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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Back in Action II

Yesterday I made my first post of May, featuring photos from this past Sunday in Port Huron. I only posted two boats, so I will finish the series in this post.

Algoma Discovery

Charging upbound in the mid afternoon is the Algoma Discovery.

Algoma Discovery

The Discovery is a ship I don’t see very often. This is our first meeting since last April just across the river.

Algoma Discovery

The big Yugoslavian-built bulker is on her way to Thunder Bay to load grain.

Algoma Discovery

She spent the first 20 or so years of her life operating primarily on saltwater, so she has a well-worn look to her.

Algoma Discovery

Her impressive MacGregor hatch covers are open for the purpose of cleaning and ventilating the holds.

Algoma Discovery

In her past lives, the Discovery has carried the names Malinska and Daviken, before getting her current name in 2008. She then joined the Canadian fleet in 2010.

Algoma Discovery

She is a very well-built vessel and is still in good shape after years of hard use.

boat

As she passed under the bridges, I was distracted by this couple going for a nice ride in their speedboat.

boat

They got some pretty good air out there.

Algoma Discovery

Meanwhile, the Discovery heads into Lake Huron…

Algoma Discovery

…and out of this post.

Algomarine

After that, I left Port Huron and headed down to Marysville. I had to get a look at the Shell Oil docks in Corunna, where the Algomarine was fueling up.

Algomarine

I was expecting her at the bridges, but she spent several hours at the fuel dock – much longer than normal. I gave up on waiting and decided to come to her instead, since I had other things to do in the day as well.

Esta Desgagnes

Behind Algomarine at the Shell dock was my true target vessel for the day – the tanker Esta Desgagnés.

Esta Desgagnes

This is finally my first time seeing the elusive Esta, whom I’ve been trying to find for several years now. She is a semi-frequent visitor to these parts, but I have always missed her until now.

Esta Desgagnes

With this meeting, I have now seen every tanker in the Desgagnés fleet.

Esta Desgagnes

So I will leave you with this stern shot of Esta, and that was all for me on Sunday.

It was a solid but unspectacular return from a three-week hiatus. Hopefully, as the calendar turns to summer, things will get more exciting around here.

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Back in Action

Hi, I’m back. I took three weeks off from boatwatching, but got back out there on Sunday. I’ve been busy with a number of things, and boat traffic hadn’t been very interesting during the two weekends that I missed. But this time, Port Huron was calling my name, so I made the trip up.

Ducks

The first things that I saw when I got there were these two ducks.

Mottler

The third thing I saw was another duck, but this one was a Mottler.

Mottler

A member of the Canfornav fleet, she is named after the Mottled Duck, which you will not find around the Great Lakes region.

Mottler

She is my second moving salty of the season, following the Federal Danube my last time out.

Mottler

Canfornav is one of two Canadian companies that operates saltwater-lakes vessels flagged overseas, the other being the larger Fednav. Canfornav’s vessels often trade between the Great Lakes and the Caribbean.

Mottler

Mottler has her mast down. I don’t know what her last port was, but I’m guessing it was somewhere with bridges such as Duluth or Chicago.

Mottler

Canfornav has perhaps my favorite of all salty stack logos.

Mottler

And of course, I like their scheme of naming all their vessels after waterfowl.

Mottler

Mottler is now another Canfornav vessel to check off my list, and I bid adieu to her as she heads downbound.

Hebert C. Jackson

Next up is an upbound American vessel – the steamer Herbert C. Jackson.

Herbert C. Jackson

The Jackson is, somehow, the first classic laker I have seen all season so far. That’s a little odd, but for the most part I have just been targeting vessels that I need better photos of for my collection. The Jackson is not one of those vessels.

Herbert C. Jackson

The Jackson has an impressive bone in her teeth as she fights the current below the bridges.

Herbert C. Jackson

This is what I’ve been missing during my classic laker drought – great lines like these.

Herbert C. Jackson

The Jackson has been busy on the ore run to AK Steel in Dearborn this year, as she always is.

Herbert C. Jackson

She is the last remaining steamer in the Interlake Steamship Company fleet, and hopefully she will remain a steamer for a few years still.

Herbert C. Jackson

Her prop wash is pretty impressive as she digs in to get some power.

Herbert C. Jackson

So, almost clear of the rapid currents, she moves on toward Lake Huron and the next leg of her journey.

Herbert C. Jackson

I’ll end the post here with Herbert. That was almost everything for Sunday, but I’ll finish up in a second post tomorrow.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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