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Here’s a quick post to alert you that several days may go by without word or photo from tugster.  I’m repeating a trip I made last year from Warren RI to Chicago IL via the Erie Canal and other great American and Canadian waterways. If you missed it, you might check out last year’s posts here.

I’m onboard lecturer working a small passenger ship.  Despite my lightweight MMD, I am indeed gainfully employed, paid not to stand watch, throw line, read a chart, wipe spilled oil, bust rust, or maneuver the vessel.  I puff on no cutty pipe and chew or spit no quid.   I swab no decks, make no beds, brush no heads, shut no sheet, serve no drinks but to myself, “sir” no sirs, peel no spuds.  I leave others to juggle flower pots, pluck strings, and tickle ivories–although I play crazy air-concertina.  I could go on.  However, I do racont, if that be the verb exercised by a raconteur.  I indulge no ideology except that of the gallivant.

But in 2017, tall tales might be considered gauche, aka fake news, a phrase that goes back to the 1890s, although I’d suggest that Eve herself was an occasional purveyor of compromised truths, in conjunction with Adam’s dispersal of same.  So the racontage I disperse needs to be both researched and enthralling . . . a tough combo.

The article below truly comes from the April 27, 1921 New York Herald, and if I applied for the “perfect job” advertised there for the SS George Washington, I’d not be hired.  If you are in the need of a belly laugh,  rolling on and then off the deck guffaw, read the article in your best raconteur voice to your supervisor.   Or have a subordinate perform it to you, aloud or over the intercom.

Thanks to a Sandy Hook  pilot who shared it with me the other day.

I’ll catch up this account through the waterways to Chicago whenever adequate wifi enters my environment.

 

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In case you missed the video of car ferry  Badger‘s arrival one day in late June, it’s here.

Rainy weather had caused a lot of runoff, turning the water two shades of Lake Michigan.  And once I got thinking about weather, and the word got stuck in my brain along with this absurd video clip called “badger song” from my early days on the internet, my downward spiral began, like …

badger,

truckers,

tankers,

trucker, tanker, and forester,

camper and forester,

runner  (vehicles are driven off Badger by these shore crew who run from one car to the next),

more runners (from my 2012 trip and these taken in Ludington, with Spartan in the background),

camper (I hope you’ve caught the pattern by now),

trailers,

charger . . .   (by this time I realized fighting the spiral had become hopeless . . .)

Oh well, maybe you had to have been there to catch my giddiness . . .

But!  In an attempt to resurrect my reputation as a sane blogger, you might have noticed that in the first sentence of this post, I referred to Badger as a “car” ferry.  Like me, you might have thought of  four-wheeled rubber tired vehicles, but–in the manner of Detroit River ferry called Detroit in this wonderful SHORPY image–

Badger and sister ship Spartan had different origins, used to have rails built into the deck . . .  as you can see here.

Industries come and go, as does supply chain and people-moving  infrastructure . . .  Here’s more, and I’m not going to turn political here, but this is context .  . . .  Click here for more SHORPY car ferry photos.

Here’s the post I did after visit to Badger from 2012.  And here’s a more recent one showing her underwater layout.

except “random” here  just means in the order that I encountered them on my all-too-short gallivant around Wisconsin.

In Sturgeon Bay, I finally saw the 149′ x 27.8′ John Purves, built in Elizabeth NJ in 1919, definitely retired now but looking great as part of Door County Maritime Museum.  John P. Holland had some connections with Patterson and the shipyard in Elizabethport NJ–right across from Howland Hook terminal, as well, where the USN’s first series of submarines was built.  See some here (and scroll).

Stern to stern with Purves is Donny S, formerly ATA 230, G. W. Codrington, William P. Feeley, William W. Stender, and Mary Page Hannah.  She’s 135.5′ x 33.1′ and is said to hail from Cleveland.  She was building a Levingson Shipyard in Orange TX.

I gather she was once part of the Hannah Marine fleet, as in here.

