Last Hurrah

Earlier this week, I made one last visit to Sturgeon Bay before I head off to college. There wasn’t a whole lot of activity at the shipyard, but I photographed what was there anyway.


The most activity at Bay Shipbuilding was occurring in drydock, where the US Coast Guard heavy icebreaker Mackinaw was on the blocks while a new vessel was taking shape behind her.


I’m not exactly sure what the Mackinaw was in for – I’m guessing her five year and some regular maintenance work, but I could be wrong.


Behind the cutter is Bay Shipbuilding’s newest construction – the hull of the new barge Michigan Trader is slowly being pieced together.


Although I’ve seen Mackinaw before, I can’t remember the last time I photographed her, so even though these shots aren’t ideal, they’re better than nothing.


The 240′ cutter, constructed in 2004 to replace the previous Mackinaw (now open to the public as a museum in Mackinaw City, Michigan), is one of the most advanced in the USCG fleet, and is the largest stationed on the Great Lakes.


She is propelled by twin azipod thrusters, which are capable of rotating 360 degrees to direct thrust in any direction. Coupled with her 550 horsepower bow thruster, the ship is incredibly maneuverable.


The large gray mass you see here is the hull of Michigan Trader, a 740′ self-unloading barge being constructed for VanEnkevort that will be delivered next year.


Here you can see the struts supporting the vessel’s spar deck, with her cargo hold being the large open space below.


In the next slip over, the barge St. Marys Conquest was tied up.


Operated by Port City Marine Services, the powdered cement hauler was recently drydocked and repainted at the shipyard, and is now awaiting pickup.


Unfortunately for Port City Marine, the completed conversion of the barge Commander last season meant that the fleet had three barges, but only two tugs to push them.


As a result, the tugs Bradshaw McKee and Prentiss Brown rotate between pushing Commander, St. Marys Challenger, and St. Marys Conquest. So basically, one barge is always stationary at a time.


Commander is the largest of the three barges and can only be pushed by Bradshaw McKee, so the Conquest and Challenger are rotated in and out of service depending on routes and contracts.


Even though Conquest‘s hull work was finished a few weeks ago, Prentiss Brown hasn’t yet had the chance to come pick up the barge, meaning it will continue to sit at the yard until the Challenger is given a temporary break.


Meanwhile, we worked our way down the freshly painted hull of the barge towards her stern.


The vessel’s notch is an interesting one – the piece extending down into the water from the stern resembles a fin, and is there to maintain stabilization and a connection point between the barge and tug.


The barge is not fitted with a coupling system like many new barges are, meaning that the only connection between Conquest and Prentiss Brown are ropes and cables tied between the pair.


It could be a few days or a few weeks before St. Marys Conquest will be picked up, so until then, she’ll continue to sit in limbo at the shipyard.


The other item of interest I wanted to photograph was the self-unloading boom of the former American Victory. After being removed from the classic steamer, the boom sat at Fraser Shipyard in Superior for a year before being brought by barge to Sturgeon Bay earlier this summer.


Although currently a home for seagulls (and their droppings), the boom will be refurbished and eventually placed on the deck of the new vessel that will be constructed for Interlake in the next few years.


My last target of the trip was the USCG Katmai Bay, a smaller 140′ icebreaking tug. She was docked downtown near the Oregon Street Bridge and was open to the public for tours.


Normally based in Sault Ste. Marie, I’m not sure why the vessel was in Sturgeon Bay, or if she’ll be staying or returning to her home port in the near future.


The cutter normally based in Sturgeon Bay, Mobile Bay, is currently on the East Coast undergoing a major refit and maintenance work as part of the Coast Guard’s fleet modernization effort.


The colorful markings below the port pilothouse window are the service ribbons Katmai Bay has earned since she was commissioned in 1979.


I’m not sure what each of the many flags flying on the vessel represent, however according to a USCG officer, they are all various symbols within the Coast Guard.


