Sunday 27 December 2015

Multi-purpose Dry Cargo Carrier BEATRIX

Yesterday was "Boxing Day" in Canada!! Yes, that special event like America's "Black Friday", that is known as the busiest shopping day of the year and because of all the "olive-coloured" twenty dollar bills that are handed over to cashiers, Canada deservedly is given the moniker "The Great Green North" for a day. However, due to the combined unpredictable weather conditions sent our way from this year's El Niño and the jet-stream's Pacific instead of Arctic air flows, the "Great GREEN North" label is probably more justified because this neck of woods has been experiencing hardly any snow and some unbelievably warm temperatures throughout the month December.
While normal Ottawa daytime highs for December usually hover just below freezing, many daytime highs this month reached double digit above freezing temperatures including Christmas Eve Day where the "Coldest Capital in the World" reached a balmy +17° Celsius (or 58F), which instead of shopping for last-minute Christmas gifts, many duffers were out playing around of golf at area courses simply to to brag that they could. Also, while normally our lawns and gardens would be blanketed with a layer of 5-10cm of snow that often remained there until spring, this year all you see is beautiful green grass, budding lilac bushes, and even our garden's irises and tulips are starting to break through the ground.

Talking about tulips, there was a certain air or confidence about her as the 507' Wagenborg general cargo carrier BEATRIX cleared the shoreline arbour beneath Windmill Light Point last July and proudly sliced her way through the ocean bound current of the St. Lawrence River with pomp and circumstances. Of course it made perfect sense because this little beauty was named after the former Queen of the Netherlands from 1980-2013 and a women who new Canada well and appreciated all that we did while harbouring the Dutch Royal Family during the Second World War.

When World War II broke out in the Netherlands in 1940, the Dutch Royal family fled to England. Soon after, the infant Princess Beatrix, her sister Irene, and mother, Juliana moved to Ottawa where they resided in Rockcliffe's Stornaway House (current residence to Canada's Leader of the Opposition) until the war ended in 1945. While growing up in Ottawa, Princess Beatrix attended Rockcliffe Public School where she was known as "Trixie Orange". Especially noteworthy during their time in Canada was Princess Margriet's birth at the Ottawa Civic Hospital in 1943 where the maternity ward was officially declared a "temporary international territory" so that baby Margriet would be born in no country and would inherit only her Dutch citizenship from her mother, Princess Juliana.
In gratitude for Canadians having sheltered Princess Juliana and her daughters during the three year Nazi occupation of the Netherlands during WWII. the Dutch Royal Family sent 100,000 tulip bulbs to Ottawa. In 1946, Princess Juliana sent another 20,500 bulbs requesting that a display be created for the hospital, and promised to send 10,000 more bulbs each year. The Dutch Royals kept their promise and now annually over 500,000 people visit Ottawa every May to view Holland's gifts to Canada in full bloom at the Canadian Tulip Festival, which is claimed to be the world's largest. c):-))

Meanwhile, back at the boat blog, along with a prestigious name, the 507' BEATRIX is uniquely designed to carry a variety of dry cargoes in her holds or up to 475 TEU containers. Though her name was FIVELBORG when she was launched in 2009 in Leer, Germany, the BEATRIX flies the flag the Netherlands and her homeport is Delfzijl.
On that day in July, the sleek and slender BEATRIX swayed like in a warm spring breeze while negotiating the various required turns along the St. Lawrence allowing her to reach her final upbound destination without incident. It's all we can do during this premature early spring but except what we receive until old man winter returns. No rush with that eh! c):-()

