Spring is sprung

Note: The Alder did make it back to the dock early evening. They saw ice between 2 to 5 feet thick, with it getting thicker as they moved down the Superior channel. They should be back at it tomorrow (Wednesday).
Alder gets to work on breaking ice today, March 4, 2014.  She got away from the dock with little trouble, which was very surprising to me and others watching. She slowed down when she got to the middle of the harbor and turned up the harbor toward the Port Terminal. It has, I am told, been very very slow as she is backing and ramming her way down the Superior channel. Video at bottom shows Alder leaving the dock.


  1. gus bell says:

    I agree with Rita from Georgia. Very interesting. Be safe everybody out there. The ice on the lakes is a concern of many persons. Keep up the great work.

  2. netwerks1 says:

    Thanks for the great updates Brent! Much appreciated! Keep’em coming.

    • Brent R says:

      Thank you. Hollyhock met up with Algoeast today and they were moving faster back west. For awhile they were moving about 7 knots but right now they are down to less than 3 knots. I’m wondering if maybe they were fast as long as they were following the broken route but that it has closed up again because of shifting ice and Hollyhock is having to break new ice again. They met up near Cleveland and they are now west of Point Pelee. Apparently, once Griffon handed Algoeast off to Hollyhock, Griffon headed straight back eastward. The last track I had on them was 3 hours ago and they were about the same distance east from Cleveland as Hollyhock is west. I assume Griffon has anther ship to escort. There are dead places in the radio track so I can’t see the ships in between Ashtabula and Erie. Bristol Bay has been breaking ice in the Detroit River below Lake St. Clair. Maybe they are trying to keep it open for Algoeast. The only other traffic I saw yesterday was that Samuel De Champlain did make a run from Chicago up to Milwaukee. The reports are that they had some trouble with the ice. Mobile Bay is stationed up just north of there but I haven’t seen them out.

  3. Brent R says:

    Well, it looks like Alder is still in port today. So, perhaps the run on the 5th was only a shakedown and they are finishing up maintenance before the major ice-breaking begins.

    It does look like Algoeast, escorted by Griffon, is struggling in the ice on Lake Erie. It has made very little progress since yesterday and Hollyhock has almost reached them. With two big guns breaking ice, that should speed things up. However, I know that Morro Bay is also stationed in Cleveland which is just a stone’s throw from Algoeast’s current position. I’m wondering why they haven’t been out.

    Bristol Bay is still breaking ice in Lake St. Clair. At the top of Huron, Neah Bay is headed east away from Bois Blanc Island and appears to be headed for De Tour. Katmai Bay is in port at Sault Sainte Marie just across the channel from Algocanada. I know that the Sugar Island Ferry is having trouble getting through the ice on the St. Marys River. They say that the broken ice is jamming up and has no place to go. So, my guess is that Neah Bay is going to try to clear the ice from lower down on the St. Marys River so that the ice pack can clear. Biscayne Bay is ported at St. Ignace on the north side of the Mackinac Straits so they are in that area too but I haven’t seen it out.

    Also, I have not seen Mobile Bay which is ported at Sturgeon Bay near Green Bay. So, perhaps Mobile, Morro, and Biscayne Bay along with Mackinaw are all finishing up maintenance before the breakout.

  4. Brent R says:

    It looks like Alder made it about 15 miles away from shore and then came back. I didn’t see it out today, March 6th. Algocanada, escorted by Katmai Bay, made it up to Sault Sainte Marie on the 5th. Because of all the ice, the trip took 8 days instead of the normal 6 hours. Algosea, escorted by Griffon, made it to Nanticoke. They left the Detroit River area on February 28 and only made it to Nanticoke on the 4th. Bristol bay had to get Everlast and her barge out of the ice on Lake St. Clair where it had been stuck for several days. Supposedly the breakout is on the 10th so there should be a lot of icebreaking from then on.

    Also, today, it looks like Neah Bay was breaking ice north of Bois Blanc Island just east of the Mackinac Straits. The Mackinac Ferry doesn’t run until May so maybe they are just trying to open up the approaches to the Straits. It looks like Bristol Bay has been working the St. Clair River from the north end of Lake St. Clair up to the top of Russel Island. Hollyhock has been breaking ice from the Detroit River out towards Point Pelee. It looks like Hollyhock might be helping Algoeast which appears to be stuck about halfway between Point Pelee and Long Point. I would think Griffon would be helping but I’m not seeing a radio track on it. The last I saw Griffon, it was still over by Nanticoke.

    • Brent R says:

      And, of course, right after I posted that, Griffon came into view. Yes, Griffon is escorting Algoeast on Lake Erie westward towards the Detroit River. My guess is that Hollyhock is trying to meet them so that it doesn’t take days like it did for Algosea.

  5. Paul Sando says:

    I agree, great video! It is amazing what 6200 hp and a steel icebreaking hull can do! If you watch carefully you can actually see the ship rise up as the bow rides up on top of the ice, and then she crushes down and breaks the ice apart. Really cool stuff……no pun intended……

  6. Rita from Georgia says:

    Great video, Ken! Now the fun(hard work) begins. In a few weeks we can watch Mesabi Miner go under the bridge. I think she is the first to go. It will be interesting to see how it all goes. My prayer is they all stay safe.

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