The Salties are Coming

Back already? Yes, I finally managed to get out twice in the same weekend!

Jesus

I’ll start with a few Belle Isle odds-n-ends.

Rock

Since Belle Isle never seems to run out of those.

Bricks

I guess Nick is getting his free publicity now. I hope you’re reading this.

Charlotte Theresa

Ok, now on to the good stuff. Charlotte Theresa.

Charlotte Theresa

The 425 foot tanker was the first saltie to enter the St. Lawrence Seaway this shipping season, and now she is my first saltie of 2014.

Charlotte Theresa

She unloaded some sort of oil product in Oakville, ON, and is now on her way to Sarnia.

Charlotte Theresa

And, how about a good memory test… one has to go back a bit to find Charlotte‘s first appearance on this blog. It was back in 2012, and she had a different color then.

Charlotte Theresa

Off into Lake St. Clair she goes, helped by the strong wind blowing in her direction.

Charlotte Theresa

And a nice parting shot. Now, to the opposite end of the island…

Rock

There are cool rocks on both sides I guess.

Detroit

Anyway, here comes my last ship for the weekend with a motor city backdrop.

SCL Bern

It’s the SCL Bern, another saltie. Unlike Charlotte, it’s my first time seeing her.

SCL Bern

The Swiss general cargo ship is 459 feet long, and is also bound for Sarnia after a stop in Hamilton.

SCL Bern

Sarnia is an unusual place for a saltwater bulker to stop, unless she loads grain there.

SCL Bern

So, it’ll be interesting to see what she does when she gets there. Although I won’t be there to see it myself.

SCL Bern

Because I’m done for the weekend, so I bid adieu to SCL Bern and get on my way.

Belle Isle

Oh, and apparently the Grand Prix (Chevy edition) was taking place today. I think the ship won.

That’s all for this weekend. Hopefully I can churn out one more post this week before Easter comes.

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A, AA, AMA, AAA?

I opened my shipping season three weeks ago with the Alpena passing Belle Isle, and today I was back for more.

Alpena

Yep, back at Belle Isle, and so is the Alpena. That’s Chris over there shooting her as well.

Alpena

It’s a hazy and sunny morning here at the island, but the Alpena makes up for that with her looks.

Alpena

That land on the right there is Peche Island. It belongs to a mysterious country called Canada. I’d like to boatwatch from Peche Island someday.

Alpena

The 72 year old Alpena is headed for Detroit with a load of cement from her namesake port, just as she was three weeks ago.

Alpena

She passes quickly and off she goes. Now for part two of this Alpena adventure…

Arthur M. Anderson

Although, this isn’t the Alpena. It’s a different old steamer, the Arthur M. Anderson (AMA), and she’s loading ore at Zug Island for delivery to Gary.

Alpena

There’s the Alpena… luckily our shores are heavily guarded by fishing boats.

Arthur M. Anderson

The Anderson is surrounded by them too, as is the brown dockface on the right.

Alpena

All at once, the fishing boats scamper away as the mighty Alpena asserts its presence. The best part is, she didn’t even use her horns – she just started heading toward the shore and the boats knew to get out of there!

Alpena

Although, I suppose I would have liked to hear her horns. Oh well…

Alpena

The Alpena does a smooth job of turning around to dock. She starts by turning toward shore, and then holds her bow in place while swinging the stern so that she faces upbound.

Alpena

The last step is using her thrusters to move over to the dock.

Alpena

The Alpena and Anderson make a classic pair – one built in 1942, the other in 1952. Both were built for U.S. Steel, as the Alpena is an “AA-class” ship and the Anderson is an “AAA-class” ship. That’s a lot of A’s.

Alpena

And… the Alpena blocks out the Anderson, except for the end of her boom. Time to tie up and start unloading cement!

Alpena

As a parting shot, she gives one last push with her bow thruster as crewmembers disembark to begin the fun unloading process.

That’s all for me today. Thanks to the Alpena for showing up, and thanks to the weather for being nice (it got cloudy two hours later).  And thanks to you for reading this.

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A Little Late

It’s been a busy week for me. I went boatwatching on Sunday, but haven’t had the time to write a post yet. Now is that time.

Old Glory

I began at Belanger Park in the sunny afternoon.

Tecumseh

Tecumseh is still in winter lay-up, waiting for another season of carrying canola seed to Windsor.

Great Lakes Trader

In the poor lighting, the barge Great Lakes Trader sails upbound.

Great Lakes Trader

This barge has been quite busy this winter, carrying ore out of Escanaba consistently, and only taking a short lay-up in February.

Ojibway and Trader

She passes the rest of Windsor’s lay-up fleet, the Ojibway and Saginaw.

VanEnkevort

The Joyce L. VanEnkevort, a capable icebreaker to boot, is the massive tug that pushes the Trader.

Great Lakes Trader

The pair is checked down for the Mistersky Fuel Dock, and will be gassing up before proceeding back to Escanaba. Her recent ore loads have been Cleveland-bound.