Wednesday 9 December 2015

Bulk Carrier EIDER

All kinds of weird things are known to happen during a "Full Moon" like suffering from insomnia, unexplained acts of craziness or lunacy, magical phenomena like "werewolf" sightings apparently and higher than usual tides are all traditionally associated to when the moon is at its fullness. Well, that big lunar pizza-pie that appears to be moments away from hitting the EIDER's wheelhouse on the evening of September 26 when I snapped the 656' bulk carrier passing Brockville, is not actually a full moon but rather a "waxing gibbous moon" because it's was only 97% full. Really? c):-o In fact the moon that appeared the next night was actually called a "Super Blood Moon" because of it's closest approach to Earth and a uniquely red glow appearance. Whether the moon was full, or super or bloody, it didn't really matter because all we got to see up here in Ottawa were "clouds". c):-()
There was only a "Half Moon" on the night that I full-force belly-flopped the asphalt while rushing via a shortcut to get to work. Even if  the moon was full, I don't believe the outcome would have been much different as I was truly in the dark, and in the wrong place at the wrong time. What will be, will be and now after months of patiently enduring the various physio and chiropractic treatments needed to heal my aches and breaks, I'm happy to say I'm back and in the two weeks that I have been completing my tasks as an Ottawa transit bus operator, I haven't once broken a knee-cap or sprained an ankle (knock on wood or a patella).

Whether out and about or motoring the streets of Ottawa, I know where I'm going, and taking no risks. I guess you can say I'm following the path most travelled much like the EIDER did as she made her way downbound through the treacherous Brockville Narrows.
Located at the eastern end of the Thousand Islands, the 3 mile Narrows consists of 70 islands and 60 shoals. As you can see on my "Tacky Cut & Paste Version of 2 Actual Nautical Charts" below, the International Shipping Channel which lies between the Brockville Islands and the Canadian mainland poses a real hazard along the entire route due to the narrowness of the river and all those islands that fill the river from bank to bank. No short cuts allowed here as the channel that parallels the Narrows close to the New York shore is not suitable for deep draft vessels as some of the shoals sit in 3 feet of water, or less. YIKES!!
Tacky Cut & Paste Version of 2 Actual Nautical Charts.

My only venture through the Brockville Narrows came in August 1996, when I had the pleasure of being a guest on the bridge of my son's ship, the Canadian frigate, HMCS TORONTO as she motored upbound to Lake Ontario and her next port of call, Port Hope. While GPS maybe essential today to transit the Brockville Narrows and for that matter any channel or harbour throughout the world, on that Sunday morning, it was the TORONTO's radar systems, depth soundings and the good old naked-eye of her crew and officers diligently identifying and then calling out the location of navigational aids and nearby landmarks to continually plot her position throughout her passage. That was quite the thrill and to read more about that excellent adventure on HMCS TORONTO, click this link: 

Meanwhile, the bulk carrier EIDER was built in 2004 at the Tianjin Yingang Shipyards in Tianjin, China and though she is owned by Parakou Shipping of Hong Kong, China, the EIDER is one of 28 bulk carriers that are chartered by Canadian Forest Navigation of Montreal. Almost every ship is painted the same colour scheme: hunter green hull, white superstructure, and light yellow cranes and stack. Each ship is also named after a "duck". By the way, the Common Eider is a large sea-duck that calls the north coasts of Europe, North America and Siberia home. The eider's nest is built close to the sea and is lined with the celebrated eiderdown which is plucked from the female's breast. Although eiderdown pillows and quilts are now a rarity, harvesting does continue once the ducklings have left the nest. Hence the term "Get Down!!" c):-()

I could be wrong about that last part but if you have some "down-time", feel free to check out these other "duck boat" posts, or NOT.

