Tuesday 31 December 2013

Ice-breaking Motor Vessel ARCTIC

Yeah, just another day in paradise up here in the 'Great White North'. True, it did reach +2C during the weekend which melted a fair amount of the 100+ centimetres of snow we've been blessed with since LATE NOVEMBER, but since then it's been back to deep freeze temps like today where it was -18C with a chill factor of -29C. Brrr!! c):-( . I suppose it could it could be worse. I could live and work in the high Arctic like in Pond Inlet on Baffin Island where tomorrow's high is expected to reach -32C or -45C in the wind. NOT A CHANCE!! c):-0. However, as all Canadians well know, when it comes to our bone-chilling temps, you either wear extra layers of sweaters, or you Get Out of Town! Getting out of town is our plan and off to Varadero, Cuba we shall go on Sunday for a week of HOT, HOT, HOT temps, YES!!!! c):-)).
Meanwhile, for those who put up and shut up to our extremes weather conditions in such communities as Pond Inlet or Iqaluit, Nunavut, supplies to keep them warm and carry-on arrive by such mighty ships as the ice-breaking motor vessel, ARCTIC. Built in 1978 in Port Weller, Ontario, and own by FedNav of Montreal, the 724.5' ARCTIC is double-hulled which allows her to carry oil or diesel products, iron ore in its seven holds, or containers on deck. She also has an ice-stengthen bow and her engines are powerful enough for the ARCTIC to navigate in ice-covered waters of up to 5' thick without an escort. If conditions prevent her from reaching a dock, the ARCTIC simply stops dead in the ice, and lowers trucks and other equipment to transfer her cargo over the ice to the final destination. More recently, the ARCTIC and her sister ship UMIAK 1, has been transporting nickel ore from Voisey's Bay, Labrador to a new processing plant in Long Harbour, Newfoundland. Early last summer, I snapped the ARCTIC anchoured and waiting to pick up up supplies across from Montreal-East, QC. Just to her stern below, is the 394' Danish oil tanker, JETTE THERESA.

2014 is about to arrive and I want to thank everyone all over the world who has taken the time view my blog since I started this little hobby in April 2012. I also want to thanks those who have contributed with pictures and stories like Jim in Salisbury, MD; Carm & John in Lanark County, ON, Kevin & Gabby in Stittsville, ON and Shaun here in Kanata. It's been a lot of fun. Thanks Again Everyone and I Wish You All The Best in 2014!! - Carl Burkett c);-b 

Saturday 28 December 2013

Bulk Carrier SOLINA

Yikes, not much room there for the Polsteam owned bulk carrier SOLINA as she inched her way out of the Welland Canal's Lock 1 in Port Weller, Ontario last October. The 623.5' SOLINA which was built in 2012, has a breadth of 77' 11". With Seaway locks only 80' wide, that just leaves about 12.5 inches on either side to pass through. c):o That huge scrape above the waterline just past the starboard bow section is a lasting reminder that not all transits for the SOLINA have been completed without incident. In fact, if you look back at any SeawayMax carrier posted on Carlz Boats (like the ATLANTIC ERIE http://carlzboats.blogspot.ca/2013/06/self-unloader-atlantic-erie-revisited.html) almost all have hugged a wall or two, usually at the same spot at one time or another. It Happens! Don't Worry, Be HAPPY!! c):-)) Learn from your mistakes and move on. 
Hey those deck hands waving at me above the ship's name looked pretty happy that the Bahamian registered SOLINA, was finally moving on beyond Lock 1. You'd be excited too because after motoring through just 7 more narrow locks on the canal and half way down Lake Erie, they're going to get their first shore-leave in about a month in beautiful Cleveland, Ohio, where it's always, "HOT IN CLEVELAND"!! - At least according to Betty White, eh! c);-b

PS: For those of you who celebrate Christmas, I hope yours was as wonderful as ours. 'Old Man Winter' sure has made life difficult for many up here in the 'Great White North' with near record breaking snowfalls, bitterly cold Arctic gusts and freezing rain. Despite everything he threw at us, the constant love and togetherness from family and friends, kept us warm and happy as always. Season's Greetings and All the Best in 2014 to You All!!  

