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Here’s what GL tugs have looked like for a century, and many of them are still working, despite their age, as you can see here by clicking on the state names.  The tug below is Nebraska, launched in 1929.  Grouper–frequently mentioned on this blog–has the same basic design.

A new beginning took place yesterday in Toledo at the National Museum of the Great Lakes, and Paul Strubeck of Vintage Diesel Design as well as all these photos on tugster took these photos of the ceremony:  in front of the Colonel aka Schoonmaker, the 116-year-old tug Ohio was rechristened along with

the new tug Ohio. Below and to the left, the old/new Ohio (originally built as a Milwaukee fire boat) was christened with beer and the new Ohio  . . . with champagne.  Read the ToledoBlade story here.

Click here for a story on the new design, based on the Damen 1907 ICE class design.  This blog did a post on the first of this new design about two years ago here.

 

 

The new Ohio will assist ships in port of Toledo, so juxtaposition of these three vessels will be commonplace in years to come.

Many thanks to Paul for use of these photos.  And if you are ever in the Toledo area, do stop by the National Museum of the Great Lakes.

 

Here are previous installments in the series.  Summer sail can take the form of foil-raised GP racing as will happen in the sixth boro this weekend;  it can also happen on longer courses and require stamina and endurance as happens in some races ending in Mackinac.

All the photos in this post come from Jeff Gritsavage, as he was delivering a yacht from Florida to Lake Michigan.  Some of you will recognize that this shot was taken in an Erie Canal lock.  A few of you will name the lock.  Answer at the end of this post.

I’ll help you out here; this was taken on the Oswego Canal, a spur that was developed to connect the Erie Canal and Syracuse to Lake Ontario.  Name the town?

Another town on the Oswego Canal.  Name it?

This is the same town, and the boats are exiting the same lock as seen above.  In fact, about 500′ beyond the opening mitre gates is the location I took this photo of Urger and a State Police cruiser almost exactly 5 years ago.

This is Oswego.  White Hawk has arrived on its first Great Lake.  The masts await and will be stepped because air draft issues

no longer apply.

Welland Canal is less than 30 miles long, but it’s

 

the way around Niagara Falls in 8 easy steps.

Coexistence with larger vessels is the rule on the Welland Canal.

Above and below is one of the hardest working tug/barge units on the lakes . . . Wilf Seymour and Alouette Spirit

And on any lucky passage through the Welland, you’ll see vessels like Fednav‘s Federal Dee,

Polsteam‘s Mamry, and

Canada Steamship LinesCSL Tadoussac.

Before I give the answers to the questions above, here’s another town/Erie Canal location to identify.  Click on the photo to find its attribution AND the article that explains what’s happening with White Hawk.

So . . . the answers are lock E-23, Phoenix NY, Fulton NY, and finally above . . . .

 

that’s Rome.   Click here for a previous tugster post on the Rome to Oswego run.

Many thanks to Capt. Jeff for sharing these photos here.

And I’ll be looking for White Hawk on the Lakes this summer.

 

 

Recognize the bridge and lighthouses?  A clue . . .  it’s on the freshwater coast of the US.

Here’s a continuation of the bridge above.  More importantly, you see the escort vessel in the background, none other than the venerable Neeskay, originally a 1953 Higgins T-boat and now the primary research vessel for UW Milwaukee, where these photos were taken.

The yellow vessel in the foreground above is an unmanned surface vessel produced by L3 Technologies.  Here’s more on the range of applications.

I’ve not noticed any yet, but I do keep my eyes peeled for USVs in bathymetric survey work in the sixth boro. Has anyone seen any?

Many thanks to Greg Stamatelakys, captain of Neeskay, for these photos.

 

Or, stated less succinctly, March came in like a hibernating turtle, and is ending like a springtime cottontail.

Here’s a March 11 AIS grab.  A circle means a vessel is docked or anchored.  There’s a single vessel underway NE bound on Lake Erie.  It’s a Canadian CG ice breaker.

Below, less than two weeks later, it’s 0700 March 25.  The Soo locks opened on March 25 soon after midnight.  Stewart J Cort  (SJC) was the first vessel through, and it was upbound in ballast.   Here are some tugster posts featuring SJC, a 1000′ ship partly built in the Gulf of Mexico to fit through the St Lawrence Seaway and then added to in Erie PA.

The downbound vessels in Lake Superior over-wintered in Duluth.  The stopped vessels near Whitefish Point in Lake Superior are blocked by an ice “plug” reportedly 20 miles long, 4 miles wide, and 4 feet thick.  The three upbound tugs (aqua green) in Lake Huron are the Van Enkevort ATBs (Joyce and Clyde)  and Samuel de Champlain.

0030 March 28.  The Welland Canal (near Buffalo) has been open for a few days now, and check out all the upbound traffic on Lake Erie.  Ditto, Lake Superior has become quite busy.   The magenta dots are recreational; although some are online, none are moving.

1000 today, March 30.   The upbound (towards the Chicago steel plants) vessel along the east side of the Lake is Stewart J Cort, heading for Burns Harbor IN with her first load of ore.    Of note is the only magenta or “recreational” boat under way.  See it in the middle of Lake Ontario.  This is a vessel to watch in the next months;  it’s Bramble.

