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.

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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!

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

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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

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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.

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

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

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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.

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

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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.

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

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

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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!

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

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

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