The Star of the Show

On Friday evening, June 24, was the annual Boatnerd cruise, aboard the Soo Locks tour boat Le Voyageur. At the beginning of the cruise, it wasn’t looking as if we would be able to see any vessel traffic in the river.

image

But we were in luck – the Edwin H. Gott was upbound in the lower part of the river, and instead of heading upbound like normal, we met the Gott halfway to the Soo Locks and followed her back to the harbor.

image

Everyone on board Le Voyageur was very happy to photograph the 1,004-foot ship, and the clicks of cameras could be heard the whole way back up the river.

image

We made one pass-by of the ship, before turning around and following behind her for a while.

image

Edwin H. Gott was the eighth 1,000 footer built for Great Lakes service, and was launched on July 19, 1978 at Bay Shipbuilding in Sturgeon Bay.

image

The Gott was originally built with a shuttle conveyor unloading boom, which could only extend 52 feet to port or starboard of the ship.

image

In 1995, she returned to Bay Shipbuilding, where her shuttle boom was replaced with a traditional Great Lakes style self-unloading boom.

image

The conversion made the ship much more versatile and efficient, especially because there were only a few ports that could accommodate her shuttle boom.

image

In addition, Edwin holds the record for the longest self-unloading boom of any Great Lakes freighter. At 280 feet long, the boom is 20 to 30 feet longer than those of most other ships.

image

Today, only two ships on the Lakes – the Gott‘s sister Edgar B. Speer and Roger Blough – still use a similar shuttle boom to unload their cargoes.

image

We made our way back to the Gott‘s bow, providing excellent opportunities for photos in the late evening sunlight.

image

The evening light was perfect, and everyone on board crowded to Le Voyageur‘s stern for this one.

image

After everyone on board had taken their bow shots of the now very photogenic Edwin H. Gott, we kept her to our stern and made full ahead for a tour of the Canadian shoreline.

image

With really no change from last year is the Purvis Marine dock. The Yankcanuck still remains in lay-up, moored next to the rather large steel coil barge Ironmaster. The barge can reportedly carry up to 400 steel coils, and is primarily used to transport them from the Algoma steel plant to the lower St. Marys River.

image

Behind us, the Gott was just arriving at the lower lock approach, and was preparing to lower a few crew members to the dock.

image

The two crew members who were swung out on the boson’s chair got quite a cheer from the Boatnerds aboard Le Voyageur, and seemed to enjoy the extra attention.

image

While the Gott locked upbound, we headed up through the Canadian lock and toured the Algoma steel plant. This is one of Algoma’s two historic and massive ship unloaders, which are now used to transfer raw materials around the dock.

image

At the entrance to the slip, the tug Anglian Lady with her barge PML 9000 was loading steel coils.

image

The setting sun made for some great shots of her as well.

image

The 132-foot Anglian Lady‘s barge PML 9000 is the longest in the Purvis fleet at 400 feet long, even beating out the 324-foot Yankcanuck!

image

Here’s one more wide shot of the barge loading.

image

On the way back to the locks, we passed the former hull of the Sewell Avery, now used as a dock at Algoma.

image

We returned to the locks just in time to catch Edwin H. Gott heading upbound, in what was arguably the best lighting of the night.

image

By now, we were very good friends with the crew of the Gott, and they waved at us as well as returning our final salute.

image

This shot gives a good view of her 280-foot self-unloading boom.

image

And with this final passing, the Gott heads up into Lake Superior, and her next cargo.

image

We bid one last farewell to Edwin H. Gott as we head on our way back to the dock.

image

The sun was setting just as the lower gates of the MacArthur Lock opened.

image

I grabbed one final shot of the Katmai Bay, Sault Ste. Marie’s U.S. Coast Guard ship just as the sun was turning the sky a pinkish-purple.

And that will conclude my Engineer’s Day, 2016 trip. It was definitely a great one, and I am already looking forward to next year!

 

 

 

Advertisements

Engineer’s Day 2016

In Monday’s post, I highlighted my trip around Lake Superior and the ships I saw there. On Thursday night, we arrived in Sault Ste. Marie just after the upbound passage of the Stewart J. Cort, but we didn’t see any other vessel traffic until Friday morning. The locks officially opened just after 8:30 a.m. on Engineer’s Day, and the Buffalo was just entering the MacArthur Lock.

image

I quickly grabbed a photo of the ship through the fence, a traditionally good spot for shooting boats in the MacArthur – except on Engineer’s Day!

image

The viewing stand at the locks provides quite an exceptional view of the ships passing through the locks, especially the Mac.

image

From there, I headed across the lower gates of the lock, getting a head-on view of Buffalo being lowered.

image

The 634-foot Buffalo was built by Bay Shipbuilding in 1978 at a cost of $25 million. She, like the Great Republic in Monday’s post, was built small to navigate the winding Cuyahoga River.

image

Although she doesn’t have nearly as many rudders as Great Republic, Buffalo is quite maneuverable, as exhibited here as she pushes off the lock wall and begins to exit the chamber.

