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For Today only Dennys' story
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Author:  Lakercapt [ November 3, 2017, 3:50 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: For Today only Dennys' story

When the regulations were not so strick I gave my friends a ride from Port Colborne to Port weller on Saskatchewan Pioneer. The only other time they had been on a boat was when they immigrated to Canada and were passengers on the Empress of England. It was a thrill they talk about today and standing on the bow going down the Flight locks had them a little concerned as we were very close to the gates. Course when I was on for'd pilot house boats I knew what they felt.
A guess its all hum hoe of us that sailed the "Lakes" but to landlubbers its a great big thrill.

Author:  Pete in Holland MI [ November 1, 2017, 12:17 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: For Today only Dennys' story

Yup...something that may be "old hat" for some of us, can be a huge thrill for others.

This past summer, I gave a ride to a 90 year old man on my 1912 steam tractor. He'd wanted to do ride one all his life, and finally got a chance. Made his day, and made me feel all warm & fuzzy as he talked about it.


Author:  Howard Sprague [ October 30, 2017, 10:12 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: For Today only Dennys' story

That is a truly heartwarming story, Denny, and thank you so much for sharing it with us.

Author:  Denny [ October 30, 2017, 6:21 pm ]
Post subject:  For Today only Dennys' story

Okay boatnerds I know it has been a while but, don't get overly excited wrapped up or emotional too much as for today only I will provide one and only one of my classic stories for you all to read and to enjoy. With the passing of my Mom now being just over two and half months already believe it or not and my Dad passing away now just over 12 years ago this past February, today was a very hard and emotional day for me to endure. For it was on this day back in 1999 that I ascended to the heights of the boatnerd nation and shipwatching community to heights that I could only dream of and never expect to ever happen in my lifetime! This story will very much captivate you all and hopefully bring some smiles and a few tears as it does to me even now as I type this story for you all to read and enjoy! So, without further adieu I give this heartfelt and touching story. As I first mentioned today is a special day for me as for on this date in 1999 I got the dream and a ride of a lifetime aboard and actual working Great Lakes/Seaway freighter and here now is how it all played out. It was on a very sunny early morning and a Saturday when my Dad and I went out looking for shipping traffic while we stayed at the Welland Canal. Two of my closest friends were there as well and they had passes to go up on the lift bridge near Lock 3 that same morning. Well as it turned out they got to see the new CSL Niagara pass below them downbound and headed toward Locks 3-1 respectively. Everyone kept saying and asking "Where's Denny at as we thought he knew we were going to get passes and that he could join us and go up with us to the top of the bridge?" Well I did get to go to the top and on a bridge but not the way you would think and expect! Hang in there the drama is just beginning boatnerds. My Dad and I drove down to Lock 1 and we caught the Seaway Queen downbound at the time as she had just cleared Lock 2 and was heading toward Lock 1 at that time. So we followed her down to Lock 1 and noticed as we got there and the Queen arrived, that they were tying up below the Lock for some reason. As they were doing this, I walked over to one of the line handlers from the Queen and asked "Looks like you guys are tying up what gives and what's up?" They told me then that "There's another ship in Lock 1 and we have to wait for them to clear us first before we can enter the lock ourselves." At about that time, I late found out that the Algowood was the mystery ship and they were in Lock 1 loaded with ore for Burns Harbor and was being raised in Lock 1. The drama gets even hotter from here on out boatnerds get this! Just then one of the line handlers from the Seaway Queen then asked me "Hey buddy, would you like to come aboard while we are waiting for the Algowood to clear?" You can only imagine how shocked and stunned I was to here this from a crewmember on a freighter! As I stood there numb and in shock they asked me a couple of more times if I would be interested as far as coming aboard the Seaway Queen? I them immediately ran over to my Dad who was parked in our car watching what was then going on and asked him "Dad they said I could go aboard the ship what do you think I should do and is it okay with you if I do end up going aboard?" My Dad's response was "Den, what are you waiting for get yourself going already and do it!" So before anyone knew what was going on including myself, the boarding ladder was then lowered for me and I started to climb the steps of the ladder and eventually was on the deck of the Seaway Queen and actual and working Great Lakes/Seaway freighter. I could not believe my very eyes and what was taking place and I asked myself if this is for real and am I dreaming this? The crewmembers aboard the Queen then told me that they would walk me up to the pilothouse where I would then meet a Captain Jake sorry I don't recall his last name but, was later told at that time in 1999 at least that he was one if not the youngest master sailing the Great Lakes/Seaway system at that time! So, as luck would have it I did indeed was welcomed up front and in the pilothouse by Captain Jake and we talked and I got a photo of me standing next to him. The best part is still yet to come everyone as you will love this! It was at this moment that Captain Jake asked and told me "How would you like to stay here on board with us and tell you what, we will wait for the Algowood to clear us at Lock 1 and then we sail into Lock 1 with you aboard and once we are secured in the lock we will then let you off here!" I said "sure I would love that and it would be no problem for me or my Dad as well." So before my very own two eyes, I was standing at the bow of the Seaway Queen watching the Algowood carefully slide and glide by us and YES I did get awesome photos of her as well. So then we started carefully sliding the wall and edging into Lock 1 at the Welland Canal. It was also fitting and ironic as well to go by the Port Weller Dry Docks to where the Seaway Queen was built 40 years ago at that point in that historic shipyard and also to remember the many ships built from that same shipyard. So before I knew it, we were safely and secured in Lock 1 and soon it was also time for me to get off the ship while they were being lowered and on their way to I believe it was Baie Comeau, Quebec with wheat from Thunder Bay. The point of the story here though folks is it was a thrill of a lifetime for me and something that I will and always remember and treasure for the rest of my life and will never ever forget it as well. I am also glad that my Dad was there to see this as I know he was very proud at that moment to see his young kid get the ride of his lifetime and a dream fulfilled and promised to ascend to the top of the boatnerd mountaintop. The 1999 season was by far one of my best and greatest seasons ever as far as my shipwatching is concerned and no matter how many trips I make per season and if I ever get another year at 20 or higher and any further trips at 28 or higher which it was I finished with during the 1999 season. Anyway, another point is that 1999 will always be remembered as what I would consider my best year ever as I got the thrill, dream and ride of a lifetime and for once I was on top and felt like I was the man if you will and know what I mean here? So after the Seaway Queen cleared Lock 1 and headed out, she glided safely by us and gave us a thunderous and monster salute as well and I made certain to thank them and her Captain and crew for wonderful and memorable experience one never ever to be forgotten. It also fitting and ironic as the Seaway Queen was also my last ship I would see as well during the 1999 shipping season. So for as long as I live and are a boatnerd and shipwatcher, the date of October 30 will always live in my heart and memory as one that is very special for me and to me and that my Dad was there to see and share the experience with me. Don't worry though as my Mom also found out as well although she chose to stay at home she did get word from my Dad calling her and telling her about that as well. She also relayed that message to a very close and dear friend and neighbor lady of ours as well who was also very proud of me getting the ride, thrill and dream of a lifetime for me back then!

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