pride II,
to come celebrate the beginning of summer. Watching tall ships sail
around together is an exciting way to celebrate anything!
Wilmington has it's own replica (copy) tall ship. It's
called the Kalmar Nyckel.
She's a copy of the original ship that brought the first settlers to
Delaware from Sweden. She was built and launched in Wilmington just a
few years ago. Now she sails around the East Coast reminding everyone
of Delaware's maritime (seagoing) heritage. The Kalmar Nyckel is a
very handsome ship and has some beautiful carving on its stem and
sternposts (front and back), just like the original ship from Sweden.
Norfolk has a replica ship, too. It's call the Norfolk Rebel
. It has red sails
and works as a tugboat. She's called a "tugatine" and is the only
sailing tugboat in the world!
On to the Great Lakes
The captain and crew love to take Pride of Baltimore II
to tall ship gatherings. She's always the most beautiful ship there -
and surely one of the fastest! Pride II makes the crew proud - and you
can be proud too, too, because you are a virtual shipmate.
Next, Pride II went to the Great Lakes. Wow! The Great Lakes?
That's practically in the middle of the country! How did you get
there from here? Here's a clue: you don't FedEx a tall ship. You
have to sail it!
Here's a map that shows the East Coast and the Great Lakes. Can you
figure out a way to get to the Great Lakes from Baltimore by water?
Yes, there is a way. You sail all the way up the east coast of the
US, past Maine, and around what is known as the Gaspe Peninsula. Then
you sail down the St. Lawrence River. Pretty soon, there you are in
Lake Ontario, the first of the Great Lakes.
Simple, huh. Well, not exactly. Do you suppose it is "smooth
sailing" all that way? Can you like just putter along from the Ocean
to the Great Lakes on the same level?
No way, Jose! The Great Lakes are practically in the middle of the
country. There is a mountain range between here and there. The Great
Lakes are hundreds of feet higher than sea level (the level of the
Atlantic Ocean). That means that the St. Lawrence River has rapids
and rocks and a very strong current as the water rushes downstream and
tumbles hundreds of feet downwards toward the sea.
In fact, until 1959, vessels from the ocean couldn't get
into the Great Lakes. But in the 1950's the US and Canadian
governments got together and built the St. Lawrence Seaway. This
consists of special locks, canals, and channels along the river.
There are 15 locks between Montreal on the St. Lawrence River and Lake
Erie. The St. Lawrence Seaway was opened to ocean traffic in 1959.
So now vessels can sail from Chicago all the way to Europe or Asia -
The St. Lawrence Seaway
The St. Lawrence Seaway has a series
of locks that raise ships up if they are going to the Great Lakes. It
lowers them down if they are going toward the ocean. So what's a
lock? A lock is like a bathtub with gates at both ends. Imagine
Pride II going through the Seaway. She motors into the first lock
near Montreal. After she gets in, the back gate of the lock is
closed. A whole lot of water is then pumped into the lock so the ship
is lifted up - almost 50 feet. When the lock is full of water, the
front gate is opened up and Pride II motors out. She goes up the
river a few miles to the next lock. She repeats this process seven
times between the first lock at Montreal and the first lake, Lake
Ontario. It takes at least an hour at each lock depending on the
traffic. (Yes, rivers have traffic jams sometimes, too.)
All together, it took Pride II almost three weeks to sail from Boston,
her last stop on the Atlantic Ocean, to Lake Ontario by going through
the St. Lawrence Seaway. She had to motor almost all the way up the
Seaway because it is narrow and the current is fast. But that's how
you get there from here!
Here's another map. It shows how all the Great Lakes are connected.
It also shows the ports of call that Pride II called on during her
Do you suppose the Lakes are on the same level? For instance, can you
sail from Toronto to Chicago without any obstacles (something that
blocks you)? For a clue, look at the picture to the left.
WOW! Know what that is? Yep, it's Niagara Falls. The Falls are
situated between Lake Ontario and Lake Erie near Buffalo. Lake Erie
is HIGHER than Lake Ontario. That means that Pride II would have to
sail UP Niagara Falls to get to Chicago. Can you imagine sailing UP
that waterfall? No way!
Fortunately, there is another canal
with seven locks that takes ships around Niagara Falls and lifts them
up to the level of Lake Erie. It's called the Welland Canal and it's
part of the St. Lawrence Seaway. The good thing is, once you're in
Lake Erie, it's smooth sailing all the way to Chicago - no more locks.
It took Pride II just one day to get through the seven locks of the
Welland Canal. By the time she was in Lake Erie, she had climbed 552 feet
through 15 locks!
Go to Part 2 of the Sept. 1, 1999 Log