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Let’s call this the leg between East China, MI and Roger City, MI.  A faster vessel–Happy River–over take us soon before we both

 

passed Damia Desgagnes.

North of the Blue Water Bridge, we passed Huron Spirit after she exchanged the pilots on Happy River.

Once out in the width and depths of Lake Huron, we passed CSL Niagara.

Sparta pushed barge Sparta II, containing some sort of liquid.

 

Manitowoc was down bound.

So was Joyce L. VanEnkvort. pushing Great Lakes Trader.

 

The last time I saw her she was just about coming out of hibernation here.

All photos by Will Van Dorp.

To start, these are boats, I’m told, not ships.  I first saw the type as a kid, reading a book that made an impression and crossing the St Lawrence on the way to the grandparents’ farm.

I’ve posted Great Lakes photos a fair number of times in the past few years, so I continue CYPHER series here with Manitowoc –a river-size self unloader–departing Cleveland for Milwaukee.

Alpena–1942–with the classic house-forward design transports cement.  I was thrilled to pass her late this summer on a magnificent Lake Huron afternoon.

Although you might not guess it, Algoma Harvester was built here half a world away from the Lakes.  To get to her trading waters, she crossed two oceans, and christened less than four years ago.  The selling point is that she carries more cargo than typically carried within the size parameters of a laker (Seawaymax), requires fewer crew, and exhausts cleaner.  I took the photo on the Welland.

Thunder Bay hails from the same river in China as Algoma Harvester and just a year earlier.  The photo was taken near Montreal in the South Shore Canal.

Tim S. Dool was built on a Canadian saltwater port in 1967.  I caught her here traversing the American Narrows on the St. Lawrence.

American Mariner was built in Wisconsin in 1979.   In the photo below she heads unbound on Lake St. Louis. I’ve seen her several times recently, here at night and here upbound St. Clair River.

Baie St. Paul is a slightly older, nearly identical Chinese built sister to Thunder Bay.

Algolake, launched 1977,  was among the boats built in the last decade of the Collingwood Shipyard.  

Lee R. Tregurtha, here down bound in Port Huron,  has to have among the most interesting history of any boat currently called a laker.  She was launched near Baltimore in 1942 as a T-3 tanker, traveled the saltwater world for two decades, and then came to the lakes.  I  also caught her loading on Huron earlier this year here.

Mississagi is another classic, having worked nearly 3/4 of a century on the Lakes.

Buffalo, 1978 Wisconsin built, and I have crossed paths lots recently, earlier this month here.  The photo below was taken near Mackinac;  you can see part of the bridge off her stern. Tug Buffalo from 1923, the one going to the highest bidder in five days, now stands to go to the bidder with $2600 on the barrelhead.

I’ll close this installment out with lake #12 in this post . . . .    Hon. James L. Oberstar, with steel mill structures in the background, has been transporting cargo on the lakes since the season of 1959.  She is truly a classic following that steering pole. See Oberstar in her contexts here, here, and really up close, personal, and almost criminally so for the diligent photographer, here.

All photos by Will Van Dorp.  More to come.

 

 

The * here denotes these are freshwater ships, plying their trade along what must be the longest peaceful international water boundary in the world, a fact I think deserves to be more widely known and celebrated.  Here are installments 1–3.

Radcliffe R. Latimer has appeared here a year ago.  For a complete history of the 1978 launched vessel on her third name after a transformative trip to China, click here.

Algoma Mariner is entirely built in China, delivered in 2011. Initially, the forebody was intended for Algoport, a vessel I’d photographed the the Seaway in July 2008, but (to allude to a story told by links here) Algoport sank on its way to China.   For more detail of this vessel, let me redirect you again to boatnerd.

The United Way logo here piqued my curiosity, and here’s the answer from corporate Algoma.

 

Buffalo is US-built and US-registered, a product of Sturgeon Bay WI and launched in 1978.

Bigger isn’t always better, and that’s the genesis of Manitowoc, built to negotiate the rivers around the Great Lakes, waterways where commerce and manufacture still lives inside cities often dismissed as having succumbed to “rust belt” disease.   She was launched in 1973 in Lorain OH.

Frontenac is a Canadian built launched in 1968

the the classic “house forward” design.

Coe Leni is the only “salty” in this batch.

Her previous name–Marselisborg–is still visible.

Sam Laud is another Sturgeon Bay WI product, launched in 1974.

Algoma Olympic–named for Canada’s hosting of the games in 1976–was launched that same year.

All photos by Will Van Dorp, who hopes you’re forming an impression of the dynamic economic engine along the international border with our friendly neighbors to our north.

 

 

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.

 

I did two posts on Badgerhere and here–back in 2012.  But until these photos this week, which I’m using with permission from FB’s SS Badger: Lake Michigan Car Ferry, I’d never seen her underwater ship lines.

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Above, that’s a ice-reinforced hull.  Read about her dry dock visit here.

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As I write, she’s in dry dock for a few more days at Bay Shipbuilding in Sturgeon Bay, WI.

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Here are some photos I took back in 2012 as she was departing Ludington MI for Manitowoc WI.

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Yes, she burns coal to this day, (one of) the last vessel (s) fueled by coal in the US.  For a good summary of her old and current technology, click here.  To see what goes on in her engine room, click here.

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When she entered service in the 1950s, she was designed primarily to transport railcars across the Lake.  Click here to read a story on the vessel published in Professional Mariner about two years ago.

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The next two photos are NOT of Badger but rather her twin, Spartan.  By the way, the badger is the mascot of University of Wisconsin and the spartan . . . of Michigan State University.   There was a double christening in September 1952,  but since 1979, Spartan has been laid up at the dock in Ludington.

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I hope to ride the Badger, 60 water miles of an almost 600-mile US Route 10,  again this coming summer.

Many thanks to SS Badger for use of the first four photos, taken this past month;  all others by Will Van Dorp.

And to close this with a digression, here’s a one-of-a-kind I saw displayed at the dock in Manitowoc when I was there.

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