Yesterday seemed like a good day to head down to Belanger Park. So I did that.
All was still on the Detroit River…
The Tecumseh has finished unloading her winter storage cargo and is waiting for her third Great Lakes season to begin.
The Norman McLeod and her tug Everlast are taking a short rest from winter operations.
The Ojibway and Saginaw are eager to get moving again as well.
But somebody is busy…
The mighty USCGC Hollyhock is finishing up an assignment that took her out into Lake Erie.
The combination buoy tender/icebreaker has been on call quite a bit this winter, with Great Lakes ice cover upwards of 90 percent.
She’s had no downtime yet to get her battle wound repaired (notice the giant dent in her stern).
So, after escorting a tanker from Lake Erie to the Detroit River, the Hollyhock is headed to Detroit for a quick break.
There was some other action on the river as well… this Goldeneye was spotted heading upbound.
I’m sure it’s clear how these ducks got their names…
Later on, a Merganser sailed downbound. Probably looking for a cargo of fish.
These winter ducks are a nice distraction from the fact that there are hardly any ships moving…
Well, would ya look at that…
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.
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.
She was moving along pretty slowly, at around 6 knots at this point. Later in the afternoon she was getting closer to 11.
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…
Which slowly emerged from behind the plants while the geese were trotting around.
The tanker is the 1977-built Algoeast. The Risley starts to turn around, and I assumed that the East would follow.
The Risley is very slow when it comes to turning around…
But she does, and she heads back upbound, but the Algoeast doesn’t follow.
So instead I just get another pass-by from the 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.
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.
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.
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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