Sunday 22 November 2015


Old Iroquois Lock at the eastern entrance to the former Galop Canal has to be one of my most favourite locations to snap boats since starting this blog just over three and half years ago. The place has a lot of sentimental value for me because as my Dad told me just months before he died, it was a lock his boat, the BIRCHTON, would transit during their upbound passages to the Great Lakes. While so many other once historic structural marvels are torn down to make way for progress like what St. Catharines, Ontario did during the city's ongoing expansions by bulldozing over many sections of earlier Welland Canals to make way for the then new four-lane highway 406, this old 800' Lock 25 in Iroquois still appears a lot like what my Dad described twenty-four years ago.
True the gates are gone that once allowed canallers like my Dad's BIRCHTON (above, in a photo from Ron Beaupre's collection) to be lifted to the next level in the canal's 15.5' climb needed to bypass three sets of rapids, but the remaining original stone walls, tie-off snub-posts and weathered lockmaster's shack in plain sight offers an ideal setting to snap either an upbound in the distance slowing down as she approaches the current Iroquois Lock, or a downbound kicking up a wake while motoring on to the next Seaway lock, Eisenhower or destinations beyond below. Here's a few examples:
Upbound Algoma Central self unloader ALGOMA ENTERPRISE - September 14, 2015
Upbound Polesteam bulk carier OLZA - November 13, 2015
Upbound Algoma Central self unloader ALGOLAKE - October 18, 2015
Downbound former Canada Steamship Lines bulk carrier BIRCHGLEN - May 19, 2013
No matter what direction I gaze or snap, I can see what my Dad was talking about except, what's that across from the shack, along the lock's north wall? Is it a tug, or a fishing boat? All her curtains are drawn, so could she be a houseboat? One thing is for certain though, she's always there. With the exception of a Canada flag and wind-sock fluttering in the breeze in the more recent snaps above, the little boat has remained lifeless during every one of my visits to the lock which is also being used as a marina.
Her name is EDITH GAUTHIER  and according to what has been painted on her stern, her homeport is Midland, Ontario.  "So what brought you here, little lady to this lonely lock wall along the old Galop Canal.? What is your story?"

For much of my research, the 56' steel-hulled timid miss remained a mystery as all I could find out more from my friends, was that she was built as tug at George Gamble Shipyards of Port Dover, Ontario in 1934 and  for Charles H. Gauthier of East Windsor. Not much to go with, I thought until I found out more about Mr. C.H. Gauthier, who since before the turn of the twentieth century, owned a flourishing fishing fleet and packing plant near the mouth of the French River, which flows into northern waters of Georgian Bay. COOL!! c):-o, I thought but then thanks to Mr. Google, the story got even better.
In an article I found entitled "Commercial Fishing, Key Harbour Area" written by Susan McKay in the summer of 2009 KEY EXCHANGE, there's a description in one paragraph on page 3 that talks about the picture below which was taken in the 1950's and that the larger vessel (centre) is the EDITH G, Gauthier's new fish tug. The article goes on to say that it was a steel-hulled tug and she had the latest equipment. It's a very interesting article and feel free to check it out by clicking on to this link above:  (
I must admit that with the exception of the current raised wheelhouse, the tug in the photocopied displayed the same lines and look as the tied off at Iroquois Lock, EDITH GAUTHIER and if it were her, how did she end up on the St. Lawrence River? c):-s The mystery continued...

...until I decided to contact her current owner, Ronald J. Cowalchuk of Gloucester, Ontario whose name was mentioned on the EDITH GAUTHIER's Transport Canada vessel registration document which was processed in 1973. I lucked out on my first call, and what a worthwhile discussion it was. Basically, Mr. Cowalchuk verified everything that I had found online and included that Gauthier Fisheries specialized in marketing whitefish and since the EDITH was the largest tug in their fleet and equipped with a refrigeration system, smaller fishing boats would transfer their catch to her. The EDITH GAUTHIER was a powerful boat, made of steel and had a reinforced ice breaking bow, which all were very important traits because she was tasked to get her valuable combined catch on the next available train to Toronto from the main railway terminus that was located then in the Midland, Ontario. Ah, Midland (homeport) c):-D  
When he purchased her in 1984,  Ronald Cowalchuk became the second owner of the GAUTHIER after the fishing company closed in the 1960's due to  declining stocks and the arrival of invasive species like lamprey eels which entered the Great Lakes soon after the opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway. After leaving the dry dock with an extended and raised superstructure along with a new Detroit diesel engine, EDITH GAUTHIER was motored to the St. Lawrence River and started a new career as a scuba-diving tender. With the St. Lawrence known for its fresh water diving, the EDITH offered easy access to the many well preserved 150 year old sunken wooden vessels and the space to accommodate up to sixteen divers and their equipment at one time. However due to ongoing classification issues with the Department of Transportation, Ronald Cowalchuk's dive  tender and excursion business closed in 2002.

