Brotherly Love and Riding Ducks

Today was a perfect day to get out of the suburbs and spend a few hours in the city. So, into the city I go…

Independence Hall

But rather than go into Detroit, I decided to change things up and visit Philadelphia instead.

Independence Hall

I’ve already visited New York, Baltimore, and Washington before, but this is my first time in Philly. Naturally, Independence Hall was on my short list of things to see.

Congress

Congress was out for a brief recess, so I was able to enter their meeting room. Mr. Hancock usually sits in the chair in the center.

Independence Hall

I was very excited to stand in the room where my favorite scene from the musical “1776″ took place. I’ll have to watch that again soon.

pointing man

This statue was in the park outside the Hall, but I can’t remember who that guy is…

tomb of the unknown soldier

In another nearby park sits the Revolutionary War’s Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, which was undergoing to restoration work.

Chinatown

A few blocks over is Philadelphia’s Chinatown.

Duck 51

Were you expecting boats in this post? I’ve got Duck 51 for you, which happened to be my ride for 90 minutes in the afternoon. Yes, I am embracing the tourist experience.

Duck 51

I didn’t know the name of the craft until I found the life ring. Turns out, it was built in Michigan and it is ex-Army.

Washington

I was on the wrong side of the duck to get a picture of the Rocky stairs, but I got old Washington on his horse instead.

city hall

Something I didn’t know about Philadelphia is that they have a very impressive city hall.

Elvis

And even the most avid tourists don’t know about Philadelphia’s most famous street performer.

old street

Elfreth’s Alley here is considered the oldest street in America, dating back to 1702.

Weeks

We took a quick 20-minute plunge into the Delaware River next. We didn’t get close to any boats, but I was able to spot a few thing of interest. In this shot is the Weeks Marine yard in Camden, NJ. Weeks is a major marine construction & dredging company, and apparently they have a lot of cranes.

USS New Jersey

The USS New Jersey is now a museum in Camden.

boats

Here is your daily dose of freighters. The closest one, in black, is the Nikol H. In the background, the tug Lucky D. has an asphalt barge in the anchorage, and the ships Luzon StraitAracena CarrierSanta Catharina, and Pannonia G. are all docked in Camden, and barely visible in this shot since three of them are gray and we didn’t get any closer.

pier

On the Philly side there are some nice piers, but not many boats that we went by in our little amphibious craft.

Jupiter

The best thing we passed was the 1902 tug Jupiter, next to her barge Poplar. Not as impressive as a 1702 street, but still pretty neat.

colonials

Back on dry ground, we spotted some of the locals.

no parking

This pretty much speaks for itself. Unfortunately you won’t find these signs in Detroit.

United States

And while I wasn’t very interested in seeing boats today, I couldn’t pass up on getting a shot of the ocean liner United States. The record holder for the fastest trans-Atlantic crossing is rotting away at Pier 82, hoping that her preservation efforts come up successful. It will be a mammoth project to save her, but my fingers are crossed that it will work. Just in case, though, I’ve got some photos now.

United States

So I’ll leave you with the United States, and this is all from my day in Philadelphia. Tomorrow I shall move on to bigger and brighter things.

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Return to Detroit’s Shores II

Oh, hello there. I finally finished my long Canada saga yesterday, but I’m back right away with some pictures that I took two days ago on July 16.

Remember what Belle Isle looks like? It sure has been awhile…

Atlantic Erie

Cruising downbound is the Atlantic Erie, which is a rare bird for me.

Atlantic Erie

The 736-footer is headed to Belledune, New Brunswick with a load of coal for the generating station there. I wish I could tag along.

Atlantic Erie

Like her fleetmate Atlantic Huron in my last post, the Atlantic Erie is a semi-saltwater vessel, and I have a hard time catching her. Somehow I’m not surprised that I got great sightings of both after my main camera kicked the bucket.

Atlantic Erie

If you pay close attention, you may notice that the camera I used here is making its tugboathunter debut. It definitely beats my backup that I used on my last two days in Canada, and my friend Terry gets a huge thank you for letting me borrow it for the next few weeks. Thanks Terry!

