M.S. Chi-Cheemaun: the Channel Queen at 40

Text and photos by Scott Parent.

Every first friday in May, the ambient drone of the Chi-Cheemaun returns to the waters of Fathom Five for the season.

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But this was not the case in 2013, when the Lake Michigan–Lake Huron basin water levels hit an all-time low. For the first time since the Big Canoe began ferrying the run in 1974, her schedule was postponed. Low water in Manitoulin Island’s South Baymouth harbour threatened to bottom out the ferry at the docks. Also, the fenders needed modifications in order to ensure safe docking.

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The service runs at the mercy of spring melt, and rain to top up the water levels. With the great lakes freeze-over of 2014, we should see a reduction in water evaporation, and the regional snow accumulations should offer a good slug to help top up the lakes. Here’s hoping for smooth sailing for the the M.S. Chi-Cheemaun‘s 40th birthday.

Read Scott Parent’s article in our spring issue.

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Check out this vintage footy of the ferry’s 1974 launch:

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