Thank goodness though for the MarineTraffic app as one last look after topping up the tank at the First Nation's reserve near Shannonville proved very worthwhile, as I saw the light blue arrowed icon of a boat leaving Eisenhower Lock. It was a tug, the kALIUTIk and she was heading our way. YES!!! c):-D Then, according to the St. Lawrence Seaway website, she was pushing a barge, the MM 170, and due at Iroquois Lock at 17:52. That was more than two hours away but perhaps the barge and the fast downstream current would slow her down. Oh YAAA, let's do it!!
However, I became somewhat concerned that we may have missed the tug & barge too because as we motored along the final straightaway of Carman Road which borders the village of Iroquois and ends at the lock's main viewing area, I noticed that the single leaf bascule bridge at the east end was not raised. Since it was not used for regular motor vehicle traffic, more often the jackknife bridge, (what one from Port Colborne would call it), would be up and waiting for an approaching upbound to arrive.
One project where the kALIUTIk's unique size and designed played an very important role was when the former Montreal bunker tanker ARCA I ran aground off Nova Scotia's Cape Breton Island when her engines failed while on route to Mexico on January 8, 2017. McKeil Marine dispatched two tugs to free her, the 107.5' salvage tug TIM McKEIL and the kALIUTIk. Due to her 10' shallow draft, the kALIUTIk was able to position herself close to the disabled ARCA I, to deploy a towline which she relayed to the 73 tonne bollard pull TIM McKEIL. Within a few hours after commencing the salvage operations on January 15th, the ARCA I was pulled off the rocky strand and towed to safe harbour in Sydney (a.k.a. Sydport) without injury or environmental impact. c):-D
As they continued to make her way beyond the lockmaster's shack (and that almost late in arriving "Lincoln Town Car"), I couldn't help but noticing that the kALIUTIk's blue and white colour tones might suggest that these days she been working for Quebec City based Groupe Ocean instead of McKeil Marine. When launched, her hull was red and for a while too, her hull and stacks were painted black much like her McKeil fleetmates. But other than her white superstructure, there are two things that have not changed since day one.
First is her name. Every ship is required to have a name or number as a reference point for navigation purposes, and generally it's been fairly easy for me to find out the background of a ship's namesake at Boatnerd.com or the owner's website, but the case not for the kALIUTIk. It appeared the background of her name was going to be a mystery until I visited a place called "Larga Baffin" which is a special residence where Baffin Island Inuit can stay in a safe and comfortable home-like atmosphere when they come to Ottawa for medical care that’s not available in the Baffin region of Nunavut. I showed a photo that I had of the kALIUTIk on my iPhone to a couple of ladies behind the front counter of the 103 room facility and asked if they knew what the name meant in Inuktitut, the Canadian Inuit language. One lady asked, “Is it from Labrador?" I said, “yes, she used to work out of Nain”. She then nonchalantly said, “it means tug, or pull, it means ‘tugboat’”. “Really”, I said, “what a great name”. As for the lower case "k" at the beginning and at the end of her name, well, that's still a mystery. c):-o