|All hands on deck aboard the Alder on December 14, 2016, breaking ice on their deck as they moved across Lake Superior. All of this while US Coast Guard Sector Soo began Operation Taconite, their annual push to clear shipping channels of ice so lakers can get another 2 or 3 weeks before the season ends. For now, the Alder was assigned the western end of Lake Superior for their ice breaking operations. That seems logical but in others years, they were breaking ice in Lake Michigan and cutters like the Biscayne Bay came here to break up our ice. All pictures here courtesy of the Alder.|
|Alder approaches the Portage Lake Lift Bridge in Houghton, Mich., Dec. 16, 2016.|
|Alder breaks a path through the ice in the Keweenaw Waterway near Houghton, Michigan on Dec. 16, 2016.|
|Join the Alder and 25 members of LSMMA as they open the 2016 shipping season in Duluth Minnesota|
|Our Coast Guard cutter Alder made a quick trip into the harbor this morning (February 22, 2016) to reposition the ship, bow pointing out, for her first ice breaking session this season, sometime in early March. In the pictures here, she is slowly backing into her mooring.|
|The Alder was out this morning (Wednesday, January 13, 2016), preparing a path for the last vessel traffic of the season. (see picture of harbor and the tracks the Alder laid down at the bottom of this page)|
|Information from the Duluth Seaway Port Authority
Duluth-Superior shipping season winds to a close;
7 lakers to be in Port for winter layup
Duluth, Minn., U.S.A. (1/12/16) – The Port of Duluth-Superior is welcoming seven ships for winter layup this year. In fact, the Indiana Harbor laid up early (on Nov. 3) and a major repowering project is already underway at Fraser Shipyards on the Herbert C. Jackson, in dry dock since early December.
The Soo Locks (at Sault Ste. Marie) are set to close at midnight on Friday, Jan. 15. By then, four more wintering vessels are expected to have arrived in the Twin Ports beginning Thursday morning with the anticipated arrival of the Edwin H. Gott, followed Friday or later by the American Century, the Kaye E. Barker and the Philip R. Clarke. We say “expected” to arrive as transit times vary with wind and weather.
Boatwatchers will have to wait just a little longer for the arrival of the very last laker – the Paul R. Tregurtha – as the thousand-footer is making one or two late season, intra-lake deliveries of iron ore. Her arrival beneath the Aerial Bridge next week will officially mark the end of the 2015 Great Lakes shipping season here in the Twin Ports. [Note: Last ‘saltie’ of the season, Federal Bering, departed Duluth on Dec. 18; the St. Lawrence Seaway closed on Dec. 31.]
In all, seven (7) Great Lakes freighters will be wintering in the Twin Ports this year:
Vessel Location ARRIVAL
Indiana Harbor Enbridge Dock 11/03/15
Herbert C. Jackson Fraser Shipyards 12/11/15
Kaye E. Barker Fraser Shipyards
Edwin H. Gott Port Terminal Berth 1
Philip R. Clarke Port Terminal Berth 4
American Century Port Terminal Berth 6/7
Paul R. Tregurtha Midwest Energy Resources Co.
While ships’ crews will take the next few, well-deserved weeks off, there is no real ‘down time’ on the waterfront. Hundreds of workers – engineers, welders, pipefitters, mechanics, electricians and others –will spend the next eight weeks doing heavy-duty maintenance and repair work so these vessels are ready to sail when the Soo Locks reopen on March 25 and the 2016 Great Lakes-Seaway shipping season gets underway.
|The very rare-to-see in Duluth ivory gull has been here awhile instead of at her usual home on the ice in the Arctic Ocean. It is snowing and the temperature is about to take a nose dive. All that is left would be for the US Coast Guard cutter Mackinaw to make her arrival and that she did, this morning (Thursday, January 7, 2016) at 8:30. She is now docked behind the DECC.|
|Shortly after arriving in Duluth, Commander Vasilios Tasikas gathered his crew to make sure they all knew what a nice place Duluth is. The ship and crew are here, in part, to familiarize new crew members with ports on Lake Superior. They will be here until Saturday morning, with at least one ski trip to Spirit Mountain planned. Note that Commander Tasikas is using a Duluth Shipping News calendar to make a point.|
|In the old days, I was sometimes a good source for information about the port. Sometimes I even knew stuff I wasn’t supposed to talk about. Other times, I could and that was fun. Nowadays, I read the paper to find out about the exciting stuff; well not yet so exiting. The Duluth News Tribune had a picture of the Cornelia at anchor off the Duluth piers on their front page this morning (November 7, 2015). The above is the picture I took this morning. There was big news but the News Tribune didn’t know what the news was. I was happy to find out from them that there was news. I still don’t know why she is out there either. I refer you to the article for the list of people who will not tell them (us) what is going on. The US Attorney says the ship is being held there (by the Coast Guard, I assume) as a part of a federal probe. Hmmm.
