Welland Canal Trip, 2015 Edition

Some things in life never change: the sun rises in the east, sets in the west, and I go to Ontario at the end of June. My trip lasted from June 28 to July 1, but I took a ton of photos over those four days, so it will probably take mt at least a week to get through it all properly. Starting on the 28th, it was a cloudy and rainy Sunday when I pulled into Hamilton at around 10:30 in the morning.

Sterling

Hamilton was just a short pit stop and not my final destination. I simply wanted to stop in Eastport to get a few shots of the Sterling Fuels fleet at Pier 24.

Hamilton Energy

Hamilton Energy, the longtime bunkering tanker, is now in lay-up, and I assume she is ready to serve as a backup if needed.

Sterling Energy

Her replacement in that role is the Sterling Energy, which is much newer and slightly larger.

Provmar Terminal

Also hanging out is the storage barge Provmar Terminal. Formerly a powered tanker, she is where the Sterling Energy loads for her refueling jobs.

So that’s what was up with my short stop in Hamilton. Then I got back on the QEW and headed to the Welland Canal.

Algoma Discovery

There was only a single ship in the canal when I arrived, the Algoma Discovery. I went to Lock Two to see her, but got there late as she was already entering the lock. After checking into the Inn at Lock Seven, and getting settled in, I went to the opposite end of the canal, so this was all I got of the Discovery.

J.W. Cooper

It was already late in the afternoon when I arrived in Port Colborne, and as usual, I caught up with the local boats first. The pilot boat J.W. Cooper is in her normal spot.

Lincoln R

The fish tug Lincoln R. is also in town.

Lincoln R.

Port Colborne is a great town to eat in if you like fish, and the Lincoln R. delivers fish regularly to Minor Fishery’s restaurant just across the street.

Lincoln R.

She is sporting blue paint this year, which she was not the last time I saw her (2012, actually).

Lincoln R.

She sports the Minor stack.

Lincoln R.

She has a simple design typical of Canadian fish tugs.

Lincoln R.

Here’s another stern view.

Charlie E.

Last is the odd little tug Charlie E.

Charlie E.

She is owned by International Marine Salvage, the scrapyard across the harbor, and is used for various small jobs.

Charlie E.

She sports an odd coat of green paint.

J.W. Cooper

Then, the J.W. Cooper heads out to make a pilot exchange in the Lake.

J.W. Cooper

She is heading to the Federal Saguenay, who was anchored on Lake Erie waiting for dock space in Cleveland. Now that she is ready to depart, she needs a pilot for the trip.

J.W. Cooper

This is my first time seeing her moving off the dock.

J.W. Cooper

So off goes the Cooper, but she will be back soon.

Lincoln and Charlie

So I will leave you with this shot of Lincoln R. and Charlie E. to end this short post.

That was just sort of a teaser, the freighter action comes soon. This will be a long saga, so don’t miss any of it.

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Steel Martin Gate

I’ve been working hard to get down to the river frequently this month after a dreadfully slow May. Yesterday was my fourth time in June so far, with more sure to come.

Belanger Park

In the late afternoon I arrived at Belanger Park. I had been planning to go to Riverside Park, but had to change plans due to traffic and construction on the local highways.

CSL Assiniboine

The CSL Assiniboine watches over the park as she unloads coal in the Rouge Short Cut.

Martin and Gate

Across the river, the Rt. Hon. Paul J. Martin is loading salt in Windsor, while the salty Hanse Gate sits in the anchorage.

Rt. Hon. Paul J. Martin

The 740 foot long Martin has been carrying salt much more frequently ever since CSL took over the Windsor salt contract at the end of the 2013 season. Before that, it was common to see Algoma vessels loading here.

Hanse Gate

As for the Hanse Gate, she has been anchored here for over a month. She had been waiting for orders, but I believe she will eventually be proceeding to Toledo to load grain.

Algosteel

And approaching from the north is the main attraction for the day.

Algosteel

It seemed like a good time for my first Algosteel sighting since March.

Algosteel

My #1 ship is heading to Toledo on this fine day with a load of trap rock from Bruce Mines.

Algosteel

This is already our fourth meeting of the year, which is a pretty good pace to be on.

Algosteel

2015 marks the 49th year of service for the Algosteel.

Algosteel

Despite the rust, she still looks good, but more importantly, she is still in service.

Algosteel

Algoma retired the Algosteel after the 2010 season, but changed their minds in the Spring of 2011 and sent her back out there, and she has been working hard ever since. But the end creeps nearer every year.

