The Return of Hamburg

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?

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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.

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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.

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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).

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As I watched, another lifeboat departed the ship and began making its way to our harbor.

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Meanwhile, behind me, #3 backed from the dock she had been at and shifted docks to allow the next lifeboat to arrive.

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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.

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The lifeboat gradually got bigger as it closed on the harbor…

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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In my last post, I chronicled the events of September 24, when the cruise ships Le Champlain and Hamburg paid a daylong visit to Traverse City. I had mentioned that I had more catching up to do, so this post will continue where I left off.

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On Saturday, September 8, a friend and I were feeling adventurous, so we made the two-hour drive down to Ludington to catch a specific vessel.

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You guessed it, that vessel is the historic carferry Badger.

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Now into the fall season, the ship only makes two lake crossings per day as opposed to the usual four during the summer.

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We arrived in Ludington just in time to catch her 9:00am departure for Manitowoc.

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It had been quite a few years since I’d last seen Badger, as she doesn’t deviate from her Ludington-Manitowoc route and I rarely make it to either city. This trip was actually my first time ever visiting Ludington, and the last time I was in Manitowoc was some time ago.

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This was also my first time shooting the vessel, so I made sure to take plenty of photos as she passed us and exited the canal.

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The ferry has a very squared off stern – obviously useful for the purpose she was built for, but it makes for an interesting appearance.

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And with Badger past us, she heads for the open lake and Wisconsin. We’ll see her again soon enough though.

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After Badger departed, we ventured down to the ferry dock to get shots of her sister ship, the long-inactive ferry Spartan.

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With the laid up vessel easily accessible, we walked the length of her hull and I took plenty of close-ups of the ship, so I’ll talk about her history a little bit over these next few photos.

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Both sister ships were built by the Christy Corporation in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, with construction on the Spartan beginning in late 1950.

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Spartan was launched on January 4, 1952, however she was not christened until September 6 of that year after the successful launch of Badger, when both ships were christened in a joint ceremony.

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Spartan entered service in the fall of 1952 for the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway, also known as C&O, operating out of her home port of Ludington and making trips to Milwaukee, Manitowoc, and Kewaunee, Wisconsin.

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The ship’s power is generated by four coal-fired boilers that drive two compound Skinner Unaflow steam turbines, giving the ship a total of 7,560 horsepower and a top speed of close to 20 miles per hour.

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In the mid-1970’s, C&O decided that the ferries were no longer profitable and that they wanted out of the business. By this point, only three vessels were left in service: Spartan, Badger, and their older fleetmate City of Midland 41. 

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The company was given permission to begin phasing out ferry routes, and in September of 1979, Spartan was laid up in Ludington. She was briefly reactivated in 1980, however that only lasted a short time and she was laid up again, this time permanently.

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Since then, Lake Michigan Carferry was formed to keep the Badger in operational service. Spartan has sat quietly in the Ludington harbor since being laid up for the final time in 1980, and now serves as a supply vessel to keep the Badger and her rare steam power plant in operation.

Speaking of the Badger…

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We did other things during the day after shooting the Spartan, however the main reason we stayed in Ludington was to catch Badger returning to her home port that evening.

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The ship had arrived in Wisconsin at noon, and departed Manitowoc at 2:00pm for the return trip across Lake Michigan. She arrived at 7:00, with the setting sun creating a nice backdrop.

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I was exited to watch the steamer arrive – the ship must back into her dock in order to unload the vehicles onboard, which means that she must complete a 180-degree turn in the harbor.

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The 410-foot Badger isn’t exactly the most maneuverable vessel either – she and her sister both have two propellers, but steering is only provided by a single rudder (most twin screw vessels today have a dedicated rudder for each propeller). She also lacks a bow thruster, another feature of many lakers sailing today.

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To complete the maneuver, the Badger utilizes one of her most basic staple features – her anchor. It was about at this point that the captain gave the order to let go the starboard anchor, which once upon the bottom would provide a pivot point for the vessel to spin on.

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Once the anchor takes hold, the ship begins to swing around – notice that the lift gate at the stern of the ship is raised in preparation for the upcoming unload.

