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I hope you read my latest article, about Vane Brothers expanding to the Great Lakes.  Here tugboat New York pushes Double Skin 509A (A for asphalt) into the Black Rock Canal (or channel) near Buffalo.  Great history and aerial photos of the area can be seen here

In the photo above, the Vane unit came off Lake Erie just beyond the Buffalo Breakwater Light on the white pedestal.  Click here for the history of that light, that one in place since only 1961 because the previous was hit by Frontenac.  GL tug Vermont, a strong and youthful product of 1914!!!, provides the assist.  There are multiple turns in the Black Rock Canal, and bridges

such as the 1927 Peace Bridge. 

 

The waterway is tricky because of the turns, bridges, and rocky sides.  Of course, those factors can be controlled much more easily than the factors just west of the canal, the Niagara River which has currents up to 10 knots.

 

Past the lock, which you’ll see in the next post, it’s downstream.  Vermont continues downstream, since it’ll be needed to assist in turning around at the terminal in Tonawanda.

I took these on a cold day in mid-December.  Taking photos with a zoom outside is an excellent way to socially-distance.  Others’ photos of this run and trade soon.

Click here to read an account in Vane’s Pipeline publication.

 

Well . . . a couple of Great Lakes mariners who prefer to remain nameless . . . but let’s start with a photo of Joel B from a few years ago.  She’s quite the attractive boat! Thanks so much to a GL Mariner for responding to Saturday’s post by sending another of that boat in better times.

This was taken in Muskegon;  the unnamed tug to the right sank at the dock, I’m told.

USCGC WMEC 146 McLane, launched 1927, has been a dockside display in Muskegon for more than two decades.

I’ve seen RV Laurentian once on Lake Huron, but here she is close up.

Andy Milne is a 1956 Russel Brothers tug, and as such, she’s well documented here at the Russel Brothers site.  Click here for various Russel Brothers tugs I’ve posted over the years.

The next three photos, taken by another Great Lakes mariner out exploring territory,  make up a panorama from left to right of the Lyons NY Canal drydock.  Here from l to r, it’s a tender (Dana?), DeWitt Clinton, various dredges, Syracuse, and Grouper.

This continues that pan, with l to r, a quarters (or accommodations)  barge, Syracuse, Grouper, and DB #2A.  DB expands to “derrick barge.”  On the hard and to the extreme right, note a buoy boat sans cabin.

And completing the pan, here are two new Canal Corp boats, wintering nose-to-nose, and DB #2B below them.

Many thanks to Great Lakes Mariners for use of these photos.

I’ve been to Muskegon a number of times and my photos can be found here.

Sorry about the photo size; it’s an ongoing struggle.

 I took these photos back in early August 2019 in the village where I learned to swim . . . Sodus Point.   When I asked a few people about it, I heard that it was a wreck, it was done  . . .  etc. 

The small schooner clearly had been loved at one time.

Last week I learned the good news that the lift had loaded it onto a trailer to take it to a yard for  . . .

restoration!  So I finally googled it, which I’d not thought to do before, and lo and behold . . . it has pedigree!  It was designed by William H. Hand, and launched in Rocky River OH in 1918.  The S. S. S. means “Sea Scout Ship.”  Thirty years ago, it had been trucked to Rivendell Marine, in Monument Beach MA in 1991. 

All photos, WVD, and story to be continued.

Photo and discussion below can be found on FB, John Kucko Digital . . .  December 21, 2020.  By the way, John Kucko is a legend up in western and central NYS. Tugboat in the background is Donald Sea.

Since this post features a sailing post, let me share what I’ve been watching, based on a suggestion of a reader from South Africa.

First a trip from the Falklands to Capetown on an impressive boat this past summer.

Then I learned the name of the boat and the concept developer, Skip NovakHere‘s more Skip Novak.

Then I learned of his latest project . . . 2020 into 2021, appropriate for these days.

Thx, Colin.  This is good winter fare.

Ontario here means the province and the lake.  In the NE corner of the lake lies Picton and Picton Terminals, homeport of a tug called Sheri Lynn S.  Well, Sheri Lynn S just got a big sister, and one place to start the story is in UAE, Sharjah a few months back . . . in August.