Atlantic Erie

The crappy color in these is my fault, not the camera’s, so I apologize for that. Anyway, you can still make out the Atlantic Erie as she continues on her way to the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

Ovation

Flying by next was the charter yacht Ovation, based on Lake St. Clair. She was heading to downtown Detroit.

Infinity

Right behind the Ovation is her fleetmate Infinity, also heading downtown. This seems familiar to me…

Diamond Belle

A third straight passenger vessel, the Diamond Belle, rolls by next, but she is not stopping downtown like the previous two.

sky

As I wait for my last boat, I notice that the sky behind me is looking pretty dramatic. I had sun, but it went away before the boat arrived.

Algosteel

Recognize this one?

Algosteel

The Algosteel is heading for Windsor with a cargo of limestone from Thessalon, Ontario.

Algosteel

This is my third Algosteel post in a row, which might be a record for me.

Ambassador Bridge

I feel like I need more though, so I follow the Algosteel down to Riverside Park, where the sky is still impressive.

Westcott and Algosteel

The busy mailboat J.W. Westcott II departs the dock to go meet the Algosteel.

Algosteel

Now the sun is out, so these ended up as my best shots of the day.

Diamond Belle

Still on the same cruise as before, Diamond Belle has turned around and is heading back up.\

Algosteel & Diamond Belle

She meets the Steel, which is starting to check down to dock.

Belle, Algosteel & Westcott

The Diamond Belle, Algosteel, and J.W. Westcott II form a very diverse trio. To my delight, the Westcott and Steel exchanged horn salutes as they parted ways.

Algosteel & Westcott

I was hoping to see the Algosteel do a 180 to dock at the stone dock across the river, but was a bit perplexed that she wasn’t doing it.

J.W. Westcott II

J.W. Westcott II returns to the dock as the Diamond Belle sails away.

J.W. Westcott II

The Renaissance Center is always a great background for the Westcott. With Belle Isle in the shot as well, these are three Detroit icons.

Huron Maid and J.W. Westcott II

After spending the Spring in Port Huron, the pilot boat Huron Maid is back on station and ready for work. They use the Westcott much more, but the Maid still does many of the pilot exchanges.

Algosteel

And the lovely Algosteel will close out this post. As she passed the stone dock, I realized that she was going to Sterling Fuel first, so no 180 turn for me. I guess next time I’ll try Delray Park.

At this point, I really have no idea what will be posted on here during the next two weeks or so. It could be a lot, or it could be nothing. So… don’t be too surprised if things get quiet around here again. Hopefully there’s more Algosteel on the schedule…

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Goodbye to Ontario

I meant to post this yesterday, but I was having some technical difficulties in the evening. So here it is today instead. I left you off around lunchtime on July 1 at the Welland Canal, and the Algosteel had just arrived in Lock 7 and was ready to be raised.

Algosteel

After a few minutes of getting tied up and in position, the 730 foot ship rises.

Algosteel

When she’s finished, lines are tied off and the ship gives 1 blast of her horn. The lock gates open, and the Algosteel inches out.

Algosteel

She’s going slower than she could, since she’s waiting for the next downbound ship to appear before proceeding.

Algosteel

The mighty ship towers over everybody around her.

Algosteel

And she owns the best name of any ship on the Great Lakes.

Algosteel

After she picks it up a bit, I go to catch her riding the approach wall.

Algosteel

The next ship is in sight, so the Algosteel starts churning water to exit the approach zone.

Algosteel

Once again, her size is pretty impressive.

Algosteel

With some fine examining, I locate a spot where a door was cut into her hull for work of some kind, either at a shipyard or during lay-up.

Algosteel

Algosteel leaves the wall, and picks up speed on her way to Port Colborne. That’s the last I’ll see of her on this trip.

Atlantic Huron

Due up at Lock 7 is the Atlantic Huron.

Atlantic Huron

The 736 footer is heading to Sydney, Nova Scotia with a load of coal. Notice her widened side tanks.

Atlantic Huron

The Huron was built in 1984 as the straight-decker Prairie Harvest, but was eventually converted to a self-unloader. She is coastal class and often works on semi-coastal runs for CSL, such as carrying coal from the Great Lakes to a port like Sydney.

Atlantic Huron

The self-unloading control room almost seems to be its own wheelhouse.

