Key West II

Here I shall post the rest of the photos I took in Key West, Florida last Tuesday. I showed you the first half yesterday, but today’s will be a bit more boat-related.

thing

My walk around the town took me back to the area near where my ship was docked, and I stumbled upon this. That’s worth a photo.

Ingham

Suddenly, I noticed that I was standing right next to the former USCGC Ingham.

Ingham

The Ingham was open for tours, but I didn’t have enough time to go aboard for a full tour.

Ingham

Besides, I went onboard her only surviving sister, the Taney, in Baltimore five years ago.

Ingham

But as a consolation for not taking the tour, I got some nice shots of the exterior.

Ingham

The Ingham had a long and impressive career for the Coast Guard. She was commissioned in 1936, and decomissioned 52 years later in 1988.

Ingham

For a museum ship, she appears to be kept in very good condition.

Old Glory

There was a strong enough breeze to get the flag flying on the stern.

Ingham

And the sunlight at the time was prefect for lighting.

Ingham

And there’s a full stern view.

Ingham and Ecstasy

Oh, what’s that over there?

Carnival Ecstasy

Well, that’s my boat, the Carnival Ecstasy. She’s 23 years old and she looks it, but I was very happy with my four-day experience aboard her.

Carnival Ecstasy

She’s had some modifications over the years, such as the balcony cabins at the stern, and the waterslide on the Verandah deck.

Carnival Ecstasy

It’s hard to believe that 23 years is old in cruise ship years, because she is much younger than most of the Great Lakes freighters.

Costa Mediterranea

I promise, this is the last time you will see the Costa Mediterranea in this series of posts. I couldn’t get a stern shot of her in Miami, but I made sure to in Key West. For some reason I didn’t take one from the Ecstasy while we were docked.

Rachel Carson

I made one more stop before getting back on the ship and leaving, and it was only a short walk away: the NOAA environmental center. Their small research vessel Rachel Carson was docked outside.

Rachel Carson

She certainly seems well-equipped.

R5701

More impressive however, was R5701. She looks like some kind of NOAA patrol vessel.

R5701

It looks like taking a spin around on her would be fun.

Carnival Ecstasy

And now, folks, my time in Key West came to an end. The Carnival Ecstasy was soon on her way to her next stop.

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Key West

It took me three posts to get through everything I saw in beautiful Miami last Monday, and today I am moving on to last Tuesday. Hopefully I can burn through all that in one post, but… we’ll see.

To set the scene, early on Tuesday morning, the Carnival Ecstasy pulled into Key West, Florida, and let its passengers run amok on the island for several hours.

Key West

A tourist trolley took me off the military grounds where we had docked, and dropped me off in old downtown. This statue reminded me of the cover of “Gaucho”.

Key West

I didn’t expect to see Queen Elizabeth though… with groceries of all things?

Ernest Hemingway

I was expecting to see Ernest Hemingway, however.

rooster

I quickly learned that this part of town had almost as many roosters walking around as it did people.

Key West

No, I did not put this there. But I should start carrying them around so I can leave them everywhere that I go. Detroit does hustle harder.

pelican

Moving over to Mallory Square, I met this fine feathered fellow waiting for his ship to come in.

Costa Mediterranea

Oh wait, there it is. The Costa Mediterranea had followed us into port from Miami that morning.

Hindu

And going for a morning sail was the schooner Hindu, which was one of many tall ships that visited the Great Lakes in 2013.

Costa Mediterranea

Schooner vs. cruise ship is an interesting comparison.

Capt. Blinky

Moseying onto a different part of the harbor (it was all on foot for me), I found the local pilot boat Capt. Blinky.

Capt. Blinky

Definitely a bit more modern looking than the Biscayne from Miami the previous evening.

Key West Fury

A few tourist sailing catamarans were in town, including this one, the Key West Fury.

Jolly Rover

As was another schooner, the Jolly Rover.

banyan

I didn’t take many shots of the town itself, but I definitely enjoyed the Banyan trees.

banyan

It’s like they never end…

Palm

Palm trees do end, but the amount of them didn’t.

lizard

There weren’t as many lizards as roosters, unfortunately. The lizards are much quieter.

Uhh… wait a second. I realize this post has been a little short, but I’ve just decided to split the Key West shots into two parts. So… enjoy the lizard and I’ll finish this tomorrow.

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Miami Sunset

This is my third (and final) post from last Monday, which is now exactly one week ago. I left off as the Carnival Ecstasy was departing Miami harbor, and will complete that saga right now.

Miami

Pretty right?

Dodge Island

Here’s a good look at Dodge Island, which is where we were docked prior to our departure.

Tugs

The dredging operation is bustling on the other side of the island. Tugs visible here are Mr. ChesterMiss Niz, and Indian Dawn.

