Amélia & Friends

Yesterday, on a cloudy and windy afternoon, I departed the comfort of my own home and made my way down to Belanger Park. That’s my second visit to Belanger this month – the last time I did that in April was 2012.

Tecumseh

Obviously, I wouldn’t want that $5 entry fee to go to waste, so there had better be boats on the river if I’m going to be stopping there. Tecumseh, a fixture at the ADM Elevators, was unloading a cargo of canola when I arrived.

Amélia Desgagnés

But my reason for visiting was the rare Amélia Desgagnés.

Amélia Desgagnés

The 355-foot long Amélia is a small Canadian freighter, and she spends most of her time on St. Lawrence and coastal trades for Transport Desgagnés.

Amélia Desgagnes

This is my second time seeing her, as we met 367 days earlier at this same spot

Amelia and Tecumseh

This time, she’s back in Windsor to load at ADM once again, although Tecumseh is currently occupying the dock.

Amelia Desgagnes

So instead, the handsome little boat is heading to Sterling for some fuel, and will then hit the anchorage until Tecumseh is finished.

Amelia Desgagnes

Amélia has had an impressively long career for a vessel that’s spent much of its life on saltwater. This is her 39th year of service.

Amelia Desgagnes

This is her second trip to the Detroit River in the last two years, but her sister Mélissa hasn’t made one during that span. I caught Mélissa in Trois-Rivières last summer, but could only manage a stern view.

Amelia Desgagnes

So hopefully, both vessels make stops here this year, because I enjoy photographing them.

Danube and Amelia

Shortly after, the Federal Danube comes rolling down. She is 300 feet longer than Amélia, and the size difference shows although the vessels aren’t very close to each other in this shot.

Federal Danube

Federal Danube (can I call her Danny?) is riding high and wasting no time on her trip downbound.

Federal Danube

This is my first time meeting this salty, and it comes thanks to a change in orders. Danube was heading for Duluth to load grain for overseas, but turned around en route, and will now load in Québec instead.

Federal Danube

The reasoning behind such a drastic change is unknown to me, but it must be worth it for Fednav to send her almost all the way to Duluth and then turn her around.

Federal Danube

This particular class of salties is among my favorites, because they have massive bulbous bows and look huge when they’re empty. I got up close and personal with the Federal Weser in 2013 and found out for myself.

Federal Danube

She is my first moving salty of the year, so I think she should get some kind of recognition for that.

Federal Danube

So there you have it, ladies and gentlemen… the Federal Danube.

St. Clair

I still had one more boat to wait for, but she came along in short order.

St. Clair

This is already my fourth time seeing the St. Clair in 2015, which is a bit odd since I saw her a total of one time in 2013 and 2014 combined.

St. Clair

I made two attempts to get some good shots of her in January, but neither turned out as planned. I caught her again laid up in Toledo in March. Finally, I have the shots I was looking for.

St. Clair and Tecumseh

I must have hundreds of pictures like this of the Tecumseh, since she’s sitting here on almost all of my Belanger visits…

St. Clair

The St. Clair, one of the blander-looking ships on the Lakes, is 770 feet long and spends most of her time carrying ore to Cleveland from Silver Bay, Minnesota.

St. Clair

She was built in 1976, as was the Amélia Desgagnés. That makes the Tecumseh (1973) the oldest vessel of the day.

St. Clair

At this point, the sun had decided to come out, and was shining nicely on the St. Clair.

St. Clair

That made the stern shots a lot nicer as the big self-unloader continued on her way.

St. Clair

Here’s a tighter view with the Renaissance Center.

St. Clair

Amélia is still approaching Sterling as St. Clair heads toward the Ambassador Bridge, and my day here is over.

Tecumseh

And I’ll end this post the same way I started it – with the Tecumseh.

That was my last outing of April – another month in the books. See you in May.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Generic License.

A New Enterprise

I was a bit starved for boats this weekend, but on a rainy Sunday evening I was finally able to make it down to the river and see something.

Belle Isle

My first stop was Belle Isle, for just the second time so far this season. For some reason, the Livingstone Light isn’t turned on.

Tree

It was extremely windy out there (what else is new), so I had my back turned while waiting for the ship. So I noticed this tree.

Algoma Enterprise

Ah, there it is.

Algoma Enterprise

It’s the Algoma Enterprise, and something looks a little different about her this Spring…

Algoma Enterprise

New paint would be correct! After 35 straight years of Upper Lakes Shipping black, the Enterprise was given her first coat of Algoma blue over the Winter.

Algoma Enterprise

Take a look here and decide which Enterprise you prefer.

