Friday 23 June 2017

Fish Tug JOSH II

I don't believe I've ever been to Grand Bend before but while heading up to Goderich last September to get a snap to the ALGORAIL which had just got underway from Sarnia after an extended winter layup, I popped into the Lake Huron village primarily to make a "pit-stop", if you know what I mean. After taking care of business at the village's tall pavilion that overlooks their beautiful beach, I decided to check out the harbour channel and found across the way, the fish tug JOSH II and a small tug named MITOI. Oh YAAA 👍🏻👍🏻  There didn't appear to be any activity around either vessel but with the positioning of the JOSH II along the wharf and the lighthouse in the background, it was a photo op that I simply could not walk away from. Such was the case it appears in this beautiful sunset 🌅 shot below  taken by Shaun Vary during one of his visits to "The Bend" and the snap further down of the JOSH II mired in ice taken last February by my sister Nancy. Nice pics kids and thanks for letting me show them.
Photo by Shaun Vary
Photo by Nancy Butller
Yes, she's one beautiful boat moored in each snap near the Purdy Fish Market, which operates fisheries in Grand Bend and in Point Edward, a community just north of Sarnia.  Initially I wasn't able find much information about 65' fish tug, but then a few friends from the Facebook group Great Lakes Fish Tugs came to my aid to help fill in a few gaps. I did know that JOSH II was built in 1980 by Liddle Brothers Fisheries Limited of Wheatley, Ontario but Great Lake's Fish Tugger's Monty Young, Shaun Vary and Sammy Ferreira all confirmed that she is still owned by Liddle Brothers which as Archie Campbell on the TV show  "Hee HAW" would say, "now that shows to go ya" is why the white letters "LB" for Liddle Brothers is displayed boldly on her black stack.  Shaun Vary also mentioned that she's normally stationed on Lake Huron, which also "shows to go ya" is why she's been seen and often snapped near Purdy's in Grand Bend or at their dock in Point Edward like in Monty's photo below. Ditto that for Shaun's chilling capture of JOSH II pushing her way through the ice flows near Sarnia on January 2, 2014.
Photo by Monty Young

Photo by Shaun Vary
Currently based on Wheatley, Ontario, the Liddle family has been fishing on the Great Lakes since Joseph "Josh" Liddle took up the occupation in 1887. According to a book I found online called "Open Boats" by Rita Lobzun, when Josh Liddle died in 1937, his two sons, Clarence "Tode" and Harold "Jimmy", who both worked with their father in the fishing and the boat building trade during the "off season", took over the business.
According to the website, there are still five Liddle Brothers built fish tugs active on the Great Lakes and it appears the last one built in 1980, was the JOSH II. Today the steel hulled carvel designed beauty named after the family patriarch is going through an inspection at Hike Metal Products, also of Wheatley. Let's hope all goes well so she can get back to doing what she does best or at least an unexpected photo op at a quaint harbour like "The Bend". Thank you Donna Toth for your input too.  

Wednesday 14 June 2017

Gearless Bulk Carrier ALGOMA SPIRIT (Re-visited)

That's the ALGOMA ENTERPRISE passing beneath
the International Bridge with CCGS TEATHER C.V.
and HMCS GOOSE BAY in the foreground. Nice eh! 
Saturday was a super day to take in the Port of Johnstown's second annual "Port Day" with grandsons Hayden (4) and Cody (2). While both boys are big on farm equipment, tractors, diggers and dump trucks which were on display at the event, what the boys really got a charge out of was checking out the boats  that were open for tours - the Canadian Coast Guard's sleek Mid-Shore patrol vessel CCGS CORPORAL TEATHER C.V. and the versatile Royal Canadian Navy Maritime Coastal Defence vessel HMCS GOOSE BAY. While I'm not allowed to share their photos on FaceBook, the boys had a great time ringing the ship's bells, looking through the big binoculars, climbing ladders, and checking out all the "rib's" (rigged-hulled inflatable boats) on board both vessels including one stealth-like boat on the GOOSE BAY that was really a remote controlled drone used for mine-sweeping exercises. WOW!! c):-o Hayden was given an extra treat when while sitting in the GOOSE BAY's Captain's chair, he was asked by an officer for permission to continue the tour. After a timid reply of "Yeah", the smart looking officer standing sharply in his dress whites replied, "Aye-Aye Commander" and gave Hayden a quick salute. The look on Hayden's face was priceless :-)) and before heading out to go to the new "Boat Park" in nearby Prescott, Hayden said, "You know I didn't think I liked boats, but I sure do now". YESSSS!!! 👍👍

