Signs of Winter

Early yesterday afternoon I went back to Belle Isle, because I enjoy torturing myself with freezing winds while watching ships go by. Actually, we got our first big snow of the season this past week, but none of it remained by Saturday. Temps were in the low 30s though, making this my coldest boatwatching trip since last winter. Anyway, on to the photos.

Belle Isle

The sky looks grim to the north, but the sun was out the entire time I was there.

police

The Detroit Police boat was out on patrol, moving very slowly upbound on a circle of the island.

Atlantic Power

Also on patrol was the Atlantic Power.

Atlantic Power

This is my first meeting with this 469 foot long saltie, who is heading to Milwaukee to unload.

Atlantic Power

The Atlantic Power used to be part of the Fednav fleet under the name Federal Power, so the red paint is no surprise.

Atlantic Power

However, she is now part of the Hartmann Shipping fleet of Germany.

Atlantic Power

She quietly passes Peche Island and heads toward Windmill Point.

Algosoo

And guess who just passed Windmill Point? The Algosoo.

Algosoo and Atlantic Power

The two A-ships meet, both loaded with important cargo.

Algosoo

This is my first Algosoo sighting in over a year, but November does seem to be the time.

Algosoo

Unfortunately, this was the last picture I took before my camera batteries died. I had backups, but they were all the way back in the car, so I had to give up on the Algosoo. I went back to the car, switched the batteries out, then headed over to Milliken State Park.

Detroit

Milliken is part of the Riverwalk downtown, so it offers some pretty cool views of the city, but I rarely ever come here because it’s got a bad view of the shipping lanes.

Algosoo

I did catch Algosoo here as well, but much farther away than she was at Belle Isle.

Algosoo

And off she goes, headed to Port Cartier, Quebec.

Claude A. Desgagnés

The actual reason I came down to Milliken was to see this ship, the Claude A. Desgagnés.

Claude A. Desgagnés

She is sitting in the Belle Isle anchorage, waiting for an open grain elevator in Toledo.

Claude A. Desgagnés

This is my second meeting ever with Claude, and the first came on a visit to Detroit in May 2013. This time I didn’t have the good lighting, but I did have the entire ship. And a small flock of geese.

Claude A. Desgagnés

Claude is a Canadian vessel, spending the Summer and early Fall on the Arctic supply run from western Quebec. However, now that it’s November, that run is over for the year, so Desgagnés has chartered her out of Canada for winter saltwater service.

Claude A. Desgagnés

As I keep mentioning, I have had a lot of Desgagnés sightings this year… add Claude to the list!

Lighthouse

Claude obviously wasn’t going to move though, and my fingers were numb by this point (I left my gloves in the car), so I took a shot of the lighthouse and decided to head home.

Claude A. Desgagnés

I also took a parting shot of the Claude A. Desgagnés. Then I got back in the car to save my fingers.

That’ll be all for this weekend. Just another week closer to winter… hopefully something exciting happens soon.

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Remembrance II

As you may know already, today is the 39th anniversary of the tragic sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald on Lake Superior. I was not alive when this occurred, but 39 isn’t a very big number. For many, the events of that fateful night are still fresh in the mind, and the sinking has become a Great Lakes legend – and in this way it’s become a part of many people’s lives.

The sinking gained national fame when Gordon Lightfoot wrote a ballad about it, and while it’s an excellent song, there are other reasons that the fate of the Fitzgerald is fascinating. She is the largest ship to ever sink on the Great Lakes, as well as the last. Shipwrecks, once common on the Great Lakes, were becoming less and less frequent by the 1970s – but on November 10th, 1975, they reared their ugly head when the 729 foot Fitzgerald and her entire 29-man crew were claimed by the mighty lake. While it is a tragedy, the event will forever serve as a reminder of the power of these “Lakes” – which doesn’t seem like a very fitting name for them.

For me, it was Lightfoot’s ballad that introduced me to Great Lakes shipping at a very young age. I observe the 10th as a day of remembrance every year, and I always try to go boatwatching on that day as well. However, this year, the anniversary fell on a Monday – so I had to settle for Sunday, the day before.

