Tuesday 31 July 2012

Saltie-Laker KAMINISTIQUA (Revisited)

At our 'Top Secret' viewing spot along the St. Lawrence River west of Morrisburg on July 19, 2012, we got to see the gearless bulk carrier KAMINISTIQUA pass us by 'real close'. Good luck trying to pronounce her name. I tried to Google and Wikipedia the background of the name and the closest I came to was 'Kaministiguia', a Northern Ontario river and an Ojibwe word that means 'river of islands'. Apparently there are two large islands at its mouth in Thunder Bay before emptying into Lake Superior. Whether KAMINISTIQUA is a name that is purposely spelled wrong or not, is doesn't matter to me because though looking a little rough, she was pushing hard against the flow of this river just fine.

Regardless, she was known as SASKATCHEWAN PIONEER when she went into service in 1983. Built in Scotland along with her Misener Shipping sisters, SELKIRK SETTLER, & CANADA MARQUIS, http://carlzboats.blogspot.ca/2013/09/saltie-laker-canada-marquis.html each were designed to service the grain and ore trades in the Great Lakes, and switch to salt water operation in the 3 month off season, hence the term 'Saltie-Laker'.

Also previously named VOYAGEUR PIONEER and LADY HAMILTON  the 29 year old KAMINISTIQUA is 730' long and is currently owned by Lower Lakes Towing Company of Port Dover, Ontario. Though the obviously hardworking lady motored along quite well to Iroquois Lock and beyond on this mid-summer day, her owner could afford to pay some attention to her rustic appearance. Just a suggestion.

Update - April 10, 2020:

While the upbound former saltie-laker still looked pretty rough when she passed our picnic table at Loyalist Park on May 19, 2013, the KAMINISTIQUA did get some TLC (Tender Living Care) and a new coat of paint while wintering at Erie, Pennsylvania's  DonJon Shipbuilding in 2014. When passing through so many St. Lawrence Seaway locks, the wearing look doesn't take long to return, like when I caught her at the grain terminal at the Port of Johnstown on April 23, 2016.

However due to an unfortunate incident on November 27th when she touched bottom near Beauharnois, the KAMINISTIQUA spent this winter at the former Port Weller Drydocks, in St. Catharines where her hull was repaired by Hamilton's Heddle Marine and she was given a fresh coat of paint to boot. Oh YAAA!! Even after passing through seven Welland Canal locks and approach walls today, the upbound classic stern-ender looks amazing and good to go for many more years in these photos by Nathan Attard in Port Colborne, taken this afternoon. Great shoots and thank again Nathan 👍📷👍
BTW, to view thousands of Great Lakes ship photos both modern and vintage, be sure to checkout www.GreatLakesShips.ca, or www.OceanShips.ca for photos of ships from elsewhere around the world. You'll be Glad You Did!!


  1. Love this Carl. She's my favorite laker of the 1980's era that's still left. Hope she has another 5 years in her....

  2. I was in Govan in Scotland for the launching and then for the final construction and fitting out in 1983. Sailed her as master for nearly eight years and she was well looked after at this time. Sad day when I said good bye to the Canadian crew and was allotted with Indian officers and a very poor CPR seamen. Was a very trying time and I got grey hair very quickly. The initial great care she received in the engine room and on deck is one of the reasons this old lady is still operating