Friday 11 September 2020

Classic Straight-decker CSL TADOUSSAC (Revisited, Again)

Summer per se is over as daytime and evening highs are dropping and before you know it, so will soon the leaves 🍁🍂 and then the white stuff ⛄, YUCK!! While I haven't blogposted in a bit, I have made several trips to the St. Lawrence and am chomping to show what boats I got and their stories told.  Though technically still spring, it was the upbound CSL TADOUSSAC that I really wanted to see on my run to the St. Lawrence on June 15th. After all, who knows when the classic straight-deck self unloader would be around this neck of the woods again. She’s a uniquely designed ship that's being phased away and since her last long term layup a few years back, the furtherest east I had seen her operating, was to pick up a load of clicker at the St. Mary's Cement plant in Bowmanville on Lake Ontario and speaking from experience that's one location where a good zoom lens is needed and a steady hand.
A few days earlier I had missed CSL TADOUSSAC's downbound passage to Quebec City laden with American iron ore which had been transloaded into her hull while tied off to the thousand footer, EDGAR B. SPEERS at Conneault, Ohio on Lake Erie.  No, I did not want to miss her this time but when I checked her whereabouts on the MarineTraffic 📲 app soon after getting up at about 6:30 🕡, the 730' self unloader was anchored ⚓ across from Upper Canada Village. The St. Lawrence is quite wide there all the way to the American-side at Wilson Hill and a great place to shoot ships but with my zoom on the fritz, I needed a more-in-my-face location to get her and Iroquois Lock would be ideal. She was still anchored⚓ for some unknown reason when I headed down to the River shortly after nine and presuming she got on her way soon, I felt pretty confident it might still be my lucky day to catch her with my standard 📷 lens at Loyalist Park another great vantage point, after checking out the action and boat passages at the Port of Johnstown, upriver.

West Street, Port Colborne - another great vantage point.
Fortunately there was more than one fish 🐡 to catch 🎣 on that day's photo 📷 op by the river. The first find across from the Old Windmill Lighthouse was the Danish-owned 473' oil and chemical tanker HARBOUR FIRST which by the way was the third time I came across her. Flying the flag of Portugal, she was also upbound in Port Colborne in May 21, 2019 when I caught her for the second time but she was downbound also across from the old Windmill Lighthouse when I caught the HARBOUR FIRST for the first time a few weeks earlier on May FIRST! 😀

First time catch of the HARBOUR FIRST, May 1, 2019 at Windmill Point 

It was also neat to catch the Canada Steamship Lines fleetmate, the 740’ CSL NIAGARA motor by another ship named after the famous waterfalls, the Equinox-class Algoma Central self unloader, ALGOMA NIAGARA hiding in the dust as dock crews loaded stone into her at the Port of Johnstown destined for Port Colborne which is my old hometown, a community located in the Niagara Region.
Hey, if you want to see my pics and blah-blah a little sooner, feel free to join my Facebook group, Carlz Boats And Lighthouses. Click here to join:

I caught CSL NIAGARA again rounding the bend across from the Ingredion starch plant in Cardinal, and then took of my standard lens off and rested it on a long and tall concrete barrier at the water treatment plant's parking area while shooting the big downbound with my zoom as she approached an oncoming sailboat and the 740' gearless bulk carrier, ALGOMA HARVESTER.
Because the automatic feature on my zoom lens was a bit wonky lately, I shot these pics manually and I'll have to admit I'm pretty pleased with my effort.
I then looked at my MarineTraffic 📲 app and was disappointed to see that the TADOUSSAC was still anchored ⚓ east to Morrisburg and with no new ETA for Iroquois Lock, I decided to call it a day and motor 🚙 home. Even with a stop at Costco to fill-up ⛽ my tank, I made it home 🏡 in a little more than an hour and while sitting in my driveway in Kanata putting my stuff together, I said to myself, "self, where is my standard lens?" 💩💩, 💩💩💩, Oh No, 😱 I LEFT IT ON THE PARKING BARRIER IN CARDINAL!!!!!! I quickly walked into the house and did a greeting to Janice similar from what I recall hearing on the "I Love 💘 Lucy Show" from back in the 50's when Desi would say, "Hey Roooseee, I'm Hooome!!" but added, "but I got to go again, 'cause I left my standard lens down by the river." Unbelievable, it SUCKS getting old and forgetful. Zoom 🚙 ZOOM back to Cardinal I went, got to the barrier and the lens wasn't there. 💩💩, 💩💩💩. Wasn't on the ground either, 💩!