Biscayne

Meanwhile, the pilot boat Biscayne was continuing its hot pursuit of us as we headed out to sea.

Vizcaya

Her fleetmate Vizcaya passed by in the other direction.

Biscayne

Biscayne was putting on quite a show as she rode in our wake.

Biscayne

As the sun sank lower in the sky, the golden light shone well off her yellow cabins.

Biscayne

Biscayne started to move to the port side to eventually go alongside there and make her pilot exchange, but she waited back for awhile.

Biscayne

I really enjoyed these photos so don’t be surprised if I include a lot of them…

Biscayne

After quite awhile, she started to move alongside.

Biscayne

And well, she eventually got up there and made the exchange.

Miami

Meanwhile, off the starboard side, the Kirby tug Miami was casually making her way offshore.

Miami

She’s a rather good-looking tug.

Sara Express and Danica Sunbeam

Back on the port side, there were a few vessels sitting in the Miami anchorage. The Antillean Line container ship is the Sara Express, while the smaller coaster is the Danica Sunbeam.

Danica Sunbeam

Danica Sunbeam is a cute little freighter, and was likely waiting for a berth on the Miami River.

British Integrity

Even further out in the anchorage was the large BP tanker British Integrity.

British Integrity

I found her interesting because of her name – because where I come from, the only integrity we have is American!

British Integrity

She checks in at about 600 feet by 104 feet. Small enough for the Soo Locks, but too big for the St. Lawrence Seaway. Nothing like her 1,000′ x 105′ American counterpart, though.

sunset

And now that’s over with, so I would like to end this post with a photo of the beautiful Miami sunset. Except I can’t because there’s one more boat.

Sarah Dann

So there you have it. The big tug Sarah Dann was heading back to Miami with a scow as part of the dredging operation.

Whew… I’m finally done with posts from Monday! But Monday was just day one of a five-day vacation. I’ll be here all week folks. Come back tomorrow for another exotic and sunny location!

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Sail Away

I left you off here, shortly after the Carnival Ecstasy had departed her berth in Miami on Monday evening. And so I will add the rest more of the photos from that departure today.

Fort Bragg

Escorting us on the stern end was the impressive z-drive tug Fort Bragg of Moran Towing.

Fort Bragg

She boasts 4,400 horsepower and was built in 1998.

Mark

Passing us on the port side was the small tug Mark, which I did not get a bow shot of.

Indian River

At Kirby Corp.’s Miami base, I caught their small towboat Indian River, which is used to refuel cruise ships.

406 and Indian River

She was sitting with the barge 406, although earlier she had refueled the Costa Mediterranea with the barge 407.

Pelican

We quickly passed the Fisher Island ferry Pelican. Fisher Island of course, is the home of many celebrities, including Oprah.

Caribbean Jade

Coming up next on the port side is the general cargo vessel Caribbean Jade. However, she seems to be missing her name.

Caribbean Jade

The ship’s operator is Bernuth Lines.

Caribbean Jade

No nameboards are present on her pilothouse either… looks like a rename is in progress.

USCGC Dolphin

Just beyond her is the Coast Guard station, which is bustling with coastal patrol boats. This one, the USCGC Dolphin, was the smallest of the bunch.

USCGC William Flores

USCGC William Flores is next in line.

USCGC William Flores

Here’s her stern shot. She is a Sentinel-class cutter.

USCGC Richard Etheridge

The third one is the USCGC Richard Etheridge.

USCGC Richard Etheridge

And she gets her own stern shot as well.

USCGC Paul Clark

Number four is the USCGC Paul Clark.

USCGC Paul Clark

These Sentinel-class cutters are very similar in appearance to the new Hero-class cutters of the Canadian Coast Guard. I have yet to photograph one of those, but hopefully will do so this year.

Caribbean Jade

I will take a brief pause from Coast Guard cutters for this stern shot of the Caribbean Jade. Nope, no name there either.

Heron

Another Fisher Island ferry, the Heron, passes us in very close quarters. She is loaded with quite a few cars.

USCGC Margeret Norvell

Anyway, there are two more cutters at the Coast Guard station. The USCGC Margaret Norvell is yet another Sentinel-class boat.

USCGC Bernard C. Webber

And the last one is the USCGC Bernard C. Webber.

Mr. Chester

Now moving back to the starboard side of the ship, we pass the tug Mr. Chester working with a small barge.

Mr. Chester and Miss Niz

Also working in the vicinity is the Miss Niz, on the upper right. Great Lakes Dredge & Dock has a big dredging operation going on here, which is providing employment for quite a few tugs from various companies.

Fort Bragg

Once we got closer to open water, the Fort Bragg turned away and left us, while the small pilot boat Biscayne departed its station.

