Starting the Day Off Right
The first post in this saga is here, and yesterday’s post is the second. The photos in those two posts were taken two days ago on February 22nd. Yesterday morning, February 23rd, I went from my Niagara Falls hotel back to my home in the Metro Detroit area. I departed Niagara Falls at about 7:30 in the morning, and shortly after eight I had arrived at the first of my four stopovers!
That stopover is Port Colborne, Ontario. I spent about 45 minutes in this quaint little town on the southern end of the Welland Canal. I arrived first at the wall directly south of Lock Eight. The 730′ long self-unloader John B. Aird is sitting quietly on the north end of this dock.
Notice the crane on the stern lifting something aboard the Aird. She is a vessel that I don’t see very often, in fact, I only caught her once in 2012. I might be able to top that in 2013!
Looking down the Aird, there’s a lot of stuff around the two ships here at this dock as they prepare for a busy 2013 season.
Frontenac, another ship I don’t see very often, is on the south end of the dock preparing for her 45th season. She is the oldest active laker wintering in Port Colborne this year.
She’s also the only active classic laker here.
Frontenac was built in 1968 and has spent her entire career with that name, and all under the banner of Canada Steamship Lines.
From across the canal I can get a wider bow shot…
And the same goes for the 1983-built Aird.
Moving just a little bit north along the canal, I reach the Stone Dock. The 730′ long Algoma Olympic is sitting here looking pretty rough after just getting new paint last Spring.
Her cabins, though, still look very clean. Like the Aird, I only caught the Olympic once in 2012.
At the northernmost end of the Stone Dock is Olympic‘s fleetmate Capt. Henry Jackman.
There appears to be a good bit of maintenance happening around the Jackman, although she is also surrounded by old stone loading equipment.
Across the canal at Derek Point Memorial Park I can get a slightly better view of this Algoma pair. And a lot of ducks and geese.
Perhaps the Jackman is preparing to go into drydock in the Spring? Last winter the Algosteel used this dock for steel work in preparation for a Spring drydock visit.
The 1976-built Olympic displays her three-tone hull, and she was drydocked less than a year ago. Like I said, it doesn’t exactly show anymore.
My next stop in Port Colborne is their downtown. The tug Vac sits diligently while surrounded by pieces of the lay-up fleet.
The fourth Algoma vessel in port, Algoma Progress is the only ship that has wintered here each of the past two years. She was at this same dock last year as well.
It’s not easy to tell by design, but Algoma Progress is only a few months younger than the Frontenac from earlier in the post. Both ships were built during the changing of the classic era to the “modern” era.
CSL Laurentien, a big, proud member of the CSL fleet, is the largest ship in port at 740′ long (technically she falls two inches short of 740).
Interestingly enough, the Laurentien is yet another vessel I barely ever see, and when I do, it’s never at a favorable angle such as this.
Towards the southernmost end of the canal, the old tanker Provmar Terminal II sits at the IMS scrapyard alongside the self-unloader Maumee. Both ships will likely be gone by the end of 2013, indeed a sad sight but at least I caught them now. Ahead of them is the tug Techno St. Laurent and former Canadian Coast Guard vessel Verendrye. Both have been sitting at the scrapyard for awhile now and I’m beginning to doubt whether or not IMS will actually cut them up.
Here’s a closer view of this sad pair of classic lakers, still beautiful even in this final chapter of their lives.
Vac stares at me curiously as I head back to the car to depart Port Colborne. It’s still before 9:00 AM, and I still have a long day ahead of me. One port down, three to go, and a lot of driving and eating! The February 23rd saga continues tomorrow…
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