Thursday, December 25, 2008

We Are Leaving for Florida Too Late!!!

Posted by PicasaThis is the view of the Detroit River looking toward an island between us and Canada. There is a very narrow channel of water WAYYYY out there. Judging from the piles of ice, the clear strip of water could have been the work of an ice-breaker ship. I can not remember the last time, if ever, an ice breaker was needed in this area.

It was bitterly cold! The date on the calendar said "December 21" but it was hard to believe. There was snow and near-zero cold on the FIRST day of Winter. We thought leaving for Florida after Christmas meant we would miss the worst parts of winter. I guess we should look at leaving in October next year.

Here's why this sight is so remarkable. We are just a mile or so down-river from an active coal-burning power plant. River water is used to cool the generators and pumped back into the river, keeping our part of the river, lake and outer canals warm and free of ice. The only other time I have seen these areas frozen was once when the power plant went off-line for a week or so.

You might say, "So what?" Well, I'll tell you. Our town is full of marinas. I heard someone say there were more boats than the population, but I don't know that for a fact. Most of the boats are pulled out of the water by October 15, when there is danger of a strong wind out of the west that blows the water out of the canals and strands boats on the bottom. When the water returns, the boats may be stuck in the mud and swamp. Bye-bye, boat! Some boats near the main docks of the marinas will stay in for the winter. Some of them have people living on the boat all winter. If the water freezes the unprotected boats could have their hulls crushed by the ice. Some captains will ring the boat with empty milk jugs tied together. The ice may crush the jugs, but the boat will stay safe. Other boat owners will install "bubblers" surrounding the boat at water level which will keep the water moving and from freezing. HOWEVER...those in the main canal, just down from the power plant never had to worry.

I can only wonder what happened. When we looked the power plant was running full blast. We had to guess that the sudden cold snap and snow were more than the warm flushing water could fix.


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Gabby Faye
Michigan, United States
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