Sunday 8 December 2013


Actually, they were here at Fort St. Joseph near Jocelyn, Ontario and left a long time ago. Back when fur trading was still flourishing, the British initially established a fort and trading post on Mackinac Island (pronounced, Mackinaw) which is located where lakes Huron & Michigan meet. At the fort, various native tribes and trappers would gather or 'rendezvous' as they use to call it, to sell their stash of beaver pelts and other furs to British merchants who would have them transported to Montreal and Quebec where the furs would then be sent to European markets by sailing ships on the St. Lawrence.
Business was good for many years but soon after the Americans received their independence in 1776, the British had to abandon the fort at Mackinac Island (which then became a US territory), and established Fort St. Joseph situated between the St. Mary's River and Lake Huron. It was business as usual once again until the Commander of British Forces in Upper Canada, Major-General Sir Isaac Brock, ordered the fort's commander, Captain Charles Roberts, to retake the fort on Mackinac Island, because the US had declared war on Britain (and Canada) in June 1812. Apparently news of the declaration hadn't yet been communicated to the northern US outpost, because British, Canadian, and native forces captured Fort Michilimackinac without a fight. In fact, the taking of the fort and outpost was the first military land action of the War of 1812. The Americans attempted but failed to recapture the fort in 1814, but did succeed in burning Fort St. Joseph to the ground where it has laid in ruins and virtually forgotten until the mid 1960's when the University of Toronto started archeological digs at the site. Parks Canada took control of the National Historical Site in 1974. There are many interesting displays at the visitor centre or you may roam amongst the ruins like Janice and Tanner were doing when I snapped them below. Where's Tanner's body? Oops, guess I screwed up on the panoramic photo settings. c);-b

Meanwhile, back at the BOAT blog, we were getting pretty close to the St. Mary's River during our 'Whirlwind Boat Hunting Tour to The Soo & Back' and we hoping catch a glimpse of a thousand footer or anything along the narrow upbound channel on the east-side of Neebish Island. But what did we see? - 'Zippo, Not A Thing!' However, over at the downbound channel on the other side of the island, CSL LAURENTIEN (http://carlzboats.blogspot.ca/2012/04/while-laid-up-for-winter-of-2005-in.html) was making her way to Lake Huron, so off we went along the narrow paved and dirt roads of St. Joseph Island to catch a glimpse of the LAURENTIEN after she passed Winter Point on Neebish Island. But what did we see? - 'Nothing but tall grass and trees' until we got to Fort St. Joseph. There we got to see the remains of the forgotten fort and in the distance, CSL LAURENTIEN about to pass the self unloader MICHIPICOTEN as she discharged her cargo at Drummond Island, over yonder. 'Close but No Cigar'. Our boat hunt was a BUST, until my binocs picked of something on the other side of the channel. Hidden amongst the trees, was the all but forgotten Interlake ore carrier JOHN SHERWIN experiencing a long term lay-up along a slip near DeTour Village, Michigan. The 806' SHERWIN was built in 1958 in Lorain, OH and was lengthened by an additional 96' to her current length in 1973. In 2008, she was scheduled to be re-powered with new engines and converted into a self unloader at Bay Shipyards in Sturgeon Bay, WI but those modifications were cancelled pending an improvement in the economy. The following year, the JOHN SHERWIN was moved to DeTour and there she's been laying and waiting ever since across from the once lost and forgotten Fort St. Joseph. With great delight, we found them both on that afternoon last September. c):-))

Tuesday 3 December 2013


Here's an interesting snap from Shaun, a patient of my son-in-law, Rod, (who is a chiropractor here in Kanata), of the CSL self unloader LOUIS R. DESMARAIS entering upbound into Iroquois Lock. After being launched in Collingwood in 1977, the 730'x75' DESMARAIS was quite a versitile ship, able to service a variety of trades from coal to cement clicker to Seaway and Great Lakes ports in the summer months, and also being built with a bulbous bow which would have allowed her to handle forceful wave action with ease when working deep-sea in the winter months or when meeting with larger 'ocean' bulk carriers in the Gulf of St. Lawrence or in the Canso Strait to transferring coal, destined elsewhere across the pond. I'm not certain when Shaun's snap was taken, except it had to be prior to 2000 when LOUIS R. DESMARAIS entered Port Weller Dry Docks for conversion to 'SeawayMax' dimensions. During her stay in dry dock, the forebody of the DESMARAIS was removed and replaced with a new one that was longer and wider, new  state-of-the-art automated self unloading equipment was installed and after all was said and done, she re-entered service in April 2001 with also a new name, CSL LAURENTIEN.