Algoma Enterprise

She was built in 1979 in the same place where she got this coat of paint – Port Weller Drydocks in St. Catharines, ON. Although now, the drydocks are for sale, and Algoma leased them temporarily so that the Enterprise could get a Winter refit.

Algoma Enterprise

Now, the only active ships still wearing ULS black are the Algoma Navigator and John D. Leitch. I’m not sure if either of them will ever see a coat of blue, though.

Algoma Enterprise

Anyhow, that’s all for the Enterprise‘s appearance here at Belle Isle. But I had some technical issues while getting bow shots, so I feel the need to double her up.

Federal Yukon

That means I’m stopping at Riverside Park. Watching from the sidelines is the Federal Yukon, as she unloads at the Detroit Marine Terminal.The Joseph H. Thompson is refueling at Mistersky on the left. The tug Dorothy Ann is barely visible even further to the left.

Federal Yukon

The Yukon is my second salty of the year, but I haven’t seen one moving yet.

Ambassador Bridge

The Ambassador Bridge is bustling with a busy flow of traffic, after experiencing a camper fire earlier in the week.

Detroit News

The old Detroit News Paper Warehouse is a building I have not shot before. Well there it is.

Algoma Enterprise

Now here comes the ship.

J.W. Westcott II

And you know what that means… it’s mail time.

Algoma Enterprise

Here’s the angle I was trying to get at Belle Isle. I’ve always preferred Belle Isle, but the angles at Riverside are slightly better.

J.W. Westcott II

The J.W. Westcott II is a vessel I haven’t seen in a while, since I don’t stop at Riverside often during the season.

J.W. Westcott II

After another successful delivery, the Westcott heads back to the dock.

J.W. Westcott II

The mailboat received a refit over the Winter as well, and looks fantastic.

Algoma Enterprise

It doesn’t look like the stacks were repainted with the hull, but the stack gets dirty easily anyway.

Algoma Enterprise

The handsome vessel is on her way to Bath, Ontario with a load of either coal or petroleum coke from Chicago.

Algoma Enterprise

And off she goes, and that’s all the action I got yesterday.

Hopefully I’ll have a bit more to show for myself next weekend, but this has been fun.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Generic License.

Two Ships Sail Right By III

This is my second post with photos from Saturday evening. In the first segment, I caught the brand-new CSL Welland and tanker Jana Desgagnés, while the salty Floragracht also put in an appearance. But I still had another boat to catch before heading back home.

Pathfinder

This was actually not it… I wasn’t expecting this.

Pathfinder

After gassing up at Mistersky, the Pathfinder and her tug Dorothy Ann were making their way downbound to Cleveland. Normally vessels at Mistersky continue upbound, which is why the Pathfinder caught me off-guard.

Pathfinder

The 1952-built barge is sporting a new coat of paint that she received in Erie, Pennsylvania during the Winter. As usual, she was the first laker to enter service for the 2015 season, starting out on the Cuyahoga River ore shuttle.

Pathfinder

The Pathfinder was formerly the steamer J.L. Mauthe, as one can predict from looking at her classic lines.

Pathfinder and Floragracht

The fishermen hardly seem to notice as the Pathfinder meets the Floragracht. The two vessels have similar hull colors.

Pathfinder

The Pathfinder is the “river-class” member of the Interlake Steamship fleet. Every large U.S. fleet on the Lakes (there are four) has at least one vessel small enough to transit the Cuyahoga River, and for Interlake, this is that vessel.

Dorothy Ann

A big part of her ability to transit narrow rivers is her tug, the Dorothy Ann. With that task in mind, she was built with Z-drives, making her extremely maneuverable compared to other articulated tugs on the Great Lakes.

Dorothy Ann

In fact, she is one of only three Z-drive tugs working on the Great Lakes, even though they are common everywhere else in the world.

Algoma Spirit

Now, turning my head the other direction, I make eye contact with the ship that I was actually waiting for. Hello, Algoma Spirit.

Pathfinder

Pathfinder is heading away, so you know what that means…

Pathfinder and Algoma Spirit

We have a passing situation on our hands.

Pathfinder and Algoma Spirit

Ships pass all the time, obviously, but it’s hard to predict when and where they will, so it’s always cool when it happens in front of you.

Algoma Spirit and Pathfinder

The only problem here is that the Pathfinder is blocking some good shots of the Algoma Spirit!

Algoma Spirit and Pathfinder

I was hoping they would exchange salutes or something, but that didn’t happen.

Algoma Spirit and Dorothy Ann

But as quickly as they met, both vessels get on their way.