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As the vessel swings around, the sun glints off her tall hull – especially at this angle, it’s easy to see that the ship is rather top-heavy.

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Thanks to the Spartan, the Badger is able to continue operating as a steamer – due to the rarity of the steam engines that power Badger, parts are simply taken off the Spartan whenever they are needed to keep costs down and prevent the ship from being out of service for extended periods of maintenance time.

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LMC has kept up well with maintenance on the vessel, and today she stands as the last coal-fired steamer operating on the Great Lakes.

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She was designated a National Historic Landmark in 2016, which was about the same time that the fiasco regarding her coal ash dumping was resolved. (For those who don’t know what I’m talking about – basically, the EPA demanded that the vessel retain the ash, a byproduct of her steam plant, onboard instead of dumping it into Lake Michigan, a practice the vessel had done for the entirety of her career.)

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In this bow close-up, you can see the starboard anchor chain paid out forward of the vessel as she backs to the dock.

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The steamer gradually eases into the pier and prepares to unload her passengers and cargo.

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I’ll end this post with a final shot of the vessel tying up, with the Spartan astern of her in the background.

That was all for our adventurous Saturday in Ludington. I was very happy to finally have some good shots of the classic Badger, and watching her both arrive and depart Ludington in the same day was pretty cool. I still have one more post to write until I’ll be fully caught up on the events of the past few weeks, so stick around for that one. Also, in reference to the title of this post – I’ve now reached 150 posts on Freighter Freak! Thank you to all my dedicated readers for sticking with me this long, and I hope that number only increases in the future.

The French and German Invaders

It’s been a while, but I’m back with more photos, this time from my (current) hometown! As many know, Traverse City is unfortunately not a cargo port, with the largest vessel in the vicinity being our own training ship State of Michigan. However, that changed back on September 24…

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I meant to post these shots sooner, however my school schedule has prevented me from doing so. But anyway, September 24 brought not one but two cruise ships to Traverse City.

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The first of the two is the 430-foot French vessel Le Champlain, operated by Ponant cruises of Marseille. Launched in 2018, she is the newest cruise ship to enter the Lakes in quite a few years.

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The vessel is very uniquely designed, but I love the contrast between her deep blue hull, red boot topping, and white superstructure.

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The other vessel is the German liner Hamburg, and has visited both the Great Lakes as well as Traverse City numerous times since she was built in 1997.

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At 472 feet in length, she is slightly longer than Le Champlain, although she is also much boxier and more like a stereotypical cruise ship.

I should also note that the five photos above were all taken by my good friend Tristin – he happened to have a class that day in which he was able to take a boat out and get shots of the two ships from up close, and he was kind enough to share them with me and allow me to in turn share them here. I had been at work during the day and missed the opportunity to get any shots in the daylight, so I was even more thankful for Tristin’s close-ups.

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So now we transition to my photos, which are considerably worse for two reasons: they’re all from land, and all are taken with my phone. And it was getting dark by the time I was able to get down to the harbor. Oh, well. (This is supposed to be a shot of both ships – Hamburg is the white speck on the right side of the photo.)

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The phone’s zoom feature isn’t too terrible, but the quality of such shots decreases significantly, meaning I have to sacrifice one of the two. I think you can tell which one I went with.

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So anyway, back to the present – that’s the Le Champlain‘s fast rescue boat, or FRB, approaching me from the ship.

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Traverse City has no docks (or shoreside facilities) that are large enough to accommodate such ships, meaning they must anchor in the harbor and ferry passengers between the ship and land.

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This time, Le Champlain‘s FRB was sent to pick up a few lingering passengers on shore, but both ships used their lifeboats to transport the majority of their passengers. (Notice in Tristin’s shots above that some of the lifeboats from both ships are missing, and that the davits used to launch them are extended over the water.)

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After picking up their passengers, the FRB turns from the dock and begins to speed back to its mother ship. You can see Hamburg anchored in the distance, just above the FRB.

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To provide some context of the location, the Hamburg is anchored directly off the Maritime Academy, which is at the lowest end of the bay. Le Champlain anchored further up the bay, and closer to the west shoreline.

