Chi-Cheemaun start delayed due to ice

GEORGIAN BAY—Like 2013, things have changed suddenly for the Chi-Cheemaun start date, but this year it’s because of the ice not the water level.

Owen Sound Transportation Company, the operators of the Chi-Cheemaun ferry service announced early Tuesday afternoon, April 29, that the posted start date for the 2014 sailing schedule, this coming Friday May 2, has been postponed for at least a few days until ice conditions in Georgian Bay are appropriate for the ferry to move from it’s home base in Owen Sound up to it’s Tobermory sailing terminus.

Expositor readers will read on the front page of the April 30th paper, the annual headline “Ferry starts Friday” and accompanying story. This indeed was true until Monday night April 28th, when winds pushed ice across Georgian Bay, blocking safe passage of the Chi-Cheemaun out of Owen Sound and thus delaying season start.

The old print adage “as of press time” certainly applies to the newspaper story because as of the time of sending the newspaper to press Monday night, Georgian Bay was still clear of ice for the Chi-Cheemaun and this seasonal anomaly took place sometime during the night of the 28th-29th.

Owen Sound Transportation Company is contacting passengers with reservations for passage this Friday, Saturday and Sunday of this situation and to help them make alternate arrangements.

Taken from OSTC website:

A combination of late melting ice conditions and a significant shift in wind direction overnight Monday, April 28, has pushed ice from the eastern half of Georgian Bay to the western half, effectively blocking the Chi-Cheemaun ferry’s passage from Owen Sound to Tobermory as scheduled for Thursday, May 1.

Ferry service for Friday, May 2nd and Saturday morning has been cancelled. Saturday afternoon and Sunday service are “tentative” provided we are able to move the ferry safely to Tobermory once wind and ice conditions permit.

All passengers with reservations for Friday through Sunday are being contacted by OSTC staff to cancel and/or re-book ferry passage as required.

OSTC is committed to beginning ferry service as soon as ice conditions permit, and it is safe to do so. We regret any inconvenience this delay causes our passengers, but are unable to influence Mother Nature as much as we would like to!

We will update information for the weekend on Thursday evening at which time we will have more current ice condition and location information.

Contact OSTC at 1-800-265-3163 or visit the website www.ontarioferries.com for more information.