Many years ago, when I was better connected (before 9-11), I found out a ship was coming to Duluth under armed guard. I got a ride out to the ship at anchor and was lucky enough to come in with her later in the day. She had many other names before she was decommissioned in 2011.
Read below to find out about that adventure.
|On July 5 the Grant Carrier and her crew of 27 left Odessa, a Ukrainian city on the Black Sea, on their way to Duluth. At the time, no ship with Yugoslavian officers was allowed in U.S. waters unless accompanied by armed guards, supplied by the Coast Guard and paid for by the shipowner. That was because our (NATO) planes were bombing their cities at the time.
So the Grant Carrier came to Duluth on August 17, 1999 with a contingent of five armed (but friendly) Coast Guard sailors. The officers and crew were indeed from Yugoslavia, many from Kotor, a city on the coast of the Adriatic Sea in Montenegro.
|The ship arrived and dropped anchor and waited for a party of local port officials to come out. I went out with them and took a gamble and asked the captain if I could stay aboard until the ship came in later that afternoon. (The gamble being the possibility that plans would change and the ship would stay at anchor, perhaps for days. There is no regularly scheduled transportation between the Duluth shore and a ship at anchor.|
|Above, Ship Captain Tomislav Radovic is at his desk talking with his guards; below, he is reading the latest issue of the Duluth Shipping News.|
|Above, and 2 below, Grant Carrier crew members.|
|The guards and the guarded lined up in a row. Below, later that afternoon, the ship, the guards and me come into Duluth|
|We came in under the Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge late that afternoon, as promised. Both the Coast Guard and Captain Radovic and crew were out waving to the crowd, none of whom had any idea the guys in blue outfits were wearing pistols and guarding the ship.|
|As soon as we docked, the Coast Guard left the ship for more private quarters in a local hotel, glad to be back on American soil. The officers and crew were just as interested in getting off the ship to see the sights in Duluth. The next evening, I was walking down Lake Avenue in Canal Park with Captain Radovic and First Mate Pajovic when we passed Grandma’s Sport’s Garden. Both men started to wave at someone playing pool inside. As we walked on, I asked whom they could possibly know in Duluth. Answer: their friendly Coast Guard ‘protectors’ were taking a break playing a few games of pool. I of course set aside the thought that they might be following us, although the captain did tell me that he had also run into them the night before.
On the evening the ship left Duluth, I went aboard with an armful of Port Authority coffee cups and passed them out to the crew. Some crewmembers left our deck party immediately but returned within minutes with gifts for me. They started with cigarettes and lighters, even though I insisted I didn’t smoke. I quickly realized that it was the thought that counts in these matters.
Others came back with beautiful maps of the area around Kotor. Kotor is a medieval city, and the pictures clearly showed the remains of the wall built centuries ago to protect the city from invaders. As we sat on the deck in Duluth, five of them pointed to houses in the pictures where they live, or once lived. They were so insistent on making sure I knew that they were nice, peace-loving people, as were the people of Montenegro, that I almost could not get off the ship. I was surely convinced, as I walked down the gangway to drive back to the ship canal.
|Above and below, my scans of the 2 posters the crew gave me.|
|Old salts tell me the Grant Carrier was the first ship ever to come into Duluth under armed guard, and I had the scoop. I went up and down the piers passing out the Duluth Shipping News and telling people that the ship with the armed guards was coming soon. The crew was hyped, and I had suggested to the captain that he do some serious work with the ship’s whistle when they came under the bridge.
I was still not prepared for what happened. As the ship came around the buoy and approached the bridge, the entire crew was out on the deck, and not just standing there. They were all jumping up and down and waving. The captain hit the horn just before the ship went under the bridge, and he didn’t take his hand off until the ship was leaving the canal.