Algosteel

But for now, she’s still a useful part of the Algoma Central fleet – carrying salt, stone, and ore around all five Great Lakes.

Steel Martin Gate

Here we appear to have a Steel Martin Gate… my kind of trifecta.

Martin Gate Steel

The Algosteel has, by far, the most classic lines of the three.

Algosteel

And I bid adieu to the Algosteel as she continues on her trip to Toledo.

Hanse Gate

And I am quickly left with just the Martin  and Hanse Gate again.

Algosteel

Algosteel slips out of sight out past Ecorse.

ice cream

And uh, ice cream anybody? The truck might need a paint job more than the Algosteel does…

That’s it for yesterday’s photos. I will continue trying to get down to the river when I can this summer, so thanks to all my readers for giving me something to do.

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Staying Busy

I’m trying to make up for the several weeks I’ve taken off so far this year, so yesterday I went boatwatching for the third time in seven days.

Joy Road

I arrived at Belle Isle shortly before 6 PM, and it was finally a beautiful day on the river.

Atlantic Huron

The target for the day was the Atlantic Huron.

Atlantic Huron

The 736 footer is on her way to Point Tupper, Nova Scotia with a cargo of coal for the power plant there. Quite a long trip.

Atlantic Huron

She is a vessel that doesn’t appear often in my adventures, but the rare cameos she does make, such as this one, are appreciated.

Atlantic Huron

I came down here on May 16 to catch her, but it was so foggy that I couldn’t even see halfway across the river, so I tiurned around and went back. Luckily I got a second chance.

Atlantic Huron

Her long-time running mate, Atlantic Erie, is laid up in Montreal with a highly uncertain future. Of course, I never really got any good shots of her.

Atlantic Huron

That leaves only the Salarium and Atlantic Huron as CSL’s coastal-classed vessels in service.

Atlantic Huron

Unusually enough for a coastal vessel, the Atlantic Huron was built as a straight decker, and originally carried the name Prairie Harvest.

Atlantic Huron

During her illustrious career, she has also spent time on charter to National Gypsum as the Melvin H. Baker II, and had her hull widened by 3 feet in 2003.

Atlantic Huron

For CSL, her primary run is carrying coal from the upper Great Lakes to ports on the Gulf and east coast such as Sydney and Point Tupper. She often backhauls ore to Toledo, and makes various salt runs as well.

Atlantic Huron

So that is the lovely story of the Atlantic Huron… and away she goes.

Atlantic Huron

Hopefully we meet again soon.

pier

After that, I moved down to the South Fishing Pier to say hi to my friends Sandy and Moe.

Mississagi

However, my friend Mississagi also stopped by.

Mississagi

The 1943 classic is headed upbound after refueling in Windsor.

Mississagi

She is very common on the Detroit River, but for whatever reason I haven’t had a good sighting of her since 2013. This past Winter she got a new coat of paint in Hamilton, and it looks fantastic.

Mississagi

She is the oldest Canadian-flag laker still operating, although she ran under the U.S. flag until 2001 as the George A. Sloan.

Mississagi

Mississagi is a hard worker in the stone and salt trades, meaning that her paint will get scruffed up easily and lose its new look.

Mississagi

It still looks pretty shiny on her counter stern, though.

Mississagi

Her sister Manistee still runs under the U.S. flag and has a more uncertain future, which I covered less than a week ago.

Mississagi

But at least Mississagi appears to have a bright future ahead of her, as one of the Great Lakes’ elder statesmen.

Mississagi

Here’s a better look at her excellent counter stern, one of only four still in service.

Mississagi

And away she goes, off to load another cargo.

Mississagi

Some jet-skiers got in my way though…

Mississagi

I liked this shot with the families on the pier. This is why I couldn’t get a tighter stern angle from out here.

Mississagi

And finally, there she goes into Lake St. Clair.

Like the post title, I will try to keep busy throughout the rest of the month, and hopefully the ships keep busy as well so I can go see them.

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450

Wow, 450 posts… It has taken me awhile to reach that mark after I got to 400 back in November 2014.

Algoma Mariner

#450 started pretty much the same way as #400… with an Algoma ship coming off Lake St. Clair in the early afternoon.

Algoma Mariner

But this time, it was overcast and a bit foggy, and the ship was the Algoma Mariner instead of the now-chopped-up Algoma Progress.

Algoma Mariner

I’ve been trying to catch the Algoma Mariner for a long, long time… since November 2012, in fact, when she appeared as a ghost ship in this same spot (in post #200, in fact).

