Saturday 20 March 2021

Classic Self Unloader MICHIPICOTEN

The unique Lower Lakes Towing and Grand River Navigation logo and acknowledgement of Indigenous Peoples throughout North America on the MICHIPICOTEN's stack was last piece to be placed in my latest Jigsaw Planet puzzle of leaving Iroquois Lock on July 18, 2020. Like so many others in the combined Rand Logistics fleet that are named after First Nation's leaders, rivers and lakes, MICHIPICOTEN is an Anglicization of the original Ojibwe word "Mishipikwadina" meaning "Big Bluff" which refers to the high hills near the mouth of Michipicoten River where the First Nation band has lived since before the the first arrival of European settlers at the north-east region along the shoreline of Lake Superior. Located16 kilometres at its closest point to the Ontario mainland, Michipicoten is also the name of the Lake's second largest island which is known for its rugged steep slopes and is plentiful of wildlife like beaver, woodland caribou and birds.

Her name was ELTON HOYT 2nd named for the then President of mining company Pickands Mather when launched in 1952 for Interlake Steamship Company and she was one of three lakers that were built along the Atlantic seaboard at the Bethlehem-Sparrows Point Shipyard at Sparrows Point, MD, because shipyards on the Great Lakes were backed up in orders. The other two lakers owned by Bethlehem Steel were the JOHNSTOWN, named for the community where one of their steel mills was located in Pennsylvania, and SPARROWS POINT, for the location of their shipbuilding operation.

Since the vessels were to be brought to the Great Lakes via the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers, their size was limited. The ELTON HOYT 2nd measured 626 feet 6 inches long, 70 feet wide, and 37 feet deep, which gave her a capacity of approximately 20,000 tons. However to clear the lower bridges along the waterways north, her cabins and pilothouse were cut apart and carried on deck for the tow through the rivers. After being assembled in Chicagothe HOYT entered service on August 15, 1952, and like other Interlake vessels, she began hauling iron ore mainly from the docks in Duluth or Superior to steel mills in various of lower Lakes ports. The ELTON HOYT 2nd also visited the new loading dock at Talconite Harbor, taking on talconite pellets that were mined at the Hoyt Lake which was founded by her namesake in 1955.

Though lengthened by an additional 72' in 1957 to her current size of 689.5', the time spent unloading the straight-decker made the vessel less competitive. While the HOYT was slightly smaller than other vessels her age, she would still spend upwards of 12 hours unloading. So in 1980 the vessel was converted to a self-unloader at American Ship Building Company in Toledo, which added many years to her career.

However after a 3 year layup in Superior, WI due to a reduced demand in steel, the sailing days for this hardworking ore carriers that bore the same name and flew the Interlakes Steamships flag for 51 years ended when she was sold to the Canadian shipping company, Lower Lakes Towing of Port Dover, ON, on April 10, 2003. The renamed MICIPICOTEN entered service for here new owners primarily supplying taconite pellets to the Algoma Steel mill at Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario in May 24, 2003.

While her size and stern mounted self unloading boom has offered the MICHIPICOTEN the ability to discharge a variety of cargoes to ports seaway-max vessels couldn't visit, it was iron ore that the 68 year old veteran laker was hauling to Quebec City when I caught her slowly entering Iroquois Lock and positioned perfectly all the way in due to the cautious eye of her deckhands spotting her distance away from the rugged concrete lock walls.

Like the CSL TADOUSSAC had just completed and was returning up towards to the Lakes when I caught her a month earlier on June 15th at the Seaway lock, Minnesota mined iron ore that had been discharged by thousand footers like the EDGAR B. SPEERS at Conneaut, OH, was then loaded onto Canadian bulk carriers like the MICHIPICOTAN, because there are simply not enough American-flagged seaway-max self unloaders to do the job. 

Iroquois Lock is a great place to view boats and a family of osprey perched atop a former light standard seen to right of the MICHIPICOTEN's wheelhouse.

Seaway workers were on hand to secure or walk the MICHIPICOTEN through the lock that's normally lowered about foot for downbound vessels.

Though currently flagged Canadian, the U.S. flag flies from her forward mast as a courtesy of the several times the bulk carrier will enter American waters during her St. Lawrence Seaway transit.

Visible through the legs of one of the two control dam gantry cranes capable of lifting 350 tons, the 453' HAPPY ROVER waits on Lake St. Lawrence for her turn in lock.

Ore dust laying everywhere and clinging to her side gives the normally immaculate vessel an unfair rustic look.

Further down she moves but not wanting to touch the steel fluorescent-marked arrester which protects the lock's gates and bascule bridge...

As the west-end arrester is lowered...

...the opening of the gates and the raising of the bridge and arrester at the other end of the lock signals to the skipper it's time to get a move on.

At the end of her 2010 shipping season, MICHIPICOTEN's original steam turbine and boilers were removed during her winter layup in Sarnia and replaced with a new MaK 6M32C 6 cylinder 8,160 BHP diesel engine. Combined with a newly installed controllable pitch propeller, the new powerplant was capable of pushing her up to 14 knots when she returned to service in May 2011 while being more fuel efficient and reducing emission levels.