Jana Desgagnés

I arrived at Belle Isle early yesterday afternoon, where it was cloudy and windy.

Jana Desgagnés

I was greeted there by the busy Canadian tanker Jana Desgagnés.

Jana Desgagnés

For me, it has been a very good year (relatively) for Desgagnés sightings – but I say that every time I see one. But I keep seeing them (I usually plan that, but there have been more opportunities this year).

Jana Desgagnés

And Jana is now the only one that I’ve had two good sightings of this year. We met back in Québec this summer.

Jana Desgagnés

I’ve seen her a total of four times in my life, which ties the Sarah Desgagnés for the most of any ship in the fleet.

Jana Desgagnés

The wind was getting pretty rough, so I went back to the car to wait for the next ship.

Algoma Spirit

That would be the Algoma Spirit, and boy is she a sight for sore eyes…

Algoma Spirit

Until yesterday, I hadn’t seen the Spirit since February 2013, and that was just a glimpse. My last decent pictures of her came in September 2012.

Algoma Spirit

And while the weather and lighting wasn’t ideal, it’s hard to not be happy with ending that kind of drought.

Algoma Spirit

The big former saltie is heading to Trois-Rivières with a load of wheat… hey, I stayed there this summer!

Algoma Spirit

The Spirit was built in 1986 as the Petka, and later sailed as Sandviken before going to Algoma in 2008. She didn’t join the company’s Canadian fleet until 2010.

Algoma Spirit

She has since proved to be very useful in the ore and grain trades, as that’s about all she can carry without a self-unloading boom.

Algoma Spirit

Unfortunately, the Spirit‘s arrival in the fleet likely cost one classic veteran its life. But in the face of a tough economy, Algoma made a good investment on these former salties and they have been a big help to the aging fleet.

Algoma Spirit

So, with less than two months left in her season, the Algoma Spirit rounds the corner and heads out of sight.

Herbert C. Jackson

My third and final ship of the day is one that have seen very often over the years… the mighty Herbert C. Jackson.

Herbert C. Jackson

What’s interesting is that the Jackson is the vessel that followed the Edmund Fitzgerald out of the Great Lakes Engineering Works shipyard in River Rouge. Still steaming along at 55 years old, the Jackson is rarely associated with the ship built just before her by the same yard.

Herbert C. Jackson

Far more often, the Fitzgerald is mentioned in the same sentence as the ship built just after the Jackson – the Arthur B. Homer. A near sister to the Fitzgerald in external design, the Homer was retired less than 10 years after the Fitzgerald sank. The retirement was likely caused by the economy, but speculation exists.

Herbert C. Jackson

And as the ship built in between those two, the Jackson has led a very normal career – her only major change since construction was the addition of a self-unloading boom. Everything else is just as it was when she splashed into the Detroit River in 1959.

Herbert C. Jackson

The Jackson is now heading for Duluth to load grain, after unloading ore at AK Steel in Dearborn. That puts her on Lake Superior tonight – 39 years to the day that the Fitzgerald sank.

Herbert C. Jackson

The weather has been acting up this months so far – Lake Michigan and Lake Superior have seen their share of gale warnings this fall, which have kept many vessels in port or at anchor on some nights.

Herbert C. Jackson

Luckily, the Jackson saw no gales on Lake St. Clair yesterday afternoon, as it was smooth sailing after she left Dearborn.

Herbert C. Jackson

And hopefully it will be all smooth sailing until she returns this way later this week, as her impending grain cargo will probably go to Buffalo.

Herbert C. Jackson

And with that, I bid adieu to the lovely steamer as she heads into the mini Great Lake.

Herbert C. Jackson

I can only think of one ship that would be more appropriate for this day, and while it didn’t show up, the Jackson was a nice alternative.

Well, that was it. I would have liked to stay longer, but had other things to do yesterday, so I returned home after this.

Keep the 29 men who went down with their ship 39 years ago in your mind today, and give Lightfoot’s ballad a listen. And get out to see some ships for me, if you can.