Quite a number of Selvick tugs rafted up here as well:  right to left:  William Selvick, Jacquelyn Yvonne, Sharon M Selvick, Cameron, Susan L, and William C. Gaynor. … a bit too tightly packed for good photos.

Farther south in Kewaunee, WI, I stumbled upon Ludington, a 1943 Jakobson Oyster Bay tug just a month older than Nash, restored to Navy gray and part of the exhibit in Oswego NY’s H. Lee White Maritime Museum.  Lots of tugboats–current and older–in the sixth boro hail from Jakobson’s, now all gone.

In Milwaukee, I was fortunate to track down tug Wisconsin.  Now that might seen less than ordinary until you learn she dates from 1897 and still works!!  She’s gone through more names than there are Great Lakes but here she is.

Off her stern Minnesota and Superior (almost invisible) are rafted up.  The 1911 Minnesota is a year older than Urger but still profitable.  Superior was launched in 1912 in Manitowoc and still works in ship assist and lakes towing.

I’ll need some help on this one, high and dry just beyond Superior.  For some of the more GL tugs previously posted here, click here, here,  and here.

Joey D is a workboat boat, 60′ x 20′ launched 2012, built in Cleveland.

My guess is that this is the boat Joey D replaced, but that’s sheer conjecture.  It’s not conjecture that this bow’s seen some ice and made contact.

All photos by Will Van Dorp, who’s eager to get back to the Great Lakes basin and see more.

 

Let’s start with the grande dame . . . Edna G, on the land side of the loading dock in Two Harbors MN.  Guess her year of build?

Two Harbors is about 30 miles NE of Duluth.

Click here for more info.

Nancy J, at the same ore dock, dates from 1964, but I know little else.

Bayfield, now a gnome in a planter, was built as ST2023 by Roamer, Holland MI in 1953 and was turned over to the USACE in 1962.  I don’t know how long it has adorned the planter.

I wonder who did the fancy weld . . .

Huron–ex-Daniel McAllister–is seven years newer than Ellen McAllister, a sixth boro staple.  Huron‘s been here only since early 2017. 

And I have to end the photos here, with these two unidentified GL-tugs, although I’m guessing might or not not be Arkansas, Kentucky, and/or North Carolina.   I only figured out later how to get closer . . . after I’d left town.  This is what Grouper used to look like.

And if you can spare a half hour, here’s a youtube of another tug, previously of Twin Ports, and older sibling of Urger . . . Sea Bird, which like Urger had at one point been a fish tug, a topic for another day.   Here’s a three-minute youtube which shows GL tugs arriving in port.  If you listen to the intercom in the background, you’ll note that Duluth–like Port Huron–has someone announce each vessel as it traverses the Ship Canal.  I call that valuing the port.

All photos by Will Van Dorp.

Around 1000 the other day, Walter J. McCarthy Jr. headed outbound through the Canal.   Let’s suppose she was loaded to capacity, 78,850 tons of Western coal.

Again . . . 1000′ x 105′ heads out into the lake.

I’m sure I heard the woman there say to her child, “Let’s wave at daddy.”

 

 

Power comes from four EMD 645 V-20 2-stroke diesels, spinning two four-blade 17.2′ VP props.

 

Below is intermodal transportation at its clearest.   American Integrity, same dimensions and power as McCarthy, has its 250′ boom rotated to port, away from loading gear.  Note the train that almost completely circles the coal pile, like a large snake.  Let’s assume the train is 100-cars long although there may be a few more, each car carrying 100 tons.  So it takes seven trains to fill one of these ships.

Later the same day, American Integrity heads out . . .

 

 

as lots of folks and gulls wait along the Canal  . . .

About 10 months ago I saw American Integrity discharging at the St. Clair Power plant in East China, MI.  It amazing in these next two pictures, how

1000′ foreshortens . . .

Around independence day, it’s appropriate somehow to be talking about american integrity . . .

All photos by Will Van Dorp.