image

A few of her crew members stand on the bow, and they did plenty of waving at the large crowd that was gathered on both sides of the lock as the ship passed by.

image

On this trip, Buffalo was loaded with iron ore pellets bound for southern Lake Michigan.

image

The ship seems to pass by very quickly, as her self-unloading boom takes up almost half of her deck!

image

Now at this point, I had to turn around and grab some bow shots of Algoma Harvester moving into the Poe Lock. Unfortunately, the lighting isn’t nearly as good on this side.

image

I found this rather ironic, because both the Buffalo and Algoma Harvester made appearances at Engineer’s Weekend last year as well!

image

Algoma Harvester had been waiting on the lower pier for a while, and clearly this passing was well-planned!

image

My stern shots of the Buffalo did not turn out good at all, thanks to the mid-morning sunlight. But oh well, luckily the lighting cooperated for the rest of the day.

image

As soon as Buffalo was gone, I headed back to the Harvester to catch her entering the lock.

image

Algoma Harvester arrived on the Lakes from China in 2014, as the second ship in Algoma’s Equinox class. As of now, only three of the eight ordered vessels have actually been delivered – the Chinese shipyard building the vessels is rumored to be going through financial troubles.

image

The Harvester, after leaving the Poe Lock, headed for Thunder Bay for a load of grain. So adieu to her.

image

But the morning’s excitement hasn’t ended yet – waiting for the Harvester on the upper pier was the 1,004-foot American Spirit.

image

The ship made a quick lock transit, after a very slow lock entry. Ironically, the Spirit passed through the locks last year on Engineer’s Day as well!

image

The downbound American Spirit quickly heads away, on to her next port.

image

Soon after, the Rt. Hon. Paul J. Martin entered the Poe Lock. She was the first vessel of the day that was not present at Engineer’s Day last year!

image

The Martin, looking a little worse for the wear, also took her time entering the lock, and I didn’t stick around to see her exit. After lunch across the street from the Locks, we toured the museum ship Valley Camp.

image

Traffic fell to a standstill after the Martin‘s downbound passage, and it wasn’t until just prior to the Boatnerd cruise that the Joseph L. Block rounded the bend in the river and headed for the locks.

image

I stood on the stern deck of the Valley Camp and watched as one of the Soo Locks tour boats passed the 730-foot freighter.

image

The Valley Camp‘s flag made for a good shot with the Block.

image

After the Block had passed by, it was time for the Boatnerd cruise – that will be tomorrow’s post!

 

 

 

 

 

The Red, the Blue, and the Gray

As many of you know, last Friday was Engineer’s Day at the Soo Locks. This trip, however, was special – my family and I did the Lake Superior Circle Tour first, beginning in Duluth, and we ended in Sault Ste. Marie on Thursday evening, in time for the opening of the locks on Friday morning. We arrived in Duluth late last week Tuesday, missing the departure of the saltie Isa by just minutes.

image

However, we were greeted at 6:00 on Wednesday morning by the Great Republic, arriving just as the sun rose.

image

The morning sunlight made for some beautiful shots as the vessel quietly entered the ship canal.

image

Great Republic was fully loaded with limestone, which she would discharge at the CN dock after making a stop at the Port Terminal for fuel.

image

The Great Republic was launched in 1981 at Bay Shipbuilding in Sturgeon Bay, for the American Steamship Company as American Republic.

image

ASC needed a ship that would be small and maneuverable to navigate the twists and turns of the Cuyahoga River, and thus the idea for the 634-foot Great Republic’s design was formed.

image

Notice how the vessel’s deckhouse is almost backwards – everything is situated as far back on the deck as possible. This is to provide maximum visibility and control to the crew while the ship was backing through the river.

image

And not only that, but the vessel has eight rudders, bow and stern thrusters, and two propellers housed in Kort nozzles, making her the most maneuverable ship in the world.

image

The early morning light provided excellent views of the ship’s unique design, and as she passed me, I almost wished I could have been able to photograph that complex rudder-propeller system.

image

Back to her history, the vessel operated for ASC until 2011, when she was sold to Great Lakes Fleet, given a coat of red paint, and renamed Great Republic.

image

The versatile Republic quickly begins the 90-degree turn to enter the harbor, which is a piece of cake for her eight rudders.

image

So adieu to Great Republic.

image

I rather like this cute little lift bridge in front of the Canal Park Visitor Center.

image

And one more parting shot of the huge lift bridge and the retired Corps of Engineers tug Bayfield.

image

Next, I headed over to the Holcim dock under the Blatnik bridge to shoot Algoma’s 730-foot Tim S. Dool, unloading cement. But unfortunately, the sun did not cooperate this time around, and so this was really the best I got of her. As we were leaving town later in the morning, she shifted down to Superior to clean her holds and load a cargo of iron ore pellets at BN.

image

I knew the BBC Chartering’s Sjard was in the harbor, and after a bit of exploring, we discovered Port Terminal Road, which goes right up to the back of the slip where she was unloading her cargo of wind turbine parts.

image

I was very happy to finally find this vantage point, but I was disappointed again by the lighting. Oh well, I shot her anyway.