I’ll end with this final shot, taken from open Lake Michigan – the ship canal and USCG station can be seen just to the right of this buoy.

That was all from Sturgeon Bay, and the last photos you’ll get from me for a while. This weekend, I’ll travel to Traverse City to begin my college career at the Great Lakes Maritime Academy. But don’t worry, this won’t be the end of Freighter Freak – I’ll still update the blog with Great Lakes news and events when I can, and of course I’ll share any photos I do manage to take. But in the meantime, it’s been so exciting for me to watch this blog grow, and I hope that trend continues even during the coming periods of inactivity. So thanks for sticking with me and I hope you’ve enjoyed reading, because the real adventures have yet to come.

The Grand Finale

Today’s post will be the last with photos from my Engineer’s weekend trip to Sault Ste. Marie. This will be a very short one, purely because I didn’t want to split any photos of the same boat into multiple posts.

I finished yesterday with the Walter J. McCarthy Jr. downbound in the Rock Cut in the early afternoon of June 30, at which point we left the Soo and began the drive home.


We had a few stops to make on the way though, with the first of those being in Escanaba, Michigan.


Lower Lakes Towing’s classic Cuyahoga, similar to her fleetmate Ojibway that we had seen earlier in the day, was unloading a cargo of salt.


Escanaba certainly isn’t the quietest port in the world, but visits from ships only happen every few days, so we were lucky to be driving through when there was a vessel in port.


I was also glad it was Cuyahoga, as I don’t believe I’ve seen her before, and her days may be numbered since she is one of LLT’s oldest vessels.


Like Ojibway, the Cuyahoga was built as a U.S. vessel. She is a member of the class of ships known as “Maritimers,” and entered service in 1943 as the J. Burton Ayers, and served under that name (although for a few different owners) until she was acquired by LLT in 1995 and given her current name.


We couldn’t find any better spots to shoot Cuyahoga from, so after taking the shots we wanted, we continued on our way. We had one stop left – right where the trip had started just four days prior.


The first photo I took on the trip was of H. Lee White unloading coal in Green Bay, so it’s fitting that the last shots were also taken in Green Bay.


This time around, Philip R. Clarke is unloading coal at the C. Reiss dock, which is further up the river than where the White had been.


The Clarke had quite the coal pile going on the dock, and would continue unloading for quite a few hours after we left.


The ship’s hull looks to be in rough shape, and one can only hope she will be treated to a new paint job like her sister Arthur M. Anderson just received in Duluth.


Turning to our left, docked a little further up the river is the long-inactive ILM cement storage vessel S.T. Crapo.


I’ve seen the Crapo plenty of times while passing through Green Bay, but never really taken the chance to shoot her. Unfortunately, these stern views are all I have to show for the boat.


And with one last parting shot of Philip R. Clarke unloading, our trip had officially come to an end, and it was time to go home.

This was by far one of my favorite boatwatching trips ever, with a ton of action, photographing, and fun packed into just four days. I shot at least 33 vessels during the trip, although there were more ships that I didn’t take pictures of because they transited the locks at night. And now, 15 posts later, I’ve shared all the photos I took with you. I hope you enjoyed reading and following along with this saga as much as I enjoyed taking the photos and writing about them!

Ojibway and the Return of Walter

I left off yesterday with part two of my photos from Mission Point on the morning of June 30, and today I’ll continue that saga. Today’s post is also a bit of a milestone – it’ll be my last one with photos from Sault Ste. Marie (finally). But it won’t be the last post from the whole trip…


After the Algoma Buffalo passed upbound on her way to the locks, we had just one more vessel to wait for.


That vessel was Lower Lakes’ classic Ojibway.


This was my first time photographing Ojibway underway – I saw her briefly many years ago, and my first time getting to shoot her (and the last time I saw her) was when she was laid up in Sarnia two summers ago.


