Tuesday 31 May 2016

Final Voyage (1): Self Unloader ALGOMARINE

Having had her masonry restored and trim given a fresh coat of red paint during our mild winter, the built in 1838 historic windmill and former lighthouse stands proudly along the St. Lawrence near Prescott, Ontario while the also proud but not so pretty looking, Algoma self unloader ALGOMARINE, motored downbound on her final voyage in the background of my above snap on April 27.  Unlike so many of her predecessors which made their last journey towed at the end of a line behind a tug, or riding high in ballast, the 730' classic laker was dying with dignity, "working" like she had done for 48 years.

Laden with salt that had been mined deep beneath Lake Huron,  the grand ol'gal, ALGOMARINE left Goderich under her own power on April 25, and before arriving at her final destination of Montreal, discharges of her precious cargo were planned for Johnstown, Ontario, and in Quebec at Valleyfield and Cote Ste. Catherine. It was a passage that no boat watcher wanted to miss and to all of you who shared so many wonderful photos on various Facebook boat groups during her transit from Goderich, along the St. Clair and Detroit Rivers, Welland Canal, upper St. Lawrence River and Seaway, and to her final arrival in Montreal, I just want to say "Thank You". I'm certain any of her crew who may have been following your posts appreciated your photos too.   

Unfortunately my day job prevented me from getting down to Johnstown to see her discharge her partial load of road salt, however I did get to snap her expertly navigate the various buoys between Battle of the Windmill Park and Cardinal, and when I captured her sliding beneath the Ogdensburg-Prescott International Bridge, I couldn't help but remember when I snapped another classic laker and fleetmate ALGOMA MONTREALAIS nearly in the same spot while she too was motoring to Montreal for her final voyage on July 24, 2014.

When built in 1968 at the Davie Shipyards in Lauzon, Quebec her name was LAKE MANITOBA and owned by Nipigon Transport of Montreal. Back then she was a typical classic 'straightdecker' just like her future fleetmate ALGOMA MONTREALAIS and like so many Great Lakes bulk carriers, she was active in the Canadian prairie grain trade eastward and then more often returned upbound with a load of iron ore. When Algoma Central purchased Nipigon Transport in 1987, the straightdecker's name was changed to ALGOMARINE and two years later, she was converted into a self unloader at Port Weller Dry Docks.
She had a bold look about her when I first snapped ALGOMARINE as she almost motionlessly approached Lock 1 on October 10, 2013. Just like during her early years, she continued to haul grain, and iron ore, but it was more likely the ongoing delivery of salt to so many communities throughout the Great Lakes during her 29 years as a self unloader that gave her, her tired and aging look during her last trip and back during my Port Weller rendezvous (http://carlzboats.blogspot.ca/2013/10/self-unloader-algomarine.html) almost two years ago.

Cargo delivered and riding high in the water, ALGOMARINE arrived for the last time under her own power at Montreal  on April 30th. Within days her Algoma colours and "Bear" emblem on her stack and bow were blackened, along with every letter except "MARI" which became her new name. While the deep-sea tug DIAVLOS PRIDE lead her scrap-tow MARI out of Montreal on May 18th destined for the Aliaga, Turkey, last voyages to the scrapyards also got underway for two more Algoma boat watcher's favourites, the self unloader PETER R. CRESSWELL and tanker ALGOSAR. 
But that's another story...(to be continued).

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