Those of us on the ground returned the jumping and the noise to the ship; it was quite a moment. I felt we had all made a small contribution to a better world given that our two countries were at war.
|And, I almost forgot, the Grant Carrier was docked the Cargill Elevator to load grain.|
|The US Coast Guard cutter Alder departed her dock right on time, 9 am, March 9, 2015. As always, she was the first vessel movement in the port since January.|
|The Mackinaw led a convoy of boats that arrived off the Duluth piers this morning (April 30, 2014). Before they came in, the CSL Assiniboine departed around 8:25 morning and ran into some ice problems. The bad news; there were 7 boats in front of her waiting to come in. The good news: the Mackinaw was right there and after a couple hours of working the ice, the Assiniboine was on her way. The first three were the CSL Assiniboine, Cason J. Callaway and the Thunder Bay.|
|Half an hour later, the Whitefish Bay came in, followed by the Baie Comeau and then the CSL Tadoussac.|
|After the Bridge went down to clear some traffic, the Baie St. Paul came in alone. A little later, the Mackinaw, having watched her charges safely make it into the Duluth harbor, came in herself.|
|The St Clair departed Duluth around noon on April 15, 2014 (above) to join the convoy forming off the Duluth piers to cross Lake Superior. She arrived in Duluth for winter layup on January 2, 2014. She left port yesterday at 6:15 am and I think went to anchor. She came back in at 5pm.|
|The American Spirit also arrived for winter layup on January 2, 2014. When the Presque Isle returned to port with hull damage due to ice on April 3rd, at least some of her cargo of iron ore pellets was offloaded into the American Spirit. She left here on May 9th to load iron ore pellets in Two Harbors and then returned here later that day. Above, she is leaving Duluth early afternoon today to join the convoy.|
|The convoy of boats led by US and Canadian ice breakers arrived in Duluth early Monday morning, April 14th, 2014. The Stewart J. Cort came under the Lift Bridge at 4:54 and went over to the BN to begin loading iron ore pellets. The St. Clair left port, under the Lift Bridge at 6:15 am, going to the anchorage to wait for the eastbound convoy. At 6:47, the CSL Tadoussac arrived followed by the Mackinaw an hour later. The Sam Laud, here to load iron ore pellets at the CN in Duluth, came under the bridge at 7:54.|
|At noon on Monday, the St. Clair (above left) was at anchor and next to her, the Algoma Discovery (formerly the Daviken), waited to load iron ore pellets at the BN. And, the Mackinaw, having done her job, was at the DECC, perhaps relaxing for a couple moments.|
Click on any picture to see a larger version
|This is what I think, but don’t bet on it. The Presque Isle left here on March 22th with a partial load of pellets and I think loaded pellets at Two Harbors and then tried to get to the other end of Lake Superior but had ice trouble and came back here for repairs, arriving on March 29th still with her pellets. Some of those pellets were off loaded into the American Spirit, which had not yet left Duluth. She offloaded pellets to make repairs easier. The American Spirit left here on April 7th with pellets loaded from the Presque Isle. She went to Two Harbors to load pellets and then came back this morning (above) with both loads of pellets. To wait, I presume.
Back on March 24th the Mackinaw, Katmai Bay and Morro Bay arrived Duluth and left here on March 26th. Two days later, on March 28th, the Alder arrived Duluth with an ice-wounded Morro Bay lashed to her side with the Katmai Bay leading them under the Lift Bridge.