Ojibway is one of my favorite Canadian vessels, purely because I love her classic lines and design.


This is the last photo I’ll share that features the Sugar Islander II, I promise.


I believe the vessel was headed to Thunder Bay for a load of grain on this trip, but I’m not entirely sure.


Like quite a few other Canadian vessels, Ojibway was built as a U.S. vessel and was eventually sold to Canadian interests. She was built in Bay City, Michigan, in 1952 as the Charles L. Hutchinson for the Pioneer Steamship Company.


She was also known as Ernest R. Breech, Kinsman Independent, and Voyageur Indpendent before she was acquired by LLT in 2007 and given her current name.


She was originally built as an ore carrier, but midway through her career she began to carry more grain cargoes, and she has carried grain almost exclusively since then.


This shot was the last I took at Mission Point on the trip, as Ojibway heads towards the locks and her next load. But don’t worry, we weren’t done catching boats yet.


On our way out of town, we stopped at the Rock Cut one last time to catch Walter J. McCarthy Jr. for the second time as she passed through the channel.



I wasn’t happy with how any of my shots from earlier had turned out because of the poor morning light at Mission, so I was glad to have another opportunity to shoot Walter.


The McCarthy and I have run into each other quite a few times over the last few years, with most of those meetings being while the ship is in Sturgeon Bay for winter layup.


I’d never caught the 1,000 footer in Sault Ste. Marie before though, so I was happy for a change of scenery.


Come to think of it, I saw all six of American Steamship’s 1,000-foot vessels during the weekend. Although I didn’t photograph all of them because some passed through in the middle of the night, I still find it amazing that I was able to see all six of them in the span of just a few days.


The McCarthy was flying the Canadian and ASC flags from her bow mast, a typical practice when vessels are transiting international waters (or waterways with the U.S. on one shore, and Canada on the other).


I had forgotten just how close to a vessel you can get at places like the Rock Cut, and even though the ship was loaded down, she still dwarfed us standing on the raised shoreline.


Christened Belle River on July 12, 1977, the vessel holds the distinction of being the first 1,000 footer ever constructed by Bay Shipbuilding, and is therefore the lead ship in the “BayShip Class” of footers.


The yard would go on to build her now-fleetmates Burns Harbor, Columbia Star (now American Century), Indiana Harbor, and Oglebay Norton (now American Integrity) in the next few years.


Belle River was the sixth of ten total vessels that were built for American Steamship under Title XI of the Merchant Marine Act of 1970, which allowed fleets to build or modernize existing vessels with government-guaranteed financing.


The ship was purpose-built to carry low-sulfur western coal from the Midwest Energy terminal in Superior to the Detroit Edison power plants of St. Clair and Monroe, Michigan.


In 1990, the ship was renamed to Walter J. McCarthy Jr. to honor the retired chairman of the board of Detroit Edison, for which the ship carried the majority of her cargo at the time.


Although she now mixes in iron ore loads with the coal cargoes, the McCarthy continues to be a workhorse for ASC, running up and down the lakes with a round trip time of just short of a week.


The vessel is powered by four GM diesel engines, each producing 3,600 horsepower. The engines are arranged in pairs, so there are two dedicated engines for each propeller.


Each pair is connected to a gear reduction box that drives the 17′ diameter controllable pitch propeller. The vessel is also designed to operate with only one engine driving each propeller, in order to achieve more economical cruising.


And now the time has come to say our goodbyes to Walter J. McCarthy Jr., and Sault Ste. Marie as a whole.


I grabbed one last shot as the ship sailed past the massive piles of rock sitting on shore.

As quickly as it had began (or so it seemed), our time in the Soo was over, and we had to begin the long journey home. Our boatwatching still wasn’t done, however. I have one more post to share with the last photos from the trip, so check back tomorrow for the conclusion of this entire saga.