From "Pride of the Fleet" fishing tug, to versatile platform for scuba-divers, to a home-away- from-home houseboat, EDITH GAUTHIER's outcome hasn't been that bad like others of her kind becoming homes to spiders and snake while left high and dry in a farmer's field or fodder for a breaker's torch. As for me, EDITH GAUTHIER  makes a photo great either as a prop or on her own. Until my next visit to old Iroquois Lock, live on my little lady. c):-))

Pageviewer Gallery:

Steve Briggs who's the administrator for the Facebook group "Russel Brothers Boats" and RUSSELBROTHERS.CA sent me this photo from the Bob Plakholm photo collection of the EDITH GAUTHIER still resembling the traditional "tug" look from when she was built on 1934 by George Gamble in Port Dover. Sitting high on shore, EDITH GAUTHIER was at Russel Brothers Boats shipyard in 1967 for repairs and obviously a new coat of paint, which glistens in Mr. Plakholm's photo.

Also an interesting comment below by Charles Gauthier of Windsor who mentioned that  his dad, Falconer Gauthier owned the EDITH GAUTHIER when he ran the fisheries after the passing of his father, C.H. Gauthier. Thanks for your input Steve Briggs and Charles Gauthier. You've answered a lot of questions but there's still one mystery, who was her namesake, "EDITH GAUTHIER"?
- Ask and you shall receive, as earlier this month (September 6, 2019) Charles Gauthier of Windsor was kind enough again to send along even more interesting information that: the "EDITH GAUTHIER" was name of C.H. Gauthier's wife, Edith.  What more is their needed to know? I think that about it and thanks again Charles. 😊

Tuesday 10 November 2015

Gearless Bulk Carrier PINEGLEN (Revisited)

It was pretty much a "Hell frozen-over" kind of day when I snapped the lifeless 736' CSL bulk carrier PINEGLEN locked in the ice at Pier 36 in Toronto Harbour last February. True the weather conditions weren't as bad as the previous year's ice-age like "Polar Vortex" which made life for those of us living north of the Great Lakes totally unbearable, it was awfully darn cold for anyone out and about Toronto's Queen Quay that day, let alone some idiot boatnerd attempting to pick off his unknowing prey while perched almongst mountainously pilled high snow banks while trying to remain steady in swirling snow and sub zero wind chills. c);-b

It's not my fault. Winter layup is the best time of year to snap a subject as it sits motionless in plain sight for the taking while her crews complete required upgrades and maintainence activity onboard in preparation for the upcoming spring shipping season to commence just a month or so away. Or at least so thought until during my next visitor to Toronto Harbour on Sept 24th, there sat the PINEGLEN in ballast where she's been since December 30, 2014 still waiting for her "Spring" to begin. c):-o
If PINEGLEN had a mind of her own she'd probably be wondering, "What gives?" c):-()
Since the day she was launched in 1985 for N.M. Paterson & Sons of Thunder Bay, Ontario as the PATERSON, this gearless bulk carrier has continuously been busy carrying Western Canada and Ontario grain products to Quebec's St. Lawrence River elevators in Sorel, Quebec City, Baie Comeau, and Port Cartier before returning to Hamilton and upper Great Lakes steel mills with Labrador iron ore.
Just three months after her maiden voyage, PATERSON set her first of many Seaway cargo records with 28,155 tons of grain from Thunder Bay on September 9, 1985. She continued to break Seaway cargo records in barley, iron ore, soybeans and canola even after she was sold to Canada Steamship Lines in 2002 and renamed PINEGLEN when N.M. Paterson & Sons ceased operations.
Regardless of all of her past accomplishments, the situation could have been far worse for the PINEGLEN and her extended end of shipping season layup. As CSL introduced their new state-of-the-art and eco-friendly Trillium-class self-discharging bulk carriers to their fleet just a year earlier, the harsh winds of change became evident as the process of taking older and less efficient ships out of service began. The 730' RICHELIEU, snapped above near Cardinal, Ontario, in late November 2012 and featured on May 2013 (, was the first former CSL bulk carrier to motor her way to Aliaga, Turkey for dismantling in August 2013. Her sister ship, the SAGUENAY which I featured on February 5, 2013 ( followed soon after. Little did I know that when I snapped the SAGUENAY (below) back on December 26, 2013 near Mariatown, it would be her last Great Lakes downbound passage. c):-(