Fort Bragg

Fort Bragg goes around the harbor and towards the dredging operation. The two large tugs with the barges on the left are the Allie B. and Indian Dawn.

Eagle

The ferry Eagle is siting at Fisher Island exchanging cars.

Flamingo

The Flamingo got a little washed out by the sun, but she appears to be the backup ferry for the day.

Biscayne

The Biscayne starts up its fast pursuit of us to make a pilot exchange, and I will end this post right here.

I have one more post with photos from Monday, and will post it tomorrow. I’m purposefully including as many vessels as I can in posts from this trip because I find the maritime industry down here so exciting and active, compared to the slow and often sparse way that things are on the Great Lakes. I want that to come across in the blog posts, so that is why I’m featuring almost every vessel that I saw here.

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Ecstasy

You last heard from me on Sunday, as I recounted the events of that morning. I had ventured up to Marysville, MI in -30 degree wind to shoot the Algosteel as she was stuck in St. Clair River ice. But 24 hours later, I was in the air and on my way to somewhere warmer.

Miami

Sunny and in the high 70s… welcome to Miami!

Miami

Yes, it was time to take a short break from the ice and snow of Michigan. And what better way to do that than on the ocean?

Carnival Ecstasy

So just before lunchtime on Monday, I boarded the Carnival Ecstasy for a four day cruise through the Western Caribbean.

Carnival Ecstasy

The Carnival Ecstasy is 844 feet long and 103 feet wide (so yes, she would fit through the Soo Locks), and was built in Finland in 1991. This makes her the second-oldest vessel in Carnival’s 24-ship fleet.

Carnival Ecstasy

The ship is registered in Panama and carries a crew of 920… and those are pretty much all the important facts regarding my home for the week.

Carnival Ecstasy

Like much of Carnival’s fleet, the Ecstasy is definitely equipped for having a good time, which is great since I was traveling with my family.

Carnival Victory

Our departure wasn’t scheduled until the later evening, so I checked out the nearby vessels in Miami until then.

Carnival Victory

Our larger and newer fleetmate, Carnival Victory, was moored ahead of us.

Carnival Victory

The Victory is 893′ by 116′ (and would not fit through the Soo Locks). She departed shortly before we did.

Costa Mediterranea

Behind us on our other end, the Costa Mediterranea is also preparing to sail.

Indian River

The tug Indian River and her barge are alongside to fuel the ship up before she leaves.

Costa Mediterranea

Costa is Carnival’s European sister company, so I’m not exactly sure what the Mediterranea is doing here in Miami.

Costa Mediterranea

However, she is a classy-looking ship – and that includes a hot tub on the bow.

Seven Seas Navigator

The Seven Seas Navigator of Regent Seven Seas Cruises is also preparing to depart, on the other side of the island. At 560′ by 81′, she was the smallest cruise ship in port on Monday.

Carnival Ecstasy

After our safety briefing, passengers began filling up the Verandah Deck on the stern as the Ecstasy prepared for departure.

Costa Mediterranea

It was on the stern where I stood when we pulled off the dock and got underway, leaving the Costa Mediterranea behind us.

Costa Mediterranea

Her stack was very distinctive to me, as it seemed out of place on the modern vessel.

Costa Mediterranea

She checks in at 960′ by 106′ (Soo Locks? Nope).

seaplane

We shared the channel with a departing seaplane, but only for a few seconds.

Seaboard Ranger

For you freighter fans, the Seaboard Ranger was docked on the other side of the island working a container cargo.

Fort Bragg

Within a few minutes of our departure, we picked up a stern escort in the form of the tug Fort Bragg.

Norwegian Star

We passed two more happy cruise ships on our way out of port, the first of which was the Norwegian Star.

Norwegian Star

At 965′ by 106′, she is just too wide to transit the Soo Locks if she somehow sailed in that area,

Norwegian Star

True to her name, she is decorated with stars.

Norwegian Star

Here’s a close-up of her fancy bridge.

Norwegian Star

She kind of looks like she’s wearing lipstick and sunglasses.

AIDAvita

And the last cruise ship before we hit the sea comes from a German fleet.

AIDAvita

The Norwegian Star looked like she had lips, but the AIDAvita definitely does.

AIDAvita

AIDAvita is smaller than the others, at 665′ by 92′

Fort Bragg

This post has run a bit long, so I’ll end it here with a shot of our escort tug, the Fort Bragg.

Tomorrow I will continue with more shots from the Ecstasy‘s Miami departure… as I sit here in cold, cold Michigan.

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My Valentine

On Valentine’s Day, I was determined to make up run up to the St. Clair River to catch the Algosteel being escorted upbound on her way to Goderich. Unfortunately it didn’t happen, as I was kept snowbound by an awful storm that left the highways a mess. But the river was a mess too, and the Algosteel spent the night stuck in the ice at Marysville. So on Sunday morning, I made my move.

