Ferry sets sail Friday

by Alicia McCutcheon

SOUTH BAYMOUTH—The MS Chi-Cheemaun will make its first trip of the season this Friday, May 4, sailing into port at 10:50 am after a long winter dockage in Owen Sound.

The ferry makes its first trip from South Baymouth following the spring schedule, May 4 to June 21, at 11:10 am.

South Baymouth departures as per the spring schedule include Monday-Thursday, Saturday and Sunday at 11:10 am and 3:50 pm, and Friday at 11:10 am, 3:50 pm and 8:15 pm. An additional sailing will be made on Victoria Day, Monday, May 21 at 8:15 pm.

Rates will remain the same as the fall of 2011, though could be subject to change should fuel rates soar during the summer months.

In a previous article, Owen Sound Transportation Company (OSTC) general manager Susan Schrempf noted that the Chi-Cheemaun generated $16-million in spending in Manitoulin and Algoma. “We think this is very important, especially to the people of Manitoulin,” she said, urging people to use the ferry when they can.

Right after the 2011 season ended, the ferry made its way to Thunder Bay for its five-year out-of-water inspection and maintenance.

Ms. Schrempf explained that the propeller shaft was completely removed from the vessel for inspection, as were the variable pitch blades on the propeller.

“They had a good look at the bow thruster and stabilizer system too,” she said, noting that both were in great condition. “The ferry was sandblasted and repainted below the water line too, which actually makes it go faster.”

The new OSTC logo will also grace the ship’s sides when it comes into port on Friday.