Bramble (USCGC WLB-392)  is embarking on a third life.  Launched in Duluth in 1943, she served  in the Atlantic Caribbean, and Pacific, as well as the Great Lakes.  After decommissioning in 2003, she became a museum ship the same year.  In 2018, she was listed with a yacht broker and sold to a private party who is now taking her to Mobile AL, under her own power, to be rehabbed and refitted for a reenactment of her 1957 voyage through the Northwest Passage.  

I took these photos on July 7, 2016, while she was at the Bean Dock in Port Huron MI.

Click here for some predictions for the 2019 Great Lakes season.  Better yet, find some dates that you can witness some of the traffic first hand.

All AIS captures and interpretations and photos by Will Van Dorp.

 

 

Let’s try a variation:  I’ve random tugs and random ships, in which I’ve confined most pics to a single general location and a a single photographer . . . me.  “Really random tugs” combines locations, eras, and photographers.  So why not do the same with ships, although in this case I’ve taken almost all the photos but in a variety of locations and times.

But this first one launches the concept.  What can you surmise or identify about the photo below, not taken by me?  Answer at the end of this post.

Spring brings the Great Lakes back to life. Here is a March 11 AIS capture of traffic on the Lakes.  The “arrows” are US and Canadian CG doing ice ops.  The rivers system around Chicago has some traffic.

The NOAA satellite image below provides the explanation . . .  what looks ice covered IS.  With the Soo scheduled to open on Monday, March 25, icebreaking carries high priority.   Note Green Bay as well.

March 22 marked the opening of the Welland Canal.  The first upbound ship this year was Thunder Bay;  this photo I took in Quebec in October 2017.  The first down bounder through the Welland was Algoma Spirit, but I’ve never gotten a photo of her.

Kaye E. Barker was the first springtime vessel out of Duluth;  I took this photo in the last week of navigation before the Soo closed on January 15.  The Soo is scheduled to open on Monday, March 25.

The KVK is a busy place all year round, although it’s not uniformly busy.  On this day last month, Alpine Maya followed Port Richmond, which  followed Atlantic Sun.

Stolt Integrity here stemmed while waiting to replace the tanker in the distance to leave the berth.

Tankers come in a variety of sizes;  Selasse is a particular small one.

By now, have you figured out that first photo?  I’ll give you a clue:  vessel name is Nggapulu and as of last night she was in BauBau.

Traffic moves at all hours;  night photos turn out quite unsatisfying, but golden hour ones I enjoy.  Can you guess the hull color on this one?

Foreshortening belies the amount of distance actually between the stern of the Evergreen ship and Diane B/John Blanche.

The colorful Stena tankers, bears and all,  seem to appear mostly in winter.

So here you have the answer, sort of.  Indonesia, being a far-flung archipelago supports a ferry system called Pelni, an acronym.  As an example of distances here, find Jakarta lower left.  From there to Makassar roughly in the center is 1000 miles!  Pelni operates about two dozen ferries of various designs.  Ngga Pulu has classic lines and was launched in 2002.

Here’s an English language site about traveling the archipelago.   Restless?  Aye peri!

Many thanks to Hannah Miller for sharing the photo of Ngga Pulu.  I’m not sure how that’s pronounced, but it’s named for a mountain.  Learning about Pelni and seeing this map gives me a whole new appreciation of Dewaruci.

Here was the first use of the title.

I took the first four photos here on May 25, 2018 in Washburn WI.  Don’t know where Washburn is?  It’s near the SW end of Lake Superior, just south of Bayfield, and I was searching for fish tugs, i.e., focused.  I recall noticing the masts and that pinky stern over beyond the boat in the foreground.

The mast rake and size was familiar, as were the ratlines.  And the stern lines .  .  . truly unique.

I even walked over there and thought the details of the bow . . .  what I call the head rig . . .  was something I’d seen before.

I recall the words “Thomas Colvin” bubbled to the surface of my brain.  But I saw this before 0800 at the start of a long day that would involved a car trip to Sault Sainte Marie, i.e., lots of miles to gallivant safely while seeing the most interesting sights. That trip ended and led into another in my picaresque journey through this part of my life.

And then yesterday, the social media entity I call “bookface” popped this photo to the surface as having been posted 11 years ago, exactly.  Indeed that was me, slouching way back into a pinky stern, keeping my feet clear of any adjustments the tiller man needed.

And a friend wrote to ask, “and where is that boat these days?”

I was busy at that moment, so only later in the afternoon did I get back to the question.  Since google helps answer a lot of such questions, I consulted it and came up with Rosemary Ruth Sailing Charters out of Washburn WI. At first, I regretted having been through Washburn twice in May.  How could I not have seen it, I wondered.  That led me to go to my photo library . . . thinking I’d seen it and it hadn’t registered.

But there she is, in plain sight, close enough that I could have touched it.  For photos of this delightful small schooner, click here.  For photos of her high and dry from 12 years ago showing the weld signature that I should have checked in Washburn, click here.   For photos of me on the tiller, click here. Then owner Richard Hudson (click on his tag at the top of the post)  put her on the land while he got Issuma, a sturdier schooner. and sailed tens of thousands of miles touching four continents and crossing the Northwest Passage.  For some of those photos, click here.   See Richard’s own blog, as his journey continues, here. For some video, click here.