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English River on the Crooked River

Yesterday I bored you entertained you with many pictures of the Great Lakes Towing Company yard in Cleveland that I took yesterday morning. After that stop, I went over to Wendy Park to examine the outer harbor.

Duluth

The tug Duluth is sitting neat the breakwall with a construction barge. A Coastie passes by on patrol.

Duluth

Duluth belongs to Great Lakes Dock & Materials of Muskegon, who is doing some work in the outer harbor. Her smaller fleetmate Sarah B. was in the shipyard as seen yesterday. Duluth is 70 feet long and gets 1,200 horsepower.

Duluth

All in all, it seems to be a complex operation with multiple barges and a lot of equipment and rocks.

Albanyborg

Over at the distant Port Authority docks, the saltie Albanyborg is unloading break bulk of some kind. FirstEnergy Stadium is behind, where the Browns will defeat Tampa Bay in a matter of hours.

Adam E. Cornelius

At the Cleveland Bulk Terminal, the Adam E. Cornelius has finished unloading and is just sitting there. This is my second time catching her since she returned to service in September.

Forest City

Across the marina is the former bumboat Forest City, which has already been moved to its winter spot. As far as I know, it’s now a pleasure craft.

Manistee

The veteran laker Manistee is anchored out on Lake Erie, but I’m not sure what she’s waiting for. She could be looking for the Cornelius to clear the CBT.

English River

My next stop is the flats on the Old Cuyahoga, where I find that the English River has departed the LaFarge Elevators and is now backing out of the river.

English River

This is my third encounter with the 404 foot cement carrier this year. We met twice on the Welland Canal back in the summer. She never comes by Detroit, so three times in a year is pretty good.

English River

I headed over to Shooters (next to the building at the extreme right of the first two shots) to get up close and personal with the stylish Canadian ship. Clearly the gulls want a piece of this action too.

English River

The English River, a former package freighter, was here to unload powdered cement from Bath, Ontario. She is a semi-frequent visitor, but most of Cleveland’s LaFarge loads come from the company’s American vessels.

English River

She was operating in very tight quarters (backwards!), and at her closest was less than 10 feet from me standing ashore. So I was having a hard time getting all of her in the frame.

English River

The crewmember at the very stern was holding a radio and calling the shots for the bridge.

English River

I thought she was going to back all the way to the outer harbor, but around this point I figured out that she was actually turning around by backing up the main channel of the Cuyahoga and then heading forward out to the Lake.

English River

If you didn’t know, the word “Cuyahoga” means “Crooked River”, which is a very fitting description, and is there I got the post title from.

English River

The ship is now backing up the Cuyahoga from the Old River, blocking both channels. Her stern dips out of sight as she goes into the main channel.

English River

After a few minutes of that, she starts turning to make her departure, and every seagull in Ohio shows up to watch.

Adam E. Cornelius

Suddenly Adam E. Cornelius appears in the 0uter harbor, backing away from the CBT.

Adam E. Cornelius

She is also blocking the English River‘s exit.

English River

All turned around and ready to go, the cement carrier speeds up in preparation for meeting the open lake.

English River

Cornelius backs out of the way to do her own turnaround, and English River heads out, back to Bath for more cement.

Anthony J. Celebrezze

For my final stop, I head up the river to collision bend, home to the fireboat Anthony J. Celebrezze.

Anthony J. Celebrezze

A classic vessel, the Celebrezze has served the city well for many years.

Holiday

A few docks down, the Holiday is getting fired up to take some Browns tailgaters over to FirstEnergy Stadium to watch their team get the win.

Holiday

Standing in the background is the lovely Terminal Tower, and behind it the Key Bank Tower (Cleveland’s tallest).

Terminal Tower

Terminal Tower is Cleveland’s landmark, and something I haven’t taken enough shots of over the years.

Trail

I’ll close it out with a shot of Cleveland’s new walking/biking trail that goes along the River, leading from collision bend to one of the city’s newer residential districts. Included are small “lagoons” like the one seen, and a fishing pier. This is definitely a great development, and hopefully next time I can use it to watch some passing ships.