|Several days later, the Katmai Bay departed to return to ice breaking duties while the Morro Bay stayed here for repairs to her rudder. That happened early this week and she left but did not go very far away. The Katmai Bay returned to Duluth this morning, April 9th (above), and the Morro Bay was back at the DECC with the Katmai Bay by late this afternoon.|
|Meanwhile at the other end of the Lake, late this afternoon, the Canadian ice breaker Pierre Radisson left the Soo leading a convoy of boats trying to get to Duluth (Click on the the map above). The Mackinaw was going to be with the convoy but as I write this, she was still at the Soo.|
|So here is my guess. When the convoy arrives here, perhaps on Thursday or Friday, we will have 5 ice breakers here, counting the Alder. All of a sudden, we will/may have a bunch of boats here to load cargo and then go back out to the lake, I would guess with the help of some of our flotilla of ice breakers. And presumably the American Spirit came back and is waiting to be a part of that convey. Or Not!|
|You can find the satellite images here: http://coastwatch.glerl.noaa.gov/index.html Just click on MODIS Imagery; Great Lakes MODIS True Color; and then select the lake you want, such as Superior|
|The Cleveland based Coast Guard cutter Morro Bay is still docked behind the DECC (above) after being towed into Port by the Alder and Katmai Bay after ice breaking work in Thunder Bay damaged the ship’s rudder. She arrived here on March 28. Since then, naval engineers have determined that she sustained damage to a rudder that had already been damaged. Five out of the 6 bolts used to hold the rudder in place were lost. Repairs will be made on Sunday and/or Monday and she will then immediately return to service.|
|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.|
|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.|
|Three Coast Guard cutters arrive Duluth on March 25, 2014 (from my window)|
|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)|
|This video was taken March 10, 2014, and is a little less polished than others but I wanted to get it posted quickly.|
|Dan Rau took this picture on Wednesday (March 5, 2014), as the Alder was returning from a long day breaking ice. While following the path she opened on the way out, you can notice the ship has moved to the right so she can widen the original path for the next trip. (click pic to enlarge)|
|Tug barges are interesting vessel(s). The Great Lakes Trader (barge) and the Joyce L. VanEnkevort (tug) were loading iron ore pellets at the CN dock in West Duluth on Thursday (January 2, 2014). Click the image for a larger version. Ice was an obvious problem but a tug/barge has a unique tool for breaking it up: the tug. Here the tug (right) had unleashed herself from the barge and was out shoveling the driveway while the dock was loading iron ore pellets into the Great Lakes Trader cargo holds. The tug later moved out into the river to clear a space for the vessel to back away from the slip and make the turn in the river so she could depart. Turning is a much bigger problem in an icy river than cruising down (or up) the river and needs more space.That done the tug returned to reconnect to the barge and they departed the slip together, using the newly created space in the river to make the turn. High winds on Lake Superior delayed her departure after she cleared the Duluth ship canal so she dropped anchor off the Duluth piers to wait.American Steamship has called in their vessels for the season but other shipping companies are continuing operations, if more slowly than usual. The Coast Guard has many vessels below the Soo working to keep the shipping lanes open on the St. Mary’s River, the St. Clair River and the often troubling Rock Cut.
In this article in UpNorthLive on January 2, 2014, the Coast Guard reports that Coast Guard crews have been doing their best to keep this multi-billion dollar shipping industry moving.
Capt. Steve Teschendorf is now Coast Guard Sector Sault Ste. Marie Commander. He is remembered here as the last captain on the Sundew and the first captain on the Alder. In the article, he is quoted as saying, "It’s (the ice) caused some delays, but we have not had any of what we call a waterway closure at this point, so things of been slowed but they are moving." He reported that ships are noticing delayed travel times and if they plan on making it through the locks they need to do so by January 15th. That’s when the locks close for the season until March.
Ken Gerasimos, Key Lakes/ Great Lakes Fleet, took this picture of the disengaged pair on Thursday.
|Our current US Coast Guard cutter Alder (above) was out this morning opening up the shipping channels for boats returning to Duluth for the winter. The Sundew, our ‘old’, and now retired, Coast Guard cutter (foreground), was sitting at her dock waiting for summer. And a good thing for those sailors on the Alder. The pilothouse is warm and comforting on the Alder, while the Sundew had an open pilothouse, not the best place to spend a winter day in the Northland.|
|The Calumet came under the Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge this afternoon (December 18, 2013) to load iron ore pellets at the CN dock in West Duluth. This was her second trip here this season; she has been here 20 times since 1996. Of course, before she was sold in 2008, she came as the David Z. Norton and the David Z. Above, the Bentleyville Christmas ‘tree’ is in the foreground; that is the South Pier Inn hiding behind the bow of the boat. Below, the Calumet passes by the ice breaker Katmai Bay; she was out breaking ice!|
|Guaranteed; this picture will never be used in a Coast Guard recruiting poster. Not sure whether these crew members aboard the Katmai Bay this morning (December 10, 2013) were told that chipping ice off the side of the ship was one of their duties.|
|They didn’t have to worry, we have a lot of our own. However, they are very welcome here; we have lots of ice they know what to do with. More info on the Katmai Bay here.|
|On March 11, 2013, the Alder broke away from the ice around her dock and began her task of clearing the shipping channels in the Duluth Superior harbor, as well as breaking ice and working buoys in other parts of the Great Lakes. Today, April 7, 2013, almost a month later, she came back home. She won’t have to break any ice in the port since the ice is pretty well beaten up first by the Alder, Biscayne Bay and Mackinaw and then by a steady stream of Great Lakes freighters that have been kicking the ice around since the Mesabi Miner departed here on March 20th.|
|The Mackinaw has a unique method to break open large ice fields|
|The US Coast Guard cutter Mackinaw left her moorings at the DECC at 9 am this morning (March 17, 2013) to break ice in the Duluth Superior harbor. She returned to the DECC around 11:30, dropped some folks off, and then went under the Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge on her way to Whitefish Point at the other end of Lake Superior.|
Click to see new video looking back at the winter (spring?) of 2007
|More ice breaking videos:
March 9, 2011; watch the Alder break ice in Duluth
January 9, 2008: Alder out breaking ice as last boats come in for layup
January 6, 2008: The ice breaker Biscayne Bay in DuluthNote: the Biscayne Bay will NOT be here to help the Alder break ice on Monday, March 11, 2013. The Alder will be breaking ice in the harbor and perhaps out in the Lake on Monday.
