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Big Ice-Breaking Ferries


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On the Nova Scotia Newfoundland run the ferries operate year 'round and this year the ice has been bad. These are large 'Northern Baltic Class 1A' ice-breaking ferries and quite capable of handling most ice conditions but the past few days theyve needed some help from the Coast Guard Breakers.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-scotia/marine-atlantic-asks-coast-guard-for-heavy-ice-breaker-help-1.2970976

It's an interesting contrast between the east and west coasts: All these ferry routes fighting ice conditions are south of the 49th parallel (the US-Canada border across the west) and all are further south than any route that BC Ferries operates

Yesterday (Mar 7/15) delays due to the ice conditions in the Gulf of St. Lawrence plus a mechanical issue put three/quarters of the Marine Atlantic Newfoundland fleet in port at North Sydney, NS. First photo (L to R) Leif Ericson, Blue Puttees and Atlantic Vision. (the fourth ferry, the Highlanders was enroute from Port-aux-Basques)

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The new Ferry Terminal still under construction:

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There was also a visitor:....the C.T.M.A. Ferry 'Vacancier' from the Iles-de-le-Madeleine was diverted to North Sydney because of the heavy ice on its usual route to Prince Edward Island.

http://traversierctma.ca/en/

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I've been on winter crossings to Newfoundland. Most make the run in the schedule 6 or 7 hours but I can remember a couple: a 15 hour detour to avoid the ice and 36 hours riding out a storm. Just make sure you have a cabin in winter..a lot more comfortable than sitting up in coach if you get stuck and theyll keep you well fed (but theres no complementary bar!)

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How comfortable are the eastern ferries, a lot of rolling etc, or fairly solid as the atlantic can be nasty

It can be very rough.....and also glass smooth especially in the summer. Two ferries, the Caribou and the Smallwood were purpose built for the Gulf run and known for their ability to handle just about any condition. They were retired about three years ago.

Then there was the high-speed catamaran tried for one summer about 15 years ago. It was fast.....3 hours vs: 6 hours but also nicknamed the ‘Vomit Comet’

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I heard these vessel suck for two reason:

1. They catch the wind easy because they are taller than the retired vessel.

2. The vessels are hard to dock at Port aux Basques because they catch the wind easy.

Yes the entrance to Port-aux-Basques can be treacherous in winds (You can see the hulk of these ships in the photos) And it’s not just the new ships…..the 36 hr trip I mention above was on the Caribou riding out a storm by sailing up and down the coast just off P-aux-B….finally docking early on a Sunday morning after leaving North Sydney on a Friday evening. So much for our weekend ski trip in Corner Brook! But they did keep us well fed and we had a cabin.

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Even the old ferries caught the wind at POB. Been on the Caribou when she had trouble entering and we were delayed several hours.

My first crossing was on the Leif Ericson. That was a really rough crossing. Woke up and looked out the starboard window to see sky, then water, then sky, then water.

Being hungry I made my way to the cafeteria to get breakfast. When I returned I mentioned to my then wife that I had had breakfast at which point someone very nearby grabbed the barf bag and used it for the next several minutes. Thank god I have my sea legs!!!

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Being hungry I made my way to the cafeteria to get breakfast. When I returned I mentioned to my then wife that I had had breakfast at which point someone very nearby grabbed the barf bag and used it for the next several minutes. Thank god I have my sea legs!!!

And sea stomach :)

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