The City of Salties

Last weekend, I made one final late-season trip up to Duluth before winter hits – which it basically has. Duluth is seeing -30 degree wind chills this week, making it feel more like January!


Because Bentleyville is going on this month, the crowds in Duluth made it feel more like the summer season. Nearly every hotel in the city was full, and we ended up staying in Two Harbors – which gave me an excuse to visit the ore dock that much more. On Saturday morning, we caught Edgar B. Speer loading ore on a dreary, gray day.


The last time I was in Two Harbors was when we boarded the James R. Barker for our August trip. This time while we were there, the Barker was upbound in Lake Huron, and arrived in Superior on Monday to load – we barely missed her.


As we drove into town, we were greeted by Redhead, which had arrived off Duluth earlier in the morning and was waiting to load grain at CHS 1.


The 2004-built saltie is one of Canadian Forest Navigation’s larger vessels at 655 feet.

488Once we got into Duluth, I got a much better view of the massive green ship against a gray sky from the canal. You can see her anchor chain just to the right of her bow.


From the canal, I also had a god view of the Riverland Ag dock, where Sunda was loading wheat. If only those piles were elsewhere…


After a little exploring, this was the best shot I could get of the saltie. When we arrived on Friday night, Redhead‘s fleetmate Labrador had been at this dock loading, although it was too dark to get a shot. Sunda arrived from anchor early Saturday morning. This is her first visit to Duluth under her current name – she visited as Emilie back in 2011.


More exploring brought a new view of the Port Terminal I’ve never really noticed before, where Yulia was unloading her cargo of kaolin clay. Yulia and her sister ships usually visit Duluth late in the season, with the same cargo.


Also from across the harbor, I got a shot of the J.B. Ford, which is silently awaiting her end. The ship was moved to the Azcon Metals slip late in 2015, but scrapping has not yet begun on the historic vessel.


I headed over to Superior for one final shot, where Federal Katsura was loading grain at CHS 1. I couldn’t get closer to the CHS dock, but I found this vantage point where I could get the laid-up Edward L. Ryerson as well.


That was pretty much all for Duluth – late Saturday night, Philip R. Clarke and Hon. James L. Oberstar both arrived with limestone and coal cargoes, but I was unable to get shots of either vessel, so I ended up seeing only salties in port. But there was still action in Two Harbors, where a vessel was approaching on the horizon.


The ASC 1,000 footer was coming light from Marquette, where she had unloaded coal.


Edgar B. Speer had departed earlier in the day with her ore cargo, leaving the dock empty. After a quick turn that also slowed her down, Indiana Harbor slowly approached the small crowd waiting at the end of the breakwall.


The late-afternoon skies were darkening by the second as Indiana Harbor approached, signaling the arrival of Lake Superior’s first snowstorm of the season.


The ship was arriving to load only her second cargo of the 2016 season. She had loaded coal in Duluth and departed for Marquette earlier that week, and was now arriving for her first iron ore cargo.


After a full year in layup, Indiana Harbor is in dire need of a paint job – her hull was showing signs of rust along its whole 1,000 foot length.


The ship’s spotlights shone brightly ahead, guiding her into the tight harbor.


As the skies darkened, it became difficult to tell the difference between the ship and the angry clouds.

522Once inside the protected harbor, the vessel immediately began to swing her stern to starboard.


And so it continued…


In these next shots, it is almost impossible to see the actual ship – there was barely enough light for the camera to pick anything up.


This was probably my favorite shot – I tried to incorporate the stormy skies, dark water, and ore docks with Indiana Harbor, and I think it turned out pretty well.


On Sunday morning, we left early, but not before stopping at the harbor one last time. Indiana Harbor was still loading, and Philip R. Clarke was on the other side of the ore dock waiting her turn.


Philip R. Clarke departed Duluth early Sunday after unloading limestone, and would load ore after Indiana Harbor.


As you can see, the snowstorm had definitely hit by Sunday, and it was difficult to see Indiana Harbor from the breakwall. But I quickly grabbed a close up of her before we headed out of town.

That was all for my Duluth weekend – I was glad for the opportunity to have seen quite a few new salties, and this was by far the most action I’ve seen in Two Harbors in one trip. I’m hoping to make a short visit in a few months to catch the layup fleet, which will start arriving soon.


Mesabi Miner arrives Sturgeon Bay for Winter Layup

Interlake Steamship’s 1,004 foot Mesabi Miner arrived Sturgeon Bay on Sunday morning for winter layup, becoming the first ship to arrive for the winter of 2016-17. The ship’s winter work agenda includes the installation of exhaust gas scrubbers, a project that is expected to take around 6 months to complete. Her fleetmates James R. Barker and Lee A. Tregurtha both received scrubbers at Bay Shipbuilding last winter, and Measbi Miner will become the fourth vessel in Interlake’s fleet to have them installed. Also in Sturgeon Bay is John G. Munson and American Courage, which haven’t seen service at all this season. LaFarge’s cement barge Innovation and tug Samuel de Champlain arrived for unknown reasons on  Sunday as well.


Mesabi Miner also spent the winter of 2015-16 in Sturgeon Bay, and I got a good profile view of her.

Indiana Harbor departs Duluth

On Wednesday evening, at the Midwest Energy coal dock in Superior, Indiana Harbor finished loading her first cargo of the season and departed under the Lift Bridge, bound for the Presque Isle power plant at Marquette. Earlier in the day, the 1,000 footer had moved from Lakehead Pipeline, her home for the past year, and headed up the harbor to Calumet where she fueled. This is Indiana Harbor‘s first trip since she arrived at Superior on November 3, 2015, for the winter of 2015-16.

Indiana Harbor

Dennis O’Hara of Duluth Harbor Cam took this photo of Indiana Harbor laid up in Superior this past summer.