And with her big engines churning away, the classic MICHIPICOTEN makes her out of the lock allowing the bound for Monroe, MI, Big Lift general cargo vessel HAPPY ROVER to take her place and become the subject for my next Jigsaw Planet the link below to put it together. It can be a lot of fun, No bluffing, really c):-D

Sunday 7 March 2021

English Bay Anchorage

A great shot of a boat threesome - from the left, bulk carriers TERMITA, ULTRA ESTHERHAZY and GH GLORY. Cypress Mountain in the background is pretty neat too 👍📷👍

I took this view in 2010 from Burrard St. Bridge over False Creek whick isn't a creek.

No real Carlz Boats pics in this blogpost but rather they were snapped by my friend Rachel Crew who along with her partner Rick, moved to Vancouver late in the fall, and by looking at these spectacular photos taken on February 16th, not only did Rachel get a super workout but she saw some really great boat views during her walkabouts along the shoreline of English Bay.  

And what better place to watch ships than at Vancouver, the largest port in the Canada which extends from just above the U.S. border at Roberts Bank, along the Fraser River and up to Burrard Inlet. The Port consists of 16,000 hectares of water, 1,500 hectares of land and hundreds of kilometres of shoreline bordering 16 communities.  At its 26 major terminals, the Port can handle over 150 ships a day carrying many different cargoes including dry bulk, containers, liquid bulk, automobiles and cruises. And when when there's no dock space available, the salties can drop anchor in the inner harbour, Indian Arm or English Bay where 15 to 18 ship can sit idle on any given day for Rachel to photograph for us. Oh YAAA 👍📷👍

The 652'x105' TERMITA looks brand new because she is, built last year and is too wide to pass through  St. Lawrence Seaway locks which are known to scrape the paint off the newest ship in no time. Flying the flag of Norway, TERMITA is currently underway bound for Dalian, China

Flagged Panama, the 590'x98' ULTRA ESTERHAZY was built in 2012 and is currently bound Brazil.

While high in ballast in this beauty pic, the 738'x106' GH GLORY has returned to English Bay anchorage after loading grain in the harbour. Unlike the TERMITA and ULTRA ESTERHAZY which have 4 -30 MT cranes to load and unload cargo, GH GLORY is gearless meaning the dock must provide loading and unloading services. 

The Cypriot flagged 653'x105" EL MATADOR was underway in both of these pics and is currently in the Caribbean Sea bound for Rouen, France. She's motoring 🚢!!

The 778'x104' SANTA CRUZ was parked off the posh homes of West Vancouver which came along after the development of about 4,000 acres of land purchased by Walter Guinness, of Ireland's Guinness Brewing Company in 1931 creating a unique upscale neighbourhood known as the British Pacific Properties with winding roads, parks, shopping centres and eventually the building of the Lion's Gate Bridge. 

The SANTA CRUZ has since taken on cargo and is off the western coast of Vancouver Island bound for Yantai, China.

Beautiful British Columbia known for its massive mountain ranges, windswept beaches and endless possibilities for fun outdoors and now having seen Rachel's pics,  boat-watching should definitely be added to the mix. BTW, you may have difficulty containing yourself with all the goings in Vancouver's Inner harbour in the next Carlz, or I mean Rachelz Boats pictorial.

Sunset by the Bay taken June 22, 2010


Monday 1 March 2021

Former Bulk Carrier CEDARGLEN: Her Last Downbound Passage

The letters CSL painted amidships, short for Canada Steamship Lines, was the retiring CEDARGLEN's owner for her last 17 years of service, and the remaining piece of my latest Jigsaw Planet puzzle to be put in place from one of several photos I took of her on May 17, 2019 during her last downbound passage.

As CEDARGLEN passes the western entrances to old Galop canal Locks 27 & 28, her tattered look was as common as any ship having to rub up against the rough concrete seaway lock walls, especially one doing for over 43 years.

She was upbound and riding high approaching the Beauharnois Locks on June 27, 2018
It was not unusual to see the CEDARGLEN high in the water, however previously she'd be motoring upbound heading to Thunder Bay or an upper lakes grain elevator to take on a load of grain. On any other downbound passage, the 730' bulk carrier with her unique wheelhouse would make the passage low and laden in cargo to a downriver port.  But this transit was different, motoring empty and high on the CEDARGLEN last voyage under her own power to Montreal, where she'd wait to be towed overseas for dismantling.
She was high in ballast while passing the old Galop Canal Iroquois Lock 25, while slowly approaching the newer Seaway lock on my first rendezvous with the CEDARGLEN on November 3, 2013.