image

I think this shot turned out a bit better – note the small workboat to the right of her stern. Crews were working on the left side of the slip to complete the new docks being redone.

image

But that wasn’t all for the Sjard – just before we left town and headed north, we stopped again to see if the lighting was any better. It was for this shot…

image

But again, not so much for this one. But we couldn’t stick around any later, so I had to stick with these.

image

When I looked to my left, I noticed the historic 1898-built J.B. Ford, awaiting her end. She had been docked near Heritage Marine since 1985, but Azcon Metals purchased the ship last year, and she was towed to this slip last fall to be scrapped.

image

Lastly, I had to at least try to grab a photo of the Herbert C. Jackson. Her diesel conversion is reportedly nearing completion, however a fire in her stern section from welding work may put a setback on that date.

image

And that was all for Duluth. As we began our trip north, I was looking forward to a day of shooting boats along the North Shore. But sadly, both Two Harbors and Silver Bay were unoccupied that day, and the only other vessels I got to shoot were in Thunder Bay, Ontario. The CSL Tadoussac is currently laid up at one of the grain elevators, and this was as close as I could get to her.

image

But at the next elevator over, I got a surprise – CSL’s still somewhat new self-unloader Whitefish Bay was loading grain at Viterra.

image

Unfortunately, Thunder Bay doesn’t seem to offer nearly as many spots for viewing the ships, so this was about the best shot I could get.

image

I was very happy to see her, as it was our first meeting. I certainly hope our next one will come soon!

image

On our way out of town, we also spotted Lower Lakes Towing’s Saginaw. I believe she was waiting for a load, but I can’t be sure.

image

And that was all for Thunder Bay, and in fact, the rest of the lake. Another CSL vessel, Cedarglen, was in temporary layup as well, but I couldn’t even get close to her. I was disappointed that there weren’t any other boats to see that day, but happy with the shots I did get. Stay tuned – tomorrow will be my first Engineer’s Day post!

 

Roger Blough reaches Sturgeon Bay

The 858-foot Roger Blough, which ran aground on Gros Cap Reef on May 27, arrived in Sturgeon Bay on Tuesday, assisted by the tug Candace Elise. The ship will undergo inspections and repairs before returning to service.

In addition, Peter, the former Peter R. Cresswell, departed Montreal on Tuesday, bound for an overseas scrapyard. She is the final vessel (for now) that Algoma is retiring as part of the fleet renewal program.

James R. Barker departs Sturgeon Bay, Roger Blough due

The 1,000 footer James R. Barker departed winter layup in Sturgeon Bay this weekend and headed to Escanaba to load her first cargo of the season. She and her fleetmate Lee A. Tregurtha both had new exhaust gas scrubbers installed over the winter, which will produce cleaner emissions from the vessels. The Tregurtha is expected to depart next weekend, and she too will begin service for the 2016 season. Meanwhile, the Roger Blough, being assisted by the tug Candace Elise, was northeast of Washington Island on Sunday evening, headed for Sturgeon Bay. The Blough ran aground near Gros Cap Reef in Whitefish Bay on May 27, and was freed last week. She has been anchored in Waiska Bay since June 4, and on Saturday she passed downbound through the Soo Locks and the St. Marys River. Once she arrives in Sturgeon Bay, she will most likely enter drydock for a complete inspection and repairs.

Fire aboard Herbert C. Jackson in Superior

On Tuesday afternoon, a fire broke out aboard the 690-foot Herbert C. Jackson in Superior, WI. According to the report on Boatnerd.com, crews arrived to black smoke coming from the stern of the ship. It is believed that the fire was sparked from the welding work being done aboard the ship. The Jackson is in drydock at Fraser Shipyards being repowered. She was originally expected to reenter service this month, but the extent of the damage, which is not yet known, could delay the work.

Meanwhile, on Lake Superior, offloading of the Roger Blough‘s cargo of iron ore pellets was completed on Tuesday. The Blough ran aground in Whitefish Bay near Gros Cap Reef, about 10 miles west of Sault Ste. Marie on May 27 while downbound from Duluth. The 858-foot vessel was freed on Saturday morning, and has been lightening her cargo to fleetmates Philip R. Clarke and Arthur M. Anderson. She will next be heading to Sturgeon Bay for evaluation and repairs.

image

This photo shows the Blough aground, with the USCG Mobile Bay and her barge nearby as well as fleetmates Edgar B. Speer. Note the oil boom around her stern. (Photo courtesy USCG)

image

Roger Blough‘s smaller fleetmate Philip R. Clarke then pulled alongside to take on some of the Blough‘s cargo. The USCG Buckthorn, based in Sault Ste. Marie, is at left. (Photo courtesy USCG)

image

This photo taken aboard the Blough shows her unique unloading boom transferring cargo to the Clarke. (Photo courtesy Petty Officer 3rd Class Lauren Laughlin)

image

After lightening some of her cargo, the tugs Missouri and Anglian Lady at the bow pulled the Blough free on Saturday. (Photo courtesy Petty Officer 3rd Class Lauren Laughlin)