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This is the same story as yesterday’s, but the perspective is different, thanks to a Great Lakes mariner.  New York slides the 509A into Black Rock Lock, a USACE facility.  By the way, Black Rock was a town that once rivaled Buffalo.

The photo above looks downbound, but the one below looks back toward Buffalo and to the stern of the tug.  Depending on conditions, one or sometimes two tugs are used.  To the left it’s Vermont;  to the right, New Jersey.    Vermont dates from 1914;  New Jersey, 1924.  It boggles my mind that one of the assist tugs is more than a century older than tug New York, launched 2019.

Here the unit heads down to Tonawanda.  Note New Jersey and Vermont

After discharging 50000 barrels of 300-degree hot asphalt, the unit turns back upstream.

Straight ahead here is the Niagara River and the speedy current this unit might never climb;  Black Rock Lock is off to the left.

When the 509A is loaded, it’s deeper in the water;  when it’s light, it’s way high.  Notice how little of the rocky margins of the Canal you can see. 

By this point, we’ve gotten south of the Peace Bridge;  a few more zigs to port and zags to starboard . . . and we’ve back into Lake Erie.

That’s the Buffalo skyline back there, as seen here in a previous post.  The barge goes onto the wire if the conditions warrant, and it’s Detroit bound, ETA 36 hours or so.

All photos, thanks to a Great Lakes mariner.

 

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.

 

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.

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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.

 

 

Here are some previous posts with photos from Paul.

If you want to see all my posts with photos of these wonderful towing machines, click here, the tag GLT.

Illinois is typical of this fleet.  Look at the riveted hull.  She’s still working, launched in 1914, before the US entered WW1!!!    Behind her is Idaho, 1931.  If you want an exemplar of American engineering and manufacturing, you need look no farther than this fleet.

New Jersey dates from 1924.    . . . . .       And Wisconsin is the oldest.  I’ll let you guess and you can read the answer below.

Wyoming . . .  1929.

Many thanks to Paul Strubeck.

1897!!  And she still works.  some day I hope she goes to the Smithsonian, as long as the Smithsonian establishes a wet display area.  And of course, the National Museum of the Great Lakes has already seen fit to add one of these to their wet display.  more on that later.   If I lived closer, I’d be there on November 30.

There’s a whole chapter on G-tugs in Tugboats of the Great Lakes by Franz A. VonRiedel.

 

I had a high school math teacher armed with adages like “sometimes you get the bear, sometimes the bear gets you.”  It came to mind this morning as happens sometimes, this set of photos set themselves up, a situation much better than when sometimes you taste the frustration of being minutes or seconds too late.

We arrived in Milwaukee the same time as Lubie, and the sun was just rising. Perfect.

Enjoy this sequence of tug Minnesota yanking the bulk carrier by the stern and rotating it a full 180 degrees.

 

I would have been even happier with a fixed location, but we were headed in.

 

I can’t complain though.  And Minnesota, she’s been doing this kind of yanking since 1911!!  She’s been working since before the Titanic sank.

 

All photos by Will Van Dorp.

 

 

Again, many thanks to Christine Douglas, let’s explore the Calumet River a bit more.  Actually, a lot more.  Let’s go back and see more of the GL yard.  From l to r here, Massachusetts, Virginia, Florida, and Louisiana.

Closest up is the oldest . . . Virginia, launched 1914, just two years younger than Grouper aka Alaska and Green Bay. Virginia was re-powered in 1921 and again in 1951.

Massachusetts dates from 1928.

After a few hours, she headed up the Calumet for a tow.

For a ninety-year-old machine making a profit, she was just beautiful.

 

Next under the 96th Street Bridge was Florida, 1926.

Note the orientation and shape of the aft bitt.

The bridge . . . Calumet River Norfolk Southern RR Bridges . . . dates from 1912.

 

All photos by Will Van Dorp.  Again, thanks to Christine for the tour.

 

This is Toledo to Detroit . . .and we start with Bessie B 

making her way out toward the mouth of the Maumee River.