Captain Tjalling van der Zee, of van der Zee Marine Services was engaged to deliver the new tug Amy Lynn D or ALD, a Damen 3209 Shoalbuster, the 9414 nm from UAE to Lake Ontario.  Capt. van der Zee shared most of these photos.  Here is more Damen Shoalbuster info. The first part of the voyage mostly circumnavigated the Arabian peninsula.  Having lived there for three years, I can imagine the heat topping at least 100 F.

Part of the voyage transited areas of “unrest” and armed guards were on board for any annoyances, but these folks were just fishing.  Jeddah was passed on October 17.

This is a view from the wheelhouse northbound in the Suez Canal around October 20.   Pilots were required.  Any guesses on the total number of pilots taken on this 9400+ nm trip?  Answer follows.

ALD passed Sicily on October 26 . . . .  it had traveled light until Algeciras SP, where a barge Jacob Joseph C carrying three Damen tugs was met.  The small tugs were to be delivered to Halifax and Montreal.

This is the view of the barge from ALD after traveling offshore following the Great Circle.

Azores Ponta Delgada was seen on November 14. By the way, any idea of crew number?  How about daily fuel consumption?  All answers to follow.

An ingenious “selfie” was managed, albeit with an unsatisfactory camera, when instruments showed ALD and tow crossing fairly near an eastbound ship.

Big seas were part of the experience.

The tow arrived in Halifax on December 6.  Mac Mackay documented the safe arrival here.  Thx, Mac.

Two of the small tugs, both Damen Stan 1205 class, were offloaded in Halifax.

The remaining tug arrived in Montreal, where

it was discharged. 

 

To enter the Saint Lawrence Seaway, Jacob George C was put on the nose and

I’m not sure who took this photo, but I borrowed it from the Picton Terminals FB page.  It shows the tug and barge easing into a SLSW lock.

On the last morning, Nathan Jarvis, working on Robinson Bay, took this of the homestretch as ALD and JJC passed Clayton NY. 

And finally . . .  ALD and Jacob Joseph C tie up at Picton Terminals. 

Many thanks to Picton Terminals and Capt. van der Zee for use of photos and time.  Any errors are mine.

Some answers, 25 pilots, 6 crew (1 Dutch/South African and 5 Filipino), and approximately 1200 gallons of fuel daily. Last but not least . . . 82 nights on the boat.


Justin Zizes gets credit for the striking photo below.  He took it the other night from another vessel off Lower Manhattan.  That’s Jersey City forming a wall in front of the sunset sky. 

Erieborg is part of the Wagenborg family-owned fleet of 180+ small general cargo vessels.  They’re a common sight on the Great Lakes.  So on a whim, I checked where Erieborg had begun and where its voyage would take it.  Astonishingly, it’s headed from Albany to Hamilton Ontario.

The road distance between Albany (right) and Hamilton is no more than 350 miles.  By the Erie and Oswego Canals and Lake Ontario, it would be about the same.  Of course, the small cargo ship, exotic as it would look transiting the Erie Canal, is too large in every dimension.   The Erie Canal can handle vessels up to 300′ long, 43.5′ wide,  12′ draft, and 21′ air draft.  Any inklings on the dimensions of Erieborg above?

Erieborg is 452′ x 52.4′ beam, and draws 26.1 . . .  too long, wide, deep, and certainly high.  So what options does Erieborg have for transporting its cargo what would be 350 miles?  Pick a route and number for the distance and voyage time?

Here’s the route . . .  around Nova Scotia and far north between the Gaspe peninsula and Anticosti Island. 

I come up with 1955 nautical miles and a seven or eight day voyage at 10 kts and allowing for transit time in the Saint Lawrence Seaway, burning fuel at the rate of . . .  400 or so gallons an hour (my guess).

Thanks to Justin for use of his photo.  I wish I knew what the cargo was.

