Spring has sprung again, maybe


The American Spirit departed Duluth in the early afternoon today (April 7, 2014). She is the former George A. Stinson, originally built for the National Steel Corporation in 1978. When the Presque Isle returned to port on March 29 for repairs to damage from ice on Lake Superior, her cargo was offloaded into the American Spirit the next day. She left port today with that taconite still with her. She will complete a full cargo in Two Harbors.


  1. Winds on Lake Superior are out of the S – SW. This will cause open water leads to form along the South Shore. The westbound convoy will likely follow the South Shore. Once the convoy reaches Duluth the Mackinaw and Pierre Radisson will escort the boats that have loaded and are waiting in and around the Twin Ports. Ice conditions on most of Lake Superior exceed the capabilities of the Katmai Bay and Morro Bay. It is likely the Katmai Bay and Morrow Bay will go eastbound with the Mackinaw, Radisson, PI, Miner, Barker, Spirit, St Clair, and McCarthy.

  2. Blough, Gott, Laud, and Cort are in lower Whitefish Bay right now. Speer is east of Neebish Island being escorted up the St Marys by Mackinaw. Radisson is at the mouth of Whitefish Bay.

    The line down in the St Marys is getting long. There is currently Algoma Discovery, Enterprise, Equinox, and Olympic, and also Tecumseh, Tregurtha, and Jackson. And then you have something like nine ships in western Superior (including the two in Thunder Bay) wanting to return.

    Here is the satellite image: http://coastwatch.glerl.noaa.gov/webdata/cwops/webdata/modis/buf_img/t1.14098.1646.LakeSuperior.143.250m.jpg

    It looks like right now there is open water in northern Superior. In fact, it looks like the ships could make it to Duluth without an escort once they got past Michipicoten. The hard part looks like the first 100 miles or so from the St Marys to Caribou Island. So, now I’m wondering if they will get escort all the way to Duluth or just to the open water at the northern end of Superior. It looks like Radisson and Mackinaw alone couldn’t possibly keep up with this many ships. Of course, if the wind shifted then all that open water could close again and full escort would be needed at least to Thunder Bay since Alder, Morro Bay and Katmai are already taking care of the ice on the west coast of Superior. To me, it would make more sense to keep Radisson near Whitefish where the heaviest icebreaking is currently needed. I guess we’ll see how they work this.

    • Brent, as always, thank u so much for your valuable information. The Katmai Bay came into Duluth and is now docked at the DECC; the American Spirit also came in this morning from Two Harbors instead of going to Gary, and the Morro Bay was hanging around outside the Duluth piers but she is now headed out into the Lake. Any ideas what this might mean?

  3. Steve W says:

    Wonder if they will pick up CSL Tadoussac in Thunder Bay? On the schedule for Sunday.

  4. The first westbound convoy across Lake Superior will consist 5 ships and 2 breakers. The Mackinaw and Pierre Radisson will escort the Blough, Gott, Cort, Laud, and Speer to Duluth/Superior.

  5. Brent R says:

    This appears to be shaping up to a massive convoy. Roger Blough and Edwin Gott are at the Soo Locks right now. The Stewart Cort is east of Neebish Island being escorted up the St Marys by Mackinaw. Down in Munuscong Lake is the Sam Laud which is followed by Edgar Speer, Algoma Discovery, Algoma Enterprise, Algoma Equinox, and Algoma Olympic. I was hoping that American Integrity would be heading up but I haven’t seen them.

    That is apparently nine ships that will be in the convoy. Radisson is in Whitefish Bay right now breaking ice. I do wonder if Radisson and Mackinaw alone can get these ships over to Thunder Bay where presumably they would have plenty of help from Katmai, Morro, and Alder. Hollyhock is down in the Straits so it doesn’t look like she will be in the convoy. The only other ship I know of is Bristol Bay which I have not seen in three weeks. She may be down for maintenance. At any rate, this is going a convoy like has not been seen for some time. And, I assume there will be at least two more ships coming back with them. This is definitely an interesting start of the season.

  6. Jill in Alabama says:

    I watched the American Spirit go under the bridge this afternoon. Well worth the wait! Great looking boat and even greater looking captain!!

  7. PI is still sitting in Two Harbors

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