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Le Champlain was constructed at a Fincantieri yard in Romania, which is the same company that owns and operates the Bay Shipbuilding yard in Sturgeon Bay.

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The second member of the Ponant Explorers-class of ships built for the company, the vessel is named after the famous French explorer Samuel de Champlain.

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Built as a luxury cruise ship, the vessel can only carry up to 180 passengers (in comparison to Hamburg‘s capacity of 420 people), making it ideal for those who desire a more quiet vacation.

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After shooting the Le Champlain, I headed over to the Maritime Academy to get a few shots of Hamburg before the sun set entirely. Notice in this one that the ship was hoisting one of its lifeboats back on board.

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Both vessels were preparing for departure now that it was getting dark, and the Hamburg raised her anchor and began turning around to head out of the bay.

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I also took the opportunity while I was there to grab a shot of the GLMA campus, which I don’t believe I’ve shared here yet since beginning school. Obviously the main attraction is our training ship – which appears somewhat threatening from this angle with its protruding bow – but that’s not the only boat the Maritime Academy has in its possession. Note the two vessels on the left – the one moored closest is a 41-foot former USCG response boat, while the other is a 44-foot tug that formerly worked for the US Army Corps of Engineers. Both are now owned by the school and used for cadet training.

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I returned to my original spot by the Le Champlain to watch the cruise ships depart – notice that the glowing Hamburg has now turned around and is heading north to continue her voyage.

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Most lakers keep their lights off at night to help the crew navigate and see better, so I was caught off guard by the brightly lit cruise ships before I remembered that I was shooting a completely different type of ship.

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It’s hard to tell from these shots, but notice the lights at the waterline of Le Champlain – those lights are actually underwater, a feature I had only previously seen on upscale yachts and didn’t expect to see on a cruise ship (or on the Great Lakes, much less). They definitely added a super cool effect to the ship’s presence in the harbor, though.

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With Hamburg now past Le Champlain, I took one last shot of the two vessels together.

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By the time Le Champlain began turning around, it was getting too dark to continue shooting, so this was the last photo I took of the classy vessel.

That was all for the action on September 24, an exciting day for a port that sees no action other than the happenings at the Maritime Academy. Le Champlain would return to Traverse City a little over a week later, however I was of course not in town when that happened. Stay tuned to find out where I was though – I still have some catching up to do from the last few weeks!

Lee and the Canadians

I left off yesterday with G3 Marquis downbound in the Rock Cut late in the morning on August 31st. Today’s post will be the last with my photos from Labor Day weekend, as it was a rather short trip – we stayed in the Soo through Saturday night, but then returned to Traverse City.

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After we watched the Marquis head into the lower river, we returned to Mission Point for the afternoon, where the classic Lee A. Tregurtha was coming up the channel.

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Lee met the Sugar Islander II, docked on the other side of the channel this time.

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On this trip, the 1942-built veteran was heading for Marquette to load iron ore pellets, likely for delivery to the Rouge River.

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I saw Lee A. back in June here as well, but it’s always good to meet a classic laker.

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The ship’s steam plume from her exhaust gas scrubbers blends perfectly with the puffy clouds in this shot.

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Since I feel like I’ve gone through the history of the Tregurtha many times, I don’t really know what else to say about her…

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…so here’s a stern view.

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And here’s another one.

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And here’s one last one with some rocks as Lee heads for the locks.

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The next vessel, and our last upbounder of the trip, is Algoma’s bulker Algoma Spirit.

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I saw both of her sister ships, Algoma Guardian and Algoma Discovery, for the first time on my Engineer’s Day trip, however I had yet to meet the Spirit.

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Now that I’ve seen all three of the sisters, I find it interesting that I saw them within a two-month time span and in the same location.

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Like the Guardian and DiscoveryAlgoma Spirit started life on saltwater in 1986.

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She operated as Petka until 2000 when the trio was sold to Viken Shipping, and was subsequently renamed Sandviken.

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The ship visited the Lakes frequently sporting her bright green hull paint, and made frequent trips between the Great Lakes and Europe until all three sisters were sold to Algoma in 2008.

