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