The channels –here negotiated by Pride–run close to shore along the southern side of Mackinac Island,

necessitating careful monitoring of navaids, here is Buckthorn.

Near the strait that forms the somewhat undefined boundary between Huron and Michigan,  we meet Sharon M I pushing Huron Spirit, the barge and not the pilot boat by the same name.

The massive bridge spanning the strait here is about 10 miles to the east.  Click here to find out where the Mack Bridge ranks among the longest suspension bridges in the world as of now.

Note the blue color the water.  Here’s how the colors of the Great Lakes look from satellite images.  Earlier this year a Sea Grant scientist told me the new issue on the Lakes, especially the upper ones is oligotrophism related to zebra and quagga mussels.  Erie, however,  tends toward the hypereutrophic with especially serious algae blooms this summer.

Until I’ve a better system for night photos on the dark Lake, I’ll dispense with photos like the one below.

The Budweiser mural on the silos in Manitowoc today is just a mural, artwork, since the silos are now owned by Briess.  No beer–except home brew– is made in this part of this town.  As to the current owners, here’s the Briess Malt & Ingredients site, resident peregrine and all.

SS Badger can withstand anything the Lake can throw at her, but crossing in extreme weather might make for uncomfortable and dangerous conditions for the passengers, as was the case within 24 hours of my taking this photo.

Here’s a fluvial centric map of Chicago.  We docked just south of the area marked 4 here, but I decided to scout out Bubbly Creek, near 1.

Here’s a photo of Bubbly Creek from a century back, along with an explanation of the name.

My actual destination on Bubbly Creek was the Chicago Maritime Museum.  Check them out. If I’d have been there a little later, I could have gone to the presentation on Cap Streeter, a synopsis of which is here.

Once docked, though, I wanted to explore the southern shore water’s edge around to the east, to Indiana.  That’s the Chicago skyline below, and

here, is more of the picture I wanted, the Burn’s Harbor steel making site, part of the manufacturing infrastructure for which much of the Lakes’ traffic exists.

Quite a nice beach, actually.

All photos and sentiments and any inadvertent errors by Will Van Dorp, who will soon return to this area and suspend new blog posts until  reliable wifi is available.

Although I’m a newbie, this being only my second run on Huron, I suspect this view dominates the experience of crossing Huron, possibly Superior also, which I’ve not traversed.  Huron is the inland sea with the longest shoreline, surrounded by sparse population.  Sarnia, the largest city on Huron has about 70,000; Port Huron, 30,000; and Alpena, 10,000.  Of course, Bay City–population 35,000– lies there also, but at more than 50 miles into Saginaw Bay, it’s a city you go to as a destination, which I need to do soon.  I’m eager to visit all the towns along this lake.

Off to starboard, it’s Thunder Bay, China-built, Seawaymax.

To port, it’s barge Menominee pushed by

Olive L. Moore.  If you look at no other link than this one in this post, check this one for the evolution of this tug since the hull was first laid down in Manitowoc in 1928, designed low to fit under the bridges in Chicago.

Arcticus ,a USGS vessel launched in 2014, was working some research project off our starboard.  Here’s a post I did in 2014 on another USGS vessel at its christening in Oswego.

Otherwise, along the shore there are lights  like Thunder Bay Island Light,

(and I’m not sure of the identification here) New Presque Isle Light, and

Spectacle Reef Light.

Near here, we passed tug Michigan pushing barge Great Lakes, which I last saw in Montreal last fall.

 

Martin Reef Light tells us we’re approaching the Straits, as

does the appearance of Kristen D, the ferry between Cheboygan and another Bois Blanc Island–more places to visit some day. Kristen D dates from the late 1980s.

Samuel D. Champlain I could pick out anywhere by its profile, but John C. Munson I had to check on my device. SDC appeared on this blog several times before, with a closeup here, and in a previous iteration here. Last year I caught SDC southbound in roughly the same end of Lake Huron.

