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Here are previous installments in the series.  Summer sail can take the form of foil-raised GP racing as will happen in the sixth boro this weekend;  it can also happen on longer courses and require stamina and endurance as happens in some races ending in Mackinac.

All the photos in this post come from Jeff Gritsavage, as he was delivering a yacht from Florida to Lake Michigan.  Some of you will recognize that this shot was taken in an Erie Canal lock.  A few of you will name the lock.  Answer at the end of this post.

I’ll help you out here; this was taken on the Oswego Canal, a spur that was developed to connect the Erie Canal and Syracuse to Lake Ontario.  Name the town?

Another town on the Oswego Canal.  Name it?

This is the same town, and the boats are exiting the same lock as seen above.  In fact, about 500′ beyond the opening mitre gates is the location I took this photo of Urger and a State Police cruiser almost exactly 5 years ago.

This is Oswego.  White Hawk has arrived on its first Great Lake.  The masts await and will be stepped because air draft issues

no longer apply.

Welland Canal is less than 30 miles long, but it’s


the way around Niagara Falls in 8 easy steps.

Coexistence with larger vessels is the rule on the Welland Canal.

Above and below is one of the hardest working tug/barge units on the lakes . . . Wilf Seymour and Alouette Spirit

And on any lucky passage through the Welland, you’ll see vessels like Fednav‘s Federal Dee,

Polsteam‘s Mamry, and

Canada Steamship LinesCSL Tadoussac.

Before I give the answers to the questions above, here’s another town/Erie Canal location to identify.  Click on the photo to find its attribution AND the article that explains what’s happening with White Hawk.

So . . . the answers are lock E-23, Phoenix NY, Fulton NY, and finally above . . . .


that’s Rome.   Click here for a previous tugster post on the Rome to Oswego run.

Many thanks to Capt. Jeff for sharing these photos here.

And I’ll be looking for White Hawk on the Lakes this summer.



The previous post in this series shows the port in  the late 19th century, so I’d say it’s high time to update.  This lighthouse dates to 1934, and I’ve long wondered why the buildings have not received a much-needed re-painting.

Oceanis appears not to be a commercial vessel, at least not now, but the hull was surely inspired by something large and seaworthy.


Stephen B. Roman, however, carries her weight among all the hard working vessels on the Lakes.  Any guesses what the B. stands for?    Answer follows.


Essroc is one of two cement companies delivering to the port of Oswego.

And these ingots regularly delivered by Wilf Seymour and Alouette Spirit?  You may see them next as Ford F-series parts stamped out by Novelis Oswego.


The B. is for Boleslav.  Stephen Boleslav Roman was a mining engineer.

All photos by Will Van Dorp.

Port Weller is the north terminus of the Welland Canal, and as such, sees either a pilot boarding or debarking, which was the case here. Mrs C has an equally attractive fleet mate at Port Colbourne, the southern terminus. The vessel in the background left will appear in an upcoming post.

Some 80 miles to the east Kimberly Anne (1965) was docked in Rochester’s Charlotte port.

Walking along the beach there, I saw this historical sign of tug Oneida and schooner H. M. Ballou, at different times both owned by a George W. Ruggles.

Fifty or so miles to the NE we enter the Oswego River to find the busiest (IMHO) unit on the lakes:  in the past few years I’ve seen Wilf Seymour and Alouette Spirit at least 6 times between Lake Huron and Quebec City.   Here’s more info on Alouette’s aluminum operations, at one time and possibly now the largest aluminum producer in the Americas.


Click here for more info on Novelis, the client here in Oswego.


Anyone tell me the weight of one of these ingots?

Moving from contemporary to retrospective, the Phoenix dock was hosting schooner Lois McClure and tug Churchill as we passed.

For more close-ups, check out tug44’s take. 

Click here for a complete history of the replica schooner Lois McClure.

All photos by Will Van Dorp, who hopes you all enjoy the last day of summer 2017 today.


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.


Katanni and


Sawyer I, these photos I took in September along the Saint Lawrence.


I took the next photos in October.  Evans McKeil was built in Panama in 1936!   The cement barge she’s paired with–Metis— was built as a ship in 1956 and converted to a barge in 1991.


Wilf Seymour was built in 1961 in Port Arthur TX.  I’ve always only seen her paired with Alouette Spirit.  Here she’s heading upbound into the Beauharnois Lock.   The digital readout (-0.5) indicates she’s using the Cavotec automated mooring system instead of lines and line handlers.