Algosteel

Early Sunday morning, that is. I pulled into Chrysler Beach around 7:40, with the Algosteel sitting in the spot where she’s been for over twelve hours.

Algosteel

This is my second straight weekend catching the Steel – last Saturday evening we met briefly in Detroit.

Algosteel

I mentioned then that it would likely be her last trip to Detroit for the season, but her next load got changed from Milwaukee back to Detroit, so she came this way again. Yes, it took her one week to get from Detroit to Goderich to Detroit and then to here. Without ice? 2 or 3 days.

Algosteel

It’s less than 20 minutes after sunrise, so activity is just getting started onboard the ship. She is waiting for icebreaking to begin for the day, and has her propeller turning hard to see if the ice will budge.

Algosteel

She is on her way back to Goderich to load more salt, which is currently scheduled to go to Milwaukee. But things change frequently.

Algosteel

Her propeller is churning hard in the small space of open water behind her stern, but it’s doing no good in this ice jam.

Algosteel

As one would expect, not a single crewmember was sighted going for a morning stroll on deck.

Algosteel

Nope, nothing there either…

CCGS Samuel Risley

Sitting in her spot upriver is the CCGS Samuel Risley, currently the only icebreaker on duty for the St. Clair River. She led the Algosteel from Algonac up to this spot yesterday, and in this shot is preparing to start the day’s operations.

Great Lakes

Sitting quietly at the Shell dock in Corunna is the tug Michigan and her tank barge Great Lakes. This pair has been busy as one of several tankers that remain in service throughout the winter.

Michigan

The pair appears ready to go, and they soon got some icebreaking attention from the Risley by mid-morning. They haven’t been appearing on AIS maps, so I don’t know if they have departed or not.

CCGS Samuel Risley

The Risley is now doing something with her crane… possibly lifting an object off the ice? Her first job of the day was to move the Algosteel far enough upriver so that the Michigan/Great Lakes could get some assistance. That took until the afternoon, and she then led the Algosteel out of the river and up Lake Huron to Goderich.

Algosteel

Since the Algosteel clearly won’t be moving for at least an hour, I decide to move to the other end of the park to catch some shots from a bow angle.

Algosteel

The Steel‘s pilothouse looks empty from a quick glance, although I can’t see the whole thing from here. There’s probably someone in there.

Algosteel

The veteran Algosteel, the oldest active ship in the Algoma Central fleet, is operating into mid-February for the third straight year.

Algosteel

That being said, it’s not surprising that she looks a little worse for the wear. Rumor has it that my favorite ship is not in the best of shape, and that retirement is not far away (but that’s no guarantee, since she already survived her first planned retirement back in 2010).

chemical valley

The rising sun has finally pierces through the screen of clouds, creating a nice soft look.

Algosteel

It looks even nicer when the Algosteel is in there.

Algosteel

Zooming out, it becomes obvious just how much ice is jammed in the river here in Marysville – it’s frozen all the way across, and I’m told that it’s thick enough to walk on.

Algosteel

The Algosteel may be one tough ship, but only an icebreaker can make it through this by itself.

ice

I think this shot also expresses the extent to which the river is frozen – plus the crack looks kind of cool.

Algosteel

And I’ll leave you for this weekend with a final shot of my valentine for this year, the Algosteel – ready to hit open water and load more salt. Maybe there will be more Detroit runs for her before Spring and we will meet again soon.

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The Evening Steel

Yesterday evening, just before sunset, I made a quick run down to Detroit for very important reasons: to catch my favorite ship on what might be her final trip this way before winter lay-up.

Algosteel

I first went to Springwells Court, to get some stern shots as the Algosteel pulled slowly into Sterling Fuel.

Algosteel

The Steel had spent all day unloading salt on the Rouge River, and was stopping for a fill-up before heading back to Goderich for more salt.

Algosteel

I moved up to Riverside Park for some bow shots too. The Steel abandoned her approach and backed out into the river to give it another try.

Algosteel

This is actually the latest in winter that I have caught a moving laker – February 7th, beating my previous record by five days.

Algosteel

This Detroit trip was a slight break from her winter role of shuttling salt to Milwaukee and Chicago, which she is resuming now. Eventually she will head for a lay-up dock somewhere, along with her three fleetmates that are also still on the salt run (Capt. Henry JackmanJohn B. Aird, and Peter R. Cresswell).

Algosteel

Unfortunately, the sun is nearly gone and there aren’t any other ships around, so that is all for me this weekend. Only six photos.

I’m not sure exactly what the rest of this month will bring… but hopefully it will be interesting.

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