When launched in 1983, the BIRCHGLEN was specifically designed for St. Catharines' Misener Transportation to service the Great Lakes grain and ore trades while the Seaway remained open, then switching to deep-sea operations during the winter months. Her name then was CANADA MARQUIS and prior to being purchased by CSL in 2003, she spent many more years at sea (and the Great Lakes) like fleetmate MAPLEGLEN when owned by FedNav Ltd of Montreal. Though only a few years older than 30,  BIRCHGLEN and MAPLEGLEN were both the next CSL seasoned veterans to be taken out of service in September and are currently being recycled in Turkey.
For more photos and info about the BIRCHGLEN and MAPLEGLEN, check out these neat Carlz Boats links
 (, ( &
(, or NOT!!
Barely visible behind the cranes of Toronto Dry Docks' recently acquired heavy-lift barge COASTAL TITAN, the mature bulker PINEGLEN's extended short term layup continues, just like fleetmates CEDARGLEN in Goderich and ATLANTIC ERIE in Montreal. Two GLEN's that recently became active again since their winter layup began in Montreal last December are the SPRUCEGLEN and OAKGLEN. With only six weeks left in the Great Lakes shipping season, time is running out for PINEGLEN's "Spring" to begin this year****. Meanwhile, here's a Youtube video I found of the PINEGLEN motoring beneath the Glendale lift bridge on the Welland Canal on December 1, 2012 ( Enjoy her beauty now before her season comes to an end for good. c):-(

UPDATE 1: Within days of publishing this post, not only did the PINEGLEN get underway, but so did her other laid up "GLEN" fleetmates: the CEDARGLEN and OAKGLEN. c):-D As for ATLANTIC ERIE, she remained marooned in Montreal until November 4, 2016 when she left the port under tow and destined for Turkey for dismantling c):-((

UPDATE 2: Unfortunately no big bumper crop of grain will be putting the PINEGLEN back to work this summer as the gearless bulk carrier which has been laid up in Montreal since late December was sold in July. With her name and CSL markings painted over as shown in René Beauchamp's photo below, it's only a matter of time before the former Paterson & Sons laker will take her final voyage under tow for dismantling.
                                                                      Photo by René Beauchamp - August 6, 2017