Algoma Spirit

The Algoma Spirit, now sailing at the ripe age of 29, is on her way to Thunder Bay to load wheat.

Algoma Spirit

She is a former salty, and didn’t become a laker until 2010 when she was registered in Canada for Algoma Central.

Algoma Spirit

During her saltwater career, she was still a very frequent visitor to the Great Lakes, paying many visits as both the Petka and as the Sandviken.

Algoma Spirit

The Algoma Spirit is not a vessel I see frequently, and this was my first time shooting her in good lighting. This is also my first time shooting her sailing upbound and empty.

Algoma Spirit

All my other sightings of her (besides Winter lay-up) have come when she was downbound at Belle Isle, so now I have something different.

Algoma Spirit

The Spirit was built in Rijeka, Yugoslavia (now Croatia) by the yard 3 Maj. The yard has recently landed a contract to construct two small self-unloaders for Algoma Central that will replace the aging Algorail and Algoway.

Algoma Spirit

I believe this will be the first time since the 1980s that there have been new European-built lakers, which is nice since those vessels have generally been well-built and long-lasting

Algoma Spirit and Floragracht

The Floragracht, however, is not European-built… she comes from China.

Algoma Spirit

But enough about where ships are built… that doesn’t really matter once they leave the yard. What matters is where they sail and the economies that they serve. And the Algoma Spirit should continue serving the Canadian economy for some time.

Algoma Spirit

And off she goes, heading for the Canadian lakehead and her first cargo of the season.

Floragracht

And I must bid farewell to the only ship left here, the Floragracht.

Algoma Spirit

And the Algoma Spirit stars in my parting shot for the day.

That was it for this weekend. I thought it was pretty productive: six ships, including two newbuilds. Hopefully things stay exciting the next time I get out to the river as well.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Generic License.

Springtime

It’s always fun when I can make it down to the river two days in a row. On Friday morning, I greeted the CWB Marquis on her first transit of the Detroit River, but I returned for more yesterday afternoon. The sun was out for the first time all week, and the ships were enjoying it. It looks like Spring is finally here.

Floragracht

I arrived at Belanger Park and immediately found the Floragracht unloading at Morterm in Windsor. The Dutch salty is my first of the 2015 season. She operates as part of the Cleveland-Europe Express, the Great Lakes’ only regularly scheduled container shipping service, which runs between Cleveland and Antwerp.

CSL Welland

A few minutes later, an unfamiliar sight emerges.

CSL Welland

The CSL Welland is – you guessed it – brand new, and making her maiden Detroit River voyage. She arrived in Canada in January from Yangfan Shipbuilding in Zhoushan City, China.

CSL Welland

The Welland is the second-to-last Trillium-class vessel built for CSL, as she was followed to Canada by the CSL St-Laurent. The St-Laurent, however, passed Detroit during the night, so I was not able to catch her this time.

CSL Welland

The first four Trillium-class lakers were all named after bays and lacked the “CSL” prefix, but CSL opted to name the two straight-deckers after Canada’s two famous waterways and brought the prefix back.

CSL Welland

Other than the lack of a self-unloading boom, there are other noticeable differences between the Welland and a sister such as the Whitefish Bay. One (besides the white paint) is the transition from the stern to the cargo section.

CSL Welland

But, like the other Trilliums, the CSL Welland is a handsome vessel and should be a key piece of the CSL fleet for years to come.

CSL Welland

The off-center stack still bugs me, though.

CSL Welland

Luckily, the sun was out, so I could get the full effect of her new red paint.

CSL Welland and Floragracht

She quietly passes the smaller Floragracht.

CSL Welland

And before long, she has passed me and is continuing on her way to Thunder Bay.

CSL Welland

So farewell for now to the CSL Welland.

CSL Welland

Now I just need to catch the CSL St-Laurent

s/v paper

Actually, the next vessel that came by was the sailing vessel paper, but she was not making very good time.

Jana Desgagnés

That was the last I saw of her, as she probably didn’t survive her run-in with the Jana Desgagnés.

Jana Desgagnés

The busy Canadian tanker is my first Desgagnés vessel of the year, and she is on her way to Sarnia to load.

Jana Desgagnés

This is now my fifth time meeting Jana, which is more than I’ve seen any other Desgagnés vessel.

Jana Desgagnés

Our last run-in was last November 9.
.Jana Desgagnés

She has an interesting bow that looks like it was built for icebreaking.

Jana Desgagnés

She was built in Wismar, Germany in 1993, and previously sailed as Jadestern and Jade Star.

Jana Desgagnés

Despite her young age, up to this point, she was the oldest ship I had seen for the day.