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Upon her arrival in Canada, her deck cranes were removed, her hull was painted in Algoma colors, and she was renamed Algoma Spirit. She has continued to be a productive member of Algoma’s dry bulk fleet, and likely will for at least a few years to come.

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After Algoma Spirit had passed us, we had just one more vessel to catch before it was time to head back to Traverse City.

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Canada Steamship Lines’ Whitefish Bay was downbound with a load of iron ore pellets from Two Harbors.

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Built in 2013, the ship is the third member of CSL’s Trillium Class, which consists of four self-unloaders and two gearless bulkers.

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The Trillium Class began in late 2012 when Baie St. Paul arrived on the Lakes from China. Thunder Bay followed in early 2013, with Whitefish Bay arriving in Montreal in July of that year.

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The four self-unloaders are all 740′ long and 78′ wide, with a carrying capacity of 37,690 tons.

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The two gearless bulkers, CSL Welland and CSL St-Laurent, share the same dimensions and are designed very similarly to the self-unloaders, although they were built at a different shipyard and approximately two years after the self-unloaders.

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Whitefish Bay was another repeat vessel for me on this trip, as I caught her on Engineer’s Day as well.

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It was barely daybreak when I last saw her, so my shots of her were quite dark. Needless to say, I was happy for these much brighter ones.

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And with Whitefish Bay past us, our boatwatching adventure had come to an end. Although short, we still saw plenty of traffic, and it was a nice break from school. With this saga complete, I’m back to the stage of not knowing when I’ll get the chance to go boatwatching again, so sit tight – it may be awhile, but it’ll happen eventually.

Clanky Clyde Comes to Town

Yesterday, I shared the first post with photos from my Labor Day weekend trip to Sault Ste. Marie, and left off on the night of Friday, August 30th, with the Stewart J. Cort upbound at the West Pier of the locks.

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There was some traffic early on Saturday morning that we didn’t get up for, so our day began with the upbound passage of Joseph L. Block late Saturday morning at Mission Point.

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Mission Point isn’t the greatest spot for morning shooting when it’s sunny, because the sun is over Sugar Island and makes these types of shots backlit.

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I don’t think I need to mention that I hate backlit shots, but of course I took them anyway and will still share them.

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The Block is on her usual run – she’s loaded with a cargo of limestone that she’ll end up delivering to Duluth, and then she’ll come back down with either iron ore pellets or blast furnace trim (or a combination of both).

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This is my first time catching Joseph since February when I saw her going into drydock in Sturgeon Bay for her five-year survey and a fresh coat of paint, and in fact my first time seeing her actually underway in a few years.

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Like her fleetmate Wilfred Sykes, I see the Block at least once or twice a year when she lays up for the winter at Bay Shipbuilding, but catching her in service is a little bit more of a challenge.

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This was my first time catching her in the Soo, so I was happy to see the ship in a new setting.

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Joseph L. Block passes the Sugar Islander II, which is loading up with cars for the never-ending trip across the channel.

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We didn’t have to wait long for our next vessel – in fact, we could hear her coming for quite some time before she actually got to the point.

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I’m making a reference to Clanky Clyde, which is pushing her barge Erie Trader towards the locks and her next load.

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The pair was constructed in 2012 in Erie, PA, and operated under charter to American Steamship as Lakes Contender/tug Ken Boothe Sr. until 2017.

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When ASC opted not to renew the charter for the pair, VanEnkevort swooped in and purchased the vessels, making the pair the third ATB in their fleet.

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Anyone who has seen this pair in person understands why the tug Clyde S. VanEnkevort is known as “Clanky Clyde” – for those who haven’t, just know that she has an incredibly loud engine.

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Her loudness aside, it’s always good to see one of VanEnkevort’s unique ATB’s – I call them unique because the company doesn’t exactly have an established paint scheme, and each vessel is different.

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We’ll have to wait until the fourth barge, Michigan Trader, is complete next year to see what color VanEnkevort opts to go for on her hull.

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As Erie Trader heads towards the locks, we head toward our next vessel.

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We returned to the Rock Cut to catch our third Equinox vessel of the trip – this time, it’s G3 Marquis.