Atlantic Huron

One odd thing about Atlantic Huron is her traditional lifeboats. I thought all semi-saltwater ships had modern ocean-style lifeboats, but the Huron has this instead.

Atlantic Huron

She pulls into Lock 7, scraping the sides with her 78 foot beam, and gets ready to go down.

Pineglen

After the Huron, her fleetmate Pineglen was next, and I caught her coming out of the Lock.

Pineglen

The straight-deck Pineglen is heading to Thunder Bay to load grain, which is pretty much the only thing she carries.

Pineglen

CSL’s other grain carriers also dabble in the ore trades, but Pineglen has none of that nonsense.

Pineglen

CSL went lazy on her banner, choosing not to paint the full company name.

Pineglen

The lighting at Lock 7 is finally starting to turn nice in the early afternoon, but the Pineglen is my last boat of the trip and it’s time to head back home.

Pineglen

So off she goes, and off I go, back to Michigan to finally relax a little.

That was truly an incredible trip, and it was probably the best trip I’ve ever taken (from a boatwatching standpoint). Sure, there was the loss of the camera for the last two days, but the memories will be there forever: The John D. Leitch in Hamilton, the Desgagnés ships in Côte Ste. Catherine, the tug action in Québec City, the Algoma Montrealais in Port Weller, and the Algosteel on the last day – those are just some of the highlights. I hope you enjoyed them all as much as I did.

But now, importantly, what else do I have to post? I could try to come up with something… stay tuned.

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Steeling the Show

July 1st – my last day at the Welland Canal, possibly for quite a long time. I guess I ought to make it a good one.

English River

The first ship of the morning is a repeat visitor, the English River. This officially marks my first time catching the same ship on upbound and downbound transits of the canal during a single visit here! The River is heading back to Bath to load.

Whitefish Bay

The next ship is also a repeat for this trip – the Whitefish Bay. Three days earlier, I caught her passing Québec City. She’s finally caught up to me again, still carrying that ore cargo to Toledo.

English River and Algosteel

After that, I leave the hotel room for the first time (besides breakfast) and run down to shoot at Bridge 5 for the first time this trip. I used this spot quite a bit last year. English River is heading for Lock 3, which has just been vacated by an oncoming Algosteel.

Algosteel

That makes two ships on up-and-down canal transits since I’ve been here. But the downbound Algosteel transit came only about 30 hours before this.

Algosteel

After quickly unloading an ore cargo in Hamilton, the Steel is heading back to Lake Superior for another one.

Algosteel

Things seem to be getting a bit rusty around the aft region…

Algosteel

Although her stack is still mostly shiny.

Algosteel

The Algosteel‘s stern is one-of-a-kind among ships built at Davie Shipbuilding. She was also the only laker ever built for Labrador Steamship, a Canadian spin-off of Interlake Steamship.

Algosteel

But she spent very little time under the Labrador banner, and has been with Algoma for over 40 years now.

Algosteel

And unfortunately, she’s headed to Lock 4, so I have to bid the Algosteel adieu for now.

Everlast

When I return to Lock 7, the tug Everlast is vacating, pushing her out-of-sight asphalt barge Norman McLeod. It’s down there somewhere.

Algosea and Algoma Navigator

The Algosea comes through next, but I decided not to grab any bow shots of her. I was, however, motivated to shoot her fleetmate Algoma Navigator.

Algoma Navigator

The Navigator is headed to Johnstown, ON with a partial cargo of salt. She will then unload the other part at Côte Ste. Catherine.

Algoma Navigator

The Navigator consists of a 1980s Canadian cargo section and bow attached to a 1960s saltie stern. Powered by a rare Doxford diesel engine, she continues to provide useful service for Algoma.

Algoma Navigator

The Navigator churns up water as she moves into the Lock. Now I have to wait for her to be lowered…

Algoma Navigator

And then go shoot her again. Something about this view always seems funny to me.

Algoma Navigator

It’s like I could just jump onboard!

Algoma Navigator

Wow, her cabins are a little rusty there.

Algosteel and Algoma Navigator

You may notice a boat in Lock 6 waiting for the Navigator to clear the approach area.

Algosteel and Navigator

It appears to be the Algosteel once again, and she makes her approach to 7 as the Navigator gets comfortable in 6.