EMS ORE - Stan Ditcham Collection, Boatnerds

When launched in 1959 in Hamburg, Germany, her name was EMS ORE, and along with her eight sisters, the 546' bulk carrier with her sleek deep-sea bow and pilothouse amidships, was especially built to haul Venezuelan ore to Europe which she did for about 27 years. In 1976, EMS ORE along sisters RHRINE ORE and RUHR ORE, were purchased by Montreal's Hall Corporation to carry Labrador ore to Hamilton's steel mills and then prairie grain downbound to St. Lawrence River elevators. When entering service in 1979, the newly named MONTCLIFFE HALL sported a new fore body which lengthened her to 730', the midship pilothouse and cabins were modified and moved to the stern. While her original diesel engine remained, MONTCLIFFE HALL's funnel was made taller,  a bow thruster was also installed along with a controllable pitch propeller.
MONTCLIFFE HALL at Toledo in early 1980's courtesy of the late Jim Hoffman. Sadly gone but not forgotten. 😔

Downbound CARTIERDOC  at MacArthur Lock, Sault Ste. Marie, MI - Photo by Rod Burdick - Date Unknown.

CARTIERDOC passing beneath Bluewater Bridge, Port Huron -1989

When Hallco went out of business in 1988, the MONTCLIFFE HALL and twin sister STEELCLIFFE HALL were acquired by N.M. Paterson & Sons Ltd. of Thunder Bay, Ontario. Soon after her name was changed to CARTIERDOC while the STEELCLIFFE became the WINDOC. The other sister was purchased by Algoma Central and was named ALGONTARIO. Named .for the French explorer Jacques Cartier who discovered the St. Lawrence River Valley in 1534, with the added suffix "DOC" for Dominion OCanada, CARTIERDOC continued the trade routes she was designed for with Paterson & Sons, hauling products from the Great Lakes to lower St. Lawrence River port with returning with cargoes of iron ore for steel mills in Hamilton, ON, Chicago, IL, and Burns Harbor, IN.

Rod Burdick captures a black hull CEDARGLEN loading iron ore at Marquette, MI - May 2005, her first visit there.

When Paterson's marine division ended in March 2002, the remaining active fleet of three ships was sold to Canada Steamship Lines.  CARTIERDOC became known as CEDARGLEN,  the PATERSON became PINEGLEN ( and the MANTADOC, TEAKGLEN ( Their new names had two significant meanings, the "TREE" prefix acknowledged the ship names of the company, Tree Line Navigation which CSL had purchased in 1937 and the suffix "GLEN" for the ships of the Great Lakes Shipping Company like the GLENEAGLES which CSL acquired in 1926.

With her latest new name, CEDARGLEN continued to operate steadily for CSL and was awarded with "Top Hat" honours two years in a row for being the first downbound of the new shipping season at Lock 8 in Port Colborne in 2004 and 2005. On May 16, 2005, CEDARGLEN loaded iron ore at Marquette, MI, for the first time and to fit under the chutes, the end section of her starboard wing bridge had to be removed at a support beam. You can really see the CEDARGLEN's alter bridge in Rod Burdick's photo below.
CEDARGLEN returns to Marquette with current CSL "big red boat" hull in 2013 also taken by Rod Burdick. Another great photo Rod 👍📷👍

While celebrating our 44th Wedding Anniversary at Dewar's Inn on the River near Prescott, I caught the  CEDARGLEN again laden with cargo for a lower St. Lawrence port as she effortlessly glided by our cabin on September 23, 2018.
Despite her impressive 29,515 ton maximum carrying capacity, the recently made in China "newbuilds"which are ten feet longer and almost three feet wider, can carry almost nine thousand tons of cargo more than the hardworking  CEDARGLEN. I really hoped when I saw that she laid up for winter at Toledo's Ironhead Shipyard, that whenever her repairs were completed, the proud CEDARGLEN would be starting her 60th year of moving iron ore and grain on the deep and inland seas again.
It was not to be. There would be no hauling a load of grain to a St. Lawrence River port when she left Toledo on May 15, 2019, and except for being lowered in a Seaway lock,  the CEDARGLEN's next and last stop would be at her homeport, Montreal.

Gliding by channels markers with the eagerness of a newly built maiden, the veteran lady approaches Cardinal...

...and then within minutes no longer a subject for my camera lens to capture ever again.

CEDARGLEN in Molson ad:
Tied off next to the Montreal waterfront landmark,  Molson Brewery plant, was where Stéphane Marceau caught her shortly after arriving from her final passage on May 8, 2019. Oddly enough CEDARGLEN was underway when she was used as an artist rendition in a Molson Canadian beer ad that appear that year too which you can see by clicking on the link below the photo to the right.

With deep-sea tug V.B. HISPANIA leading the way with the OCEAN ECHO II at her stern till Quebec City, the shortened name EDA, left Montreal early on July 21, bound for Aliaga, Turkey as seen in René Beauchamp's photo below. Dismantling of the veteran bulk carrier began soon after being pushed ashore on August 26, 2019. Another great ship, gone but not forgotten.

Thank you Rod Burdick, Stéphane Marceau and René Beauchamp for allowing me to use your photos, and I sadly miss seeing the many beautiful Great Lakes ship photos offered to us by Jim Hoffman, who passed away last fall. We will remember your masterpieces always, Jim. 😔