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The Marquis and I had not previously met either – come to think of it, every single Algoma vessel I saw this past weekend was new for me.

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The other new thing for me was the vantage point – every time I’ve come to the Cut before, I’ve shot from the edge of the channel (as I did the previous evening with John D. Leitch), but this time I climbed the massive rock piles set back from the water, and it was totally worth it.

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The keel for G3 Marquis, the third member of the Equinox Class, was laid at the Nantong Mingde shipyard (the original yard that was supposed to construct the Equinox Class) on Christmas Day in 2013.

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After a ten-month construction, the ship departed China on her delivery voyage as CWB Marquis in late October of 2014, and arrived in Canada on January 8th, 2015.

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The ship was the first of two Equinox vessels that were to be owned by the Canadian Wheat Board and operated by Algoma, with the second being CWB Strongfield.

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As it turned out, that second vessel never came under CWB ownership thanks to Nantong Mingde’s bankruptcy, which left the partially-finished hull in limbo and forced Algoma to purchase it at auction and arrange for its completion at another shipyard.

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The original contract was restructured so that the Canadian Wheat Board only had possession of the Marquis, and the new vessel instead went straight to Algoma under the name Algoma Strongfield.

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The Marquis, however, remained under CWB ownership. In early 2016, the Canadian Wheat Board changed their name to Global Grain Group, and the prefix of the ship’s name was changed from “CWB” to “G3” and the corresponding logos were painted on the ship’s side and stack over the winter of 2015-16.

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Through all the corporate drama, G3 Marquis’ cargo contract has remained unchanged – on this trip, she was downbound from Thunder Bay with a load of grain for Port Cartier, which seems to be her regular run.

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With our first meeting complete, G3 Marquis continues on her way.

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I’m going to end this post here, but I still have more photos to share from Labor Day weekend. I think I’ll be able to squeeze those into one more post, so stay tuned for that.

The Great Return

What do you do when you get a three day weekend off from school? That depends on who you ask, but if you’re asking me, a boatwatching trip is always a good idea!

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As my regular readers know, I moved to Traverse City and started school at the Great Lakes Maritime Academy in early August (three weeks ago already!).

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From my hometown, Sault Ste. Marie was approximately an eight hour drive, so I didn’t make it up there too frequently. But from Traverse City, it’s less than three hours, which is much more to my liking.

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With three days off, a few friends and I decided to make the trip. Although I was just here at the end of June for Engineer’s Day, I wasn’t about to turn down the chance to see some new vessels. So after our classes ended on Friday, August 30th, we made the three hour journey.

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We didn’t even get the chance to head into town first, as our first catch of the trip was already through the upper river on her way downbound. If you couldn’t already tell, it’s Algoma’s John D. Leitch, and we headed to the Rock Cut to catch her.

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The Leitch and I have never crossed paths before, so I was very happy to see her, especially with her fresh coat of Algoma blue paint (although it’s already coated in ore dust as you can see above).

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It felt great to be back at the Rock Cut, as it has become one of my favorite places to catch vessels thanks to the variety of excellent angles available and the lack of people to get in the way.

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The classic Leitch was downbound with a load of iron ore pellets from Duluth, a somewhat rare trip for the vessel.

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She’ll deliver her cargo to Quebec City, where it will be picked up by a saltie for transport overseas.

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We said goodbye to John as she neared the end of the channel, however our evening wasn’t over.

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After a two-month absence, I returned to Mission Point, and was greeted by another vessel that was new to me.

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Algoma Sault was heading down the river fully loaded with iron ore, also for Quebec City.

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The ship is the sixth member of Algoma’s 740′ Equinox Class, and the second of the self-unloading group.

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Although built in 2017, the vessel wasn’t delivered until early 2018 thanks to the bankruptcy and legal issues with the Chinese shipyard contracted to construct the ships.

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She was preceded by Algoma Niagara in late 2017, and her younger sister Algoma Conveyor entered service earlier this year. Algoma Innovator is the fourth self-unloader and entered service right before the end of the 2017 season, however she is a smaller 650′ variant on the Equinox design and was built in Croatia.