Algosteel

Don’t worry, she’s not coming directly at me. Well, she sort of is. But she’ll divert course as the approach wall directs her into the lock.

Navigator and Algosteel

No salutes were exchanged between the fleetmates as they passed… I’ve seen it on the Detroit River but never here.

Algosteel

This is about as wide as the camera can go while still getting the whole ship, so I should probably go to close-ups instead.

Algosteel

Notice the rust spots on her deck and hatch covers. Could use a nice sandblasting and painting.

Algosteel

Well, she’s in and ready to go up, but that’ll be all for today.

Tomorrow, watch out for the last (yes, the last) post from my trip! The only problem is, July 1st was my last time boatwatching, and I have nothing else to post after tomorrow’s shots. Well, I’ll have to get back out there soon.

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Action on the Welland Canal II

Yesterday’s Welland Canal post covered the first two-thirds or so of my birthday, June 30, and I left off by telling you I was going to Port Colborne for the evening.

CSL Laurentien

So, here I am in Port Colborne trying to get a good shot of the CSL Laurentien as she waits for Lock Eight. I couldn’t get much better than this, so I gave up and went to catch the ship leaving the lock instead.

John B. Aird

That was much more successful. The John B. Aird was slowly building up speed as she prepared to clear the Port Colborne piers and enter Lake Erie, on her way to Two Harbors, Minnesota. I caught her heading the other way in Ste. Catherine, Québec three days before.

John B. Aird

Ooooh, the lighting for this one was incredible. I’m reminded of my Radcliffe R. Latimer sighting here, which was a year before almost to the hour.

John B. Aird

I passed on shooting the Aird back when she was at Lock 7, and I hadn’t expected that I would shoot her here, either. But I just can’t waste this kind of lighting when I have it! After the Aird was through, I had an outstanding dinner of fish, chips, and poutine at this amazing place.

Lambert Spirit

When I was finished there, I got a surprise visit from the barge Lambert Spirit. She’s carrying several lumps of coal from Sandusky to Hamilton.

Lambert Spirit

After she’s done with these coal cargoes, the barge could use a bit of a hosing down, followed perhaps by sandblasting and paint.

Salvor

The classic articulated tug Salvor is doing the pushing.

Salvor

Salvor is definitely one of my favorite tugs, so I try to see her when I can (which isn’t often).

Algoma Transfer

The final attraction in Port Colborne is the scrapyard. The most recent arrival is the Algoma Transfer. She’s an unfamiliar sight on this blog, since she had been laid up in Goderich, ON since the end of the 2011 season. This Spring she was towed down here to meet her maker.

Algoma Transfer

Her bow and cargo section are from the 1943-built steamer J.H. Hillman Jr., which also sailed as Crispin Oglebay before coming to Upper Lakes Shipping for use as a transfer barge in Hamilton.

Algoma Transfer

In 1998, her stern was cut off, and replaced with the stern from fleetmate Canadian Explorer. That stern itself was originally from the coastal package freighter Cabot. So imagine that – a combination of a 1940s American laker and a 1960s coastal freighter. And now this unique veteran will be gone forever. A day or two after I caught her here, her pilothouse and boom were lifted off. I made it just in time.

Algoma Quebecois

The truly sad part, for me, is that hulk of steel in the outer harbor. Recognize it? That’s all that remains of the mighty Algoma Quebecois. Unlike the Transfer, I saw the Quebecois several times when she was in service, and it’s painful to see her go.

Algoma Quebecois

The wheelhouse of the Quebecois sits ashore. Hopefully it will find a good home.

Andean

I returned to Thorold with some daylight left, and got down to Lock 7 to shoot the saltie Andean. She became my second trip repeat, as I caught her unloading in Sorel three days before, the same day as my first Aird sighting of the trip! She is part of the Canfornav fleet, and is bound for Windsor to unload break bulk.

Andean

The Andean is plastered with warning signs, telling of the many dangers of various ship parts. “Watch out for the bulkhead” was displayed amidships.

CSL Laurentien

Oh, I suppose I have time for one more before calling it a day. CSL Laurentien is rumbling through the evening as she makes her approach to the lock.

