Adventures in Duluth, Part I

As many will recall, I was up in Duluth over New Year’s and had a rather disappointing trip in terms of boatwatching. I made the trip back up a few days ago to photograph the winter layup fleet, and had a much more adventurous and enjoyable trip.

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My first stop was Fraser Shipyards, where there are a total of four vessels spending the winter. The first two, William A. Irvin and Tim S. Dool, I saw on my previous trip. Since then, however, the Dool has been drydocked, and is having major work done.

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The entire bow half of the Dool is under tarps to protect the hull as shipyard workers apply primer and a fresh coat of Algoma blue.

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The Irvin, on the other hand, is waiting her turn to be drydocked. She is spending the winter at Fraser while restoration work is completed on the Minnesota Slip where she normally resides.

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Once in drydock, the historic vessel will be painted and receive hull repairs and maintenance before the return trip to her dock next to the lift bridge in the spring.

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Here’s a view of her stern – notice the historic US Steel stack marking, a symbol of the massive company she served hauling ore during her 40-year career.

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Astern of the Irvin is the unpainted rear half of the Dool. 

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This close-up shot gives a good sense of how rusty Tim‘s hull is, making it even better that Algoma decided to freshen her up a little bit. Algoma’s other oldest laker, John D. Leitch, is being painted this winter in the Port Weller drydocks on the Welland Canal. Both vessels were launched in 1967, and are some of the oldest Canadian lakers still in active service.

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In addition to new paint, Tim S. Dool (as well as the Leitch) is also receiving her 5-year survey, guaranteeing both vessels at least a few more years on the Lakes.

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The other two ships laid up at Fraser are Lee A. Tregurtha and Kaye E. Barker.

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Photographing these two Interlake classics was quite the fun task – the snow I had to climb through separating the water and the road was nearly waist-deep.

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The 1943-built Lee A. is one of my favorites, particularly because of her long, eventful career that began as a U.S. Navy tanker serving in World War II.

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Her classic, although squarish, lines make her stand out among traditionally-styled lakers, particularly in her bow.

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Here’s a shot of Lee A.‘s stern half, with Kaye E. Barker behind.

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The Tregurtha‘s unusually-shaped stack is courtesy of the exhaust gas scrubbers she had installed a few years ago, which drastically reduce her emissions and recycle many waste gases produced by the engine.

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The lovely Kaye is one of the few vessels Interlake hasn’t yet fitted with scrubbers, however they likely will in the coming years.

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Built as Edward B. Greene in 1951, she is a member of the AAA-class of vessels, and was the first Great Lakes carrier to be constructed completely in a drydock. She differs from her seven AAA sisters in that she has a triple-decked forward cabin, which houses extra guest accommodations.

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All of the AAA sisters are still in existence today except for William Clay Ford (scrapped in 1987), and of the remaining seven, all but one still operate in their original configurations (J.L. Mauthe was converted into the barge Pathfinder in 1997).

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Once I decided to stop clambering through the deep snow at Fraser, I headed down to Elevator M in Superior, where H. Lee White was quietly resting.

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I was able to make it down to the slip after a bit of a hike, and I initially only took these two photos of her – but we’ll come back to the White later.

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Next door at Lakehead Pipeline was American Spirit, however I wasn’t able to make it down to the slip to get unobstructed shots of her, so this was the best stern view I could get.

I’m going to end this post here, as the adventurous part of the day is still to come. Stay tuned for Part II tomorrow!

3 thoughts on “Adventures in Duluth, Part I

  1. Pingback: Freighter Freak

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