Innovation

My next stop is Riverside Park, where another barge is coming in the opposite direction.

Innovation

The Innovation is bound for Detroit with a load of cement.

Samuel de Champlain

Samuel de Champlain is the pusher in this operation.

Innovation

And off she goes. After unloading in Detroit, she’ll unload in Toledo. Then unload in Cleveland. Then stop in Detroit again. Then load in Alpena. Fun times.

Anyway, that was all for last weekend. With the current ice conditions being the worst in decades, there haven’t been too may ships to see.

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Sprung

The title of this post describes what Spring has done. However, it’s done it very slowly. I haven’t been to Detroit in two weeks, and do I really want to go to all the trouble to head down there on a soggy, overcast afternoon?

go

Something tells me I should go anyway.

CCGS Samuel Risley

Before you stop reading, this is not about to be a repeat of my last post, which was a bit of an overdose on Samuel Risley photos.

CCGS Samuel Risley

The mighty Canadian icebreaker is back on escort duty, leading a ship off a mostly ice-free Lake St. Clair.

CCGS Samuel Risley

She has a pretty big lead over the ship she’s escorting though.

CCGS Samuel Risley

So off goes the Risley. She proceeded to dock in downtown Windsor to await her next job.

Alpena

Now, here’s the ship!

Alpena

And what a ship it is… it’s the Alpena on her way to open the Port of Detroit for the 2014 season.

Alpena

She departed lay-up in Cleveland on the 15th, and is carrying the first cargo of her 72nd year on the Lakes. She is also now the oldest operating ship on the Lakes.

Alpena

So what better vessel to open the port for the season than the Alpena.

Alpena

Built in 1942 in River Rouge, the Alpena spent most of her life as the 640′ bulk carrier Leon Fraser. Now 519′, she fits her new role as a cement carrier perfectly. She is always one of the first vessels to enter service each Spring.

Alpena

The graceful little ship has put together a historic career, and one that should continue for many seasons to come.

Alpena

She is the last surviving “AA” class ship built for U.S. Steel in 1942. The other four were scrapped in the 1980s, but the Fraser got a reprieve hauling cement, and lost about 120 feet of hull in the process.

Alpena

But that’s a small price to pay to still have this relic steaming around the Great Lakes. In fact, she’s one of only six steamers that are expected to be in service this year. Six. Just two years ago there were 11. 10 years ago? 24 of them. They are a dying breed.

Alpena

But hey… six is better than none, and someday that number will hit zero. But not this year. So adieu, Alpena, and enjoy another season of hauling powdered cement.

Alpena

And hello, Spring. Please melt the ice on the upper lakes so that we can get more ships moving.

That’s all for today. The shipping season is underway, and while it’s getting off to a slow start, let’s hope it turns out to be a busy one!

Also, if you prefer a more news-like approach to boat-blogging, check out my newest venture: http://motorcityships.wordpress.com

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Icebreaker Dance

Yesterday seemed like a good day to head down to Belanger Park. So I did that.
All was still on the Detroit River…

Tecumseh

The Tecumseh has finished unloading her winter storage cargo and is waiting for her third Great Lakes season to begin.

Norman McLeod

The Norman McLeod and her tug Everlast are taking a short rest from winter operations.

Ojibway

The Ojibway and Saginaw are eager to get moving again as well.

USCGC Hollyhock

But somebody is busy…

USCGC Hollyhock

The mighty USCGC Hollyhock is finishing up an assignment that took her out into Lake Erie.

USCGC Hollyhock

The combination buoy tender/icebreaker has been on call quite a bit this winter, with Great Lakes ice cover upwards of 90 percent.

USCGC Hollyhock

She’s had no downtime yet to get her battle wound repaired (notice the giant dent in her stern).

USCGC Hollyhock

So, after escorting a tanker from Lake Erie to the Detroit River, the Hollyhock is headed to Detroit for a quick break.

Goldeneye

There was some other action on the river as well… this Goldeneye was spotted heading upbound.

Goldeneye

I’m sure it’s clear how these ducks got their names…

Merganser

Later on, a Merganser sailed downbound. Probably looking for a cargo of fish.

Merganser

These winter ducks are a nice distraction from the fact that there are hardly any ships moving…

CCGS Samuel Risley

Well, would ya look at that…

CCGS Samuel Risley

It’s the CCGS Samuel Risley. This strong icebreaker was having engine troubles earlier this winter, and after performing an escort job with the barge Great Lakes Trader back in early February, she went to Windsor where she spent the past month getting repairs. Yesterday she left the dock for the first time to do some test runs, although I don’t know what repairs were actually made.

CCGS Samuel Risley

Either way, I’m sure its a relief for the Coast Guards to have one of the top icebreakers on the Great Lakes back in action.

CCGS Samuel Risley

She was moving along pretty slowly, at around 6 knots at this point. Later in the afternoon she was getting closer to 11.

CCGS Samuel Risley

I initially assumed that the Risley was heading down this way to take over for the Hollyhock on the tanker that she had been escorting…

Geese

Which slowly emerged from behind the plants while the geese were trotting around.