CSL Laurentien

Since she opened this post, she might as well close it too. My decision to catch the Aird instead in Port Colborne paid off.

CSL Laurentien

Well, sort of. It is a bit dim around here.

CSL Laurentien

While not particularly special, I can think of worse boats to close out my birthday. And as I mentioned yesterday, it was a busy one, with 16 vessels (including the Transfer at the scrapyard) all around the canal.

CSL Laurentien

I could have really used a train right about here, but I’ve never seen one on these tracks before. I guess the ships stole all their business.

Well, that’s all from June 30th. Another birthday in the books. The next day, I headed back home to Michigan, but not before spending a few hours shooting some more ships on the canal. So, yes, the saga shall continue tomorrow!

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Action on the Welland Canal

After losing my camera to rain damage on the evening of June 29, I didn’t sleep much that night because I knew that the next day was my birthday, and the best gift was coming early at about 2 AM.

Algosteel

The Algosteel shuffled quietly into Lock 7, carrying a load of ore for Hamilton. My “backup” camera isn’t the greatest at night shots, but I was somehow able to take this without a tripod.

Algosteel

My favorite ship, the Algosteel has now appeared on my birthday in 2008, 2011, 2013, and 2014. I’d say that’s worth celebrating. After being lowered, she slips out of the lock and proceeds to Hamilton for an ore unload.

St. Marys Cement

So, once daytime sets in, I get back to normal Welland Canal shooting, 2012 version. That was the only other year I used this camera here, and I immediately remembered why I had replaced it. So, even though it’s frustrating to use, and the results are anything but consistent, I went through with it, and tried my hardest to imitate my usual camera. My first boat of the actual morning was the barge St. Marys Cement.

St. Marys Cement

Just in case you were wondering what she carries.

St. Marys Cement

Her tug is the large Petite Forte, and the pair is waiting on the tie-up wall for the next downbounder to arrive.

rail

Meanwhile I decided to start messing around on the train tracks.

Algoma Progress

Oh, here’s the boat. Algoma Progress. It’s been over a year since my last Progress sighting, but you may remember that last Fall she was slated for retirement just like her fleetmate Algoma Montrealais. Well, just like the Montrealais, she was revived for one more round thanks to the harsh ice conditions this past Winter and Spring. So, I get one more shot at saying goodbye.

Algoma Progress

The revival of the Progress didn’t generate nearly as much fanfare as that of her steam-powered fleetmate, mostly because the Progress (while only six years younger) is a much more bland,, and less-classic ship. But she has worked long and hard throughout her career, and continues to earn her keep here in 2014.

Algoma Progress

She slides into the Lock, headed for Hamilton with a load of coal, and hopefully this has not been our last meeting.

Algoma Progress

Good thing she isn’t going the wrong way down that road…

Drawsko

The saltie Drawsko comes upbound later in the morning.

Drawsko

She meets the next downbounder, the barge PML 2501.

Drawsko

The Polish Drawsko made a brief appearance on here back in April, and now I’ve got some close-ups of this aesthetically-pleasing saltie as well.

PML 2501

The PML 2501 is following the Algoma Progress to Hamilton, but with coal tar instead of coal.

Anglian Lady

The impressive tug Anglian Lady handles pushing duties, and shoves her loaded barge into the lock.

Algolake

After finally leaving Port Weller in the morning, the Algolake arrives at Lock 7 in the early afternoon.

Algolake

This is my first Welland Canal sighting of the Algolake, and at this point I’ve seen almost all of the Algoma Central fleet on the canal at one point of another.

John B. Aird

Algolake was followed by her fleetmate John B. Aird, but I didn’t go down for any close-ups since I caught the Aird here last year, and the lighting wasn’t favorable. I also did this with the CSL Niagara in the morning, but didn’t post the hotel room shot either.

Véga Desgagnés

I also didn’t go down to shoot the Véga Desgagnés. I got her for the first time in good lighting last Fall, plus I could get a good shot from the room since she’s a shorter vessel. However, Véga adds to an already impressive list of Desgagnés ships that I’ve seen on this trip that includes Mélissa, ZéladaCamilla, CatherineSarah, and Jana.