|The Alder returned to the Twin Ports early Friday morning (January 25, 2013) and went right to work clearing the path for the John G. Munson to take when she comes in, later today, to move to Fraser Shipyards for winter layup. Below, at 12:15 in the afternoon, the Munson finally came in (below) and officially closed the shipping season, we assume.|
|Go here for latest information: www.duluthboats.com|
|Three views of the Duluth harbor this morning, Friday, March 2, 2012. Top, a crane barge, owned by Duluth Timber, sank in her Railroad Street slip yesterday. The Coast Guard is investigating any potential spills or other hazards that might be involved. Just off the slip, the Coast Guard cutter Alder was sitting still in the still water (note: I said water, not ice). Below, the Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge was also pretty still (more water).|
|The Paul R. Tregurtha departed Duluth on Monday morning, December 26, 2011 after loading 64,000 tons of coal for her usual destination, the Detroit Edison power plant at St. Clair Michigan. A little over an hour later, the Lee A. Tregurtha (right) came in to get fuel and then load iron ore pellets at the CN dock in West Duluth. An hour before, the Alder was out in the harbor but there was not much ice to break.|
(Click each image for larger version)
|The Coast Guard cutter Mackinaw has been in the Twin Ports for a couple weeks for bow thruster repairs at the Fraser Shipyards. She is currently (Friday, December 16, 2011) moored at the DECC (above) but is expected to depart in the next couple days to begin another season of ice breaking on the Great Lakes.|
The US Coast Guard cutter Thunder Bay departed their home port in Rockland, Maine to come to the Great Lakes to assist in any ice breaking operations that may be needed. Bringing an east coast ship into the Great Lakes has been a Coast Guard tradition for some years, and provides them with an additional opportunity to cross train the crews and put the ship into a different environment, although the Thunder Bay is an ice breaking tug and is very good at that job. The 140-foot icebreaking tug was built to break ice; they use a low-pressure-air hull lubrication or bubbler system that forces air and water between the hull and ice. This system improves icebreaking capabilities by reducing resistance against the hull.
They arrived in Cleveland on December 12, 2011. Although currently based in Maine, she is named for the town of Thunder Bay, Michigan, on Lake Huron near Alpena.
|That is the Coast Guard cutter Biscayne Bay docked behind the DECC. Coincidently (??), the first ice of the season is just in front of her. I am entertaining captions for the picture. She has been here many times to help us fight the ice. Go to the Biscayne Bay page to see more pictures of her life and times while in Duluth Superior and a video from some years back.|
|I know the weather is a little bad today but I wasn’t expecting to see the best ice breaker on the Great Lakes in town today (Saturday, November 26, 2011). The Canadian flagged Samuel Risley, usually here only when the ice is very bad, came to get a buoy that the Alder picked up for them. They are now docked behind the DECC, at least until Sunday and perhaps longer if the weather on the lake acts up, as is expected.|
|The Alder looked like they had a lot of folks on board enjoying the sun when they came into port on Saturday, October 22, 2011. They may have some sunny days from now until the end of the shipping season in mid-January, 2012 but the days won’t be so warm and the blue water will be replaced by lots of white. Listen to her celebrate her arrival nonetheless.|
|The US Coast Guard cutter Alder broke away from her dock and seemed to have an easy time moving around the harbor. Here she is passing by the American Century at her winter layup dock at the Port Terminal.|
|Note from the ship: We made it safely through the harbor finding different thicknesses anywhere from 6 inches plate ice to re-frozen brash up to about 30 inches in some spots. Alder made it all the way through the Superior Front Channel and out to Lake Superior today.|
|When the Coast Guard starts Operation Taconite, their effort through out the Great Lakes to keep the shipping channels free of ice. The project started today (Monday, December 6, 2010). In an announcement made today, they said:
Initially, only one Coast Guard icebreaker will be assigned to Operation Taconite. Coast Guard Cutter Katmai Bay, homeported in Sault Sainte Marie, has been ordered to make its way west towards Duluth, Minn., to provide ice breaking services while Coast Guard Cutter Alder is underway working aids to navigation. Additional Coast Guard ice breakers will join the operation in the coming days and weeks.