If you ordered a calendar last year, you might recall that I promised that I’d “extend” the photo set each month.  Well, here’s September, following all the other months.  Call this . . . “how Cleveland turned a toxic industrial sewer into a recreation area, while maintaining industrial activity.”  Recall while looking at these photos that THIS is the Cuyahoga, the object of shame back when I was a teenager, the river on all East Coast folks’ minds when the first Earth Day protest happened.  WestCoasters had the Santa Barbara oil spill uppermost in mind.  It took vision and –see the article– ongoing effort.

If you’ve never visited Cleveland, you’ll thank yourself for doing so.  If you’ve never looked at Cleveland from the perspective of the Cuyahoga, you can do it right here thanks to the miracle of Google maps . . .  it winds and winds and a few miles up, there’s still a lot of industry, so bulk carriers like Algoma Buffalo need to get up there, and getting there requires the assistance of tugs to negotiate all the turns.

Note all the recreation in boats happening all around this Algoma Buffalo, a 1978 Sturgeon Bay WI build, 24,300 tons cargo capacity (convert that to dump trucks), 634′ x 68′ and powered by 7200 hp.  It was flagged US until the 2018 season.  Note the “whitewater” from the portside emanating from the thruster tunnel.

People are enjoying the summer sun, oblivious some of them to the ship.

Kayakers and SUPers carry on.

Now what’s happening amidst all these folks enjoying the beautiful Cuyahoga is that Algoma  Buffalo will exit the river as far as that lift bridge and then be assisted moving astern into the old Cuyahoga.

Also, keep in mind that tug Cleveland was launched in 2017, and Iowa in 1915.  Yes . . . the two tugs assisting the laker are 102 years apart in age!  The captain of Cleveland might be the great-grandson of the original captain of Iowa.  Also, both tugs were built right on this river.  Deckhands appear calm here while directing the swarm away from danger.

And . . . I said swarm!

Here’s the point where forward motion stops, and Iowa assumes the lead, tugging the ship into the Old River.

Also, if you’re thinking to take a drive to Cleveland, keep in mind that I took all these photos from land, not from a boat.  People along the waterway there can have a beer or lunch or tea while enjoying a front row seat to all this  . . . drama. Set your GPS to the Greater Cleveland aquarium, a good aquarium with a huge parking lot right by the riuver.

I’m being redundant now, but this is the Cuyahoga a half century from the time it caught fire and people who didn’t work on it shunned it.

 

Again, the ship is backing up the Old River, towed

amidst all the fun-seekers on the water

around all the twists and bends by this antique but state-enough-of-the-art 1915 tugboat.  Just up around that bend is the Great Lakes Shipyard.

Cuyahoga!

Cuyahoga!  This is the only photo I took not from terra firma.

 

 

Cleveland needs a song about the rebirth of the river.  Maybe there is one I just don’t know about.

All photos, WVD, who’d go back to Cleveland in a heartbeat.  If you’ve not been, you owe to yourself to go there on a sunny summer day, and there aren’t many of those left for this year.

For other photos of Cleveland, try this one from February. For posts in Cleveland of Buffalo as a US flagged vessel, click here and here.

 

 

Yes, I missed doing this in July, so today I play catch-up.

Three vessels were on the July page.  First, it’s Louis C, a small tanker reborn as a small crane ship.  I was last aboard her on a very cold morning in January 2020.  The enclosed workshop forward of the wheelhouse features a wood burning stove that has no appeal in August but was very welcome in January.

Fugro Enterprise, now as then, is working off Atlantic City, making bathymetric charts of the area where the 99 turbines of Ocean Wind will soon sprout above the surface of the waves.

The third and more prominent boat on the July calendar page is Nathan G, and rather than use a photo from July 2019, let me put up this one from July 2020, where Nathan G is one of the tugs escorting USS Slater to the dry dock.  That dry docking will soon be finished, and Nathan G will possibly accompany the destroyer escort back to Albany.  For more info on Slater and memberships, click here.

For August, on 17 August 2019 at 0615 and we were at the western end of Lake Ontario approaching Port Weller.  You’re looking over the after deck of Grande Caribe.  In case you’ve not heard, Blount Small Ships Adventures made a shocking announcement this Monday that their BSSA vessels are for sale. 