Moving forward to Troy NY, I don’t think the name of this tug is D. A. Collins,   


but I know these are Benjamin Elliot, Lucy H, and 8th Sea.


Miss Gill waited alongside some scows at the booming port of Coeymans.


And the big sibling Vane 5000 hp Chesapeake heads upriver with Doubleskin 509A.


And one more autumnal shot with yellows, browns, grays, and various shades of red, and a busy Doris Moran and Adelaide.


Will Van Dorp took all these photos.


American Narrows is not a political statement;  it’s a geographical location in the St. Lawrence River between mainland Jefferson county and Wellesley Island, which is divided between the US and Canada. The River is narrow but deep, with fast currents and hard rock.   The Thousand Islands Bridge,  in most of these shots, spans the Narrows.

Check out Nordana Emma‘s port history, headed here from Ontario to Tunisia.


The international boundary goes through here just to the right of that boat house in photo center, Flat Huckleberry Island (US) to the left and Gig Island (Canada) to the right.


To digress, we are a few miles from the Narrows, but the islands are so beautiful, although some of the names seem intended to terrify.  Below is Deathdealer Island.  Other nearby islands with inhospitable names include Bloodletter and Axeman.  In spite of the name, over 1000 of the islands are inhabited, and two with stunning construction are Dark Island and  Heart Island.  But I’ll just stop the digression here.


For an itinerary as ambitious as Nordana Emma‘s, check Federal Danube‘s port history.


Note Rock Island Light on the horizon lower left.


Below, Federal Danube crosses Nordana Sarah right off Clayton NY.  Again, notice the port history of Nordana Sarah.


Unlike the vessels above, Algoma Guardian is now confirmed to the Great Lakes watershed ports, although she was built in Croatia.


Tug Wilf Seymour and barge Alouette Spirit have appeared on this blog before, always together.  Wilf Seymour was launched in 1961 as M. Moran in Port Arthur, TX.



All photos taken last week by Will Van Dorp, who’s grateful to Jake Van Reenen of Seaway Marine Group for conveyance.

Here’s the index.

Since I grew up in western New York and my grandparents lived 30 or so miles off to the right of this photo, crossing this bridge happened several times a year.  It was by far the biggest bridge in my world.   That’s Canada to the right.


Baie Comeau (2013) upbound under the Thousand Islands Bridge

The bridge was completed in 1937, weeks ahead of schedule.  Canada, which appears to have no equivalent of the US-Jones Act, uses China-built vessels like Baie Comeau.  I saw a one-year-older sister here last October.


Over in Kingston, I learned this vintage but functional crane today had been mounted on a barge and used in the Thousand Island Bridge construction back in the 1930s. There are several cranes of this design along the Erie Canal, some also still functional.  For one, check out the sixth photo here.


In an archipelago called “thousand islands,” there’s need for lots of boats for commuting and transport.  Check out the lines of the white-hulled 25′ boat to the right.  Now check photos seven and eight in this post.  Spirit of Freeport is also a 25′ and it crossed the Atlantic!  A few more perspectives of Spirit of Freeport can be seen here, scroll through. To hear builder Al Grover, click here.


Click here for info on Jolly Island.


The proximity of Antique Boat Museum may draw classics here, wherever they might have been built.  Anyone identify the make?


Vikingbank has an interesting bow.


Clayton waterside with St. Mary’s steeple to the right.


Check out the etymology of “delfzijl

R/V Seth Green is a fisheries research vessel based in Cape Vincent.  Last year I caught the christening of another Lake Ontario research vessel here.


Wilf Seymour used to be M. Moran.


All photos by Will Van Dorp, who will add more photos from this watershed later.

Many thanks to Seaway Marine Group for conveyance.


So let’s start with June 2014 at the north end of the Oswego Canal . . . that’s Kathy Lynn way in the distance to the left.


Port of Oswego also sees its share of international tugs . . . Wilf Seymour (ex-M. Moran) here with the multifunctional barge Alouette Spirit is Canadian.


That diagonally mounted grate on the bow of the barge is a ramp to allow RORO use.


Wm. Donnelly is . . .


a D. A. Collins tug, and  . . .


also working on the Amsterdam dam (!) is an Arundel Marine tug called Sarah Leanne.


Collamore . . . I can find nothing about.


Here northbound on the Hudson while I was behind a dirty window . . . that may be HR Bass (scroll through) passing Peebles Island.



And for the last photo today, enjoy another of Margot, here housedown as she leaves Lock 19 eastbound.


All photos by Will Van Dorp, who’s thrilled to be back where his upstate roots are.


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