Jana Desgagnés and Floragracht

Both the CSL Welland and Floragracht are younger.

Jana Desgagnés

This was my first time catching Jana in good light, so it was nice to see her colorful paint sceme.

Jana Desgagnés

She is moving along pretty quickly, as her destination is only a few hours away.

Jana Desgagnés

So I will end the post right here. But fear not, there was even more to be seen yesterday evening. I’ll finish up in a second post tomorrow.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Generic License.

New Marquis

Yesterday morning I went down to Delray Park for the second time this week for some quick boatwatching. Actually, I was only planning on seeing one boat, but the nice thing was that I had never seen it before.

CWB Marquis

So, I’d like to introduce you all to the CWB Marquis.

CWB Marquis

She is one of three new lakers that arrived from China during the Winter, and is the third Equinox-class freighter built for the Algoma Central Corporation.

CWB Marquis

Well, sort of. As her name implies, the CWB Marquis is actually owned by the Canadian Wheat Board. Algoma Central manages, crews, and operates the vessel, making her essentially a part of the fleet.

CWB Marquis

She wears Algoma hull colors, but her name and logos reflect her CWB ownership, making her unique among lakers.

CWB Marquis

There are still five more Equinox-class ships set for delivery. The next one will be another straight decker owned by the CWB, and the last four will all be self-unloaders owned by Algoma. However, the yard where they are under construction has been going through financial troubles of late, which has delayed the completion of these vessels.

CWB Marquis

The new ship easily wins the award for “most colorful hull banner”, as the green, blue, and yellow make for in interesting combination set off against the Marquis‘s dark blue hull.

CWB Marquis

While I’m not a huge fan of the design of these new ships, the Marquis definitely has a proud look to her, as indicated by the colorful logos and the “Prairie Strong, Worldwide” slogan on the side of her superstructure.

CWB Marquis

The “Equinox Class” lettering contains the only Algoma logos on the entire vessel, although half of this one seems to be missing.

CWB Marquis

The ship’s purpose for the Wheat Board will be to carry wheat from Canada’s heartland to ports in Quebec such as Baie Comeau and Port Cartier, where it can then be transferred to large ocean-going ships for export overseas. Of course, this is nothing new, as the ship’s Algoma-owned fleetmates do the same thing. She will also carry iron ore as backhaul.

CWB Marquis

Another tidbit is that she is named for a variety of wheat that is very popular to grow in Canada. In fact, she is the second laker to be named for this wheat variety. The Canada Marquis, built in 1983, now sails as the Birchglen for Canada Steamship Lines.

CWB Marquis

The CWB Marquis is registered in Winnipeg, Manitoba, which is pretty cool since no other active lakers are registered there.

CWB Marquis

Anyhow, there are a lot of unique and interesting things about this new member of the Great Lakes fleet. I’m happy to meet her for the first time, and hopefully she’ll come your way soon.

CWB Marquis

That was all for me yesterday, but hopefully this weekend I can make it down there again to see some more.

Oh, and the Tigers still haven’t lost yet!

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Generic License.

Opening Day

Yes, another fine opening day. Not for the Welland Canal or St. Lawrence Seaway or Soo Locks – those already opened. But it’s opening day for the Detroit Tigers! And while I couldn’t make it to the game itself, I still rolled into town in the morning to check out a bit of river traffic.

fishermen

You can tell it’s Spring now because the fishermen are out in full force – on shore and on the river. They’re everywhere.

Delray

I managed to only include a few of them in this shot, but Delray Park seemed to be where the fish were biting this morning.

Great Lakes Trader

The Great Lakes Trader isn’t concerned about fish; all she cares about is the stone cargo she’s carrying.

Great Lakes Trader

It’s kind of odd that my first two ships of the season are the two tug/barge units in the VanEnkevort fleet – I opened my season at the end of March with fleetmate Joseph H. Thompson.

Great Lakes Trader

The Trader has spent most of this season so far carrying stone, mostly out of Marblehead on Lake Erie. I’m not sure where this load is headed.

Great Lakes Trader

She is notoriously one of the hardest workers on the Great Lakes, although this Winter she did not remain in service like she did in 2014.

Joyce L. VanEnkevort

Of course it is her tug, the Joyce L. VanEnkevort, that provides the real power.

Joyce L. VanEnkevort

Joyce is the second most-powerful tug on the Great Lakes, boasting an impressive 10,200 horsepower.

Great Lakes Trader

The pair is now checked down and making the turn to arrive at Mistersky to fuel.

Great Lakes Trader

So farewell to Joyce and her barge. Notice the airplanes and their banners, looking to attract baseball fans as they gather at Comerica Park.