Morning at Mission, Part II

Today’s post is part two of my photos from Mission Point on the morning of June 30. My last shots yesterday were of the downbound Walter J. McCarthy Jr. passing the Great Lakes Trader heading up the river, so today I’ll pick up with the tug and barge unit.


The pair was heading upbound for Duluth, where they would unload their limestone cargo at Hallett #5 – a typical run for the busy pair.


Unfortunately, the dark colored hull of the vessel combined with the fact that the sun was on the wrong side of the river made these shots very dark and less than desirable.


Since I just recounted the history and career of Great Lakes Trader when I last saw her back in April, I don’t really have much else to say about the pair this time.


So instead, I’ll talk about VanEnkevort as a fleet, as they have some changes coming their way in the next year.


A new 740′ self-unloading barge, to be named Michigan Trader, is on order for the company from Bay Shipbuilding in Sturgeon Bay, which is expected to deliver the vessel in mid-2020.


VanEnkevort has also purchased a tug from saltwater for their fleet, and named her Laura L. VanEnkevort.


The current tug/barge pairings will be reorganized a little bit once the new barge is ready, however. The tug Joseph H. Thompson Jr., which currently pushes the barge Joseph H. Thompson, will be paired with the new Michigan Trader.


Laura L. VanEnkevort will then push the Joseph H. Thompson. It is currently unknown if VanEnkevort plans to rename the Thompson anytime soon, as the company didn’t change either vessel’s name when they purchased the pair a few years ago.


The hardworking GLT/Joyce continues on to the locks – and now, I finally can say I saw both of VTB’s two main ATBs (the other was Erie Trader two days prior) in the same weekend.


You’ll remember from yesterday that there was a third vessel trailing Great Lakes Trader. Now that the tug/barge has passed Mission, vessel number three, Algoma Buffalo, is approaching the point (there’s a fourth vessel too…look on the right side of this shot).


Once again, the light was less than ideal for shots of the vessel.


Instead of bothering with changing my camera lens and getting dark shots, I decided to keep my 300mm lens on and take closeups of the vessel instead.


Algoma Buffalo is the former Buffalo, a name which she carried for her entire career up until her sale to Algoma.


The 634-foot River-class vessel was constructed at Bay Shipbuilding in 1978 for $25 million, and is a sister to her former fleetmates Sam Laud and American Courage. This shot was just for fun, but I like the contrast between the dark hull and brightly colored trees of Sugar Island.


She had a somewhat eventful career with ASC though, with the most notable incident being the explosion of the tanker Jupiter on September 6, 1990, on the Saginaw River near Bay City, Michigan.


The tanker was moored and unloading gasoline, and the suction created when Buffalo passed caused Jupiter to drift away from the dock, snap her mooring lines, and sever the unloading hoses.


An explosion and fire aboard Jupiter ensued, which completely destroyed the tanker and resulted in the loss of one of her crew members. Buffalo was found to be partially at fault in the mishap.


The other major accident occurred in 1997, when Buffalo struck the Detroit River Light in Lake Erie. The collision resulted in minimal damage to the lighthouse, but ripped a 25-foot gash in Buffalo‘s hull and severely dented her bow inwards.


The ship had to be drydocked, and the steel of her entire lower bow needed to be replaced. A USCG investigation concluded that the accident was the result of human error, as weather conditions were favorable with high visibility and low winds and waves at the time.


Other than those two incidents, Buffalo proved to be a very hard worker for American Steamship, however that changed in December of 2017 when she was part of a sale of four vessels to Algoma.


It made sense for ASC to get rid of the other three vessels that were a part of the sale – the company had no use for the aging American Valor and American Victory, both of which required extensive work in order to be put back into service. The fourth vessel, Adam E. Cornelius, had been laid up for quite a few years.


I always wondered why the company got rid of Buffalo, however, as the ship was one that they actively relied on for various contracts all around the Lakes and was almost always busy right up until the end of the shipping season.