Algoma Mariner

And not only that, but earlier in 2012 I made sure to see this vessel with every chance I had (once in April and twice in June).

Algoma Mariner

For whatever reason, the Algoma Mariner is one of my favorite ships on the Lakes. She gets most of the credit for starting my boatwatching spree that carried through all of 2012.

Algoma Mariner

Usually when writing about a ship on here, I point out the things that make it unique.

Algoma Mariner

The Algoma Mariner is unique in several ways: the first is that she was built in China, and was originally supposed to be just a forebody rather than an entire ship.

Algoma Mariner

That forebody was supposed to be attached to the stern of the 1979-built Algoport, but disaster struck Algoma when the Algoport sank while being towed to China for conversion.

Algoma Mariner

With the forebody nearly complete, however, Algoma decided to have the shipyard build a new stern to attach to it instead. The hull was transferred to Algoma’s partner, Upper Lakes Shipping, and was to be named Canadian Mariner. In early 2011, only months before delivery, Algoma bought out the ULS fleet, and the Canadian Mariner became Algoma Mariner. She arrived on the Lakes in the summer of 2011.

Osprey

Oh wait, that was it for Belle Isle. Except for this Osprey.

Riverside Park

But, as usual, I went down to Riverside Park to shoot her again.

Alpena and Diamond Jack

But first I noticed the veteran cement carrier Alpena refueling at Mistersky, with the tour boat Diamond Jack making a run up the river.

Algoma Mariner

Well, it’s a little foggier down here, but that’s okay.

Algoma Mariner

So as I was saying, the Algoma Mariner has a very interesting story regarding her construction. She was supposed to look like the Radcliffe R. Latimer, which is an identical forebody attached to the stern of the Algobay, a near-sister to the ill-fated Algoport.

Algoma Mariner

But by putting a new stern with the new forebody, the Mariner became the first completely new laker to enter service since 1985. She has since been followed by multiple newbuilds from both Algoma and Canada Steamship Lines, but the Algoma Mariner was the first in the wave of newbuilds.

Algoma Mariner

The mailboat J.W. Westcott II pulls alongside to make a routine delivery beneath the Ambassador Bridge.

Algoms Mariner

See, I told you.

Algoma Mariner

After the 2012 season, the Mariner became an extremely rare sight on the Great Lakes, as she spent most of the 2013 and 2014 seasons on the ore shuttle between Port Cartier and Contrecoeur on the St. Lawrence. Algoma has now acquired a new vessel (which is too big for the Seaway) to handle that run, freeing up the Mariner for more Great Lakes runs.

Algoma Mariner

She is on her way to Quebec City to unload salt, and I’m not sure what her immediate plans are following that.

J.W. Westcott II

The Westcott and Mariner exchange salutes as the two vessels part ways.

Algoma Mariner

Now the ship can pick her speed back up and get on her way.

Mariner & Westcott

The Detroit River icon passes the big Canadian freighter.

J.W. Westcott II

Seeing the Westcott is one of the many bonuses about Riverside Park.

Algoma Mariner

So is seeing the Algoma Mariner, although that only applies to yesterday.

Algoma Mariner

Oh yeah, one more neat thing about the ship: she is the only laker registered in Port Colborne, Ontario. Algoma chose this port of registry to honor the Algoport, because Port Colborne was her namesake. Definitely a nice touch, if you ask me.

Algoma Mariner

So, finally reunited after over two and a half years, I say goodbye to the Algoma Mariner, and hope that I see her again soon.

Algoma Mariner

And that was all for me yesterday.

Hopefully there will be much more to come this month (and this summer)… I’m shooting for 500 posts by the end of the year.

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Summer in Port Huron

This is my second post with photos from Wednesday, as I had a nice afternoon along the St. Clair River that day. Yesterday’s post featured the Manistee and Manitoba in Marine City and Marysville, respectively (that’s a lot of M’s). After leaving Marysville, I finished my trek up the river and stopped at the Blue Water Bridges in Port Huron.

truck

It was a bustling summer day in Port Huron. Trucks were heading to Canada…

jet skier

Jet skiers were headed to Lake Huron…

CG

The Coast Guard was keeping everyone safe…

Edison

And Thomas Edison looked on with a smile on his face.

Huron Belle

The pilot boat Huron Belle was also headed out to Lake Huron, to meet up with a salty for a pilot exchange.

Huron Belle

The Belle is one of Port Huron’s busiest vessels.

