3 Chiefs

Dave Campbell, Chief operator on the Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge, LCDR Anthony J. Maffia, Commanding officer Coast Guard cutter Alder and Vanta E. Coda II, Executive Director of the Duluth Seaway Port Authority are just outside the bridge on the Alder enjoying the almost warm weather this morning (March 12, 2015).
Listen as we salute the bridge while going out to the lake. You will first hear a warning they gave us just before blowing the whistle; I think it says, “Ears on deck,”  meaning hold your ears.
The Alder was the first vessel to go under the Lift Bridge this season.  That gave a chance for Campbell to go under the bridge.  He has gone up with the bridge thousands of times; this was only his 3rd time to go under the bridge.
Below, we are just about to leave the ice and go for a short trip on the open water of Lake Superior, about 5 miles out.
The temperature was pretty warm for March 12, but inside the pilot  house, where the smart people stay, it was nice and warm.
We returned using the track we had opened up on the way out; notice the wind was already moving it around; we left a straight track behind us.
Some of the bridge operators had to say hello to the boss as he passed under them.
Great Lakes Towing Company tugs North Carolina, Arkansas, Indiana and Minnesota are already in open water. Behind them, the American Integrity spent the winter at the Port Authority dock at Holcim Cement.
The Mesabi Miner has been at Midwest Energy Resources for the winter. With no cargo, she is high in the water (ice) but will soon be loading coal and will likely be the first commercial boat to depart the port within the next week.


  1. I watched Samuel Risley and Neah Bay escort Dorothy Ann to Cleveland. Apparently the ice was thick near the coast because both of them had to back and ram. It does look like Dorothy is carrying iron ore up the Cuyahoga River to the mill.

    I see Joseph L Block out of Sturgeon Bay and heading north. I’m guessing they are heading up to Escanaba to get a load of ore for Indiana. It’s still another week before the Soo locks open. Mackinaw and Katmai Bay are working the St. Marys River. However, the surprise for me is seeing Alder in Thunder Bay right now. This is going much faster than it did last year.

  2. I watch the Live Ships – AIS website and chuckle at the “destination” shown on some of the CGC’s that are breaking ice:

    Mackinaw = CRUSH & FLUSH
    Mobile Bay = LAYING HWY H2O

    Nice to see ANY gov’t entity showing a sense of humor and the fact that they are human! 🙂

  3. I see that Samuel Risley is escorting Dorothy Ann back west from Erie. The destination is listed as Cleveland so I’m wondering if she is going to start hauling iron ore up the Cuyahoga River to the mill like last year.

  4. looks like it was a fun time! did they actually have to break ice, or was it like a hot knife through butter?

    • There’s a pretty good account at http://www.boatnerd.com
      Click on “News Channel” on the left side.
      See the 3/14 entry titled, Lake Superior ice yields to “King of the Waters”

      Looks like they cut through the ice to open water and only had to back and ram one time. Much easier than the first day out.

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