I left off on Saturday, September 8, when I spent a day in Ludington and caught the Badger both arriving and departing on her daily Lake Michigan crossing. Remember two posts ago, when I said that the Le Champlain returned to Traverse City but that I was out of town on that day?
I took a few extra days off of school in order to make the trip home, and Le Champlain made her second visit to Traverse City while I was gone. But I was okay with that, because on Sunday, October 6, I boarded the Badger that I had just seen a week earlier to cross Lake Michigan on my return trip to Traverse City.
I took very few photos during the crossing, however I did grab this shot of the Spartan at her berth from Badger‘s stern deck when we tied up in Ludington.
Later that week, the Hamburg paid her second visit to Traverse City, and I was in town for that one.
Just like on her first visit, Hamburg put her anchor down off the Maritime Academy, and used our harbor to bring passengers ashore. When I arrived, the ship’s lifeboat #3 was docked and unloading passengers in the small nook where the State of Michigan is backed in (the training ship is moored on the dock opposite the lifeboat, outside the frame of this photo).
As I watched, another lifeboat departed the ship and began making its way to our harbor.
Meanwhile, behind me, #3 backed from the dock she had been at and shifted docks to allow the next lifeboat to arrive.
The ship appears very far away in these shots, so you’ll have to take my word for it when I say that she was actually quite close to the shore.
The lifeboat gradually got bigger as it closed on the harbor…
Once again, although it appears small, these lifeboats are actually very large, much larger than lifeboats found on Great Lakes and ocean cargo vessels alike.
Cruise ships like Hamburg were built specifically to visit smaller ports that may not have docks large enough to accommodate them, so they are typically fitted with lifeboats that are also capable of being used to ferry passengers to and from the ship.
From looking in the windows, it’s clear that the boat was designed to operate as a passenger ferry in addition to a life saving craft, as it appears to have some passenger comforts that wouldn’t be found in a typical lifeboat.
I got many odd looks from the people on board boat #4 as I stood on the end of the Academy’s pier shooting the vessel as it arrived, which made these shots awkward to take.
Here, you can see #3 tied up at the dock where the Academy’s training lifeboat rests on its davits, while #4 enters the harbor. It will tie up forward of where #3 was now, across from the State of Michigan’s stern, to unload its passengers.
The craft is still dwarfed by the State, a vessel that must have been quite impressive to boat #4‘s passengers since it came so close to the training ship while docking.
And with one last parting shot of Hamburg anchored in the bay, I headed on my way. The ship departed later that evening to continue its cruise, and likely won’t be back until next year since the fall cruise season is rapidly winding down on the Great Lakes.
With that, I’m officially caught up on the events of the past few weeks. Now that winter is quickly approaching (yes, I said winter), only time will tell how my boatwatching adventures will play out in the near future.