Algoma also saw plenty of potential in the vessel, and she has remained very busy in the past two seasons that she has operated under the Canadian flag.


Although Algoma Buffalo likely won’t be around for too much longer knowing how Algoma goes through their vessels, they have at least found use for her for now. I would venture to guess that she will remain a hardworking member of their fleet for at least five to ten years.

I’ll end this post here, however remember the fourth vessel I talked about earlier? That one is coming in part three, which drops tomorrow.

Morning at Mission

I ended yesterday’s post with my last shots from June 29, of the Algoma Mariner downbound at Nine Mile Point on the St. Marys River. June 30 was our last day in the Soo, however we saw plenty of traffic before the trip was over.


We started the day at the locks, where Walter J. McCarthy Jr. was approaching the Poe Lock to be lowered.


Meanwhile, the State of Michigan was entering the MacArthur Lock to head upbound.


We had just seen the GLMA training vessel heading downbound two days earlier, and during those that time, the ship headed down Lake Huron to the St. Clair River before turning around and coming back to the Soo.


After locking upbound, the vessel spent the rest of the day running the upper portion of the St. Marys River, and this would be the last time we saw her. But not to worry, you’ll have plenty of pictures of the vessel in the next four years as I train aboard her.


We left the locks and headed to Mission Point for the remainder of the morning, where we caught a family of geese heading downbound while the Sugar Islander II navigates her way to the island’s dock.


The geese were dwarfed by the oncoming Edgar B. Speer.


The 1,004-foot vessel was upbound light for another load of iron ore pellets, a cargo she carries basically constantly.


Like her fleetmate Roger Blough (and the Stewart J. Cort that I shot earlier in the trip), the Speer‘s shuttle boom restricts her to delivering cargo to only two ports, hence why her runs are almost always the same.


The Speer‘s sister ship Edwin H. Gott was originally constructed with a shuttle boom, however the Gott was given a traditional self-unloading boom in 1995 to increase her flexibility.


The Speer has retained her shuttle unloader primarily because she is still a perfect fit for the ore hauling contract GLF has with the steel mills of Gary and Conneaut, and she has no need for a regular boom to be added.


The ship was built in two sections by the American Shipbuilding yards at Lorain and Toledo, Ohio, and was launched on May 8, 1980.


When the Speer entered service in 1980, seven smaller U.S. Steel ore carriers were sent for scrap, which goes to show how large the carrying capacity of a 1,000 footer really is.


The vessel has had a rather uneventful career, with the only notable occurrence being when her fleetmate Roger Blough lost her rudder in the lower St. Marys River in August of 2006.


The Speer came to the rescue, and was lashed side-by-side with the Blough. In this fashion, the “tow” proceeded all the way down to Gary, where both vessels unloaded and then the Blough was taken to Sturgeon Bay for repairs.


As Edgar heads for the locks, the Sugar Islander II made yet another of her regular channel crossings.


Our next vessel was the downbound Walter J. McCarthy Jr., which we had seen entering the Poe Lock earlier in the morning.


The McCarthy is downbound with either iron ore or coal, her two primary cargoes.


Unfortunately, I didn’t pick a good spot along the riverbank to get good bow shots, however that will change later.


Walter is a typical “BayShip Class” 1,000 footer, a class comprised of seven vessels spread between American Steamship and Great Lakes Fleet.


From what I’ve heard, the interior of these vessels is very simple and basic, although that is also dependent on the fleet – ASC has earned a reputation of not updating their vessels with modern technology and amenities that increase crew comfort.


Although I prefer the American Shipbuilding 1,000 footers (such as the James R. Barker) over the BayShip Class, I still like the design of these vessels – there’s something about the very straight and simple lines that make them stand out among similarly designed ships.


As the McCarthy continues downbound, she comes upon the subject of tomorrow’s post.


The ATB Great Lakes Trader/tug Joyce L. VanEnkevort begins to disappear behind Walter‘s bow as the two vessels prepare for a close passing.