Last February, I snapped the 740'x 78' CSL LAURENTIEN (below) going nowhere sitting high and steadfast in Port Colborne's winter ice. Though sporting a very different look up-forward from Shaun's snap at Iroquois lock (top), the converted LAURENTIAN (http://carlzboats.blogspot.ca/2012/04/while-laid-up-for-winter-of-2005-in.html) gives every appearance of being a hard worker and providing a good return on investment. Meanwhile, regardless of whatever name is painted on her hull, that original LOUIS R. DESMARAIS bridge, accommodations, and engine-room stern section (above&right) is looking pretty good for her age. Nothing wrong with sprucing things up as times change. Could be good for business, the bottom-line and, survival. Know What I Mean, Jelly Bean?
PS: Thanks for the snap, Shaun. Feel free to send more my way, Carl c);-b

PHOTO UPDATE: December 6, 2020

For whatever reason, unfortunately I haven't been able to photograph the big CSL LAURENTIEN that often and in fact the last time was on July 2, 2016 from the elevated observation platform at the Welland Canal's Lock 3 in St. Catharines. In these pics you'll see the LAURENTIEN enter, then be lowered and continue on her downbound transit to Lock 2 and beyond. 

Hey, if you're looking for an upfront in-your-face place to check out boats of all sizes, Lock 3 is truly it.  Regardless of all of the restriction due to  COVID-19, the observation deck and Welland Canal Museum, also located there is open to the public though there are some changes to make your visit safe and enjoyable during this nasty pandemic. Just click on this link for details https://www.stcatharines.ca/en/St-Catharines-Museum.asp 

She appears to be so close you could touch ✋ her, but you can't.

The average lift (or drop) for the seven Welland Canal flight locks that acts as steps for ships to traverse the Niagara Escarpment is 46.5 feet (14.2 meters).

Shadow of me far left in shorts taking pic as CSL LAURENTIEN motors out of the lock 😀

Gone but not forgotten ALGOWOOD approaches the double-leaf bascule Homer Street Bridge in the distance.

Sunday 1 December 2013

Barges BIG 503 & BIG 543 and Push Tug W.N. TWOLAN

This seem to be my year for 'First-timers'. At the Soo, I got to see my first of several 1000 footers like the EDWIN SPEERS (http://carlzboats.blogspot.ca/2013/09/self-unloader-edgar-b-speers.html). Then earlier I got to see the petite but effecient trailng dredger OCEAN TRAVERSE NORD (http://carlzboats.blogspot.ca/2013/06/trailing-suction-hopper-dredger-ocean.html) and then the VIKINGBANK with the reversed bow (http://carlzboats.blogspot.ca/2013/08/dry-cargo-ship-vikingbank.html). Having trouble controlling yourself too? Could there be any more first timers for me this year? You betcha!! Like I couldn't believe me eyes when I looked down river through my binocs and saw this big beautiful bulging pair, perked up and pointing high while being thrusting towards me with little resistance against a constant flow. YES!! 'Hello Girls'!! Introducing the barges BIG 543 & BIG 503 lashed securely and squeezed tight together side by side and tucked barely visible between their shapely rigged hopper covers, was the veterean tug W.N. TWOLAN. Hey, dirty mind there, I talking about a tug and a pair of barges here, not the regular fare at HOOTERS or a Victoria Secret catalog. Yes, I know I've posted the odd tug & barge coupling (STOP IT!), like the EVERLAST & NORM McLEOD (http://carlzboats.blogspot.ca/2012/11/tug-barge-everlast-norman-mcleod.html) and like those that my friend Jim in Maryland have  sent me that flop this way and that as they wind their way along the meandering Wicomico River to Salisbury, MD - like push boat ROANOKE & DOUBLESKIN 214 (http://carlzboats.blogspot.ca/2013/07/tanker-barge-double-skin-214-pushboat.html). However, they have only been a single barge being pushed by a tug, and that's how I've only seen it done along the Seaway and Welland Canal.
Those 'Big Girls' are both 190' long and 35' wide, so when they're paired together, there's still 2.5' on either side when passing through Seawaymax locks which are 80' wide. They are both well built in the States; BIG 503 in Jeffersonvile, Indiana in 2000, while the 543 was built in 2003 in Ashland City, Indiana. They were both probably built to do river trade service along the Mississippi and it's tributaries where they'll lash together as many 35 barges  (5 wide x 7 long) and the tug or push boat, would have a flat bow like the ROANOKE or NIKKI-JO-C (http://carlzboats.blogspot.ca/2013/02/push-boat-nikki-jo-c.html).

