Chi-Cheemaun sets sail Saturday afternoon

OWEN SOUND–After a slight delay to the start of the Chi-Cheemaun’s sailing season due to ice cover along the southwest shore of the Bruce Peninsula, impeding the ferry’s route from its winter berth in Owen Sound to the summer port Tobermory, the Owen Sound Transportation Company (OSTC) announced Friday that the ferry would have its first sailing on Saturday, May 3.

Susan Schrempf, OSTC CEO and president, told The Expositor that on Friday the Canadian Coast Guard sent a helicopter out from Parry Sound on an ice reconnaissance mission along the Bruce Peninsula from Owen Sound north to Cove Island.

“We needed to know if there was an opening, but even the Coast Guard radar images could not show this,” she said, explaining that Environment Canada’s ice report could not give them the information needed to sail either. “Knowing there wasn’t an icebreaker anywhere near, the Coast Guard sent a helicopter from Parry Sound. We now know where the ice is.”

[pullquote]”We needed to know if there was an opening, but even the Coast Guard radar images could not show this,” she said, explaining that Environment Canada’s ice report could not give them the information needed to sail either. “Knowing there wasn’t an icebreaker anywhere near, the Coast Guard sent a helicopter from Parry Sound. We now know where the ice is.”[/pullquote]

Ms. Schrempf said the remaining ice is found largely near Cape Croker and Lions Head, so the Chi-Cheemaun will make her annual journey from Owen Sound a little further east than usual. The southwest wind that blows is also helping to push the ice away from the ferry route.

“And the ice is rotten and there’s less of it,” she added.

The Chi-Cheemaun’s first sailing of the year will take place at 1:30 pm from Tobermory, arriving at South Baymouth at 3:30 pm.

For reservations, call 1-800-265-3163 or visit www.ontarioferries.com.