CSL Assiniboine

For the next boat, I decide to avenge my failed Cedarglen sighting from the night before, and climb up the lock again to catch the CSL Assiniboine.

CSL Assiniboine

One thing that this camera is good at is wide-angle shots through fences, so taking these was pretty fun. However, my real reason for climbing up there was because I couldn’t wait around for her to get to the other end of the lock, as I had to go down to the canal’s southern terminus in Port Colborne for dinner!

So, that was about two-thirds of my birthday. It turned out to be the busiest day for canal traffic that I’ve ever seen, as the day’s final total was 16 boats. I’ll finish it up with the evening segment tomorrow.

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The Ship to Bring Rain Clouds

Well, well, well… Welland Canal. Yesterday, in my first post from June 29th, I finished as the Spruceglen was heading into Lock 7 in the evening. So as usual, I’ll pick up with what happened next.

I took a quick drive down to Port Weller, which is at the northernmost end of the canal, or the Lake Ontario end. Even though it was 8:00 PM, I had things to see there!

Algolake

Algolake is docked in Port Weller, presumably for repairs, since they were there for quite some time.

Algolake & Montrealais

And then… could it be?

Algoma Montrealais

If you were following my adventures last fall, you likely remember this, and also this. So if the Algoma Montrealais was retired by Algoma last winter, why did I see her steaming through Port Weller on her first trip of the season?

Algolake and Algoma Montrealais

Well, in two words: polar vortex. The harsh winter set Algoma behind on their cargo commitments, so they were forced to perform costly maintenance work to revive the Montrealais for her 52nd season. After living through that nightmare season, boatnerds are now reaping the benefits.

Algoma Montrealais

The beautiful steamer laid up in Montréal last winter, where she was to be retired and await a scrap tow. As she lingered during the Spring, many boatnerds speculated that perhaps that plan had changed. On June 28, the day I was in Québec City, she steamed off on her own, headed for the Great Lakes once more.

Algoma Montrealais

So after all that effort I put in last year to catch her during her final season… I get rewarded with this. But I’ll gladly take it! Catching the Montrealais on the Welland Canal has been a priority of mine for some time now, but last fall I thought I had missed my chance.

Algoma Montrealais

Actually, I did see the Montrealais when I drove quickly through Montréal on the 26th… but I took my chances and decided not to try for any photos. Very un-boatnerd-ly of me, yes, but luckily my gamble turned out to be a smart one. I couldn’t have gotten any very good shots in Montréal anyhow.

Algoma Montrealais

Around this time, I notice that the Montrealais has not come here alone. Following her into the Niagara Region is a huge raincloud, making for a dramatic backdrop.

Algoma Montrealais

Ah, how I missed seeing that classic stack…

Algoma Montrealais

I have mentioned this in my previous posts about her, but I’ll restate it here: the Montrealais is still the last steamer operating in Canada, so luckily the end of that era will be delayed another year.

Algoma Montrealais

The Montrealais is also one of the elder statesmen among Canadian-built ships on the Great Lakes. Built in 1962, only the English River (1961) is older.

Algoma Montrealais

Unfortunately, this sighting was brief, and it will be well past dark by the time she gets to Lock 7 outside my window.

Algoma Montrealais

So as she enters Lock 1, I bid her adieu… hopefully not for the last time.

Algolake

Meanwhile, the army of clouds that followed the Montrealais are hanging ominously over the Algolake. I’d better get back to Lock 7.

Cedarglen & Spruceglen

Since I still had about 20 minutes until sunset, I (foolishly) climbed to the top of Lock 7 to shoot the Cedarglen as she pulled in. Spruceglen is heading into 6 in the background. Naturally, the sky ripped open moments later, ruining any chance I had at a good shot. As I tried to escape, the sky ripped even more, drenching me despite my hiding under a small tree. When I returned to my room, the unthinkable happened: my camera had been ruined by water damage. I’ve used this camera during downpours before, and it always seemed to perform well, so this was a bit of a shock. To make a long story short, I was without it for the remainder of the trip. Of course, I brought my “backup” – the camera I used from May 2012 to May 2013 – but it certainly wasn’t the same.

So, while the picture quality won’t be as nice as it’s been for the past year, my trip did continue! That means I still have more posts on the way, so check back tomorrow!

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