Classic Belle I
My final month of summer withered and died on a colder note, as I was barely able to go boatwatching much in August. Coming into Sunday, this was my last time catching a freighter – and traffic was too slow for me to see any but the one. The following day, I spent over an hour along the river in Windsor, and the ever-sluggish traffic patterns yielded no ships. So heading into September, I was having visions of the beautiful evenings from last fall and realizing that I probably wouldn’t be able to re-create them this time around. But I went to Belle Isle anyway on Sunday evening, and the boats put on a show.
At first it looks like July 13th all over again – Hon. James L. Oberstar coasting past Windmill Point towards the island with a load of taconite.
TheOberstar being run down by a riverboat, though, was not in the script last time.
The Oberstar is a stunning 1959 product that was originally 710′ long and painted green. Now she’s 806 feet long and painted in the brownish-red of the Interlake Steamship Company.
And she is easily running away from her pursuer, the Detroit Princess.
Interlake is currently in the midst of their 100th anniversary season on the Great Lakes – it began as the vision of men such as Samuel Mather, Jay C. Morse, and Colonel James Pickands and over the past 100 years has evolved into one of the most reliable and well-liked fleets of Great Lakes cargo vessels.
The Oberstar has spent most of her life in Interlake colors, with most of those years spent under the name Charles M. Beeghly.
Suddenly, Sam Laud appears!
The Laud is a mere 635′ long, about 170 feet shorter than the Oberstar.
This jet skier was my entertainment for the evening: he does what any reasonable person would do, zoom directly between the two giant moving freighters.
Usually I’d call that the exact opposite of a smart move, but this guy seemed to know what he was doing!
Sam Laud strikes a profile that doesn’t compare well to the Oberstar‘s, but a boat is a boat and I do like boats, so…
Sam Laud deserves to have many pictures taken of her too!
Finally, the Detroit Princess staggers along. It seems ironic to have a riverboat cruising around on a lake, but apparently we can do that in the 21st Century!
Just like any normal person, our favorite jet skier begins literally riding in circles around the Princess as she creeps toward the Laud.
On the Great Lakes, the Sam Laud is referred to as a riverboat. Anywhere else in the world, that term fits the Detroit Princess. A riverboat is a riverboat I suppose.
Once again, the jet skier goes directly between the passing vessels.
And this is rather abrubt but I’m actually going to leave you off here, and pick up tomorrow… I’m going to try and make these shots last all week until I can go and take new ones!
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