Wednesday 8 May 2019

The First Upbound FEDERAL KUMANO

It's a spectacular interaction that can't be overlooked or unheard when open to the elements along the St. Lawrence River in early spring. It's nature versus man. Though somewhat traumatic, it's a clash that causes no pain or injury but the outcome from its participate's fear and anxiousness is as resounding and echoing as a sudden death overtime goal in a packed Olympic hockey arena or the gleeful outcry by a massive gallery when a deemed has been wins another green jacket after the sinking of his final putt.
CCGS PIERRE RADISSON near Upper Canada Village - March 22, 2019
Tranquility becomes a chain reaction of horror as thousands of waterfowl which had been resting in the cold blue or ice covered waters of the St. Lawrence while on their annual trek north to the high Arctic to breed, abruptly takes to the sky frightened by the distant chugging diesel engine and the ever rolling white wake at the bow of the onward approaching red hulled vessel. There are beautiful white-feathered Snows and long slender-necked Canada geese, mallards, mergansers, and wigeon ducks and swans, all screeching with all their might "whoak, whoak, whoak, whoak," as they skim, and then climb, and then circle back to where they came from moments before, and back to eating and resting like nothing ever happened.

CCGS MARTHA L. BLACK from Dr. Stevens Drive east of Iroquois Lock - March 27, 2019
Receiving the honking waterfowl flypast on March 27th, above Loyalist Park near the old river hamlet of Mariatown, was the 656' FEDERAL KUMANO and though she was given the honours of being the first upbound of the new 2019 shipping season, the first vessel was actually the medium size Arctic icebreaker CCGS PIERRE RADISSON which I caught with her feathered escort near Morrisburg on March 22nd. Because the big icebreaker is needed to break open ice covered channels on the St. Lawrence and Great Lakes, no "Top 🎩 Hat", the award given to the first upbounds and downbounds on the Welland Canal, was given to the very deserving PIERRE RADISSON nor to the actual second upbound and KUMANO's escort, the light icebreaker MARTHA L. BLACK which had just aroused a flock of geese near Flagg Creek when I snapped her approaching to Iroquois Lock.
In fact despite all the hoopla at St. Lambert Lock with Canada's Transport Minister and former astronaut, Marc Garneau there to mark the 60th Anniversary of the opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway, the skipper of the Laker-class bulk carrier FEDERAL KUMANO also didn't receive an opportunity to don a "Top 🎩 Hat" either. However along with being the first upbound, the KUMANO was also the first saltie to receive the acknowledgement since the heavy lift cargo vessel BELUGA EMOTION opened the season while on her way to Valleyfield with a load of cement pipes in 2006.

I really enjoy photographing at Loyalist Park which is situated about 5 kilometres west of Morrisburg on Lakeshore Drive which originally was old Highway #2. As the St. Lawrence Seaway was being constructed, a navigable channel over the Long Sault Rapids was needed. Dams and locks were  created and when the area was flooded in July 1958, an artificial lake between Iroquois, Ontario in the west, and Cornwall, Ontario and Massena, New York at the east end was formed and named Lake St. Lawrence. The inundation of the river caused ten villages in Ontario, since known as the "Lost Villages" to be flooded over forever.  The little park is an ideal location to watch as vessels make several turns while following the original flow of the St. Lawrence River, and passing over lost villages, farmland, previous canal channels and locks, and roadways below.

Though owned by Federal Navigation (FedNav) of Montreal, FEDERAL KUMANO bound for Ashtabula, Ohio on Lake Erie flies the flag of the Marshall Islands with Majuro as her homeport. Built in 2003 at Oshima, Japan, the KUMANO is equipped with three 30 metric-tonne electro hydraulic cranes with a grab capacity of 10 tons to load and unload up to 36,563 gross tonnes of cargo in her six holds.

FEDERAL KUMANO was flagged Hong Kong when my sister Karin snapped her passing beneath the Burlington Skyway in the fall of 2014. Read all about it: 
Whether it's seeing tulips popping out of the ground, the "V" formation of Snows and Canadas flying northerly, or a boatnerd photographing the first upbound in a navy-blue suit after work, the signs of spring can be many different things for many different people here in the Great White North. It's a season that brings back life and renewed commercial opportunities like for the FEDERAL KUMANO which has already returned overseas with a load Canadian grain to a community in Norway. It's a great time of year for all. c):-D