First light, first boat

The Roger Blough opened the shipping season in Duluth this morning (March 22, 2017) at 7:30. Above, at left, she starts down the Duluth harbor on her way to the Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge. Just to the right is the American Spirit, expected to break away from her winter layup berth on Saturday (March 25, 2017) to go over to CN Duluth to load iron ore pellets. The American Century is seen at the right. She is expected to depart on Thursday (March 23, 2017) for Silver Bay to load iron ore pellets.
Above, the Blough goes under the Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge this morning; below, there were many folks out to get a picture of the ‘first ship.’ The only ice to be found was a couple spots on the pavement. The harbor, ship canal and the lake (at this end, at least) were ice free.
Below, Jason Fyten  had his Boatwatcher flag out to celebrate the occasion. Duluth News Tribune Photo Editor Bob King stands next to Jason, waiting for the Blough.


  1. Rita from Georgia says:

    Just watched the Lee A. Tregurtha leave! Now just waiting for American Spirit to leave and my opening season is complete! May God watch over them and keep them all safe!

  2. Rita from Georgia says:

    Watched the Roger Blough turn and leave yesterday! One of my favorites. My other favorites are still in port – Lee A. Tregurtha and American Spirit. My ultimate favorite probably won’t leave port this season – Edward L. Ryerson. She is NUMBER 1! Glad this season is finally started. This is real computer time now!

  3. Brent R. says:

    There goes the Philip R. Clarke.

  4. I didn’t see it mentioned in your post, but as Alder was returning, she met with Roger Blough as she was leaving. Alder had to deviate to starboard to get out of Blough’s way. After Blough passed by, Alder did a looping maneuver to line up with the harbor entrance again. Applause to the Alder crew, who after breaking ice all day in Thunder Bay, had to steam all night to get home to Duluth.

    Boatnerd said that they were going to open up the western channel at Neebish Island. That is remarkable to open this early in the season before the Soo Locks are even open. Boatnerd didn’t say which vessel was going to do it, but based on position, perhaps CG Buckthorn. It looks like Morro Bay is taking a much needed break after days of busting ice in the upper St. Marys and in Whitefish Bay. Mackinaw had a break yesterday so they are out working in Whitefish Bay now. Biscayne Bay is working in the lower St. Marys. The Great Lakes are slowly waking up.

    The two vessels that come to mind that I haven’t seen out yet are the tug, Erica Kobasic which is at Escanaba and the coast guard tug, Neah Bay.

  5. Lynn McCulloch says:

    Can’t wait another season starts!

Leave a Comment