 

The way ships’ names work for me . . . they’re memorable!  I recalled immediately having seen Orsula upbound on the St. Lawrence 10 months ago here.   Here Orsula departed the grain docks for Montreal . . . 1344 miles and 129 hours away.  Click here for some facts for Twin Ports, the mid-continent intermodal hub.

Walter J. McCarthy, 1000′ loa, had just come through the ship canal and was headed for the coal docks, I believe.  Coal arrives here from out west, lots from Wyoming.

 

 

The aerial lift bridge can accommodate air draft of up to 180.’

Since I’m writing with hindsight, Ursula went to Montreal and is currently at sea, headed for Ravenna, Italia.

Click here to see Heritage Marine’s tug Nels J clearing out April ice….

Below, I don’t know the date of the outbound (down bound) steam ship, but

this Viking ship sailed here in 1926, with a crew of three humans and one dog, and started an exchange that continued until it was not last summer….

So here’s a research request:  the Viking ship below, still in Duluth but undergoing restoration, traversed the Erie Canal on the way here.  Has anyone ever seen photos of this ship in the Erie Canal?  And while I’m making request, has anyone ever seen a photo of a new build military vessel–of which supposedly there were more than 400–headed eastbound on the Erie Canal during and before WW2?

All photos by Will Van Dorp, who took the two vintage photos on the walls of Grandma’s Saloon & Grille. 

 

Yesterday’s post left you in the air–quite literally–circling above Duluth with Beaver Air Tours, the busiest port on the Great Lakes, and passing over a set of Heritage Marine tugs.  Thanks to Lee Rust’s comment on yesterday’s post, I learned a fascinating story about one of the tugs, the 1908 Mount McKay.  Check it out here.   Here we’re flying west looking out toward the St. Louis River.

The pilot pointed out the Edward L. Ryerson, below on extended layup.  Click here for many more photos of this beauty, which began service in Manitowoc in the summer of 1960.  for many more photos and more history of “fast Eddie–capable of 19 kts!!–click here.  This blog has had a previous photo of Ryerson–assisted by Grouper– here.

 

Note the unusual mast-stack combo and the absence of self-unloading gear.

J. B. Ford–launched 1904–is now ending her days after serving them out here as a stationary storage facility.

As this link tells, she survived many storms, outlived all her fleet mates.  The stories of the generations of her crew . . . . I hope they’re not entirely lost.

That’s the Duluth Ship Canal, which I’ll talk about in a future post, and the Aerial Lift Bridge;  J. B. Ford’s scrapping is happening on the land upper right in this photo.

Circling over the Ship Canal, we look down at museum bulker William A. Irvin, named for a former president of US Steel.

Who can tally how many tons of ore she carried in her lifetime from 1938 until 1978 . . . .

 

Let’s head toward the St. Louis River from a different angle and get a closer look at the Arthur M. Anderson.  Click on this link for photos and info of the ordeal she and other lakers face in the December waning weeks of the navigation season.

Anderson has plied the lakes since 1952, and is often associated with the Edmund Fitzgerald, as the last to have contact with the Fitzgerald in the fateful storm of November 1975.

 

Can anyone identify this tugboat?

At the coal pile, it’s  American Integrity . . . I’ll add some closeups of her in tomorrow’s post.

American Integrity is exactly 1000′ x 105′ and with a 78,850 ton capacity,  a “super carrier” built in Sturgeon Bay WI and moving steel ingredients since 1978.

Closing out today’s post . . . we pass part of the Fraser Shipyard, founded by Alexander McDougall, father of “whalebacks” and much more, two of which are currently in very different states of repair in New York waters, the Interwaterways 101 aka Day Peckinpaugh–AND Interwaterways 105, whose current disposition can be seen at the same link as for the 101 . . . the Michigan in the graveyard on the Arthur Kill.

One of the tugs below is FSY  III . . . I suppose the other two are I and II?

All photos by Will Van Dorp, who hopes to return here near the end of the season.

Here’s more on the port and the lake aka  gichigami in Ojibwa.