And less than a mile from the dock on Mackinac Island, we pass Round Island Light.

Writing this post has clarified one section of where my next road trip will take me.  All photos and sentiments, errors, etc. by Will Van Dorp.

Related:  Check out these 10 facts about the Great Lakes.

Unrelated:  The 2017 NYC tugboat race is scheduled for Sunday Sept. 3. 

“Motor city” is another name for Detroit, but “detroit” is only part of the name for the waterway given by the French explorer Cadillac when he led the first Europeans to settle “Fort Pontchartrain du Detroit” on a bank of “le détroit du lac Érié,”  the strait of Lake Erie), linking Lake Huron and Lake Erie; historically,  the strait included the St. Clair River, Lake St. Clair and the Detroit River.

Some time after departing the Cuyahoga, we pass this mysterious site.  Any ideas?  I’ll identify it at the end of this post.

If you’re not at the helm, straits bring the treat of relatively close passage with other traffic, like Dorothy Ann and Pathfinder here.

Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial is a 352′ monument we can all live with, sans controversy.

As we approach the center of the contemporary city of Detroit, traffic and industry intensify.   I’d never noticed GLW’s glowing slag heaps, like crafted flows of lava.

On the Windsor side, Frontenac transfers payload .  . not sure what.  Salt maybe?

On the American side, 1000′ Edwin H. Gott is likely discharging Superior ore or taconite.

Sturgeon Bay-built Sam Laud watches from the Rouge.  Laud, the namesake, moved from shop painter and riveter to CEO of GATX.

Folks on the bridge of Algoma Olympic, Port Weller-built and down bound here just south of the Ambassador Bridge, must be experiencing the frustration of having to worry about devil-may-care recreational boaters.  Recently, a high profile meeting of stake holders was held at Port Huron to deal with difficult small boat operators, one in particular who decided to play chicken with a freighter .

Last year this China-built tug was called Victorious;  now she’s know as Leo A. McArthur, and as then, she pushes hot asphalt contained in John J. Carrick.

Patricia Hoey (built 1949) is a good example of the extended life experienced by freshwater boats.

A McAsphalt unit like Leo A. McDonald, Everlast, matched as always with Norman McLeod, is Japan-built.

I’d love to learn more about this Windsor home, but the name on the facade is that of the Massachusetts-born founder of Canadian Club whisky.

Just north of Belle Isle, SS Ste. Claire, Boblo ferry sister of SS Columbia marks Kean’s Marina.

And with night falling and work for me to do, we’ll leave this post only partway through the strait with Kaye E. Barker, once Benson Ford III.  Notice the GMRenCen in the distance just forward of the front of the self-unloading arm?  GMRenCen was built by Ford.

The return of daylight will find us in Lake Huron.  To see the St. Clair River by daylight, click here.  All photos and sentiments by Will Van Dorp.

The sinuous structures in the top photo depict Cedar Point as seen from a few miles out in the lake.

 

 

 

After a seiche sped us from Buffalo to Cleveland through the night, morning found us under the Cleveland Memorial Shoreline Bridge, down where the Cuyahoga flows.  Cuyahoga, to most non-Clevelanders of my generation, connotes a many times burning river of the past.

Here’s a reference to that time on a sign inside the Greater Cleveland Aquarium.  I never visited Cleveland in the 1960s or ’70s, and without these opportunities to visit now, I’d have imagined it a possible setting for a Philip K. Dickesque dystopia.  As a caveat, let me say upfront that  I’ve not lived in Cleveland, so this post is based on impressions gleaned from reading and quick visits like this one.  But

this has to be the most unexpected postscript to any predictions made in 1972.

Believe it or not, this working Iowa is 102 years young.

All these photos–except the one directly above which I took on July 4, 2016–were taken in a few-hour period of time in late July 2017.

Restoration indeed, and with the collaboration of Cuyahoga River Restoration, cuyahoga arts & culture, and  ArcelorMittal.