Manitoba

Following the Huron Belle was the Manitoba with an encore performance.

Manitoba

The lighting and angles at the bridges are both much better than down at Chrysler Beach. I had only stopped there in case the Manitoba decided to make a fuel stop first.

Manitoba

She looks very stately while riding high and making the turn for the Lake.

Manitoba

The sun highlights her rare classic profile.

Manitoba

I already told my story on the Manitoba yesterday, so I don’t have much commentary to offer on these photos.

Manitoba

So she marches up to the bridge, with her Fairbanks-Morses fighting the strong current.

Manitoba

Her attractive stern comes by next. Unfortunately, she didn’t blow a salute on this passage.

Manitoba

She displays Lower Lakes Towing’s classic logo on her stack.

Manitoba

And just like that, she’s sliding beneath the bridges and on her way to the Lake.

Manitoba

So farewell to the Manitoba, and hopefully we’ll meet again soon.

Manitoba

And one more stern shot for good measure.

Huron Belle

A few minutes later, the Huron Belle returned from her job.

Huron Belle

Back to her dock on the Black River to await the next.

Federal Kivalina

And now for my finale, the ship that received the pilot – the Federal Kivalina.

Federal Kivalina

The big red salty is on her way out of the Lakes with a load of grain for Europe.

Federal Kivalina

I’ve seen many Fednav ships before, but this is my first time coming across the Kivalina.

Federal Kivalina

Sisters of hers that I’ve seen include Federal YukonFederal OshimaFederal NakagawaFederal RideauFederal Hudson, Federal HunterFederal Welland, and Federal Asahi.

Federal Kivalina

That only leaves Federal Kumano and Federal Seto as the vessels from this class that I have not seen.

Federal Kivalina

While not “classic” by any means, these vessels are aesthetically pleasing and get the job done.

Federal Kivalina

While it would be neat to catch every Fednav vessel, that’s something that I’m sure isn’t going to happen anytime soon with the amount of them I still need to see.

Federal Kivalina

So, I bid adieu to the Kivalina as she makes the turn to continue downbound.

Federal Kivalina

Tighter…

Federal Kivalina

And away she goes.

That was all for Wednesday. Hopefully there will be no more long hiatuses anytime soon, and I will have new photos within a week.

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The Grey Ghosts of Summer

My apologies for taking a second lengthy hiatus… but it’s over now. Yesterday I went out to see ships for the first time since May 25, and I visited the St. Clair River to do so.

Manistee

I arrived in Marine City in the early afternoon, and was quickly greeted by the Manistee.

Manistee

The wily 1943-built veteran is on her way to Cleveland to unload stone.

Manistee

My last meeting with the Manistee came in Toledo back in March. She underwent some hull plate replacement and then had a drydock visit after that, but the ship’s long-term future remains uncertain.

Manistee

One thing they didn’t do was take care of the rust – it is everywhere. Check out that nameboard.

Manistee

However, even in her advanced age the Manistee is still handsome as ever, and still turning a profit for her owners.

Manistee

She has proven to be very elusive for me, so catching her was one of my top goals for the season.

Manistee

In fact, this is my first time catching her in service since October 2013… It’s been awhile!

Manistee

Would it be an understatement to say that her stern is a little rusty?

Manistee

Well, rust or not, it was good to see the Manistee again. Hopefully this season is not the end for her… she has been written off before.

Manistee

And away she goes.

John J. Carrick

After that, I worked my way upriver to Chrysler Beach in Marysville, where I spotted the John J. Carrick and her tug Victorious across the river at Shell Fuel.

turtle

This cute snapping turtle was swimming around a few feet from me (it was less than a foot long).

Manitoba

And while that was nice, I found this even nicer.

Manitoba

The Manitoba, a Canadian counterpart of the Manistee, is headed upbound to Thunder Bay for a load of grain.

Manitoba

But besides just being fleetmates, the two have a bit more in common than that. Like the Manistee, I hadn’t caught the Manitoba in service since 2013. And like the Manistee, she may not have much time left in service.

Manitoba

It’s worth noting that the Manitoba was built in 1967, making her 25 years younger than the Manistee. But for a Canadian vessel, that makes her an elder statesman. Her age, combined with her small size, have nearly sent her to the scrapyard twice before.

Manitoba

She has her share of rust as well, in addition to the blue paint from her previous life as the Maritime Trader wearing through.

Manitoba

Her current name is a tribute to her original name, Mantadoc. N.M. Paterson & Sons, who owned the vessel from 1967-2001, had a unique naming scheme with a place as the prefix (Manta meaning Manitoba) and doc as the suffix (acronym for “Dominion of Canada”).