|The Katmai Bay is a 140 foot Bay-class Icebreaking Tug. In the picture above, the Katmai Bay is seen entering the Duluth Ship Canal on October 21st, 2005.
Click here for more information about the Alder
|The Duluth Coast Guard cutter Alder left today (above, November 29, 2010) to finish up their year’s work on Aids to Navigation before coming back in December to battle the Duluth Superior ice.
Aids to Navigation are man-made objects used by mariners to determine their position on the water or to maintain a safe course. They include buoys, day beacons, lights (lighthouses), radio beacons, fog signals, marks and other devices used to provide "street" signs on the water. Aids To Navigation include all the visible, audible and electronic symbols that are established by government and private authorities for piloting purposes. You can go here for more information.
Commander Mary Ellen J. Durley and her crew will work the Eastern side of Lake Superior, the St. Mary’s River, and Northern Lake Michigan.
|Alder commander Mary Ellen Durley reports that the Alder should be coming under the Lift Bridge on Saturday morning, around 9:00, possibly later depending on weather. She sent along a picture of the Alder as they were passing by a Greenland glacier. The coming Duluth winter shouldn’t be much of a challenge now; no glaciers anymore! Just ice and some fog once in a while.|
The Sundew, now owned by Jeff Foster, left her moorings at the DECC today to start a new life as …………..
|A few months ago, Kiyi captain Joe Walters took a lunch break at the Deep Water Grill in Ashland. Joe worked on the Sundew from 1994 to 97 as chief warrant officer. He got lots of experience navigating the vessel around the Great Lakes. He left the Coast Guard in 2000 and started work for the Lake Superior Biological Station at Ashland, Wisconsin as the captain of their research vessel Kiyi, a boat that comes to the Twin Ports a couple times a year. He had read in the paper that his old ship had been sold to Jeff Foster Trucking in Superior. When he saw someone at the restaurant wearing a Jeff Foster jacket, he walked over and introduced himself. It was not Jeff, but after their discussion, the message got back to Jeff that Joe was in Ashland. Jeff needed a licensed captain to take the Sundew out of the slip next to the William A. Irvin, and knew that Joe would be a good person for the job. Partly out of coincidence, the Kiyi was scheduled to be in the Twin Ports this week, the same time that Jeff wanted to move the ship out. If all goes well, Joe will take the wheel of the Sundew for the first time in 13 years on Tuesday or Wednesday morning. That’s Joe on the bridge of the Kiyi on Monday afternoon. In the background, you can make out the Sundew, waiting for his arrival.|
|It is April 14th, 2010. We are warmer than usual but not green. Grandma’s Marathon is a couple months away and the sidewalks are filled with runners. The Sundew is getting ready to move on to her next life with Jeff Foster, and the William A. Irvin will open as usual in May. The Federal Polaris joined the party mid morning. Currently (noon), she is at the inner anchorage waiting for the Iryda to complete loading grain at CHS1 in Superior.|
|And that’s not enough, the Wizard of Oz came to town and is setting up shop at the DECC auditorium for a show tonight.|
The Coast Guard cutter Mobile Bay pulled up to the dock at the DECC early Sunday morning, March 21st. Earlier this season, they were part of a large effort to break up the ice in the St. Clair River, an operation that obviously succeeded in its task as commercial vessels are now moving easily. They were called to check out the ice conditions in the Keweenaw and the Apostle Islands but the ice was thick there and it was too early to send the ice fishermen back to shore. Those fishermen are lucky they don’t have to share their part of the lake with commercial traffic as much as Duluth Superior. The ice fishermen here were told to leave a week or more ago so the Alder could begin to clear the shipping channels for the approaching commercial traffic. So with too much ice at those destinations, the ice breaker Mobile Bay were sent to Duluth where they brought more ice in on their bow than they saw in the harbor. But Duluth is a good place to stop to take care of the necessities of life such as food, garbage and a little rest and relaxation. They will leave Tuesday morning for the Soo, although still ready for a change in plans as ice conditions change.