That’s all from my short trip to Cleveland. Hopefully you enjoyed seeing something other than Detroit, but Detroit is probably where my posts will be from for the rest of this month. I’ll just have to find some cool boats there.

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G Tugs on the Old Riverbed

Quick: name a major port near me that I haven’t visited in over a year! Nope, not that one. The answer I was thinking of was Cleveland. But this morning I went back to the Forest City for the first time since July 2013. It’s been too long.

South Carolina

Just like last time, I got things started at the Great Lakes Towing Shipyard on the Old Cuyahoga Riverbed. There the 1925-built South Carolina is enjoying her retirement. Barely visible next to her is the Maine, built in 1921, who is also retired.

South Carolina

South Carolina is a faux G-tug, as she was actually built by Manitowoc Shipbuilding for the Milwaukee Tugboat Company. She joined Great Lakes Towing in 1948 and operated in the Chicago area with her retractable wheelhouse until 2009, when she was retired in Cleveland.

South Carolina

Her wheelhouse is in the down position and is boarded up.

South Carolina

Her low-profile stack provided the exhaust for her EMD diesel, which gave her the 1,230 horsepower she needed to guide ships on the Calumet River.

South Carolina

She is 86 feet long and hopefully has some sort of future other than this waiting.

South Carolina

Since she’s only been retired for 5 years, she still looks pretty decent. I wonder how much work it would take to get her back in service.

South Carolina

Behind her is the Maine, a true G-tug that has been laid up for somewhere around 10 years now. She looks a little worse for the wear than the SC.

South Carolina

Maine‘s stack has the more proper version of the “G” logo compared to that on the South Carolina.

Maine

Maine is 81 feet long and rated at 1,640 horsepower. Her last active post was Detroit, and she is now just a parts source for her veteran fleetmates.

Delaware

Next down the line are the Delaware and California.

California

California, built in 1926, is active, assisting ships around Cleveland as needed. At 81 feet she gets 1,200 horsepower out of her diesel-electric engine.

Delaware

1924-built Delaware, however, is the longest-inactive of GLT’s junk fleet, having sat here for over 10 years now. Many of her useful parts have been stripped, but she must still have some because she hasn’t been scrapped yet.

Delaware

The 81-footer gets 1,200 horsepower, and is practically identical to the California except for their current conditions.

Delaware

Delaware‘s stack logos have been removed since the last time I was here. Perhaps they landed on a fleetmate.

Delaware

She is also riding higher in the water than last time, meaning that she’s been emptied of any fuel. Perhaps the end is near.

Delaware

So perhaps this will be my last time seeing the old Delaware, but hopefully she sticks around a little longer just for the heck of it.

Iowa

Moving on down the row, I meet the Iowa. Another of GLT’s active tugs in Cleveland, she dates back to 1915.

Iowa

Like the Cali and DelawareIowa is 81 feet long and boasts 1,200 horsepower. Unlike them, however, Iowa is diesel rather than diesel electric (GLT reportedly prefers the diesel tugs).

Iowa

Iowa is basically a prototypical example of the classic G-tug, with her minimal cabins behind the pilothouse and classic stack.

Iowa

Nowhere but on the Great Lakes can you find 90+ year old tugs serving as the backbone of the ship docking fleet for an entire region.

Illinois

Next in line is another running mate of the California and Iowa, the Illinois.

Illinois

Illinois is celebrating her happy 100th this year, and to celebrate she spends her time helping ships navigate the Cuyahoga River with her 81 foot hull and 1,250 horsepower.

Favorite

After the Illinois, there’s a jumble of boats down at the shipyard. First is the floating drydock Favorite. Behind that is the small tug Sarah B., the G-tug Louisiana, and her fleetmate Pennsylvania ashore for refit.

Sarah B. and Louisiana

Sarah B. is owned by Great Lakes Dock & Materials, and is in town to help with a dredging job in the outer harbor. I guess the shipyard is her resting place when not busy. She’s based in Muskegon on Lake Michigan. The Louisiana, which was very hard to photograph, is from 1917 and measures 81 feet with 1,250 horsepower. I’m not really sure if she’s active or not.

Pennsylvania

Parked in front of the Pennsylvania is the workboat Salvage Chief, about which I can find no information. It appears to be a former fishing craft. Pennsylvania, meanwhile, was built in 1911 and is getting her turn in GLT’s fleet overhaul program. She gets 1,400 horsepower and is 81 feet long. After the refit, I’m not sure what port she’ll head to, but her last one was Toledo.

Kiyi

And all the way at the back is the big research vessel Kiyi. She works for the USGS and is based in Ashland, WI on Lake Superior. She’s in town for some sort of work but I’m not sure what. They made sure to get her the proper fendering, though.

Shipyard

Here’s one last look at everything past the Illinois (Louisiana not visible), and that’s all there is for me at the shipyard.

I’m a tug-nerd, so I enjoyed that part of my morning a great deal. However, I saw other things too, so I will finish this in a second post tomorrow.

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Spooky Sunset

This very scary post includes the second half of the pictures I took on Sunday, 10/26. It feels like it’s changed seasons since then. Today it’s cold, dark, and windy with a chance of snow. But you can bet I’ll be out there in my Algosteel costume.

But back to Sunday and Belle Isle…

Herbert C. Jackson

Boo! The Herbert C. Jack-o’-Lantern Jackson is backing in the sweet evening light as she enters the Detroit River.

Herbert C. Jackson

The Jackson is carrying a load of taconite to AK Steel in Dearborn. I normally would catch her on the Rouge River as well, but it will be dark by the time she gets there.

Herbert C. Jackson

Herbert is the first classic laker I’ve shot since July 16th, which is a bit spooky. I think I was going crazy during that time.

Herbert C. Jackson

Action Jackson is one of my favorite U.S. lakers too, so it’s always a pleasure to see her wherever I go.

Herbert C. Jackson

Especially when the sun is shining like that.

Herbert C. Jackson

The Jackson is also one of fewer than 10 steamers still in service on the Lakes.

Herbert C. Jackson

In fact, the Jackson is almost like a ghost from 50 years ago.

Herbert C. Jackson

The Jackson sails past those annoying trees, and onward to Dearborn.

road

She was my last boat, but I decided to shoot some other things since, given the current weather, this could be my last sunny evening for awhile – now that’s scary.

Propeller

This ghostly propeller sits outside the Coast Guard station.

tree

I apologize for the random insertions of Halloween-themed words. I just didn’t have any recent scary pictures to post. But this Willow tree at least looks a little creepy, right?

tree

How about now?

pier

I guess the South Fishing Pier can be considered scary. I’m not sure how stable the thing really is.

pier

I’ve never seen this many people on the rickety old pier before… maybe they’re ghosts?

pier

Hmm, wonder what they’re taking pictures of…

posts

These posts aren’t very exciting, but they are there and I didn’t have anything better to shoot.

buoy

This buoy doesn’t make for very good subject matter, either.

monster

While leaving the island, though, I did find a spooky monster… which reminds me of an antelope.

Detroit

And the last thing I shot was something that a lot of people think is scary – Detroit.

Detroit

And just for good measure, here’s another rude tree.

Evening

I will leave you here for the day. The fisherman clearly isn’t scared of the big bad city behind the tree.

Happy Halloween, and hopefully this is the least scary thing you see all day!

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The Sweet Light

I started this blog three years ago on this very day, October 30, 2011. By about April 2012, I had a true plan for what I wanted this blog to be, and since then it has gone pretty much exactly as planned (except for this summer when I didn’t have an acceptable camera). Tugboathunter was also renewed today with a bunch of new upload space, so hopefully another 3 years are in the cards.

To celebrate the occasion, I will post some of the pictures I shot this past Sunday, the 26th.

Algosar

I arrived at Belle Isle to a beautiful Fall evening, but I wasn’t ahead of the boat.

Algosar

It happens often where I go to catch a particular boat, but end up traveling quickly enough to catch an earlier boat that I was originally going to skip. That was the case Sunday with the Algosar.