Manitoba

Quietly humming along during this passage were the ship’s Fairbanks-Morse engines. Only a few lakers with F-M’s are still in service, and they are a dying breed, but a pleasure to hear.

Manitoba

A distinction held by the Manitoba is that she is now the last classic (pilothouse forward) Canadian-built straight-decker still in service. Truly the last of a breed.

Manitoba

When she does eventually bite the dust, it will be a very sad day for us boatnerds.

This seems like a good spot to end this post, so I will, but I do have more for tomorrow.

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Munson & St-Laurent

On Memorial Day afternoon, I decided to take a trip down to Belle Isle (for the first time in over a month!) to catch some ships. It was a nice day when I arrived at the island, with a nice boat arriving as well.

John G. Munson

It’s the lovely John G. Munson. This is apparently a tradition for me, as I’ve now seen the Munson on three Memorial Days: 2012, 2014, and now 2015. Why not 2013? Well, the Munson didn’t operate that year, and I didn’t go boatwatching on Memorial Day.

John G. Munson

I didn’t realize any of this until I was down there shooting her… but she is my Memorial Day boat.

John G. Munson

A classic steamer dating from 1952, the Munson continues to be one of the hardest-working boats on the Great Lakes.

John G. Munson

In my opinion, she is one of the five best-looking ships operating on the Lakes (I do have a top five).

John G. Munson

On this particular trip, the Munson is loaded deep with ore for Conneaut, Ohio.

John G. Munson

The 768 foot long ship is powered by a single General Electric steam turbine that puts out 7,700 horsepower.

John G. Munson

There are only five other steamers running on the Lakes this season – the Alpena, Cason J. CallawayHerbert C. JacksonPhilip R. Clarke, and Wilfred Sykes. The era of steam-powered freighters is coming to a close.

John G. Munson

But for now we still have these six, plus the Arthur M. Anderson, which is laid up this season but will probably back out in 2016.

John G. Munson

This ends another Memorial Day meeting with the John G. Munson, and coming up next is the ship I actually came out here for.

tree

While waiting, I took some subtle nature shots.

trees

Someday I need to explore the entire island, rather than just this part.

plants

But that day was not today.

CSL St-Laurent

Unfortunately, the weather got very cloudy as the CSL St-Laurent made her way off Lake St. Clair.

CSL St-Laurent

This is my first meeting with the St-Laurent, and she currently holds the title of being the newest ship on the Great Lakes.

CSL St-Laurent

Last month, I caught her sister CSL Welland on her maiden Detroit River voyage. I had missed the St-Laurent on her first several passages, but finally got her today.

CSL St-Laurent

She is on her way to Montreal with a wheat cargo loaded in Thunder Bay, which is pretty much her main purpose as a straight decker.

CSL St-Laurent

I know I barely posted any shots of her, but I doubled her up at Riverside Park, so keep reading…

J.W. Westcott II

The first boat to greet me when I arrived at Riverside was the J.W. Westcott II. It’s been awhile since I got any good photos of her.

CSL St-Laurent

The Westcott was returning from a delivery to the Munson, and the St-Laurent did not receive any mail when she passed.

CSL St-Laurent

I liked the shots here much better than the Belle Isle ones because of the lighting.

J.W. Westcott II

And getting the Westcott in is a bonus, too.

Huron Maid and Westcott

She pulls in at her dock next to the pilot boat Huron Maid.

CSL St-Laurent

Meanwhile, the CSL St-Laurent is fighting the wind as the passes the University of Windsor.

CSL St-Laurent

She is the final ship of CSL’s newbuild program that began in 2012 with the Baie St. Paul.

CSL St-Laurent

They’re all handsome ships with nice names, and will be prominent members of the Great Lakes fleet for decades to come.

CSL St-Laurent

The CSL St-Laurent in particular may be my favorite name of the series. I’m not a huge fan of the “CSL” prefix, but I like the suffix honoring the St. Lawrence River, which is so vital to the economy of the Great Lakes region.

CSL St-Laurent

And now, the CSL St-Laurent is checked off my list.

fishermen

Before I left, the fisherman next to me asked me to take a photo of him and his catch. Hopefully he sees this!

St-Laurent

And that was it for me today, so I departed Riverside Park satisfied (that’s the American Mariner on the right, if you’re wondering).

St-Laurent

Happy Memorial Day to all who read this, and remember to honor all those who have fallen.

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