I was also surprised to see the old work horse tug, W.N. TWOLAN pushing the 'Girls' along past River Park in Brockville. It appeared the end was near for the TWOLAN as she was laid up next to the SALVAGE MONARCH (http://carlzboats.blogspot.ca/2013/04/tug-boat-salvage-monarch.html) a couple of summers ago until she was chartered out by Les Grains Lac Superior Ltee of Trois Rivieres, Quebec and placed to handle grain barges like the 'BIG Sisters' along the Seaway to Great Lakes ports like Hamilton, where they were heading to when I took these snaps. The twin screw W.N. TWOLAN was built in 1962 at Davie Shipyards in Lauzon, Quebec as a government tug and was based out of Churchill, Manitoba on Hudson Bay until 1986. Then, McKeil Marine of Hamilton purchased her to work in the much warmer waters of the Great Lakes. In 1995 the TWOLAN started towing logging barges for Buchanan Forest products of Thunder Bay, Ontario until this new gig pushing the busting BIG barges in 2011. If you ask me, they make a nice threesome. HELLO, I'm talking BOATS, here!! c);-b

Monday 25 November 2013

Carlz Boats: Tanker JANA DESGAGNES

Carlz Boats: Tanker JANA DESGAGNESThough 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. 


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 (http://carlzboats.blogspot.ca/2013/08/tanker-esta-desgagnes.html), 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, (http://carlzboats.blogspot.ca/2014/01/self-discharging-bulk-carrier-baie.html) or not c);-b

Sunday 10 November 2013


Carlz Boats: CCGS CAPORAL KAEBLE VCThis sleek and impressive looking ship is named after Joseph Thomas Kaeble who near Arras, France, with the 22nd (French Canadian) Battalion in 1918, and being the only one of his section unwounded, leapt from the trenches with his machine gun and single-handedly repulsed some 50 attacking Germans. He was fatally wounded and posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross, which is the highest and most prestigious award given in the British Commonwealth for gallantry in the face of the enemy.


The daylight saving requirement to turn back the clocks by hour arrived once again last Sunday morning, but despite the shortness of light and a daytime high of only 3.5C, my brave and faithful dog, Tanner and I made the best of a beautiful fall day along the St. Lawrence searching for new potential 'Carlz Boats' posts. We lucked out. At Brockville I snapped the oil tanker ALGOEAST as she effortlessly glided by upbound and then soon after, the tug W.N. TWOLAN pushing two grain barges lashed side by each continued to make her way towards Lake Ontario. Further downstream, I got a few good snaps of the laker-saltie CEDARGLEN transiting Iroquois Lock but the treasure of the day was what caught my eye in the distance, a red hulled vessel that didn't show up on any of my usual ship-search websites. Kind of 'off everyone's radar' or 'only those who needed to know', knew of her intentions and whereabouts. But as she got closer I began to realize the reason for the 'cloak & dagger' movement of the mystery vessel. It was the Canadian Coast Guard Hero-class patrol ship, CAPORAL KAEBLE VC.

CAPORAL KAEBLE VC is one of four Hero-class patrol vessels that are used in a joint program with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) to enhance maritime security along the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway system. A total of nine ship of this class were built at Halifax Shipyards and the KAEBLE, was launched in 2012. Each are 140'x23.3', and have a top speed of 25 knots or 46k/h. They also have a combined crew of 14 (8 CCG+6 RCMP or Fisheries) personnel and each can launch or retrieve rigid-hull inflatable boats while in motion. CAPORAL (French for 'Corporal) KAEBLE VC is the second of the nine mid-shore patrol vessels that are being named after RCMP, Canadian Coast Guard, Department of Fisheries & Oceans and Canadian Forces personnel who are credited with performing exceptional or heroic acts during their service.
This sleek and impressive looking ship is named after Joseph Thomas Kaeble who near Arras, France, with the 22nd (French Canadian) Battalion in 1918, and being the only one of his section unwounded, leapt from the trenches with his machine gun and single-handedly repulsed some 50 attacking Germans. He was fatally wounded and posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross, which is the highest and most prestigious award given in the British Commonwealth for gallantry in the face of the enemy. It indeed was a proud moment to photograph myself next to a bust of Caporal Kaeble at the Valiants Memorial at Confederation Square in Ottawa. He truly, 'Stood On Guard For Us'. Where would be be today without brave service people like Joseph Thomas Kaeble. Tomorrow, November 11, is Rememberance Day here in Canada, the day that not only marks the end of First World War but also a day for everyone to take moment and remember those Men and Women, Moms and Dads, Aunts and Uncles, Sisters and Brothers, Cousins or just Friends, who put their lives on line for the freedom we have today in conflicts before WWI and since.

