Saturday, 29 November 2014

Bulk Carrier FEDERAL KUMANO

I can't tell you how many times we've driven over the Burlington Skyway and haven't seen a single boat approach or pass beneath the massive steel structure through the canal piers below.
Meanwhile, my sister Karin and bil (brother-in-law) Paul are down along the beach strip below birding and what comes motoring in off Lake Ontario but the 624' Fednav bulk carrier FEDERAL KUMANO. Unbelievable!! c):-o Built in 2003 in Saikai, Japan, the KUMANO flies the flag of Hong Kong and is one of about 1,000 cargo vessels to transit the Burlington Canal yearly while accessing Hamilton Harbour, the largest Canadian port on the Great Lakes. The original canal was opened in 1826 and is situated at about the midpoint of the natural sandbar beach strip. In 1830, the first of five movable bridges was constructed and the most recent lift bridge version, seen in Karin's snap below, was opened in 1962.
The beach strip is about 8 kilometres long by about a half kilometre wide and for many years, Beach Boulevard, the roadway that travels through it, was part the Queen Elizabeth Way (aka QEW) which was the primary link between Toronto and Hamilton, and then further along to the Niagara Peninsula. In April 1952, the north span of the bascule bridge failed to lift for the inbound American self unloader W.E. FITZGERALD. Despite dropping both anchors and reversing it's engine, the W.E. FITZGERALD was unable to stop in time and knocked the span into the canal thereby closing the QEW.  In October 1958 the Burlington Bay Skyway which crosses high over the canal channel and most of the beach strip for that matter, opened. In 1985 a second span was opened and with 4 lanes in both direction, it's estimated 149,000 vehicles crosses the bridge daily.
Back in it's day, it appears the beach strip was the place to be. Along with a beautiful long beach, there was an amusement park with all sorts of rides and at the Pier Ballroom, then famous stars like Ozzie Nelson, the Clooney Sisters and Duke Ellington played there. As a kid, I remember going on some of rides when visiting the park during a family day trip. It was a pretty quiet neighbourhood when we drove along the strip last September. Instead of a railway lines that would carry passengers to the beach, a long paved trail skirts along the shoreline ideal for walkers, joggers and cycling. Apparently it's also a great location for birding, a hobby my sister and bil have enjoyed for many year. Unfortunately, Karin and Paul didn't send me any pics of the Long-tail ducks, Mergansers, and Northern Mockingbird that they snapped that day, but I did get these snaps of the FEDERAL KUMANO. For that, I am grateful or as my grandson Hayden often says, a "Lucky Duck" c);-b
BTW: Before being scrapped at Ramey's Bend in Port Colborne in 1971, the old W.E. FITZGERALD seemed to have a knack for running into bridges. Check out this Boatnerd link for more of the FITZGERALD's close encounters with bridges and things that didn't move: http://www.boatnerd.com/pictures/historic/perspectives/WEFitzgerald/

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