Yet commerce goes on. It does not have to be “either-or-or.” A 634′ Buffalo weaves through what must be a captain’s nightmare to get to the steel plant under the corkscrew path of the Cuyahoga.

 

Simultaneously, a 630′ Manitowoc exits the Old River after having taken on a full load of road salt for Milwaukee from the Cargill Salt mines extending far under Lake Erie.

For both watch standers, this has to be an ordeal of concentration.

 

 

And a waterway already juggling commercial vessels and recreationalists, trains are another factor;  all small vessels lined up as one train after another cross this bridge move expeditiously once the lift rises.

 

My early 1970s self would never have imagined 2017 Cuyahoga’s mouth, although

accidents sometimes happen.

Still, I believe the effort is worth it.

All photos and sentiments by a gallivanting Will Van Dorp.

 

With digressions behind us, let’s resume the journey.  In part 4 we descended from the level of the Mohawk at Rome NY into Lake Ontario, approximately 248.’  Canadian pilot boat Mrs C meets us not far from the entrance to the Welland Canal at Port Weller, so named for the lead engineer in building of the first iteration of the Welland Canal.

Below lock W1,  Alouette Spirit tied at a dock.  The mover is Wilf Seymour, a Canadian-flagged former Moran-owned Texas-built tug I’ve met on most trips here since 2015. I’ve seen her on locations between Lake Huron and the St Lawrence just up from Quebec City.   Click here to see her being loaded with ingots.

 ITB Presque Isle  occupied the Port Weller Dry Docks.

So that you can get a sense of how ungainly this ITB looks out of the notch, I’m sharing this photo thanks to Jeff Thoreson of Erie Shipping News.  Usually she’s in the notch and considered a 1000-footer.

Exiting lock W1 was China-built  Algoma Mariner, whose bow shows the effect of operating in ice.

Notice how narrow the Welland is here, with less than 100′ between Grande Mariner and Algoma Mariner.

For more info on the Welland, click here.

I drove through Port Colborne–at the 571′ level of Lake Erie–a few years ago, but seeing the names of the shops here, I’d love to stop by and wander.  I’m not fanatical about pies, but Jay the Pie Guy sounds too tasty to pass up.  Check him out on FB.

Four months ago, I posted photos from Clayton NY on the dead ship tow of the former traversier aka ferry Camille Marcoux.  Here’s what she looks like now after the

 

skilled carving tools of the workers at Marine Recycling Corp in  Port Colborne.

See the scrapping in the upper right side of the photo, here the pilot steps off and we enter Lake Erie, turning to port for Buffalo.

After an hour-and-a-half run, the grain elevators of Buffalo welcome us. Seeing the blue G, I can already imagine the smell of the Cheerios plant.

Near the entrance to the Buffalo River, I spot NYPA’s Joncaire II tied up near the merry-go-round.  I’d love to see her at work managing the ice boom.  I don’t see Daniel on the bow, but I believe the full name is Daniel Joncaire II.  ??

Over in Silo City, two older Great Lakes tugs–Washington and Vermont— await between jobs.  Of course, they still work.  The combined age of those two tug is 195 years.  YEARS!!

Silo City may not sound all that exciting, especially for folks who know farms, but this complex made Buffalo and forged a link with another boom city . . . . the six boros of NYC.  I like the quote here that it was grain elevators and the nexus of the Great Lakes and the Erie Canal that led Buffalo to surpass London, Rotterdam, and Crimea as then the #1 grain handling port in the world.  I also recently learned about the influence the grain elevator form had on modern architecture a la Gropius. 

Check out this Gropius design.

A few years ago, I’d never consider exploring Buffalo, and I have so many other photos that I might revisit the city on tugster, but for now, I suggest you go there too and

stop at Buffalo Harbor Museum, Pierce Arrow Museum, and Swannie’s, for starters.  I started from Erie Basin and walked to all of these in the same day.

