The MS Chi-Cheemaun is now undergoing a safety check at Heddle Shipyards in Thunder Bay Dry Dock.
The MS Chi-Cheemaun is the primary form of transportation for visitors, businesses, and tourists to Manitoulin Island, although this automobile ferry service is only available from May to October. The MS Chi-Cheemaun is a passenger and car ferry that runs between Tobermory on the Bruce Peninsula and South Baymouth on Manitoulin Island, traversing Lake Huron. Those who intend to go to and from the island during the winter months must traverse the vast distance from Sudbury to their “south” destination via car. A trip to London, Ontario from Sudbury takes approximately 7-8 hours non stop.
Every five years, Transport Canada conducts a mandated inspection on the Chi-Cheemaun, and a location is chosen through a procurement procedure. It was completed five years ago at the Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding yard in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin. The length of the stay will be determined by the findings of the inspection. During that period, the ship’s engineer staff will be working in Thunder Bay on cleanup, safety checks, and maintenance. Early in December, the Chi-Cheemaun is slated to return to the Owen Sound harbour for the winter.
Read The Scuba News Canada article on Swing it to Manitoulin Island.
The 1 hour 45-minute crossing is not just a gateway to the world’s largest freshwater island, but also a shortcut to and from northern Ontario, avoiding a lengthy journey across Georgian Bay. The 50-kilometer (30-mile) journey is fascinating in and of itself, and can be savoured on a Sunset Dinner Cruise, (closed this year and last because of COVID restrictions) which is offered on the last sail of the day. A trip off the Island via Sudbury to London, Ontario takes 9 hours non-stop in the winter months. The Chi-Cheemaun is a “well oiled” operation with timely loading and unloading and lots of staff to direct you to your parking spot on the ferry.