So as the CAPORAL KAEBLE VC  gracefully started picking up speed to help get her a little closer to her next destination in Hamilton, Ontario, I will remember her not for just her impressive look and unique task, but also because of this ship's namesake 'Joseph Thomas Kaeble', a True Canadian Hero!  'Lest We Forget'.

Wednesday 6 November 2013

Bunkering Tanker HAMILTON ENERGY

As the high in the water ALGOMARINE  (http://carlzboats.blogspot.ca/2016/05/final-voyage-1-self-unloader-algomarine.html) below, slowly made her way towards Port Weller's Lock 1, the 201' and fully loaded former British coastal tanker,  HAMILTON ENERGY slipped in off Lake Ontario barely noticed. In fact, her silent-running approach required a stealth-like cormorant to divert its course to safely streak across the bunker tanker's bow to get to better fishing grounds on the other side of the channel.
Since being built in 1965 in Grangemouth, Scotland, HAMILTON ENERGY has seen many seas with many different names and though the end was near for this little work-horse, she continued to prove her worth daily until that day came along. When launched at Grangemouth Dockyards, her name was PARTINGTON, after a small town located along the Manchester Ship Canal in northwest England. Then, she primarily transferred refinered UK oil along the British coastline for Shell Oil. From 1979-81 she continued her services only with a new name, the SHELL SCIENTIST. In 1981, the SCIENTIST ventured across the big pond to Halifax and while then named METRO SUN, she continued to transport oil products to ports along the St. Lawrence River and Atlantic Canada. In 1985, she was purchased by Provmar Fuels of Hamilton, Ontario, and after being refitted as a bunkering tanker, the currently named HAMILTON ENERGY has been providing bunkering services for all kinds of ships from Hamilton to Oshawa to the Northern end of the Welland Canal in Port Weller. Probably her most famous top up of bunkering fuel went to the Royal Yacht, HMY BRITANNIA during her last voyage to the Great Lakes in 1996. HAMILTON ENERGY can carry up 1,260 tons of marine diesel and with the aid of a recently installed pitch propeller and stern thruster, along with her bow thruster and at least 50 old rubber tires lashed on either side, she simply motors up then ties off to the ship in need, tops up her tanks and then when all is good to go, HAMILTON ENERGY sails to her next customer or a fill up of her own hold back in Hamilton. No drive thru self service here. Simply an embracing cuddle then full service fuelling with a smile. Just like the old days at the neighbourhood Texaco or White Rose service station. Those were the days, my Friends!! c);-b  

Wednesday 30 October 2013

Self Unloader ALGOMARINE

Before jumping on the QEW and heading back home after a few days in Port Colborne earlier this month, I was able to snap the approaching 730' self unloader ALGOMARINE as she carefully made her way to the west wall which is used to guide ships into Lock 1 (bottom snap) at Port Weller which is the Lake Ontario entrance to the Welland Canal.
The ALGOMARINE, which is beginning to show her age was built in 1968 at the Davie Shipyards in Lauzon, Quebec. Owned by Nipigon Transport of Montreal, she then looked like a typical classic Great Lakes 'straightdecker' and her name was LAKE MANITOBA. Along with her fleetmates, LAKE WINNIPEG, LAKE NIPIGON and LAKE WABUSH each were active in the Canadian prairie grain trade eastward and then more often returned upbound with a load of iron ore. From what I recall growing up along the canal back then, regardless of their cargo, each ship was always kept clean and their black stacks displayed a huge 'green' Maple Leaf on a white rounded background. Very impressive ships. However in 1987, Algoma Central took over the Nipigon's fleet with the exception of the WINNIPEG (because she had already had been scrapped). The LAKE NIPIGON had her name changed to ALGONORTH, the LAKE WABUSH was converted in a self unloader and is now known as the CAPT. HENRY JACKMAN (http://carlzboats.blogspot.ca/2013/02/self-unloader-capt-henry-jackman.html) and LAKE MANITOBA had her name changed to ALGOMARINE and was also converted into stern mounted self unloader like fleetmate ALGOSTEEL (http://carlzboats.blogspot.ca/2013/09/self-unloader-algosteel.html).
Also coming in of the lake and in the background above, is the 201' bunker tanker HAMILTON ENERGY. Now that's a ship with an interesting past and will be highlighted soon in a future Carlz Boats. I know, you can hardly wait, or NOT!!  c);-b  