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The Equinox class still isn’t complete either – Algoma currently has one more vessel on order from China, which will be a 740′ gearless bulker like the first four members of the class. That ship is expected to be delivered in 2021.

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In addition, Algoma Innovator‘s sister ship, another 650’ self-unloader, is still under construction in Croatia. The 3Maj shipyard that built the Innovator is also experiencing financial problems, and construction of the new vessel is progressing very slowly.

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It is unclear when that ship will be completed, and it’s also unclear if there are more vessels of the 650′ design on order – some rumors have stated that a third ship will be forthcoming from Croatia, while others say that is not the case.

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As we’ve all said many times before, only time will tell what the future holds for the Equinox class.

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I’ll leave Algoma Sault to continue on her journey down the St. Marys River, as we still had one more boat to catch.

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By the time Stewart J. Cort locked upbound, it was getting dark, but we headed to West Pier anyway to see the 1,000 footer.

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Instead of shooting through the fence as I usually do, this time I climbed one of the dirt/rock piles on the dock to try for a height advantage.

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Although the fence and light posts are annoying, I really like the angle from up here.

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These shots turned out somewhat blurry thanks to the low light, but oh well.

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I last saw the Cort just a few months ago – interestingly enough, she was the first ship I saw on my Engineer’s Day trip, so I find it ironic that I caught her on the first day of this trip as well.

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And with Stewart past us, she continues on her way to Lake Superior, and we headed to our hotel for the night.

Although I didn’t get to shoot them, there were two other ships in the Soo harbor on Friday night – Algoma Conveyor was at the Essar export dock loading, while Michipicoten was discharging an ore cargo at the steel mill. Both vessels were gone by Saturday morning, so I unfortunately didn’t get the chance to photograph either of them. I had especially wanted to shoot the Conveyor, as she was another new vessel for me. Regardless, Saturday was still a busy day with lots of traffic, so check back tomorrow for the next installment of the trip!

Laura L. VanEnkevort begins Journey to Great Lakes; Bay Shipbuilding to Build Another Barge

VanEnkevort’s newest acquisition, the tug Laura L. VanEnkevort, has departed Tampa, Florida, on her delivery voyage to the Great Lakes. Her AIS is currently showing a destination of Toledo, where she is due early next week. The tug was purchased by the company a few months ago in preparation for the completion of VanEnkevort’s fourth barge, Michigan Trader, currently under construction at Bay Shipbuilding.

Built in 1994 at Halter Marine in Lockport, Louisiana, the 118-foot long tug entered saltwater service under the name Sidney Candies. She was renamed Nadia Ramil four years later, and operated under that name until her sale to VTB. Eventually, Laura will be paired with the barge Joseph H. Thompson, while the tug Joseph H. Thompson Jr. will push Michigan Trader.

The photos of the tug I’ve shared below were posted to VanEnkevort’s Facebook page. I’m not sure if the tug will immediately be put into service with Joseph H. Thompson upon her arrival on the Lakes; more than likely, that transition will occur when Michigan Trader is completed, which will most likely be sometime next summer.

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The top two photos show Laura L. VanEnkevort at her dock in Tampa, while the last one shows her underway for the Lakes (courtesy of VanEnkevort Tug & Barge).

It was also recently announced that Bay Shipbuilding has entered into a contract to construct an LNG tank barge for service on the U.S. East Coast. Once constructed, the barge will be operated by Polaris New Energy, and will transport liquid natural gas along the East Coast. In addition, it will provide bunkering services to the customers of Polaris’s parent company, NorthStar. The barge will measure 340 feet in length and 66 feet in width, with a depth of 32 feet, 10 inches. It will be operated as an ATB (I’m not sure where the tug will come from, however), and the company currently has an option for two additional sister barges to be constructed in the future.

This contract comes in addition to two outstanding contracts the shipyard has, the first of which is for the construction of Michigan Trader that will be completed in mid-2020. The second vessel, a River-class sized ship that will operate for Interlake, is expected to be delivered in 2022. Since these two Great Lakes contracts have priority, I’m sure it will be quite a few years before this LNG barge is completed. Needless to say, Bay Shipbuilding will remain quite busy in the coming years!