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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.

 

Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t this the WYT-60 Manitou that spent part of its life breaking Hudson River ice?

These photos come from a fortuitous pass with the 1943 built former USCGC at the north side of Lake St. Clair.

And she is Apalachee class?  Click here for a summer shot.

All photos by Will Van Dorp.

 

GWA is “going west again,” and here we start at about 130′ above sea level.  We’ve just passed the road sign included in a post here in 2006. Ahead of us is lock E-2, the beginning of the flight of five, located in the town of Waterford.

Above E-3, my former vessel waits, along with Chancellor. Those two boats alone have a combined total life of 196 years between them.   In the foreground is the business end of a cutter suction dredge.

Recreation boats come from everywhere.

Beyond the guard gate atop E-6 is Grand Erie, who also came from away, the Ohio River in her case.

Locals know how to enjoy the 200-year-old waterway.

Below E-11, we get a green light in the early morning drizzle.

Squeezing a 183′ x 39′ vessel through the locks involves a skilled crew and vigilant lock master.

Drivers on the Thruway at this point are 42 miles from Albany, 190 from NYC.

At E-15, still in the drizzle, a Florida boat —Sharon Ann–waits as we lock through.

Above E-16, the 90-year-old Governor Cleveland attends dredge pipes, maintenance dredging being ongoing.  Yes, the canal needs maintenance, and so does the Thruway, any street, RR tracks and infrastructure, my car, my body . . . .

A boxer takes its human for a run . . .

More guard gates–width is 55′–to squeeze through.

Lords of the air watch all along the waterway.

At E-17 we share a lock with Tender #5.

Since we tie off above E-18, Lil Diamond II has to maneuver around.

An SPS lands a crew on the bank for preventative maintenance … keeping dead trees from falling into the water and jamming lock gates.

More recreational boats from far-off ports.

More maintenance above E-19, this time with dragon dredge and the electric tender . .  . #4.

Reinforcement of the canal walls is a canal priority this year.

 

I always imagine the mythical Utica lies beyond the berm marked by the open tower. Central NY was once included in the “military tract,” land distributed to Revolutionary War veterans.

Above lock E-20, we are at the high point of this portion of the Erie Canal,

and Rome was the original high point/ portage in the Mohawk portion of the waterways that pre-date Europeans settlement of North america.

We are now 456′ above sea level, where we’ll pick up the journey tomorrow.

All photos by and any errors attributable to Will Van Dorp.

 

The first in this series posted eight years ago!

Of course, tugs currently working in freshwater haven’t necessarily started there, as is true of Manitou.

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Victorious had to traverse halfway around the world before quite recently beginning its life on the Great Lakes, such as it is now pushing hot asphalt seething within John J. Carrick.

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Ditto G. L. Ostrander, here pushing LaFarge barge Integrity.

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Josephine (ex-Wambrau) has likely had the greatest amount of saltwater time and distance before coming to the Great Lakes watershed.  Here she’s docked in the Maumee river with the Mightys . . .  Mighty Jimmy, Mighty Jake, and mighty small.

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All photos by Will Van Dorp, who has more Mightys and more freshwater tugs to come.

 

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