Welland Canal pilot vessel Mrs C approached ready to deliver a pilot, having just

retrieved one from the down bound Federal Yukina.

A few days later in August at 0722 and at the northern end of Crystal Island in the Detroit River, about 50 miles north of Toledo OH and 25 south of Detroit MI, we passed

Edgar B. Speer as she was about to enter the down bound lane between Crystal Island and Stony Island.

Speer is one of the 1000-footer, aka “footers” who ply the Upper Lakes unable to get beyond Lake Erie because they greatly exceed the dimensions of the Welland Canal.  Speer‘s cargo  capacity is 73,700 tons.   That would be a lot of trucks.

All photos, WVD.

After a number of “misfires” this past week, I’ve made some changes.

To inaugurate these new protocols, I’m pleased to share photos you’ve sent in.

First, from Great Lakes Mariner, a few photos of Cheyenne in her new Lake Michigan waters.  These photos were taken in Manitowoc, which some of you will recognize from the context.  Here is a post I did on the Manitowoc River.   Here‘s one of many from Sturgeon Bay.   William C Gaynor (1956) has spent her entire life on the Great Lakes.

See the patina red tug to the left is Erich.  You have seen that before here.

Next, from John Huntington back in March, Jaguar escorts the 1942 oyster schooner Sherman Zwicker to a berth in Gowanus Bay.  Notice Loujiane Loujaine in the distance to the left, and I believe Highlander Sea foreground left.   Previously you’ve seen Jaguar here, here, and here.

And is that John D McKean to the far left?

Seeing parts of “US naval vessels to be” transiting the East River has long been common, but extralime recently caught Patrice McAllister doing the tow, now that Gateway Towing has disbanded.  One of the Gateway tugs that used to do this run is now called Meredith Ashton and is currently in Lake Michigan.

And finally, from tug Hobo, here is a much improved wheel from the one you saw in one of my posts from yesterday.

Many thanks to GL Mariner, John Huntington, xlime, and Donna at Hobo for these photos.

Preface: The title 1W indicates this is a west-to-east trip, almost 200 miles between Lake Erie and the cut into Onondaga Lake, not far from Three Rivers, where previously we left the Erie and headed north on the Oswego.  Many smaller recreational boats traveling between the Lakes and the Atlantic follow this west-to-east via Lockport route to avoid using the Welland Canal. Click here for regulations regarding smaller craft in the Welland Canal, considered one section on the Saint Lawrence Seaway and entirely in Canada.

I have to be frank; I’ve traveled this part of the Erie Canal much less frequently than the portion we just finished, and most of my photos are from 2014, so if you’ve been through here more recently and stuff has changed, please update me.  Also, I’ve not been on the water between Black Rock Lock and Pendleton NY.  There may be gaps, omissions of key features in this part of the guide.

That being said, thanks for booking another trip. Virtual trips can magically re-position you; even time travel is possible.  For food, drinks, or a more comfortable pillow, though, you’re on your own.  Remember, doubleclick on a photo to enlarge it.

 

Welcome to Lake Erie, the lake with the seiches,

now looking east toward Buffalo. The Canal is named for this body of water.  It could have been named the DeWitt Clinton Canal, the New York Canal, or anything else.  But mercifully it was not.  “Erie” is an abridged name for a Haudenosaunee people whose more complete appellation was closer to “Erieehronon,” meaning people of the cat, possibly a long-tailed cat.  I add as much info as I do about First Peoples because so many places bear references,e.g., Lakes Erie and Ontario, Lackawanna, Tonawanda, Niagara . . . etc.

 

If we were heading west, here‘s some of what we’d see.  But the rainbow attracts us to look east.  See the white structures on the horizon near the center of the photo?

That’s Steel Winds, an energy project built on a former brownfield, technically in Lackawanna,  where part of the Bethlehem Steel plant was once located.