Saturday 31 October 2015

Tow Boat EMERALD COAST & Tanker Barge VB-38

Another hard working gem that's been sitting in my "2Bdone" folder for far too long is the 71' towboat EMERALD COAST taken here by my good friend Jim Moyer of Salisbury, Maryland. I don't know who said it but I know we can all agree that "life is not a straight line" and so is true of the the twenty-four and a half mile Chesapeake Bay tributary and tidal estuary, the Wicomico River.
According to some towboat skippers, the passage along the Wicomico with its many bends and turns is a nerve racking "sweaty-palms" experience, specially when pushing tanker barges like the EMERALD COAST is doing in all three snaps. Up here in the Great White North, where trucks and trains are mostly used to haul a variety of liquid goods from community to community, clean oil tanker barges like EMERALD COAST's payload, the 292' VB-38 are used to carry over 4 million barrels of petroleum products annually into Salisbury, the State of Maryland's second largest port.
When launched in 1973 at Main Iron Works in Houma, Louisiana,  Jim's  "Little Toot" which he snapped from his canoe, was named MAGGIE SWAN. Currently named after the emerald-green waters along Florida's northern Gulf of Mexico shoreline, the twin screw and flat bowed EMERALD COAST is owned by Dann Marine Towing of Chesapeake City, Maryland.
Meanwhile, the VB-38 which can carry up to 33,000 barrels of clean oil, was built in 1973 in Gulfport Shipyards of Port Arthur, Texas, and when launched the name she was given was INTERSTATE 38. In 1974, she became TEXACO 38, before being re-named INTERSTATE 38 in 1980. In 1983 she became TEXACO 38 again, and like the back and forth channel along the meandering Wicomico, her name was changed back to INTERSTATE 38 in 1988. Finally, when purchased by Vane Brothers of Baltimore, Maryland, she was given her current name, VB38 in 2000. Though she currently remains operational in Vane Brothers' fleet of 45 barges, I'm not 100% certain whether she is double-hulled which effective 2015, is the standard requirement for all petroleum product vessels like previous posted and snapped by Jim, the DOUBLE SKIN 214:
Whether it's repeated name changes, continuous manoeuvres to avoid shallow spots and bends along a river or shipping lane, or for all of us just having to endure life in general, perhaps Forrest Gump's "Mamma" had it all right when she said, "Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you're gonna to get." Ain't that the truth!! c);-b

Sunday 25 October 2015

Tannerz Boats

For anyone who has been following my blog over the last three years, you may have noticed my four-legged friend and family golden retriever, Tanner, situated somewhere in my boat snaps. What can I say, he was very photogenic and seemed to do any pose to please me or anyone around him. It saddens me to say though that two weeks ago today our family dog and my "Best Friend Forever" Tanner passed away. Ironically 13 years earlier, also on Thanksgiving weekend, we met our puppy for the first time. In our 41 years of marriage, we have had three other dogs who were all great family friends, but Tanner was unbelievable, always wanting to run and play, Play, PLAY. Regardless of what time I got in from work, Tanner would be there at door or he'd immediately emerge from his bed with sometimes two tennis balls in his mouth and ready to play fetch in the backyard. He sure kept me young.
Look at me, I'm a duck!!
Tanner probably enjoyed going for a ride in the car as much as any dog and even when the final destination ended up along a Seaway bank or at Iroquois Lock, he'd patiently look out the car window or lay down along the shoreline or fence and wait for however long it took for me to take take my boat snaps, for his turn to get some attention and play fetch.
As expected for anyone who has lost a next of kin, sibling or an friend, being enthusiastic or simply "yourself" has been difficult these last two weeks. In fact it's been a lot like the Burt Bacharach and Hal David classic tune, "(There's) Always Something There To Remind Me". You know what I mean eh?

Last weekend I was watching the Disney animated flick "Big Hero 6" with my grandson José, and in the movie the plus-sized inflatable robot "Baymax" says to his prodigy "Hiro" who had lost is brother in a fire, that "someone is not gone as long as you have memories of him". Sorry, after I heard that I couldn't help but tear-up, but when you think of it, what a beautiful way for someone to help cope with the death of a loved one, especially if that lost family member or friend you're grieving, is just a dog. With all the fond memories and photos of him, we know Tanner will never be GONE.

We already know that it is different when we're down to river or seaway to snap boats, but we know Tanner is there with us, maybe not in clear view as he was these former Carlz Boats posts, but he'll be there. c):-)

Play!! (

Man, it's COLD!! (

Play!! (

Could have been napping by the fireplace. (

What squirrel? (

Still waiting to play!! (

Can't you see I'm resting HERE?? (

Wasn't me!! (

Play!! (

Would rather be playing at Ron Beaupre's place eh!! (