All photos by Will Van Dorp.

 

This is the third of three digressions before getting on with the account of my trip west.

The saga of SS Binghamton started in 1904,

and I last saw it from land on January 6, 2017, when demolition was said to have started.  Demolition had started but defined as “asbestos abatement” by the alien looking figures clustered near the tender and the stack.

As a relative newcomer in the sixth boro, I first set foot on the ferry in 2011, when some thought a chance still existed to save her or parts of her.  I’ve also been holding off doing this post in hopes that more photos of the demolition process would surface.  I hope I can still do another post if such photos emerge.  I would have been there, but I was on my trip west.

The next two photos I took on July 16 from the water, the last it turns out.

 

Paul Strubeck took the photo below as he passed by about 10 days later when the stack had just been removed . . . as in a decapitation.

Only a few days later, Glenn Raymo took the next two shots from the Walkway over the Hudson, rubble going up the river.

 

Here’s a TV commercial once intended to attract patrons to the now gone restaurant.

Thanks to Paul and Glenn, more of whose work is available here.

 

 

This is the second of three digressions I’m making from the GWA series, and what a digression it is.

How can one postpone posting these photos of the largest ever single unit transported by barge down the Hudson!  And with outstanding photos like these.  By the way, the first two, by Glenn Raymo are available to purchase here.

I post about this cargo, which has been covered extensively on FB, because not everyone enters the labyrinth called FB.

Two of the same tugs made the high profile tow to Rochester via the Erie Canal earlier this year as seen here.

When this tow entered the Kills, many hours later, the passed the salt pile,  where Brian DeForest took these shots.

Click on the photo below to read the banner, part of which says “union built in the USA.”

Hats off to all involved.  Many thanks to Glenn and Brian for photos I couldn’t chase.

Click here for more prints by Glenn.

Previous photos of Mister Jim here, CMT Otter here, and Helen Laraway here.

Click here for previous SUNY sea term posts.  I’m grateful to SUNY for an invitation to ride along from the Upper Bay to the SUNY Maritime campus yesterday.  What a homecoming this must be for the cadets, and their friends and families.

Families and friends were already there off Staten Island.

For cadets–aka college students–the sense of preparing for a bright future must be palpable,

a reward for study and practice.

And the welcome comes from strangers all along these last few miles.  Airports and airplanes just don’t afford this grand arrival.

Those were construction workers at Rockefeller University’s River Campus above, and ConEd workers below.

Small boats followed us.

Folks at the Vernon C. Bain Maritime facility paid attention.

Workers on the Whitestone stopped to watch.

 

NYPD came to greet and

be greeted. “Selfie taking” gives a whole new meaning to turning one’s back on a subject.

McAllister’s Ellen and

Amy C came to greet and assist.  SUNY grads work in many different industries, including the towing industry, maritime services, pilots’ associations, law enforcement, fire departments . . . and the list is much longer.

But on the SUNY Fort Schuyler campus, the welcoming is most intense.

 

 

After 17 days at sea since their last port, this one is probably the best.

 

All photos and sentiments by Will Van Dorp. Hats off to students, families, staff, and of course the 57-year-old ship. 

After a few more catch-ups, I’ll return to the account “Go West Again.”

The photo below is not Lake Ontario; it’s Oneida Lake in the early morning as we outrun a storm.  If my numbers are right, Oneida is about 80′ lower than Rome NY.  Hence, the descent into Lake Ontario, which is another 200′ lower than Oneida.

If you thought we were descending–as a diver–into Ontario . . . well, that would be rewarding, but English is just ambiguous sometimes.  Anyhow, Oneida is big, not great, and that’s alright by me.

E-23 has a very friendly lock master, as do almost all the locks.  They’re happy to chat, especially when an ocean liner like Grande Mariner squeezes through.

To digress and use a photo I took near the east end of the Canal three years ago of GM exiting a lock, behold the ocean liner.