CCGS Pierre Radisson

And the next boat has all the fishermen running!

CCGS Pierre Radisson

It’s the CCGS Pierre Radisson, and she means business.

CCGS Pierre Radisson

322 feet long and based in Quebec, the Radisson is a monster compared to any of the icebreakers on the Great Lakes, and she is back for the second year in a row to help out the freighters wherever she is needed.

CCGS Pierre Radisson

Yep, even he has his head turned to watch her sail by. She is heading for Windsor, and it is believed that her next stop after that will be Whitefish Bay, where there is a major backlog of traffic due to the heavy ice still in that area.

CCGS Pierre Radisson

The Radisson spends her Winters working on the St. Lawrence River and Gulf of St. Lawrence, and then works in the Arctic during the Summer. She is one of four vessels in her class, the others being the AmundsenDes Groseilliers, and Henry Larsen.

CCGS Pierre Radisson

Besides the Radisson, the Canadian Coast Guard has two other icebreakers from Quebec helping on the Lakes and Seaway this Spring: The aforementioned Amundsen (currently working on the lower Seaway above Montreal), and the smaller Martha L. Black, who is on her way to take over for the Radisson in Lake Erie.

Pierre Radisson

Pierre is powered by 6 Alco diesels, giving her 17,700 horsepower. Combined with her icebreaking bow, she is a beast in thick ice.

CCGS Pierre Radisson

Not only is she powerful and effective, but she is also a good looker.

CCGS Pierre Radisson

So off she goes, headed for a break at Dieppe Gardens Park in Windsor.

CCGS Pierre Radisson

So now it’s time for me to head back home, after another successful outing.

CCGS Pierre Radisson

Oh and by the way, the Tigers won 4-0. Now let’s hope that with Pierre Radisson‘s help, shipping can start moving normally soon.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Generic License.

New Season

I’m back! After a long and rough Winter, the 2015 shipping season has finally begun on the Great Lakes. Actually, it was technically less than a month ago that the 2014 season ended, but it seems like it’s been a long time. Anyway, I was feeling like I needed to take some pictures, so yesterday evening I headed out to Belle Isle to find my first ship of the season.

River

There was a period about two weeks ago when temperatures soared into the 60s, but that is all in the past now. Yesterday it was in the 30s, and Belle Isle was as drab as it was in February, just without the snow everywhere. The River, for some reason, was much clearer than usual.

ice

The ice pileup on the shore, something that was gone by this time last year, was still in full force.

ice

All this ice was gone by this time last year as well. Luckily, traffic on the St. Clair River is no longer facing major ice delays.

USCGC Hollyhock

Anyway, on to the boats. There is still enough ice that escorts are needed on the rivers, and the USCGC Hollyhock is handling this one.

USCGC Hollyhock

The 225 foot Hollyhock has worked hard all Winter long, from Lake Erie to the Straits of Mackinac and in between.

USCGC Hollyhock

And now her Winter work is nearly finished, as she should be back to placing buoys shortly.

USCGC Hollyhock

Looking at her stern, she is all fixed up from her bump with the Mesabi Miner last Winter.

Belle Isle

And now, for my first freighter of the 2015 season…

Joseph H. Thompson

I present the Joseph H. Thompson.

Joseph H. Thompson

Not the most exciting, I know, but she was the only ship passing yesterday. The tug/barge combination is on her way to Toledo with a load of taconite.

Joseph H. Thompson

The Thompson is running under new ownership this year… her longtime owner Upper Lakes Towing sold the barge and tug to VanEnkevort Tug & Barge during the Winter. This is now VanEnkevort’s second AT/B combination, joining the Great Lakes Trader.

Joseph H. Thompson Jr.

The only visible sign of the sale is that the ULT logos are gone from the stack of the tug, the Joseph H. Thompson Jr.

Joseph H. Thompson

The barge has a rather grand history – it began life as a troop carrier for the Navy during World War II, and then had a career as a Great Lakes Bulk Carrier from the 50s through the 80s. Since 1990 she has operated as a self-unloading barge, although the tug was built with the remaining steel from the ship’s removed stern.

Joseph H. Thompson Jr.

I also believe the tug to be the strangest-looking on the entire Great Lakes.

Joseph H. Thompson

And while the combination definitely isn’t pretty, they’ve been working hard for 25 years now, and this time for a different fleet. So adieu to the Thompson.

ice

The weather throughout all of that was atrocious… it was coming down hard in some combination of ice pellets and freezing rain, and it was not pleasant to be hit with.

Belle Isle

So I was happy to call it a day and head back home, after kicking off my season.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Generic License.