Algosar

With this meeting, the Algosar jumps into the lead as my most-sighted ship for 2014. She is looking to knock off the 2013 champion and co-2012 champion, Algosteel.

Algosar

Algosar is a quirky little tanker, built in 1978 and spending her time on Great Lakes and Seaway runs. I don’t see her in motion very often, but she’s docked in Sarnia almost every time I make a trip up there, which is how we’ve connected five times this year.

Algosar

So while she wasn’t a planned sighting, Algosar makes a nice start to the evening as she continues upbound to Sarnia.

Algosar

And off she goes.

Pathfinder

This is a bit odd too… I went almost two full years without seeing the Pathfinder, but now she’s showed up twice in October, both times as an accident. So clearly, I got to the Isle very early for the boat I was looking for.

Pathfinder

But on the other hand, I now have some better shots of the Pathfinder!

Pathfinder

Sunny days are hard to come by in the Fall, but if you get one, the evenings are just beautiful. Sunday’s lighting was so great that I even named this post after it (and posted three very similar shots of the Pathfinder in a row!). That’s when you know.

Pathfinder

I did a bit or writing about the Pathfinder already this month, so there’s not much to say here. Former steamer now barge. Living productive second life.

Dorothy Ann

The workhose Dorothy Ann is the same as before too.

Pathfinder

Go to the 12th photo in this post and compare. That’s about what the Pathfinder once was (except for the paint job).

Dorothy Ann

Then go to the 13th photo… that’s about what the Dorothy Ann replaced.

Dorothy Ann

But oh well… barges happen. Pathfinder sails off into the sunset, except there are trees in the way.

Tree

While waiting for the next ship, I took a picture of this tree. It’s a nice tree. Even if it does block my stern shots.

Belle Isle

The nerve of some trees… this one was trying to block the sun from me.

Shadow

I’ll leave it right here for today. I’m pretty sure this is the closest thing to a “selfie” that I’ve ever taken. With pictures like these, people might start recognizing me in public.

There is more from Sunday’s outing, and I’ll post those in what is sure to be a ghoulish installment tomorrow.

Here’s to another three years of boat “hunting” and blog posts!

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I Just Met a Girl Named…

Leaves are changing, days are shorter, and the sun is becoming harder to find. So, naturally, today was a cloudy Fall day with a touch of rain. Delray Park is becoming barren as the temperatures drop, and today I nearly had the place to myself.

Algoma Navigator

However, I was joined by the Algoma Navigator. The veteran Canadian was refueling at Sterling Fuels in Windsor.

Federal Miramichi and Thunder Bay

Downriver, the Federal Miramichi is loading grain at ADM in Windsor, while the Thunder Bay loads salt.

Innovation

With me on my side of the river was the Innovation.

Innovation

The 460 foot long barge is unloading powdered cement at the LaFarge Springwells Dock. Hidden is her tug, Samuel de Champlain.

Maria Desgagnés

But this is the boat that I’m here for.

Maria Desgagnés

The tanker Maria Desgagnés is sailing upbound for Sarnia, loaded with some sort of oil product.

Maria Desgagnés

This is my first time ever catching Maria up-close, so she had been high on my “to-see” list. It’s been a good year for me and Desgagnés boats, including AméliaMélissaZéladaCamillaSarahJanaCatherineVéga, and now Maria.

Maria

At 393 feet long, Maria is the shortest tanker in the Desgagnés fleet.

Maria Desgagnés

She was built in China in 1999, and looks like she could easily be a saltie.

Maria Desgagnés

Her stack is interesting, as it has two slits running across it.

Maria Desgagnés

I’ve also always been a fan of Desgagnés’s simple stack logo design (even if the colors bug me).

Maria and Navigator

Maria‘s 1999 stern and the 1967 stern of the Algoma Navigator make for an odd clash.

Maria Desgagnés

I like the Navigator better, but I already have plenty of good shots of her. Now I have some of Maria too.

Maria and Navigator

So I’ll leave Maria to her business, as she has about 5 hours until her arrival in Sarnia at this point.

Maria Desgagnés

So adieu Maria. Please send more of your fleetmates my way soon!

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