Thanks to bookface and thanks to Tom Briggs for asking her whereabouts.

Many thanks to Lee Rust for working with the two photos immediately below, showing a boat frequently featured here.

Photo to the left was taken near the elevators in Manitowoc in a slip now filled in and frequently piled high with coal adjacent to Badger‘s slip. In the 1959 photo, the tug was owned by C. Reiss Coal Company. The tug had recently been repainted and repowered (1957).   Badger gets regular maintenance, so a similar treatment of that vessel would not evoke the same emotions.

Technically, the two photos above were 58 years apart, so I added the two below which I took in Lyons NY earlier in 2019; hence, six decades apart.

 

Thanks to Lee and Jeff for providing these photos.

Unrelated:  Check out freighterfreak’s photos from Duluth here.

Anyone have similar juxtapositions of a single vessel or vehicle across time, please send it in.

If you haven’t heard, a serious fire broke out on St. Clair last Saturday night in Toledo, OH, actually the eastern industrial suburb called Oregon, where a number of lakers are in winter layup at the CSX Torco dock.  Torco expands to (TOledo ORe railroad COmpany).  These photos were taken Monday or Tuesday, to the best of my knowledge, by Corey Hammond, a friend of a friend.

Some basic facts: St. Clair is a 760′ ore boat operating for American Steamship Company, or ASC, launched in Sturgeon Bay WI in 1975.  She transported diverse cargo with a capacity of 44,000 tons.  It appears the fire is now out, but investigation has possibly only just begun.  No one was injured.  Adjacent vessels –see Great Republic below–likely sustained little or no damage.

I never got photos of St. Clair underway, but here is a blogpost by a friend Michigan Exposures. 

To me, besides being tragic, this is a cautionary tale, an illustration of the fire triangle. If you wonder about the value of fire drills, here’s a good reminder of what happens in a fire and what science undergirds fighting one, with analogy provided by Ernest Hemingway. 

I’ll mostly let the photos speak for themselves.

 

 

One node of the fire triangle mentioned above is fuel.  Given the other two nodes–heat and oxygen, materials not commonly thought of as fuel do burn and fast.  Here’s a demo in  residential setting, well worth a view . . . how fast a fire spreads in one minute.

Vessel farthermost ahead is ASC’s John J. Boland, smaller than St. Clair. 

 

It looks gutted and heat deformed.

 

Boatnerd also has reportage on the St Clair fire.

There will be followup stories.

Many thanks again to Corey Hammond and Tim Hetrick for these photos.

Here are previous tugster posts called “ice and fire.”

 

Last winter I planned a trip along the southern shore of Lake Erie, hoping to catch photos of lakers in ice.  The results were here, a week after ice out, a schedule that depended on someone else’s time off.  It was a fun trip, but the photos I hoped for eluded me.  Well, Brian caught them in the photos below.  GL New York (1913) and Rhode Island (1930) are frozen in, and Oberstar is so deep in hibernation that her shutters are pulled down.

 

Between the stern of Oberstar and the bow of Presque Ile in the distance, that’s Dorothy Ann, half the ATB with . . .

barge Pathfinder, launched in 1953 as the ore boat J. L. Mauthe.  The stern of the newly-renamed barge Maumee clearly shows the deep notch.  Maumee also started life as a 1953-launched ore boat.

er

Tug Victory, which worked in salt water for her first 25 years,  is laid up here between her barge Maumee, until recently called James L. Kuber, and J. S. St John.

Many thanks to Brian for letting me share these photos on tugster.

 

 

I’ll take a different tack here.  From a design perspective, Kaye E. Barker illustrates what I understand as the unique lines of the classic laker, sometimes called a longboat.  She was launched the same year I was born.  Combing through the records of her various owners, it might be possible to calculate the tonnage of payload she has transported and the profits generated, these days at 25,900 tons per load although previously less than that.

Click here for a slideshow of this vessel under the name Barker as well as her previous names:  Greene and Ford.  She’s the only AAA-class laker with a triple level house forward.

What became of one of her sister vessels–J. L. Mauthe–can be read about here.  I previously posted photos here of the sister boat that now barge Pathfinder.

Edwin H. Gott is one of the 13 “footers” aka “thousand-footers.”   Great Lakes Fleet–a CN company– has the best paint scheme, in my opinion.  Here’s an article on CN’s acquisition of GLF.

Cason J. Callaway is another GLF boat, but she has a cargo capacity of 25,300 tons versus 74,100 tons for Gott.

Although part of a different fleet than Barker above, Callaway embodies the same design referred to as AAA boats.

From this angle, you can see the long “skinny” hull.

In different light, time of day and a different lake, here’s Michipicoten on her last run of the season.  She’s currently in winter layup at DonJon Shipbuilding in Erie PA.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this series.  I’m back in the sixth boro and Tugster-Tower-tied for a spell.

All photos by Will Van Dorp.

 

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