Sunday 27 October 2013

Oil/Chemical Tanker WESER

WooHoo!! We made it to the World Headquarters of BOATNERD.COM at Vantage Point, Port Huron, Michigan. YEAH! Like they are my 'Main Man' for all kinds of stuff on American and Canadian “Lakers” and foreign “Salties”. Whether it's freighters, tugs, passenger ships or more, BOATNERD.COM is the “Guru” 🧘🏻‍♂️, the “Crystal Ball” 🔮 when needing to know where that boat is NOW!! - whether underway, anchored or moored anywhere on the Great Lakes from Duluth and the Lakehead, to eastern Lake Ontario's entrance to the St. Lawrence Seaway. Does it get any better? Apparently not, because just before entering their unique Marine Center, we were told they were just about to close. YIKES!! No souvenirs, No look at ship models and photos, No online searching, NO!! NO!! NO!! 😬  
No, no I wasn’t angry. It was just poor planning on my part because BOATNERD.COM is all run by volunteers and they need  their time to snap 📸 boats too, eh. However I’ll admit it, it did feel a bit like a Griswold moment like what Chevy Chase’s family felt like in the National Lampoon movie 'VACATION' who after driving clear across America, stood in shock when arriving at the fictitious amusement park 'Walley World' only to find it was closed for repairs. Boo-Hoo 😢 but at the BOATNERD.COM World Headquarters you’ll get over it real fast because there you can still walk over to the St. Clair River and look for boats. No fences to keep you away. Oh YAAA 👍🏻🚢👍🏻
Unfortunately nothing was passing by just then, but when looking down river I could see the ALGORAIL (http://carlzboats.blogspot.ca/2013/10/self-unloader-algoway.html) about to discharge a load of stone on the Sarnia side along with the tanker ALGOEAST moored at the Esso dock. Up river though also on the Sarnia side, sat the tanker WESER which looked awfully familiar....

...because the last time I saw her in Havana, Cuba in January, she bore the name CHEMTRAN WESER (http://carlzboats.blogspot.ca/2013/01/oilchemical-tanker-chemtrans-weser.html). Still flying the flag of Liberia, the 420' German owned tanker, had her name changed to simply WESER shortly after she left Havana for reasons unknown to me. Meanwhile, after filling her tanks with a Canadian crude byproduct, the WESER is currently making her way through the Gulf of St. Lawrence on her way to Venspils, Latvia. I wonder what she'll be named the next time I see the WESER. Go ahead, surprise me!! c);-b

Friday 18 October 2013


Believe It or Don't!! Some would rather  fish the St. Mary's River at Sault Ste. Marie than snap photos of super large ships transiting the Soo Locks. Are you out of your @#$%^&* minds? Sorry for the foul outburst there, or NOT! Actually, you don't have to be 'loonie' to spend your off time fly-casting the day away because apparently the 'rapids of the St. Mary's' (a.k.a: Sault Ste. Marie), are loaded with rainbow trout, whitefish, pink & coho salmon, steelhead, brown trout, and on some days you may even reel in a walleye, small-mouth bass or lake trout as the frigid waters of Lake Superior drops the twenty or so feet making its way towards the lower Great Lakes and/or your filled to the brim hip-waders. YIKES!! c):-()
Or you may consider slowly trawling along near one of the hydro dams located on either side of the river like the two anglers above were doing in their aluminum skiff a few weeks ago as I snapped the big AMERICAN CENTURY slowly making her way downbound from the equally large, Poe Lock.
When launched in 1980 at the Bay Shipbuilding yards in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, this 1000'x105' monster self unloader was named COLUMBIA STAR and was owned by the Oglebay Norton Co. of Cleveland, Ohio. She can carry up 78,850 tons of cargo which may consist coal or talconite pellets and with her 260' boom, she can cast out her load at a rate of 10,000 tons per hour. In 2006 the STAR was sold to American Steamship Co. of Williamsville, New York and her name was changed to AMERICAN CENTURY. Just like fishing, snapping a big one like the CENTURY requires an abundance of patience and an understanding that some may get away to be caught another day. After being released from the lock, the AMERICAN CENTURY slowly but surely passed by the articulated tug and barge, JOYCE L. VANENKEVORT and GREAT LAKES TRADER, then motored past Cloverland Electric Power generation building towards a downstream destination. 

Hey, if you're bored stiff one day with nothing to do, you can always check out the Lake Superior State University Fish Cam which is located at the eastern outport of the hydro dam at http://www.lssu.edu/arl/fishcam.php , or NOT!! c);-b