Algoeast

The tanker is the 1977-built Algoeast. The Risley starts to turn around, and I assumed that the East would follow.

Algoeast

The Risley is very slow when it comes to turning around…

Algoeast

But she does, and she heads back upbound, but the Algoeast doesn’t follow.

CCGS Samuel Risley

So instead I just get another pass-by from the Samuel Risley.

CCGS Samuel Risley

What she actually did was head up to Belle Isle, then repeat this whole thing several times, gradually picking up speed. Now she’s docked in Windsor again, possibly still being tweaked.

CCGS Samuel Risley

But hopefully she gets back to escorting ships soon, because they’re going to need it. The shipping season starts in a little over two weeks.

CCGS Samuel Risley

And then ships like the Ojibway there will be calling for the Risley‘s help. This year’s will be one of the biggest Spring breakouts in recent memory.

CCGS Samuel Risley

So off she goes to continue her test run…

The Algoeast remained in the anchorage until this morning, when she departed with the Everlast/Norman McLeod in a convoy led by the Hollyhock and fellow icebreaker Bristol Bay, all bound for Sarnia.

Anyway, that’s all for this weekend – it looks like I’ve survived the winter, and freighters should be coming out of lay-up pretty soon. Then I’ll be posting more often. The only problem is, I won’t have as many pictures of ducks.

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Them Belle Isle Blues

Belle Isle

I said in my last post that it could possibly be my last one for a few weeks. I guess the key words were “could possibly”. This afternoon I was back out at Belle Isle.

USCGC Hollyhock

The USCGC Hollyhock is leading an escort off Lake St. Clair.

USCGC Hollyhock

Although… most of the ice cover on lower Lake St. Clair disappeared this weekend, so I’m not sure why the Hollyhock was needed all the way down here.

USCGC Hollyhock

It’s hard to see, but that nice-sized ding on her port stern was the result of getting bumped by the giant freighter Mesabi Miner back in Jaunary.

Bench

So, while waiting for the ship that was getting the escort, I got bored and started shooting various things near the beach.

Belle Isle

In case you forgot where I was.

Duck

This duck is getting her frog no matter what!

Swans

And it’s nice to see the swans still hanging around, too.

Swans

These two have been swimming around this beach since January, possibly longer.

Ice

You know what else has been hanging around since January? This stuff.

Belle Isle

Oh look, here comes that boat…

Algosea

Closer she comes…

Algosea

I was tired of normal Belle Isle shots, so I got an assist from the ice.

Algosea

The ship is the Algosea, a tanker on her way to Nanticoke, Ontario from Sarnia.

Algosea

She’s one of three Algoma tankers operating on the Lakes this winter, the others being the AlgoCanada and Algoeast.

Algosea

Last week, she was featured in this photo making an icy crew change off Nanticoke with the help of the CCGS Griffon. Since then, it looks like the ice may have subsided a bit, but the Algosea still could be in for an adventure when she gets down there.

Algosea

The movement of oil products is the only trade that doesn’t stop during winter on the Great Lakes, so having ice-capable tankers is important to ship operators. In addition to the Algoma fleet, a few other companies operate tankers during the winter, mostly ATBs.

Algosea

So, crew changes are necessary; with a year-round sailing schedule they need some time off during the winter.

Belle Isle

I do too, so that’s all from me for this weekend (and probably also this month). Hopefully when I come back in the Spring, the State will have started putting their mark on this place, and the next era in Belle Isle history will have begun.

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One ‘Way Out

This is my third and final post from Monday’s little trip up to Sarnia, Ontario. Yesterday’s ended in deep despair after I realized that I would have to come up with a new post title. I may have hit a new low with this one. Any”way”…

Algoway

Does this face look familiar?

Algoway

It should… it’s been in my blog posts non-stop this winter.

Algoway

After a long and busy season, the 646′ long Algoway is resting at the Sidney E. Smith dock.

Algoway

The veteran self-unloader had some winter repairs being made, which is a good sign. Last winter, the Algorail was moored in this spot, and no repairs were taking place during either of my visits.

Algoway

This vessel has been the subject of many retirement rumors dating back to 2008, but so far every one has been dispelled.

Algoway

In 2014, expect another season filled with stone and salt for the Algoway.

Algoway

Hmm… I can’t get through the winter without a rope shot. This one isn’t so good though.

Algoway

That mini-stack next to the big one definitely adds character.

Algoway

I guess this wooden thing does too.

Algoway

And here’s a view of the entire hull for you. That concludes the Canadian portion of this post.

America

I am welcomed back to the USA in proper fashion, as one would expect.

Algoway

Looking across the river from Port Huron… it’s the Algoway!

North Slip

I couldn’t really catch the Algosar from the Canadian side, so here she is rafted to the CSL Assiniboine in the North Slip.

Trio

And, to close out this saga, the AlgosteelPeter R. Cresswell, and Algoma Olympic at the Government Dock.

America

This could possibly be my last post for a few weeks, so… until next time!

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