Archives for March 2014

Morro Bay gets local help

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The US Coast Guard cutter Alder brought her sister ship, Morro Bay, into port last night with damage to her rudder. They docked at the DECC and this morning (March 29, 2014), divers from a local company, J. Norick & Sons, were there to assess the damage. Actually, the rudder itself was apparently not damaged, but all but one of the bolts holding it to the ship were broken off while breaking ice. Today, they were checking the damage. Probably later today, the ship will be towed to Fraser Shipyard to complete repairs. New, 2 inch bolts are being made locally and will probably be ready for use early next week. The Katmai Bay is also here; my guess is she will tow the Morro Bay to Fraser but I am not sure of that.
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Ice is not nice to ships

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The US Coast Guard cutter Morro Bay left here a week ago and today (March 28, 2014), she was towed back to port by the Alder after sustaining damage to her rudder while breaking ice. Outside the Duluth piers, they lashed the Morro Bay to the side of the Alder for the trip through the ship canal. The Katmai Bay, also here a week ago, led them in to port. The Presque Isle is also coming back to Duluth to repair damage to her hull caused by the ice.
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Mackinaw and 2 friends

Three Coast Guard cutters arrive Duluth on March 25, 2014 (from my window)

Mackinaw, Morro Bay, Katmai Bay

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Coast Guard cutters coming to Duluth

We are expecting 3 Coast Guard cutters to arrive here late this afternoon or early evening. The Mackinaw, the Katmai Bay and the Morro Bay will be here to get fuel and provisions before leading a convoy of 3 boats from Two Harbors  to the Soo Locks. (Unless plans change which is always possible when dealing with wind, ice and Lake Superior. (Click to see larger version of AIS taken at 4:40 pm, Monday, March 24, 2014)
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Join the Callaway as she opens the 2014 season

Callaway, first departure for 2014

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Callaway getting ready to depart

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LSMMA takes a ride on the Alder

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The LSMMA went ice breaking with the Alder today (March 20, 2014). After clearing ice in Howards Pocket, they came up the harbor and went under the Lift Bridge and out into Lake Superior. As  you can see, they took advantage of the occasion to get some nice shots from on high.
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Fame is very, very fleeting

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People have complained to me that they never saw me on the NBC Nightly News tonight. For all those who blinked while my 2 1/2 second ‘interview’ passed by, you can see the whole report here. I meanwhile am trying to figure where my 14 minutes and 57 1/2 seconds of fame that I have left will be.

NBC News with Brian Williams, tonight at 5:30 PM CDT

140313-ice-cutter-alder-02-7p_eb2ca08d95ecbb792b5a5449cf6610fe.nbcnews-ux-800-600An NBC News with Brian Williams team was here this week to do a story on ice on Lake Superior and the beginning of the shipping season. It is now scheduled to be on tonight, Friday, March 14, 2014 at 5:40 Central Daylight time. Hopefully, they will not forget to include all my expert commentary, or at least a couple seconds of my expert commentary. But most of all, I hope Mr Putin will hold off on anything big until NBC News has fully covered the ice in Duluth tonight. They took a trip on the Alder and even talked to an ice fisherman. He said he “… was retired, so I don’t even know what day it is.” I knew what day it was but his visuals were better. We will see who makes the cut.

NBC News comes to Duluth to see ice

samira03122014222The long, cold, snowy, icy winter has attracted a lot of attention this ‘spring.’ We humans may have seen the worst of it but March brings out the next victims, the big ships that start every season in the Great Lakes battling ice. For better or worse, at this time every year, Duluth gets her fair share of attention, sitting as we do, at the western end of the lakes and just south of our border with Canada. It attracted the attention of NBC News, that is, NBC News with Brian Williams. nbcnewsNot long after, Samira Puska, NBC News producer working out of Chicago (above, right), found herself heading up a team to come to Duluth to ‘get the story.’ After days and days of below zero temperatures, she and her team arrived in Duluth on a bright sunny day with the temperature in the 50’s. Photographically speaking, this is not Duluth at her best; big piles of dirty snow, water water everywhere as the high temps started kicking down winter’s leftovers and sending the whole mess into the sewers.Samira and her team talked to some ice fishermen and they then found their way into my office. Of course, the ice fishermen filled them in with most of the story since they sit on a chair on the ice, and drop a line into the water. Water and ice and something to eat; what else did they need.
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The Alder took them out to see the ice on Wednesday morning, March 12, 2014. After a turn or two in front of the Lift Bridge (above), they went down the Superior channel and out into Lake Superior.
I told them anything else they needed to know about ice on Lake Superior, then suggested they go home write the story and send it to my old friend Brian in New York. Brian could introduce the story, move next to the fisherman for a minute or so and then maybe 5 or 10 minutes with me to finish it off. nbcnews03122014212
They had other plans. Turns out they were talking to a lot of other people around town. I talked to them on Tuesday afternoon, March 11, when the temperature was over 50 degrees. Happily for them, it dropped into the single digits when they boarded the Alder for their trip out into the lake the next morning. As you can see here, I went over to welcome Samira and her 3 team members just behind her, when they walked off the Alder.

Alder turns ice into water!

This  video was taken March 10, 2014, and is a little less polished than others but I wanted to get it posted quickly.

Ice? How about blue water!

I took the pictures in the post below this post with my phone on the Alder and then emailed them to Holly in Arizona. She posted them here. Just below are pictures I took aboard the Alder today (Monday, March 10. 2014. (Click a pic for a larger version)
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The Alder performed well making the first trip of the season under the Lift Bridge and into Lake Superior. Only once in the 7.5 mile trip into the lake was she stopped in the ice. Above, the V-shaped mark in the ice is where the bow of the ship was stopped. We are now backing and getting to ram the ice again. Called backing and ramming, after a couple of those, we were back on track.
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Above, we return from the land of sky blue waters to the cold cruel northland. The Alder returns from Lake Superior after finding blue water 7.5 miles out, as far as the eye could see.
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Alder out working the ice again

The Alder left her dock at about 9:00 this morning CDT, departing Duluth under the Aerial Lift Bridge. At the moment she is about 6 miles off the piers, at a speed of approximately 5 kts.
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At 9 miles out we hit open water (above), and were able to increase speed to over 13 kts. Heading back toward port now (below).
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