The much larger McCarthy completely hides Great Lakes Trader for a short time.


Although I’d rather that tree branch on the right was elsewhere, look above it, and you’ll see a third vessel in this shot trailing the Great Lakes Trader.


With the McCarthy past Joyce L. VanEnkevort and on her way down the river, I’ll stop here for today. Tomorrow’s post will continue this saga, so stay tuned!

Fun at the Channel of Rock

I left off yesterday with the James R. Barker, upbound at Mission Point on the evening of June 29. Although the sun was setting, our boatwatching wasn’t done yet.


Prior to the Barker, we had watched CSL Tadoussac pass downbound at Mission, but decided we wanted to shoot her one more time.


That meant another trip down to the Rock Cut, where we met the vessel cruising down the channel. This time around, we walked all the way to the lower end of the Cut to get a different angle for stern shots.


For those who don’t know what the Rock Cut is, it’s what it sounds like – a channel made of solid rock. I’m going to talk about the channel’s construction and history in this post, since I just talked about the Tadoussac yesterday and have no interest in repeating myself.


Prior to any constructive work being done, the passage on the west side of Neebish Island was a very narrow and shallow section of the St. Marys River, and was strewn with large boulders and other hazards to navigation, not to mention that both upbound and downbound traffic was routed through it.


In the 1897 edition of the Lake Carriers Association’s report, it was recommended that the Corps of Engineers investigate a new channel around Neebish Island in which upbound traffic passed on the east side of the island while downbound vessels transited the West Neebish Rapids, as the Rock Cut was then known as.


Congress approved funding for a new channel to remove the hazards posed by the West Neebish Rapids, and in May of 1904, workmen began arriving at the site to begin the project.


Before any work could be done, cofferdams had to be constructed at either end so the passage could be completely drained of water. Once the channel was dry, old-fashioned drilling, blasting, and hauling techniques were used to begin removing rock.


The machinery on the site was driven by compressed air, and the air compressors were powered by three very large wood-fired boilers, the foundations of which still exist at the site today.


Four years of rock removal later, the new West Neebish Channel was complete, and officially opened to traffic on August 16, 1908 with the downbound passage of the Pittsburgh Steamship Company’s steamer George F. Baker.


The original channel was only 21 feet deep, as vessels of the day didn’t draft nearly as deep as they do today.


Quite a few dredging and widening projects have occurred in the Rock Cut’s 101-year history, with the most recent one being in the winter of 1959-60 that brought the channel to its “current” minimum depth of 27 feet.


The channel hasn’t been touched since the 1960 dredging project, however rising water levels and the effect of currents in the channel have effectively made it more like 30-32 feet in depth.


And with that bit of St. Marys River history over, CSL Tadoussac is also headed away from us and on down the river.


This was the last we’d see of her on this trip, but I was glad we caught her twice.


There was one more downbounder on the evening of June 29, the Algoma Mariner, and we had planned on catching her at the Rock Cut as well.


However, she was delayed on the upper river, and there was no way she would make it to the Cut before sunset, so we headed back up to Nine Mile Point to see her. We arrived just in time to catch some nice sunset shots, even though they’re from a distance.


The Mariner is still a relatively new vessel, having entered service for Algoma in 2011.


She was originally just a forebody that was intended to be joined with the existing stern of Algoma’s Algoport (a near sister to the late John B. Aird, Peter R. Cresswell, and Capt. Henry Jackman) in a conversion like that of her fleet mate Algobay (now Radcliffe R. Latimer).


However, while under tow to China for the conversion in the fall of 2009, Algoport broke in two and sank in heavy seas on the Pacific Ocean. Rather than scrapping the already completed forebody, a new stern was constructed and joined with the forward section to create an entirely new vessel.