Grain elevators were invented in Buffalo and made the city rich, a past place of the future.  Since 1959 when grain shipments out of the midwest began to bypass the city via the Welland Canal and the St. Lawrence Seaway to anywhere in the watery parts of the globe, much of this infrastructure was left empty, left to be reimagined.  Oh . . . that white vessel shrunk by the elevators of “silo city . . .”  yes, that’s SS Columbia, a project that plans to bring this steam vessel to the Hudson River.

Some elevators still operate;  not far from the General Foods/Gold Medal Tower is the plant where to this day, as your nose will tell you, they make Cheerios and other breakfast cereals.  I learned this by walking there one day and smelling, Cheerios. Another day, it was clearly Cinnamon Toast Crunch.

Buffalo has a lot of interesting architecture, but the Liberty Building, one of my favorites, is germane to our virtual tour;  twin Statue of Liberty replicas on the roof face one east toward the eastern terminus of the Erie Canal and one west toward the Great Lakes.  Buffalo is a boom and bust city of the canal, reflected by its population size:  1820–2k people, 1850–40k,  1900–350k,  1950–580k, and now declining and approaching 250k.  There really is so much in Buffalo, which in 1900 was the eighth largest city in the US;  today it’s around #50.

Of course, we’re getting ahead of the history here;  none of this would have happened if Buffalo had not become the original “western gate” of the Erie Canal, aka the back door of the Atlantic.  Things could have turned out differently if a town to the north had been chosen.

Everyone knows about “wedding of the waters,” but I want this ceremony, performed on Seneca Chief‘s return to Buffalo, to be as well-known.  One of the confusing aspects of historical research is that names like Seneca Chief get adopted widely, as with this steamboat not long afterward.  As an aside, given what DeWitt Clinton expressed about the Iroquois, of which the Seneca were part, I’m puzzled by this choice of name, unless by that time the name of the Lake had already been divorced from the people.

Calusa Coast, once a regular in the sixth boro, now works the Great Lakes.  Here she passes Buffalo’s Erie Basin and heads for the Black Rock Lock, an entry point for our eventual turn east into the Erie Canal.

The western terminus of the Erie is in the Tonawandas.  Remember my caveat about my relative unfamiliarity with this part of the state, relative to the other side of the state.  Here‘s a summary of some attractions of the area, although even I know they’ve skipped the carousel museum, the Wurlitzers, and the Richardson boatyard.  At the beginning of the boating season, new Richardson boat owners would take part in a mass “sailaway” transiting the canal to salt water, as shown in this delightful video from 1935.  A 1941 Richardson docked alongside the canal back in 2014.

Pendleton is a few miles east, and then a bit farther, it’s the deep cut,

one of the hardest sections of the canal to dig, and it was dug before 1825, i.e., without materials and technology available for the Barge Canal.  As soon as this part of the canal opened in 1825, the Seneca Chief procession departed for New York City. More on the rubble removed here later.

 

See the locks ahead, beyond Lockport’s “big bridge,” which should be called the wide bridge.

 

Once east of the big bridge, we are at locks E-35 and E-34.

We started this leg of the trip on Lake Erie, currently above average height, . . . at 570′ or so above sea level.

We’ll end this post here, above E-35, heading east.  Using the distance table from part 1 of this series, Syracuse lies 146 miles ahead and at 370′ above sea level, and Waterford, 319 miles . . . and 15′.

All color photos by Will Van Dorp, unless otherwise stated.

 

Time gets away from me quite a lot.  Notwithstanding the 50-degree temperatures and bursting blooms, it certainly does not feel like it, we’re several days into spring, and I’d intended this as my last winter’s day post, following up on another post from this Great Lakes mariner . . .  maybe I should say great Great Lakes mariner.  No matter, since I’m social distancing from my tugster editor these days.

From Sturgeon Bay, it’s Meredith Ashton and Fischer Hayden.  Meredith Ashton once worked in the sixth boro as Specialist,not Specialist II.

From Milwaukee . . . it’s Neeskay, and

from Port Huron, it’s Manitou, which also had a New York chapter.

See the white stuff above?

Anyhow, many thanks to the captain Nemo of the inland seas.

 

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