Sunday 28 December 2014


The last time we ventured down to the St. Lawrence River on Boxing Day there was all kinds of snow on the ground, the temperature was -11 celsius and in the wind, it felt more like -18. BRRR c):-o Well rested and with our tummies full after a great Christmas dinner at our daughter's in Kanata, and with the daytime temperature hovering around +6 celsius, it was all systems go for our last trip down to the river for 2014.

For most Canadians though, whether the weather on Boxing Day is stinking cold or balmy like it was on Friday, it's not a big issue because for the most part they're just mulling around or standing in line at a big box or shopping mall store in climate controlled comfort while snapping up "deals of a lifetime" during the biggest Canadian sales event of the year.
Boxing Day falls on the day after Christmas and though when it started in mid 1800's as a day when British employers would give their workers or servants special gifts of food or money in a "BOX", today in Canada and many other commonwealth countries, "Boxing Day" is a sales holiday much like "Black Friday" is in the United States after their Thanksgiving where retailers will dramatically drop prices throughout the store.
However in recent years, retailers have expanded the sales event to "Boxing Week" which allows more time to burst your budget, or for boatnerds like ourselves the opportunity to snap the many down bound salties that are frantically attempting to make it out of of the St. Lawrence Seaway before it closes for the winter on December 31st, much like the bulk carrier BLACKY was doing when I snapped her passing the Morrisburg dock and my shivering spouse, Janie and TannerDog 2 years ago. See more about the BLACKY here:, or NOT c);-b
Meanwhile, back at the blog, it certainly was uniquely mild when I snapped our first boat find of the day, the 607" FEDERAL MATTAWA below the Battle of Crysler's Farm Park near Morrisburg, but the wind was howling and I nearly lost my hat. c(:-() In fact earlier in the day, wind gusts were reported to be as high as 60 mph causing many boats to seek shelter in Prince Edward Bay west of Kingston until the winds dropped to a safer speed to navigate the narrow Thousand Island section of the upper St. Lawrence River. Wrong time of year to be blown aground, eh. c):-O

The bulk carrier FEDERAL MATTAWA was built at the Wenchong Shipyards in Guangzhou, China in 2005. Though she flies the flag of Malta, the MATTAWA is German owned but chartered to Fednav of Montreal, Quebec. Fednav is Canada's largest ocean-going dry bulk shipping company and manages over 100 owned or chartered ships throughout the world. They are also the international leader in shipping on the Great Lakes, as well as the Canadian Arctic. Feel free to check out my post about their icebreaking bulk carrier, the ARCTIC, a ship that would have been handy last winter when that "Polar Vortex" locked up the Great Lakes of ice real good. That link is:
Fednav ships that we see along the Seaway and Great Lakes are generally well maintained, and after their word mark prefix, "FEDERAL" each ship features the name of an international port like or a Canadian river like the "MATTAWA" which flows into the Ottawa River about 300 km northeast of here. On another breezy and balmy day last September, I snapped the MATTAWA as she motored past Windsor, Ontario on the Detroit River in the snaps below.
Meanwhile, the FEDERAL MATTAWA has since cleared the Seaway and is well on her way to Ghent, Belgium, with her load of "Boxing Day Bargains" or NOT! c);-b

Sunday 14 December 2014

Multi Purpose Dry Cargo Ship EDENBORG

Though named after the beautiful and enchanted biblical garden that you may have heard or read about in Sunday School or Catechism, the only thing that the 452' EDENBORG looked fruitful of, was "RUST!!". c):-o I snapped the multi purpose dry cargo ship in September 2012 during our "Whirlwind Tour to the Soo & Back" and since she was parked at the Purvis Marine Salvage dock, is it safe to presume she's was picking up a load of recycled steel, hence her own scrappy appearance? c):-S
Hardly the case but rather her overwhelming display of rust has resulted from constantly battling the harsh ocean seas and salt being sprayed across her bow and all over during several trans-Atlantic crossings annually. Actually her looks clearly explains why we inland-seas boatnerds call them "Salties".
Built in 2010 at her homeport of Delfzijl, Netherlands, the EDENBORG is owned by Royal Wagenborg Shipping which is also based in Delfzijl. Anyone who has spent time snapping boats throughout the Great Lakes, will have seen many Wagenborg ships, all with their red banded grey hull, bold white superstructure and with their names ending with the suffix, "BORG", which is norse for "Fortified or Castle-like". Also, FYI: "WAGEN" is old Dutch for "Wagon" or when used as a verb, it means "To Venture". Therefore, according to the 2014 issue of "Know Your SHIPS", of Wagenborg's fleet of 180 'fortified castle-like' ships, 52 of them 'ventured' through the Great Lakes last year. I did not know that. c):-o
The first Wagenborg ship that we came across was the 469' ATLANTICBORG on Canada Day 2012. I snapped her (below) at Cardinal, Ontario laden with wind turbines bound for near Ogdensburg, New York. To read more about our ATLANTICBORG sighting, click on to this link:, or NOT.