Algoma Mariner has been a hardworking member of the Algoma fleet since her arrival on the Lakes, however she doesn’t make trips to Lake Superior more than a few times each season, so even though these shots were less than desirable, I’m thankful we caught the vessel.

That was all from a very busy June 29 in the Soo. Tomorrow I’ll share my first batch of photos from June 30, the last day of my trip. However, it was another very busy day on the river, so I still have quite a few posts coming.

Sunset and a Margarita

In yesterday’s post, I left off with the upbound CSL St-Laurent at the West Pier of the locks in the early afternoon of June 29. There was a short lapse in traffic until later in the afternoon, when we returned to Mission Point to catch the one and only saltie we saw on the trip.


I’m surprised we only saw one saltwater vessel considering that our grand total consisted of more than 30 ships throughout the weekend, although some of the lakers we saw more than made up for the lack of foreign ships.


Federal Margaree was heading up the St. Marys River empty, destined for Thunder Bay to load a grain cargo for overseas delivery.


Coming downbound was the tour boat Holiday – I found it interesting that there were only a few passengers on board, and they were all on the lower deck (which is, of course, enclosed) even though it was a warm and sunny day.


The two vessels exchanged salutes as they approached each other.


I really like the contrasting colors here – the bright red of Federal Margaree‘s hull combines nicely with the white and green paint of Holiday.


The 606′ saltie dwarfs the tour boat, although that is partially because the Margaree is riding so high in the water.


Holiday continued on her journey downriver, and I returned to shooting the “Federal Margarita” (a nickname we gave her on the trip, hence the title of this post).


The vessel was built for FedNav in 2005, and has served them under the same name for her entire career thus far.


Each of the Margaree‘s three cranes are capable of lifting up to 30 tons of cargo at a time.


I took this sort of shot way too much on the trip – including a vessel’s bow or stern with the Sugar Islander II when the ferry was at the Sugar Island dock. But oh well, I’ll keep posting them anyway.


The evening sun reflects off Federal Margaree‘s hull as she continues on her way to the locks.


And with her passing, we were already done with salties for the trip. I’m at least glad we got one though, as I suppose we could have ended up not seeing any.


We didn’t have to wait long for our next vessel – the classy CSL Tadoussac rounded the point soon after the Margaree had passed.


The ship was heading down with a load of iron ore pellets from western Lake Superior, her usual run.


I last saw Taddy in Duluth back in January, but it was dark then, so I was thankful for these sunset shots of the boat.


The Tadoussac‘s one-of-a-kind design makes her stand out among other classic styled lakers sailing under both the U.S. and Canadian flags.


I am especially a fan of her twin stacks, as I think they further blur the line between what is considered “classic” and “modern” vessels (and they make the ship more fun to shoot).


For her age and the fact that she’s Canadian, the vessel still looks very sharp and likely has quite a few more years of service left in her.


We say goodbye to CSL Tadoussac as she sails down the river, and then wait some more for vessel number three of the evening.


I had hoped to see James R. Barker on this trip, but didn’t think it would happen. I’m glad I was wrong!


I’ll always take the opportunity to see my favorite ship on the Lakes, so I was very happy we were able to catch her and that the light was really good for these bow shots.


I last saw James just a few months ago when she was laid up for the winter in Sturgeon Bay, however she was tucked in behind other 1,000 footers and I wasn’t able to get any good shots of her.


In fact, I can’t recall the last time I got good shots of the Barker (while I wasn’t aboard her, that is).


Her signature steam plume is always a pleasure to see – it reminds me of Interlake’s commitment to reducing their environmental footprint and increasing the efficiency of their fleet, something that other companies are significantly further behind on.


The Barker‘s scrubbers were added back in the spring of 2016, making this her fourth season of operating as a cleaner and more environmentally friendly ship.


And as quickly as she came, we say goodbye to James R. Barker as she continues on her way to the locks.

I’ll cut this post off here, but that wasn’t all for the evening of June 29. Stay tuned to see what else we caught that night!