Laid up . . . it’s Manistee.

This post is geographically arranged . . . otherwise, I’d put this first.  Tug Wisconsin used to be America, launched 1897!!

This ferry is in the Detroit River, crossing between Bois Blanc Island and Amherstburg, both in Ontario.

Wagenborg has lots of vessels, this one for the location appropriately named Americaborg.

 

CSL Tadoussac heads upstream and

H. Lee White, who has a museum named for him in Oswego . . .  down bound.

Here’s some info about Mr. White.

And off the stern of John G. Munson . . .

the new digs for Cheyenne, a former denizen of the sixth boro.

 

And closing it out behind Zug Island . . . it’s Missassagi, unloader stowed and minutes away from the next upbound trip.

All photos by Will Van Dorp.

 

Edda Fram runs back and forth, it seems, from shore (Scotland)  to various oil platforms in the North Sea.  Rough weather operation necessitates seats hard to fall out of.

Solomon T, once operated by Elbert Felton (shown), is a 1938 restored inside the Outer Banks fishing vessel, with seat and wheel appropriate to 1938.

MV Argyle is a ferry that operates on the Firth of Clyde.

T-ATF 172 USNS Apache has a spacious bridge.

Tug Mississippi, in service doing commercial work since 1916 (102 years!!) has a “bar stool” and a tiller.  It was repowered from steam to diesel electric in 1957.

Converted Bering Sea crabber Ocearch has wide bridge.  Here’s an article I did on their shark research program a year and a half ago.  Follow individuals of different species of shark around  the ocean in real time here.

A seat on an ATB? here’s the spacious wheelhouse of Paul T Moran.

Lake Express is a fast ferry that crosses Lake Michigan several times a day from Milwaukee to Muskegon.  One of these days, I’ll cross the lake fast.

Here’s another fast ferry, Athena,  sometimes serving Block Island.

Kaori is a 2004 tug operating in New Caledonia.

I’ll close out this post with the seat of power in the powerful Ocean Taiga.  For an article I wrote on this St. Lawrence tug, click here.

To protect the anonymity of some folks who sent along these photos, let me just give a tip of the hat to all the photographers.  Unless you send along more photos or unless I take some more, this’ll be the last in this series.  Any seats out there in strange colors?

Here’s a new look in ship-assist boats.  Can you tell what else is unconventional?

More on the design later in the post.

This is a classic design in freshwater tugs.  And this particular boat you’ve seen in a number of posts on this blog in 2016, if you’re a faithful reader.  It’s in these.

I’ve never seen Grouper‘s hull out of the water–and I hope to some day–but I’m imagining it’s fairly similar.

It’s GL tug Nebraska, 1929 launched, still working in Toledo, and in the yard only for preventative maintenance.   Over in the distance, that’s Maine, nearing the century mark and likely to be scrapped soon. Here’s an entire page with links devoted to GL tugs ….

You’ve seen this design before:  Cheraw is a YTB of the vintage of tugs like the sixth boro’s Ellen McAllister, but in the livery of the USACE.  I don’t know if USACE operates any other ex-YTBs among their very large fleet.

And in closing this post, here’s Seahound, 1941 built in the US and since 1957 working in Canada.  Since these shots show her at a dock in Windsor and pushing a barge marked . .  .

ferry service, I’m left wondering if Seahound shuttles vehicles between here and Detroit.  Anyone help?  And I know better than to take any names literally, but given her location, she might better be called Straithound?

So to get back to the top two photos . . . that’s Cleveland, the prototype for a new series of  harbor assist tugs built in Cleveland using a Damen design.  And what you may have noticed is the absence of a stack.  Engines exhaust through the stern.  Much more in this article from Professional Mariner here.   Here’s more from the Damen site.  Here are other links showing the environment where GL tugs operate while assisting cargo vessels in Cleveland.

All photos, sentiments, and any inadvertent errors by Will Van Dorp, who’s grateful to Great Lakes Shipyard for the tour.

 

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.

 

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