Two end of day snaps of two 'sleek and serpent' looking Wagenborg multi purpose cargo ships, and my last batch of boat snaps taken on the Canadian side of the Soo. What we snapped on the other side of the bridge and St. Clair River during that trip, or during our other boat watching adventures to New Orleans, the Detroit River, Fremantle, Australia or while picnicking along the Seaway will be coming along soon to a Carlz Boats near you. I know you can hardly wait. c);-b

Sunday 7 December 2014


As the upbound CCGS GRIFFON motors beyond Bridge 21 in Port Colborne on Thursday, Nov. 27, the usually working tug JARRETT M rests a spell along the West Street wall waiting for her fleetmate, EVANS MCKEIL to arrive from Toledo, Ohio with her scrap tow, the classic American self unloader AMERICAN FORTITUDE. Just like any job, you take your break when you can because you don't know when the next one will come along. Such was case for the EVANS who had the sole responsibility to deliver the once mighty 690' FORTITUDE almost the full length of Lake Erie down to the Welland Canal entrance at Port Colborne, a slow pace 40 hour plus journey that would normal take less than 16 hours at full speed. Later that evening, JARRET M's siesta came to an end, as she took on a line and positioned herself beyond AMERICAN FORTITUDE's stern. There, the JARRETT took up the task of acting as the tow's rudder and reversed engine when needed while EVANS MCKEIL continued to lead the way into Port Colborne harbour. As Nathan Attard's snap below shows, the FORTITUDE looked no worse that most active lakers as she sits tied off to the east wall. While parked there, the old self unloader was inspected by Seaway officials before her passage through the system could commence. Nice couple of snaps there Nathan!! c):-))
When launched at American Shipbuilding of Lorain, Ohio in November 1952 for National Steel of Cleveland, she was a traditional "straightdecker" and her name was ERNEST T. WEIR. Though coal was a known cargo, she primarily hauled iron ore from north Superior to the steel mills in Cleveland. In one transit across Lake Superior, the WEIR was not far from where another famous ore carrier sank on November 10, 1975, the EDMUND FITZGERALD. In 1978 ERNEST T. WEIR was sold to the Oglebay Norton subsiary, Columbia Transportation and the ship ironically became the flagship for their fleet, replacing the ill-fated FITZGERALD. Soon after, her name was changed to COURTNEY BURTON and then the straightdecker was converted to a self unloader in 1981 at Bay Shipbuilding of Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin. In 2006, the BURTON and her six fleetmates were sold to the American Steamship Company of Williamsville, New York. To commemorated America's proud and brave heritage, each of the sisters were given a new name. They were AMERICAN VALOR, AMERICAN COURAGE, AMERICAN VICTORY, AMERICAN INTEGRITY, AMERICAN CENTURY, and the COURTNEY BURTON became known as AMERICAN FORTITUDE. With a new name and owner, the FORTITUDE kept herself busy throughout the Great Lakes hauling iron ore, coal, stone, sand, salt and bulk agriculture products like grain and oats until she went into longterm layup at Toledo, Ohio in 2008. No longer of use and with her proud name painted over, the FORTITUDE left her Great Lakes berth in the wee hours of November 26th bound for Brownsville, Texas to be cut up for scrap.
Inspection completed and a pilot aboard the EVANS MCKEIL, the slow going downbound scrap tow got underway early Saturday morning, on November 29th. Regardless of her name, the tow was no stranger to the Welland Canal. In 2005 COURTNEY BURTON transited the canal on her way to Hamilton where she took on a load of grain destined for Buffalo, New York via the Welland Canal.
After clearing Port Weller at about 8 PM Saturday evening, the lumbering threesome skirted along the north shore of New York state while transiting Lake Ontario to the Thousand Island and St Lawrence River. My friend Shaun Judge snapped these shots of the FORTITUDE and her escorts motoring along near Mallorytown on December 1st.
She probably would have been motoring along at a pretty good clip the last time she passed by this section of the seaway in 1959.
Then her name was ERNEST T. WEIR, carrying ore destined for Cleveland from Sept Isle, Quebec which became a new source of the raw mineral due to the then recent opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway.
In lead position, the 110' and 23 tonne bollard pull EVANS MCKEIL continues to provide the thrust needed to get her tow moving closer to a transfer point at Quebec City where an ocean-going tug was to takeover the line and complete the tow to Brownsville. By the way, EVANS MCKEIL was built in 1936 at the Panama Canal Shipyards in Balboa, Panama and has worked hard for the Hamilton based McKeil Marine since 1989.
Nice thru & thru shot of the bow thruster there Shaun. c):-o

Though she appears to be tagging along for the ride, the 82' JARRETT M must always be at the ready to crank on her twin screws and powerful 2000 horse power engine to keep her tow on line and away from the low-water shoals that has been an annoyance for many seaway transits this year.
When built for McQueen Marine in 1945 at Russell Brothers in Owen Sound, Ontario, her name was ATOMIC, a name she kept until 2006 when it was changed to JARRETT M.

Just mile away from completing the delicate passage through the Seaway and then on down to the deeper and open waters of the St. Lawrence River, the scrap tow came to a dead stop just below Cote Ste. Catherine lock last Wednesday. Initially it was said the unscheduled mooring was simply a precaution due to strong winds blowing through further down on the river beyond Montreal. Then yesterday the lead tug EVANS MCKEIL left the tow and got underway "upbound" and is currently positioned on Lake Ontario beyond Prince Edward County, and motoring at full speed westward for reasons unknown. Meanwhile, the EILEEN MCALLISTER, the tug that was supposed to takeover the tow and deliver her Brownsville, Texas, departed her berth in Quebec City yesterday too and appears to be heading at full speed to her homeport of New York City. As for the JARRETT M and her crew, it appears another extended break is in order and whether sitting idle in Toledo for eight years or doing the same along a seaway pier in Quebec, the inevitable of being cut up as scrap simply gets delayed another day, or week or several months if the AMERICAN FORTITUDE has been moved beyond St. Lambert Lock when the Seaway closes for the season on December 31st. This scrap tow ain't going to be over until it's over. c);-b To be continued...