Last week the Mississagi arrived in Parry Sound to deliver what I expect was the last salt delivery of the season. It was later than I remember but it seems the winds we experienced for most of November had kept the ‘salties’ from delivering salt to the docks in the Parry Sound harbour and the Smelter Wharf. I was told the waves were on the order of 12 feet for much of November in the harbour in Goderich they are loaded from.
While watching the Mississagi land and start to unload the I spoke with a local resident who has been watching the ‘salties’ arrive and unload for decades. She mentioned that the Mississagi was able to get into the inner harbour because of her relatively shallow draft. You can see that at the point this photo was taken she was taking on about 21 feet, well above (below?) what she is able to carry. At this point she had not yet started to unload. It was mentioned to me that the harbour is quite shallow and requires a remarkably shallow draft, from a laker standpoint, to enter the inner harbour. (Click on the image for a larger view that makes it easier to see the draft marks.)
So I though t it might be interesting to take a look at the chart depths for a vessel as it enters the inner harbour passing through the gap between Salt Point and Bob’s Point. Pull out your charts and follow along.
It turns out that at one point the chart data shows a depth of a little more than 22 feet in the channel just before one reaches the red spar buoy (P42). And even as one emerges from the gap just past the breakwater for Big Sound Marina, the depth is still only 24 feet, with 21 feet marked a little to the west of a line defined by the ranges. The chart shows that the depth off of the dock where the Mississagi is shown tied up is 23 feet, and quickly drops to 14 feet as you approach the shore.
Given the relatively shallow depths involved and the proximity of Sound Boat works (seen in the background) I am impressed with how quickly the Mississsagi was able to enter the harbour, line itself up, and start unloading. It took less than 15 minutes to maneuver from a position perpendicular to the dock, to being tied up with the conveyer structure positioned over the dock. It was perfect day in terms of wind and waves, but impressive nonetheless.
Delivering the Goods