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Port Weller is the north terminus of the Welland Canal, and as such, sees either a pilot boarding or debarking, which was the case here. Mrs C has an equally attractive fleet mate at Port Colbourne, the southern terminus. The vessel in the background left will appear in an upcoming post.

Some 80 miles to the east Kimberly Anne (1965) was docked in Rochester’s Charlotte port.

Walking along the beach there, I saw this historical sign of tug Oneida and schooner H. M. Ballou, at different times both owned by a George W. Ruggles.

Fifty or so miles to the NE we enter the Oswego River to find the busiest (IMHO) unit on the lakes:  in the past few years I’ve seen Wilf Seymour and Alouette Spirit at least 6 times between Lake Huron and Quebec City.   Here’s more info on Alouette’s aluminum operations, at one time and possibly now the largest aluminum producer in the Americas.

 

Click here for more info on Novelis, the client here in Oswego.

 

Anyone tell me the weight of one of these ingots?

Moving from contemporary to retrospective, the Phoenix dock was hosting schooner Lois McClure and tug Churchill as we passed.

For more close-ups, check out tug44’s take. 

Click here for a complete history of the replica schooner Lois McClure.

All photos by Will Van Dorp, who hopes you all enjoy the last day of summer 2017 today.

 

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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.

 

Algoma Mariner (2011) heads upriver with a load of ore.  This time of year and until the St. Lawrence Seaway opens, Montreal is the head of navigation, so that’s where the ore will be discharged and sent further by rail.

Pilot exchange at Quebec City is facilitated by Ocean Ross Gaudreault (ORG).

 

 

Minutes after the exchange, ORG (94′ x 37′) cuts a swath back to the base

using its 5000 hp through the freshwater ice that’s come down from

Lake Saint Pierre.

Back in September, I got these photos of the pilots’ exchange.

 

For some info on the Canadian Pilots, Laurentian Region, click here.

 

All photos by Will Van Dorp.

 

 

I’ve done a few dozen “port of” posts in the past few years.

I won’t tell you where Akureyri is yet,

but the geography is a clue.

So is the name of this pilot boat, which was built in this port.  Sleipnir was built in 1995, with dimensions 52′ x 16.4′ and is powered by a single 700 hp Cummins.  Mjolnir is slightly older and smaller.

Last chance to guess . . .

And the location of Akureyri is midway east-west along the north shore of Iceland, and about as far from Reykjavik as is Boston-New York.  Sleipnir was built here.

Many thanks to Klaus Intemann, whose site is here.  Klaus is looking eagerly for photos from NYC that relate to the departure this spring of Peking for Germany.

Did you recognize the name Sleipnir, an appropriate name for a pilot boat . . . ?

Answer is here.

 

Hats off to the small boats that work all year round . . . crew boats,

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patrol boats,

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fishing boats,

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line boats,

pilot boats,

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dive boats,

more fishing boats,

more crew boats,

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government boats,

more —soon to face major cuts--government boats

more line and boom boats,

and here’s a special . . . a historic life boat, long atop Binghamton, which is still intact as far as I know, and a bit longer ago had

guys in hazmat suits doing the last ever lifeboat drill aboard the 112-year-old condemned ferry.

And finally, of course there’s the New York Media Boat. 

All photos by Will Van Dorp, who gives a hat tip to all the crews in small boats on the big waters.

 

See the Fort?

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No, I don’t mean Fort Hamilton on the other side . . . or the top of the bunker at Fort Wadsworth.

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This is the closest you can get to Fort Lafayette from land . . .

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at least, what’s left of it, where it once stood before it was dismantled to serve as the base for the Brooklynside tower for the Verrazano Narrows Bridge.

And Robert Cobb Kennedy, he was a would-be arsonist  or maybe reckless jokester Confederate officer who was was tried, convicted, and hanged in Fort Lafayette  less than two months before the end of that war.

Do any readers have photos of the Fort before demolition?  It would have to be from the late 1950s or earlier.

Here’s more about the VZ Bridge.

All photos here by Will Van Dorp.

You may recall that back in 2014, I often juxtaposed  canal&river/rail in photos like the one below.

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This post was originally going to feature only photos of the river and canal from the rails, like the one below, but

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then I decided to pair photos from the train toward the water with the opposite:  photos from the water toward roughly the same land area where the rails lay and the trains speed.

