More Wind Turbines, More Tugs

In yesterday’s post, I shared my photos of the departure of BBC Russia from Menominee after unloading wind turbine parts at the KKIL dock on the morning of May 20th, and I ended with William C. Gaynor departing to head out for her next assist job.

Since the K&K dock can only accommodate one vessel at a time, Hilke had to wait for BBC Russia to depart before making her arrival.

Hilke had arrived offshore the night before and put her anchor down to wait for the Russia to finish her unload, and now that the dock was free it was time for Hilke to make her arrival.

With Susan L. leading the tow up forward and William C. Gaynor guiding the stern, Hilke passed the PM41 at her loading dock and approached the Ogden Street Bridge.

Ports like Menominee are fun to shoot at for many reasons; one of the biggest for me is exchanges like the one I was witnessing, because it means more boat traffic at one time.

Hilke – probably better known as Palabora, the name she carried from her launch in 2010 until 2018 – is an incredibly unique vessel by design.

Although saltwater vessels have been built with all accommodations aft for decades now, the forward mounted pilothouse is making a comeback and this class of vessels serves as a perfect example.

Palabora and a few of her sisters, their hulls painted in the unique CombiLift two-tone blue, have visited the Lakes quite a few times in the last few years.

However in 2018, the majority (or all, I’m not entirely sure) of the fleet was purchased by SAL Heavy Lift GMBH of Germany and the vessels were subsequently renamed.

Hilke is the only one that was treated to a new paint job in SAL’s colors – the others still carry their CombiLift blue hulls under their new names. If you look closely, you can still see the outline of ”” welded to the ship’s side beneath the new SAL billboard lettering.

SAL also made sure to include their website on the ship, however in a less obvious fashion.

If you couldn’t tell already, Hilke was bringing in a full load of wind turbine blades that she would unload at KKIL. These blades were loaded in Spain and Morocco.

Here’s a nice close-up view of the ship’s unique stern – with her pilothouse and crew accommodations forward, only the ship’s stack and machinery spaces are located aft.

Now through the bridge, the (somewhat) brightly colored ship slows down to dock.

William C. Gaynor keeps Hilke on a short leash as the tow approaches its final destination.

I didn’t bother to take any shots of the actual docking operation, as they all would have looked very similar to the one above. But when Hilke had her lines ashore and the two Sarter tugs started making their way towards the bridge, I resumed shooting.

Their assist jobs for the day complete, William and Susan would be heading back to their home dock in Sturgeon Bay.

Although I’ve probably taken plenty enough shots of these tugs already, I don’t think its possible to have too many tug shots.

In focus here is the bell that sounds when the drawbridge is in the raised position, with William C. Gaynor out of focus to the right.

I ended the day with one last shot of the departing tugs and the loading PM41.

Although I wasn’t able to catch Hon. James L. Oberstar in Sturgeon Bay like I had been planning on, I was more than happy to have caught these two salties in Menominee (also another port I had never shot at before, interestingly enough). And don’t worry, I did get my Jlo fix – that will come in tomorrow’s post.

3 thoughts on “More Wind Turbines, More Tugs

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