So sheepishly I walked over to the water treatment building, stepped in and asked a worker at his desk if he knew of someone finding and handing in a camera lens from outside? "Oh, is it this one?" he said. "One of our guys was walking by the river and found it on the cement parking barrier". I told him that's where I left it, that I hadn't realized that I had forgotten it until after I got home in Ottawa, and had to come back to find it because I knew with the pandemic closures, it would be a hassle and costly to replace it. Still embarassed I asked if he could mention my appreciation to the worker who found and handed in the lens, and then left, while knowing I would be returning soon with a Tim Horton's gift card to really show my gratitude for his honesty.

However, while walking back to the car 🚙 a couldn't help but check out my MarineTraffic 📲 app one more time and immediate thought to myself a Gomer Pyle saying from his '70's TV 📺 show, "Surprise, Surprise, SURPRISE!!!" while seeing that CSL TADOUSSAC was underway and entering Iroquois Lock. SHAZAM (another Gomer Pyle saying) I thought. "It was a miracle" and off I went to the nearby Seaway lock to get my girl, Oh YAAA 👍📷👍

Talk about being at the right place at the right time. As she inched closer and closer to the lock's arrester, I began to feel like it was my destiny to see the classic self unloader one more time. Her name was simply TADOUSSAC when built at Collingwood shipyards in 1969,  and she was the last Canada Steamship Lines self unloader built with a forward wheelhouse and the first to be built with stern mounted self unloading equipment.

While others like her have been cut apart by the breaker's touch in Port Colborne and scrapyards overseas, at least her presence, though looking rough with a steel patch on her starboard bow and badly needing a coat of paint, suggested there still maybe a future for this classic laker.

As the west end of the lock arrester rises and the gates open, soon there would be nowhere to go but forward for the TADOUSSAC as to her stern, the 610' Bulgarian bulk carrier, RODOPI bound for Thunder Bay, can be seen waiting in the basin below for her turn to enter the last Seaway lock before Lake Ontario.
Scraped sides due to years of rubbing against the lock walls suggests she's surely due for some attention like when the TADOUSSAC was given some TLC and an extended lease on life during the winter of 2000, when she entered Port Weller Dry Dock. After all things were done, she received updated self unloading equipment, her centre section was rebuilt and widen by about 18" on each side to the Seaway's maximum ship width of 78', and the company prefix "CSL" was added to her name when rechristened in March 2001.
Like so many shipping seasons before, CSL TADOUSSAC continued to be useful throughout 2014 and not laying-up for winter at Thunder Bay, Ontario until January 17, 2015. However as her gearless and self unloading fleetmates got underway in the following spring, CSL TADOUSSAC stayed put and remained there in long term layup status until December 2018 when she was towed into the old Port Arthur Shipbuilding slip, for an inspection and refit by Hamilton-based, Heddle Marine before then re-entering into service that April.
The engine room door, a fine spot for an upfront view of what has been passed by....
...or as in this photo from May 19, 2013, a great place for a quick puff.
While the favoured design for newbuilds these days are "sternenders" with a    superstructure for crew accommodations and wheelhouse  erected high above the engine room at the stern and behind a long line of cargo hatches, the "straightdeck" design of the CSL TADOUSSAC  was praised when the first laker of its kind, the R.J. HACKETT was built 100 years earlier in 1869, because it offered the captain better vision and quicker reaction to danger in the water and when maneuvering through channels and locks. As the 51 year old classic laker leaves Iroquois Lock for Fairport Harbor, Ohio to take on a load of salt, the increased view from her forward wheelhouse will surely be helpful for her captain as the CSL TADOUSSAC motors through the Brockville and then American Narrows ahead and the Welland Canal locks beyond on that trip and hopefully many more to come until her usefulness days comes to an end. Despite the calamities of the day, I'm glad I got to see her again.

Took awhile but on my next trip to Cardinal on August 17th, I got to meet Mark, the worker and "Eddy Shack" lookalike who retrieved my standard lens off the concrete parking barrier a couple months earlier. Instead of pocketing the lens and selling it on Kijiji, he did the right thing, brought it in and kept it safe for its owner. Yes there are many good people out and because of his honesty, I gave Mark a $25 Tim Horton's gift card. Thanks again my friend and everyone, please keep your distance and stay safe 😷

PS: To those who were affected or lost someone due to the terrorist attacks on 9/11 nineteen years ago today, I will never be forgotten them and that horrible day 😔