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Almost exactly a year ago, I did a saltwater ice post here, and I’ve done related ones here. So since the article I wrote last year about a huge ore-carrying Great Lakes ATB is out and you can read it here, how about some photos that didn’t make it into the publication.

Above and below, ATB Clyde S Van Enkevort and Erie Trader find themselves a day and a night’s steaming north from Detroit, nearly at the north end of Lake Huron, where the cold air is creating sea smoke.

ATB Olive L. Moore and Menominee (I’d better be right or I’ll hear about it.) wait on the west side of DeTour Reef Light. Mackinac is not quite 50 miles to the west.

At Detour Passage, we depart Lake Huron and enter the St. Marys River.  Sault Ste Marie and Lake Superior are 75 miles up this river.  Ice forms more quickly on the shallower water.

Off the stern we look back at Lake Huron.

Crew prepare the landing gear.  Landing gear, you say?  Hold that question, I say.

On a turn, we meet CSL Assiniboine.

I think we are envied.  Unlike the two previous years, so far this 2020 winter . . . ice is “weak.”

Near Sault Ste Marie, we meet Wilfred Sykes, and the Sugar Island ferry crosses our bow, Sykes‘ stern.

WTGB-101 Katmai Bay is busy assisting in keeping the river open.

Recall I mentioned landing gear? . . .  technically it’s a landing boom, a quick way to get crew onto the lock to assist with the “locking through.”  In the earlier photo, ice was being removed from boom and its line, so that the line would run free but controlled to get the crew safely down the 20 feet or so to the chamber wall.

See the crew walking alongside the barge?  Out ahead, that’s a bay of Lake Superior.

As we head across that bay and ultimately into Superior, we pass Kaye E. Barker, who’s heading downstream for the Soo (or Sault) locks.

All photos by WVD, who’ll post more photos of the trip soon.  And I’d give a big shout-out to the captain and crew of Clyde for their hospitality and help with the article.

I’m still looking for someone who might get a photo of that exotic ship coming into the sixth boro early this month.  But I also still don’t have a firm ETA for that vessel, Decisive.

 

Daybreak finds the storms past and we continue the long haul up Lake Huron.

Olive L. Moore passes with Menominee.  Moore . . . the hull . . . was launched 91 years ago!

Samuel de Champlain pushes Innovation into Alpena, MI.  As is true of many Great Lakes vessels, tug Champlain has had a varied career that started in salt water.

Joyce L. VanEnkvort and her barge Great Lakes Trader have spent their entire lives on the Lakes.

Seeing the venerable Alpena is always a thrill, and although she’s quite distant here, IMHO the photo looks to have been taken decades ago.

As seen through the busy traffic of Mackinac Island,

Fuldaborg makes for DeTour Passage and Duluth.

Presque Isle pushing barge by the same name is another one of my favorites.

 

And let’s close it out with Edgar B. Speer . . .

heading for a load in Two Harbors.

All photos by Will Van Dorp.

I started this series using a title that was a play on words here.

The only clue that Olive L. Moore and self-unloading barge Menominee–formerly a ship built in Maryland–are in winter waters is the sea smoke rising from the water.  Actually, it appears the ATB itself has risen from the water and is floating

on air past the Detour Reef Light.

Complementing that pair, here are two photos of USCGC WLBB-30 Mackinaw

tied up on Lime Island.  Her crew was recently involved in an icy rescue.

A pair of 47′ MLBs awaits springtime, and a

duo of hardy deer demonstrate their sure-footedness on ice.

All photos by Will Van Dorp.

“one of the toughest ports in the world, sharing that distinction with Shanghai and Calcutta . . .”  I believe that’s “tough” as quantified in black eyes, missing teeth, and blood spat out onto the gravel.  I wonder who had the breadth of experience to render this judgement.  Why would such ports as Rio, Murmansk, and Oswego not be included . . . or others?

Besides that, those few sentences render a great description of mechanization.

Mississagi is wintering over here in Ashtabula. She’s appeared on this blog a half dozen times . . . working.   I’m coming home is Norfolk Southern’s mantra.

I believe this archway is a coal conveyor belt.

That’s all you get of GL tug Rhode Island.  Mississagi (1943) is only a year younger than Alpena.  But Rhode Island dates from 1930.   The white tug in front of it is Nancy Anne. based in Cheboygan, MI.

A bit farther east in Ashtabula, Calumet winters over.  Previous posts including Calumet can be found here.

and off its stern, it’s the upper portion of tug Olive L. Moore (hull launched in 1928) and barge Menominee.  I caught them on Lake Huron in August 2017.

If you wanted to start reading that historical marker from side one, here it is, then if you want, you can go back to the beginning and read that in proper context.  If you want the short history of Ashtabula, click here for a review of a good book.  If you want the juicy details or at least the gritty ones, buy Carl E. Feather’s Ashtabula Harbor:  A History of the world’s Greatest Iron Ore Receiving Port.  My copy is on order.

All photos by Will Van Dorp.

 

Although I’m a newbie, this being only my second run on Huron, I suspect this view dominates the experience of crossing Huron, possibly Superior also, which I’ve not traversed.  Huron is the inland sea with the longest shoreline, surrounded by sparse population.  Sarnia, the largest city on Huron has about 70,000; Port Huron, 30,000; and Alpena, 10,000.  Of course, Bay City–population 35,000– lies there also, but at more than 50 miles into Saginaw Bay, it’s a city you go to as a destination, which I need to do soon.  I’m eager to visit all the towns along this lake.

Off to starboard, it’s Thunder Bay, China-built, Seawaymax.

To port, it’s barge Menominee pushed by

Olive L. Moore.  If you look at no other link than this one in this post, check this one for the evolution of this tug since the hull was first laid down in Manitowoc in 1928, designed low to fit under the bridges in Chicago.

Arcticus ,Laurentian, a USGS vessel launched in 2014, was working some research project off our starboard.  Here’s a post I did in 2014 on another USGS vessel at its christening in Oswego.

Otherwise, along the shore there are lights  like Thunder Bay Island Light,

(and I’m not sure of the identification here) New Presque Isle Light, and

Spectacle Reef Light.

Near here, we passed tug Michigan pushing barge Great Lakes, which I last saw in Montreal last fall.

 

Martin Reef Light tells us we’re approaching the Straits, as

does the appearance of Kristen D, the ferry between Cheboygan and another Bois Blanc Island–more places to visit some day. Kristen D dates from the late 1980s.

Samuel D. Champlain I could pick out anywhere by its profile, but John C. Munson I had to check on my device. SDC appeared on this blog several times before, with a closeup here, and in a previous iteration here. Last year I caught SDC southbound in roughly the same end of Lake Huron.

And less than a mile from the dock on Mackinac Island, we pass Round Island Light.

Writing this post has clarified one section of where my next road trip will take me.  All photos and sentiments, errors, etc. by Will Van Dorp.

Related:  Check out these 10 facts about the Great Lakes.

Unrelated:  The 2017 NYC tugboat race is scheduled for Sunday Sept. 3. 

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