At Three Rivers, we leave the Erie, and enter the Oswego Canal, formed by the confluence of the Oneida and the Onondaga, a canal with a slightly different history.   Before lock O-1, we pass the Syracuse (Canal) Maintenance Shops, located in Lysander, another one of those classical names.

In Phoenix adjacent to O-1, we see a dam with Tainter gates, named for a Wisconsin engineer named Tainter.

Below lock O-1 also there’s a drawbridge.

Just above O-2 in Fulton, Fourth Street and Nestle Avenue cross, but the other side of the Nestle plant looks

like this, after a century of production.  Another former product of Fulton–once called the city the Depression missed–was shotguns.

As evening falls we start the first of the descents in Oswego, O-6.

O-8 is the end, and marked by tug Syracuse.

In the morning, we head out early, but not as early as folks fishing, taking part in enterprise valued at over $110 million.

There’s the lighthouse in Sodus, where I learned to swim, in spite of my best efforts to resist it.

Rochester looms beyond the ridge, and we

choose to hold up some hours in the port.

As we tie up at the dock, a charter boat from the Canadian side–we do share the Lake–heads back out.

All photos and focus and any errors attributable to Will Van Dorp.  From here and the rest of the trip, we climb again.

 

 

GWA is “going west again,” and here we start at about 130′ above sea level.  We’ve just passed the road sign included in a post here in 2006. Ahead of us is lock E-2, the beginning of the flight of five, located in the town of Waterford.

Above E-3, my former vessel waits, along with Chancellor. Those two boats alone have a combined total life of 196 years between them.   In the foreground is the business end of a cutter suction dredge.

Recreation boats come from everywhere.

Beyond the guard gate atop E-6 is Grand Erie, who also came from away, the Ohio River in her case.

Locals know how to enjoy the 200-year-old waterway.

Below E-11, we get a green light in the early morning drizzle.

Squeezing a 183′ x 39′ vessel through the locks involves a skilled crew and vigilant lock master.

Drivers on the Thruway at this point are 42 miles from Albany, 190 from NYC.

At E-15, still in the drizzle, a Florida boat —Sharon Ann–waits as we lock through.

Above E-16, the 90-year-old Governor Cleveland attends dredge pipes, maintenance dredging being ongoing.  Yes, the canal needs maintenance, and so does the Thruway, any street, RR tracks and infrastructure, my car, my body . . . .

A boxer takes its human for a run . . .

More guard gates–width is 55′–to squeeze through.

Lords of the air watch all along the waterway.

At E-17 we share a lock with Tender #5.

Since we tie off above E-18, Lil Diamond II has to maneuver around.

An SPS lands a crew on the bank for preventative maintenance … keeping dead trees from falling into the water and jamming lock gates.

More recreational boats from far-off ports.

More maintenance above E-19, this time with dragon dredge and the electric tender . .  . #4.

Reinforcement of the canal walls is a canal priority this year.

 

I always imagine the mythical Utica lies beyond the berm marked by the open tower. Central NY was once included in the “military tract,” land distributed to Revolutionary War veterans.

Above lock E-20, we are at the high point of this portion of the Erie Canal,

and Rome was the original high point/ portage in the Mohawk portion of the waterways that pre-date Europeans settlement of North america.

We are now 456′ above sea level, where we’ll pick up the journey tomorrow.

All photos by and any errors attributable to Will Van Dorp.

 

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Graves of Arthur Kill

Click on image below to order your copy of Graves of Arthur Kill, by Gary Kane and Will Van Dorp. 3Fish Productions.

Seth Tane American Painting

Read my Iraq Hostage memoir online.

My Babylonian Captivity

Reflections of an American hostage in Iraq, 20 years later.

Tale of Two Marlins

Blue Marlin spent 600+ hours loading tugs and barges in NYC Sixth Boro. Click on image for presentation made to NY Ship Lore and Model Club, July 25, 2011.

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