 

 

Well, a DHC-2 Beaver is not a jet although it’s a fantastic aerial platform.  Here a John Deere moves the aircraft into the water,

where it becomes a boat, complete with a set of paddles.  Welcome to Beaver Air Tours.  Call me floatster.

When we get the green light, we taxi out towards the LaFarge dock . . .

where J. A. W. Iglehart (launched 1936!!) serves as floating storage.  More on Iglehart later in the flight. If I’d been here a few days later, I’d have seen the elusive (for me) Alpena (1942).

We turn into the wind and prepare to take off, with SS Meteor (1896) to starboard.

Once aloft into the southeasterly breezes, we pass American Victory (1942), launched in Baltimore as a saltwater tanker.  For her diverse life, read the info at the link in the previous sentence.  I hope you read the links on Meteor and Alpena as well . . .

The day before, driving in from Wisconsin, we took these photos of American Victory from US highway 53.

 

That’s American Victory down there.

A little farther south, we pass the ore docks in Allouez Bay,

where CSL Laurentian (1977) is loading.  Can you tell we’re downriver from the iron range?

Here we circle back over American Victory,

SS Meteor, 

and Iglehart.

 

More tomorrow from Duluth MN!  Now as to those tugboats below, I know at least three of them as Heritage Marine boats.  I believe the red one is either the boat I saw as Taurus or Fort Point in Belfast Maine a few years back. Here’s the story of the Maine boats’ arrival at the top of the Great Lakes.  The two orange ones may be Nels J or Edward H. but we didn’t get close enough to determine. And the blue tug, i’m not even going to guess.

More of this aerial fling –a flatter post–tomorrow.

All photos by Will Van Dorp.

Yesterday’s post requires a complement, so here it is.  The flight out was less turbulent but equally rewarding for folks looking out the window.  Behold the Tappan Zee.  This stretch of the river–from Piermont “pier” (created by the Erie RR) on the west side of the Hudson to Croton Point on the east and a little margin on either side represents approximately 10 statute miles, by my estimate.  Rockland Lake,  directly across the river from Croton Point and usually obscured by Hook Mountain just south of Haverstraw, can clearly be seen here.

Here’s the next stretch of river from Croton Point north and almost to Poughkeepsie.  That’s about 40 statute miles, as the crow flies.  By slow boat, that’s the better part of a winter’s day.  Note the long skinny reservoir,  DeForest Lake, at the 4 o’clock point of the photo.

From my seat on the starboard side, I was hoping for a glimpse of Lake Ontario, but this is way beyond my hopes:  despite the clouds, a clear view of the 27-mile Welland Canal from Port Colbourne on Lake Erie below to Port Weller on Lake Ontario above.

Last summer we exited here, near the MRC scrapyard at Port Colbourne just after 1600 after having entered the Welland Canal

here at Port Weller, just before 0900 that day . . . so the aerial above represents a day’s traverse through the Welland locks, with no delays.

By this time, I was starting to think the pilot of this aircraft must have wanted to be credited on this blog, for as we headed into Detroit airport, he gave me this final treat:  a view of the 740′  Algoma Harvester upbound through the cutoff leaving marshy Walpole Island to starboard and the more substantial Seaway Island, ON to its port. The natural flow of the St Clair River–and the international border– is along the far side of Seaway and Miller, MI.

My week away involved another flight, a long drive, and then the flight with my camera–not my phone.  Since I’m on an aerial fling, I’ll share some of those tomorrow.  Below is a sample, for you to savor if you want to guess my destination.

 

 

That’s true along the Elizabeth River in Virgina.  Naval Station Norfolk always has a formidable array, like

LPD-24 USS Arlington,

T-ARC-7 USNS Zeus,

T-AKE-13 USNS Medgar Evers,

T-ESB-3 USNS Lewis B. Puller,

lots of patrols and a fence,

T-AKR-5063 USNS SS Cape May,

and its complement of barges.  Here’s more of a description.

 

Then, there’s the R class.

 

 

All photos by Will Van Dorp, who suggests taking a tour if you’re in the area.

 

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