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Train shots are difficult because of speed, coatings on the windows, trees and poles along the tracks . . .  but I’m quite sure a letter that begins “Dear Amtrak:  could you slow down, open windows, and otherwise accommodate the photographers” would not yield a positive response.

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I hope you enjoy this attempt on my part.  And if you ever have a chance to ride Amtrak along the Hudson, Mohawk, and Lake Champlain . . . sit on the better side of the car; switch sides if necessary.

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Here we’re on the Livingstone Avenue Bridge looking south and

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here we are south of it, looking north.  Yes, that’s Crow, Empire, W. O. Decker, and Grand Erie passing through the open swivel.

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Here’s the pedestrian bridge in Amsterdam

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as seen from both vantage points.

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The 1766 Guy Park Manor from a speeding train and

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from the Mohawk River/Erie Canal, where post-Irene repair has been going on since 2011.   Here’s a photo taken soon after the unusual weather.

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Schoharie Aqueduct from Amtrak,

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a slow boat, and

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the east bank of Schoharie Creek.

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Little Falls onramp to I-90 from rail and

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below.

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The rail bridge at Lock 19 from the span and

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from west of it at Lock 19.

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And these all east of Utica I can’t pair, but decided to include here anyhow:  a dairy pasture,

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a construction yard, and

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a truck depot.

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Maybe if I write that “Dear Amtrak” letter, I could just ask if the window could be cleaned a bit.  If you’re going to try this, take amtrak when the leaves are off the trees.

All photos by Will Van Dorp, who embeds this post from “Good Morning Gloucester” to reveal a bit of my past . . . 1988.  Scroll all the way through to see a piece of shipwreck “treasure.”

What happens if you build a pilot boat in Massachusetts to be used on the Great Lakes?  It needs to get to its place of use.

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Thanks to the NY Media Boat, I got these photos this week as the Huron Spirit hurried through

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the sixth boro.   North of the watery boro, I was invited to ride through the Erie Canal  before it closes on November 20.

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Above is the wall above lock 16 and below, it’s the approach to lock 19, where you have to first duck under the triple-track rail bridge.

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The photo below, taken at lock 21, was Wednesday afternoon.  By now, the newest Gladding Hearn pilot boat has exited the Canal and is making its way up the Great Lakes chain.

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All photos by Will Van Dorp, who wrote this story on the Lakes Pilots.

Another secret salt’s been photographing, this one in the waters near Galveston, a place I’ve not been.

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Here he passed San Roberto and Rana Miller, which I have not seen in the sixth boro since 2009.

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The orange boats are AET, and assist with lightering operations, as does Rana.   Josephine K Miller must be offshore.

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Mr. Henry works for Barry Graham Oil Services.

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Thor is one large tractor tug.

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I’m not sure what vessel that is in the foreground, but

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Ocean Star appears to be a petroleum museum, a concept I’d not considered,

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whereas these rigs have not yet been promoted–or demoted–to museum service.

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One of these years, i’ll have to gallivant this way.  Many thanks to the secret salts.

 

Here’s an article published by the USCG on this profession. And here’s my article/photos from the October 2016 issue of Professional Mariner on Lakes Pilots Association, District 2.  The photos in this post are outtakes from that article.

Below the captain of Huron Belle maneuvers into position to switch a District 2 pilot for a District 3 pilot on an upbound ship at the south end of Lake Huron.

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Here Great Lakes tugs Mississippi and

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Nebraska finesse a ship to negotiate a narrow bridge span on the Maumee River, as guided

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by a Lakes District pilot.  Imagine calling the commands to ship’s helm and tugs on bow and stern while watching this evolution from the bridge wing  700′ back from where the ship steel could splinter the bridge wood and steel. A seiche here can cause the river to run upstream, and that bridge, which sees a fair amount of water traffic, is a midwest version of the Portal Bridge.

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Pilots read the water as well as a plethora of tools to keep shipping without incident. Mark Twain said that as a pilot he “mastered the language of the river,”  and that’s still a requirement today.

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And there’s always the transfer of pilots, which represents a significant risk.

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This was a calm day, but in adverse conditions,

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this is a challenge not to be understated.

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Almost all photos here by Will Van Dorp.

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