The Mobile Bay is 140 feet long and has a crew of 19 on board. When they aren’t breaking ice, they can usually be found pushing their 120 foot barge in front of them. The barge is back at their home port of Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin. When the ice is gone, they switch over to their other personality, a buoy tender. Since they don’t have a deck large enough hold the buoys they pick up and drop off, they bring the barge along for that. The barge also has a crane on board, something the Mobile Bay lacks since she is primarily an ice breaking cutter.
|The US Coast Guard cutter Alder, just before she departed her dock on March 8, 2010 to take a first look at ice conditions. They report ice up to 20 inches thick, better than last year, and the warm weather suggests it could end up being very much better than last year. They will go out again on Wednesday, as originally planned and may not be out again until just before the first boat moves in the harbor, probably the James R. Barker leaving with coal for a Lake Superior Port, maybe on the 19th.|
… the former Coast Guard cutter that was built in Duluth in 1943 and served many years here before retiring into the tourist business. Happily, very happily, Jeff plans to maintain the Sundew’s presence in the Twin Ports. Here he is checking out his new purchase on February 15th. He plans to start working on the ship in the beginning of April so he can take her out of her home for the last 5 years and put her back in the Twin Ports waters again. He is not sure yet what is in store for the future, but being seen a lot in the Twin Ports is very much a part of the plan. (Pictures from the Sundew’s past)
|On Friday, August 28th, Commander Beverly Havlik (second from right) stopped by with her mother (center). Beverly commanded the Coast Guard cutter Sundew from June, 2000 until June, 2003. The Sundew is now a museum, located just in front of the William A. Irvin, and is operated by the DECC. Erik Akervik and Tom Kanzier, from the left, are tour guides on the ship. At right, John Clark works on maintaining the ship. They had a lot of questions for Bev; like where can we find the key to this place, what does that thing do, what is this connected to etc etc. She had a good answer for all questions.|
|It wasn’t quite so bad that July was a record cold month in Duluth, and it wasn’t so bad that the temperature today on August 2nd is 55 degrees F. But the ICEBREAKING Coast Guard cutter Alder came home from her annual summer ‘vacation’ on Lake Erie this morning a little early. Do they know something we don’t about how cold it really will be? Soon??|
|On July 8th, 2009, Commander Kevin Wirth handed over command of the Alder to Commander Mary Ellen Durley.|
|The US Coast Guard ice breaker Mackinaw came under the Lift Bridge on June 9th to get repairs made at Fraser Shipyards to its unique Azipod propulsion units. It left there yesterday (above) and went under the Lift Bridge. They circled around beyond the piers for a while and then headed out into the Lake. I received a greeting of, “Have a nice summer.” I take that to mean they were satisfied that the repairs worked. The Alder is expected to go to Fraser on Thursday and will probably go into the dry dock in Saturday. Actually, they will probably go into the dock on Thursday. On Saturday, they will drain the dock, and it will then become a dry dock. Photo taken on June 16, 2009|
|*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 06-17-2009|
|The Coast Guard cutter Mackinaw left Fraser Shipyards today (June 16, 2009), seen above going by the H. Lee White on her way to the Lift Bridge. This at 11:30 this morning. She is still in the area off the piers, checking out the repaired Azipods; not sure they will leave if everything is ok, or whether they will come back in. (Note at 4:00; after moving around just outside the Duluth piers, she has gone out into the lake, on her way, I presume, to her next job.|
The US Coast Guard cutter Mackinaw arrived here on June 9th to get repair work done on their 2 Azipod thruster engines mounted on pods at the stern of the ship. The propulsion units are below water, so the Mackinaw went into the dry dock at Fraser Shipyards in Superior. They expect to come out on Friday June 12, 2009) and may move to a dock at the Port Terminal on Saturday for further inspection before heading back to work, possibly early next week. In the photos here, taken on Wednesday, workers, many here from Finland where the Azipods were developed, are completing their work. