I bet you have never thought how ships get up and over Niagara Falls. I never had either. On the Niagara River, from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario (or visa versa), there is about 170 feet of elevation to negotiate over the thundering water. And, to make matters worse, there is an elevation difference of about 325 between the two lakes. Not to worry, the problem was solved back in 1829 with the opening of the WELLAND CANAL in Canada, construction having begun in 1824, just before the opening of the Erie Canal. Not only do you now know how ships can get from the Atlantic Ocean through to Lake Superior, but here probably for the first time ever you will get to see a sailing – MINE – from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario. And it happened in about seven hours Tuesday, September 10, 2019.

You will be able to sail (pun intended) through my next posts. Mainly locking and sailing, and few words. If something piques your interest, I trust you will research more, as I often do. Even when reading a well written mystery, set in a historical period or specific area, I will find myself googling as I pour over things I need to learn more about. So, feel free to stop, research, learn, and share with me, to even share here with others.

Here is a map of the Welland Canal. We left Buffalo at 5AM to head back west to the entrance of the canal on the Canadian side of Lake Erie.

the elevation view below shows you what we did, sailing from right to left, going “down hill.” Note the flight of locks (6, 5, 4) for a quick high descent. Lock 8 is considered a “control lock” for water flow. Lock 7 is the southern most lift on the Niagara Escarpment. Locks 5, 6 and 4 are twin “flight locks.” There is an information center, and observation platform at Lock 3.

we arrived at the entrance to the canal at about 7AM.

and, on the way

just one of the many bridges that open up along the canal

a close-up of the old lock you may be able to see above

about to enter Lock 8

Welland Canal – Lock 8

finally this “puppy” exited, and it was our turn to enter

our turn for Lock 8 – the first lock on the Welland Canal when heading north to Lake Ontario.

Welland Canal – Lock 8

I am going to “lock you through” Lock 8 more than other locks so you can an idea of the process and progress. Image below is looking back north.

Welland Canal – Lock 8

and then exiting

Welland Canal – Lock 8

one of the many “lift bridges” (remember you can open my galleries for larger images)

arriving at Lock 7

and more “heavier” traffic as we approach the lock — NOTE the horizon. It appears the earth is flat, we are at the edge, and will fall off.

There are wires across the locks – “guard gates” –  that these yellow booms pick up. The idea is to protect the lock doors from being rammed by a run away vessel. I really wonder if they could stop a ship with its inertia. Well, they have to be raised.

exiting Lock 7, looking to Lock 6

Welland Canal – Lock 7

Leaving Lock 7

Welland Canal – Lock 7

and, now for Lock 6, a double lock

our “friend” is leaving the other side

Loosing track? I am, and it was really hard selecting images from the two cameras I was using to document these seven hours. but, now opening to Lock 5.

Welland Canal – Lock 6 to Lock 5

Welland Canal – Lock 5 to Lock 4


now we can pass through Lock 4 to get to Lock 3

and, then exit

Welland Canal – Lock 3

now approaching Lock 2 – a single, so we had to wait for this big guy to get out of our way


Welland Canal – Lock 2

and, leaving Lock 2 on the Welland Canal

Welland Canal – Lock 2

Welland Canal – Lock 2

Approaching Lock 1

where there is a car bridge

and to be safe, a guard gate

Welland Canal – Lock 1

and looking back north while in Lock 1 with the car bridge lowered back down

and the Pilot House of the GRANDE MARINER

exiting Lock 1

Welland Canal – Lock 1

where a pilot boat met us to take off the pilot. We had one pilot from Lake Erie to Lock 8. Then he left, and another boarded to take us through the locks.

bye Welland Canal

and, onto Lake Ontario

and, on the Lake

On Lake Ontario around 2PM it will not be until after midnight that we will dock in Rochester, New York. So, until then, enjoy, and do come back. Yours, RAY


PPart 1 – Genesis
Part 2 – Chicago – arriving aboard the Grande Mariner
Part 3 – Underway to Wisconsin and Mackinac Island
Part 4 – Greenfield Village, Dearborn, Michigan
Part 5 – Port visits – Cleveland and Buffalo
Part 6 – Welland Canal – Canada
Part 7 – Rochester, NY and The Oswego Canal
Part 8 – The Erie Canal – LOCKS 22 to 11 – Heading East
Part 9 – The Erie Canal – LOCKS 11 to 1 – Heading East
Part 10 – The Hudson River – Troy South to NYC
Part 11 – NYC – and, Amtrak along the Hudson to Albany


This entry was posted in LAKES - LOCKS - LONG RIVER -- 1-18 SEPTEMBER 2019 and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Carolyn says:

    Good job with the photo’s and explanations.

  2. Chris says:

    What sort of ship were you on?

  3. Betty says:

    What a great way to spend 7 hours navigating the Welland Canal! The canal system was an ingenious way to navigate falls-something I’m sure Lewis and Clark would have appreciated in the early 1800’s when they got to Great Falls, MT…
    I think I would have been one of those people at the front of the Grand Mariner observing and taking pictures-oh, and of course, asking questions!
    Going to read your next post now

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