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New York Power Authority, the parent organization to the Erie Canal, pays close attention to the temperature of Lake Erie.  The magic number is 39 degrees in the fall.  Why?

When that happens, Breaker and

other equipment such as Havasu II and Daniel Joncaire

start moving those rust-brown, sausage-looking objects on the bank.

Here’s a better look at those objects, floats I’ll call them.

I believe at least one new tug is now being used, although it was docked elsewhere and a photo follows.

Here you see more of the floats beyond Washington and Vermont,  launched in 1925 and 1914 respectively.

This aerial photo by Derek Gee for the Buffalo News shows those structures as an abstract pattern in summer bank storage, waiting for the temperature of the water to drop to 39.  To get the complete source and read the story, click on the photo itself.

Credit for the photo above to Derek Gee;  all others by Will Van Dorp.

Click here and  here to see installation of the ice boom on the upper Niagara River.

Above and below, this is Daniel Joncaire II, the newest NYPA tug, I believe.

And where does the Joncaire name come from?  Check here.

 

 

With digressions behind us, let’s resume the journey.  In part 4 we descended from the level of the Mohawk at Rome NY into Lake Ontario, approximately 248.’  Canadian pilot boat Mrs C meets us not far from the entrance to the Welland Canal at Port Weller, so named for the lead engineer in building of the first iteration of the Welland Canal.

Below lock W1,  Alouette Spirit tied at a dock.  The mover is Wilf Seymour, a Canadian-flagged former Moran-owned Texas-built tug I’ve met on most trips here since 2015. I’ve seen her on locations between Lake Huron and the St Lawrence just up from Quebec City.   Click here to see her being loaded with ingots.

 ITB Presque Isle  occupied the Port Weller Dry Docks.

So that you can get a sense of how ungainly this ITB looks out of the notch, I’m sharing this photo thanks to Jeff Thoreson of Erie Shipping News.  Usually she’s in the notch and considered a 1000-footer.

Exiting lock W1 was China-built  Algoma Mariner, whose bow shows the effect of operating in ice.

Notice how narrow the Welland is here, with less than 100′ between Grande Mariner and Algoma Mariner.

For more info on the Welland, click here.

I drove through Port Colborne–at the 571′ level of Lake Erie–a few years ago, but seeing the names of the shops here, I’d love to stop by and wander.  I’m not fanatical about pies, but Jay the Pie Guy sounds too tasty to pass up.  Check him out on FB.

Four months ago, I posted photos from Clayton NY on the dead ship tow of the former traversier aka ferry Camille Marcoux.  Here’s what she looks like now after the

 

skilled carving tools of the workers at Marine Recycling Corp in  Port Colborne.

See the scrapping in the upper right side of the photo, here the pilot steps off and we enter Lake Erie, turning to port for Buffalo.

After an hour-and-a-half run, the grain elevators of Buffalo welcome us. Seeing the blue G, I can already imagine the smell of the Cheerios plant.

Near the entrance to the Buffalo River, I spot NYPA’s Joncaire II tied up near the merry-go-round.  I’d love to see her at work managing the ice boom.  I don’t see Daniel on the bow, but I believe the full name is Daniel Joncaire II.  ??

Over in Silo City, two older Great Lakes tugs–Washington and Vermont— await between jobs.  Of course, they still work.  The combined age of those two tug is 195 years.  YEARS!!

Silo City may not sound all that exciting, especially for folks who know farms, but this complex made Buffalo and forged a link with another boom city . . . . the six boros of NYC.  I like the quote here that it was grain elevators and the nexus of the Great Lakes and the Erie Canal that led Buffalo to surpass London, Rotterdam, and Crimea as then the #1 grain handling port in the world.  I also recently learned about the influence the grain elevator form had on modern architecture a la Gropius. 

Check out this Gropius design.

A few years ago, I’d never consider exploring Buffalo, and I have so many other photos that I might revisit the city on tugster, but for now, I suggest you go there too and

stop at Buffalo Harbor Museum, Pierce Arrow Museum, and Swannie’s, for starters.  I started from Erie Basin and walked to all of these in the same day.

All photos by Will Van Dorp.

 

Click here for previous posts in this series.  I add these now in response to a reader who says  . . .”but we have ship assist and harbor tugs in the Great Lakes as well.”  And the most iconic of those are the GL tugs, an old fleet that has been not only maintained but also updated.

Here are ones I’ve photographed this month.  Vermont dates from 1914 and Washington from 1925, and they are still on the duty roster.

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These first two photos were taken in Buffalo, said to once have been the 3rd busiest port in the world.

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In the port of Cleveland, much remediated from when the river burned most conspicuously,

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Iowa, dating from 1915, towed Sea Eagle II up river.

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Nebraska, 1929, was coming through a very busy railroad bridge here on the Maumee in Toledo.

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Mississippi dates from 1916.

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Idaho, 1931 and  the last of this series to be built, was behind this fence in Detroit on the Rouge River.

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In previous years, I’ve posted many times about a GL tug stranded in the Erie Canal.

Not all the GL tugs have this profile.  For example there are some converted YTBs like Erie and Huron.  And recently, tugs that were previously only in saltwater have made their ways to the Inland Seas.

All photos here by Will Van Dorp.

 

I paddled up Buffalo River, and saw West Wind and a smaller twin screw,

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G-tugs Vermont and Washington,

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and my goal . . . SS Columbia.

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Retracing my path, I had to pay respect to Edward M. Cotter, BFD and built in Elizabeth NJ.

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All photos by Will Van Dorp, who has no time to embed links because he is headed for Cleveland.

 

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