Monday 25 November 2013


It was a typical gloomy day on November 10th when Tanner and I motored down to the St. Lawrence to snap the new downbownd Trillium-class CSL self unloader BAIE COMEAU. Apparently the conditions were pretty much the same back 38 years to the day when the 730' ore carrier EDMUND FITZGERALD ventured across Lake Superior heading fully loaded for Cleveland, Ohio until she encountered massive seas and gale force winds which as sung in the Gordon Lightfoot classic 'came the wreck of the EDMUND FITZGERALD'. All joking aside, (like me about to be cut down by a huge poster of the mighty 'FITZ' at the Boatnerd World Headquarters in Port Huron, Michigan), because for years mariners who plied the Great Lakes feared the unpredictable 'gales of November' as they were known to change direction within minutes and leaving their ships to be mercifully pounded by waves 25' to 35' in size. Though it certainly was an astounding tragedy when the FITZGERALD disappeared about 17 miles west of Whitefish Bay with her crew of 29 during the evening of November 10, 1975, 62 years earlier, another ferocious storm with hurricane force winds played havoc to Great Lakes shipping for three days and when the devastation ended on November 10, 1913, 250 lives were lost, 19 ships sank and another 19 freighters ran aground or were left disabled on lakes Superior, Michigan, Erie and mostly Huron. Obviously technology continues to improve and lessons have been learned since the Great Lakes Storm of 1913 and the sinking of the EDMUND FITZGERALD but it's good to see that despite passage deadlines, mariners and ship owners are taking heed to wind warnings.
While waiting for the second period of the Sens & Islanders game to start on Nov. 1, Janie and I were wondering why there appeared to be no ship movement along the Seaway when checking out our MarineTraffic app. Ends up the Welland Canal section of the Seaway had been closed since 4:30 a.m. due to strong wind gusts of up to 106 km/h at Port Colborne. Warnings are issued when wind speeds reach 90km/h, which is the speed when damage typically begins to occur. During the last 18 years, wind gusts have sped past 100km/h, 50 times in Port Colborne. Also interesting was to see about 5 ships that were anchored and taking protection on the lee of Long Point on Lake Erie and another in Prince Edward Bay on Lake Ontario. All other ships appeared to be tied off or anchored in the system. You simply can't risk your souls and assets when dealing with gales of November.

Meanwhile, back to the boat blog - while motoring along Lakeshore Drive east of Iroquois, I snapped the 405' tanker JANA DESGAGNES as she sliced her way against the current and a strong head wind.   Like her sister, ESTA (, the JANA DESGAGNES was built in Wismar, Germany in 1992 and is currently managed by Rigel Shipping of Shediac, NB. While making her way to Mississauga, Ontario, the JANA almost blew right past me, impressively made lots of white water and then quite a wake as she passed the 740' BAIE COMEAU. Hey, check out that post. It'll blow you away too, ( or not c);-b


  1. Good fun Carl... always love your posts along with your sometimes humorous commentaries and lots of info. Thanks so much for sharing them with The Prescott Anchor. Cheers, Jo

  2. I will be following you more often,carl..