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We’ll return to the 1921 ILI canal motor ships part D in a later post, but for now, the 1935 Kermic was one of seven diesel motor ships designed to maximize the size of the Champlain/Chambly International Waterway, with size restriction dictated not by the Barge Canal locks,  but even smaller, the Chambly locks.  As such, these seven vessels all had the dimensions of 106′ x 22′.  She was considered a coaster, or un caboteur.  More caboteurs along with their particulars, including this as IV No. 14, can be found here.

Their principal cargo was rolls of newsprint transported between the pulp mills in Quebec and the presses in New York City. With a crew of four, many from the Lotbinière area on the south shore of the Saint Lawrence upstream of Quebec City, they had an average transit time of 2.5 days with 225 tons of cargo, usually composed of 300 rolls of newsprint at 1500 pounds each.  Much more info on these newsprint carriers can be found here, an article that was informed in part by a tugster post from 2010 here.  As of November 2021, this vessel was still on the hard in Lotbinière after an ill-fated attempt to turn her into a restaurant.

For more on the pulp and paper trade between Canada and the US, here’s a great little reference.  The fact that the photo on the cover below is Chicago Tribune and others in the book have names like New York News and Washington Times says it all.

While we’re on Canadian commercial vessels in the New York canals, the photo below didn’t make sense until I started thinking about Quebec:  M. Robidoux is clearly French, and with a search I found she was earlier named Katchiwano, built in Peterborough ON in 1932, a wooden tug with dimensions of 50′ x 13.  A Peterborough-build means she accessed the NY canals via the Trent-Severn Waterway. 

She was M. Robidoux from 1951 to 1963, which nicely dates this photo.  I’m not sure of the location, but this too could be on the Champlain Canal.  Her last registry was in Cap Chat QC on the Saint Lawrence.  Better lighting on this photo would be desirable.  The ship’s bell configuration is unique.

This might be a good place to throw in this mystery vessel, for which I have no clues.

All photos used with permission from the Canal Society of New York. 

Thanks to Bob Mattsson for lightening the photo of M. Robidoux.

 

If you go up to the Winooski area, check out the ferries. They’re not free like the ones down in the sixth boro, but

the view is . . . worth a million somethings, views of the banks as well as the lake bed.

The northern ferry runs 365/24. I crossed along with six other cars around 3 am, and if someone had arrived seconds after the chain shut, they’d have less than half an hour to wait the next. That’s 3 am on a Saturday morning.

Evans-Wadhams-Wolcott, a mouthful of founders’ names for a vessel, measures 196′ x 43′. Notice the log truck. EWW, built in Louisiana, has twin Cats, but the crew could tell me neither the horsepower nor prop diameter. See more historical shots here.

In the surrounding, if not on the lake, you see the unexpected wildlife.

The “sixth great lake” beckons.

Photos, WVD.

You decide you need a change. Your sources too familiar and losing their sense, you’ve felt the urge before to seek out other waters, novel waves and currents to move you. To explore strange new words. To seek out new points of view and new metaphors. To boldly … So your party beaches and …

 

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… not far from this bank, and you leave the sand to follow a canyon into the watershed. The floor–a mostly dry stream bed– is rocky, dark, and narrowing except you imagine this might lead somewhere. Rumors speak of a great sea with new promise: miraculous people in’t! and strange creatures. Oh brave new world.

 

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After a trek, the canyon opens to hillside, and locals point the way although their language is strange and they have no fingers at all; you imagine you understand their directions.

 

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On a ridge you see what was before only rumored: immense rollers unusually smooth.

 

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Alas, signs turn you back. You speculate it’s too soon to sail or surf these seas. They’ll remain there, frozen billows awaiting the next foray. Those waters, like a witch’s oils, shimmer green, and blue and white. Other preparations, slanted fittings-out must be first.

 

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You’re relieved your conveyance, undisturbed, awaits to return you to the bustle in the port down south.

 

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All fotos by Will Van Dorp

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