While sitting at a picnic table along Prescott's beautiful waterfront park and enjoying a mess of goldfish crackers, marshmallows and other snacks grandparents are known to spoil their "Grands" with, I suddenly noticed an approaching ship. Oh YAAA!! c):-D As the according to Cody, "BLUE" boat got closer I could see that it was the 729' bulk carrier ALGOMA SPIRIT which was the oldest of three sisters currently named ALGOMA DISCOVERY and ALGOMA GUARDIAN that had more than one thing in common.
 The SPIRIT, originally named PETKA when launched in 1986 at 3 Maj Shipbuilding in Rijeka, Croatia for Atlantska Providba Shipping of Dubrovnik, Croatia. She was the first sister which was primarily built for the ocean trade though they were also known to visit the Great Lakes from time to time.  The other sisters,  MALINSKA and OMISALJ were built at the same shipyard in the following year and each were equipped with 4 cranes which allowed them the ability to load and unload their own cargoes. The cranes remained in 1997 when the three sisters were sold to Viken Shipping of Bergen, Norway. With the purchased, PETKA was renamed SANDVIKEN, MALINSKA became DAVIKEN, and OMISALJ became GOVIKEN. Soon after the sisters were purchased by Algoma Central in 2008, SANDVIKEN was renamed ALGOMA SPIRIT, DAVIKEN became ALGOMA  DISCOVERY and  GOVIKEN became ALGOMA GUARDIAN ( Also the cranes were removed making them known as "gearless" bulk carriers as the cranes would not be needed when loading or unloading grain and ore at the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River ports they would visit for many years to come.

As she approached Ogdensburg, New York's Lighthouse Point and towering steeple of the town's Notre Dame Church in this next burst of photos, the fully loaded with iron ore and bound for Hamilton, Ontario, ALGOMA SPIRIT may have looked fairly tattered in sections due to rubbing Seaway and Welland Canal locks for many years, she otherwise appeared to be full of life just like her name as she sliced her way through a constant choppy wake and a speedier than normal downward current due to heavy rainfalls in the spring which caused unseasonably high water levels on the upper St. Lawrence River and Lake Ontario.

Having a cargo capacity of 34,380 gross tons has kept the ALGOMA SPIRIT and her sisters busy however their age and too much deep-sea trading earlier on, could see their end more sooner than later as new more fuel-efficient and environmentally friendly Equinox-class newbuilds enter service on the Great Lakes. Like so many things in life, only time will tell. c):-(

UPDATE - August 25, 2021:

Well, four years after my last rendezvous on June 10, 2017 and the introduction of five new Algoma owned or managed Equinox-class gearless bulk carriers later, the usefulness of the hardworking ALGOMA SPIRIT came to an end as last year's shipping season closed. Laid up in Montreal, she would never leave the port under her own power again. While the sixth new Equinox-class gearless bulk carrier, CAPTAIN HENRY JACKMAN began plying the lakes last month, the lifeless SPIRIT was being prepared for her overseas tow to Turkey for dismantling. Lead by deepsea tug VB HISPANIA and renamed PIRI, that journey began on August 2. As the former veteran bulk carrier and her lead continues to cross the Atlantic, soon she too will be gone with only her spirit being remembered.

A timely farewell rendezvous of the former ALGOMA SPIRIT lead by tug VB HISPANIA and Algoma Central managed, G3 MARQUIS - another Equinox-class recent newbuild that made the bulk carrier less useful and efficient. Photo by Rene Beauchamp near Varennes on August 2.

Tug SHERI LYNN S assists at the stern. Photo by Rene Beauchamp.

PETKA with cranes on deck on Welland Canal and in Misener Transportation colours when chartered to them. Photo by Jeff Cameron on September 18, 1998. See more of Jeff's ship photos at:

Green hulled SANDVIKEN on Welland Canal by Jeff Cameron on July 20, 2001.

My first rendezvous with ALGOMA SPIRIT was on December 9, 2012 her upbound near Prescott.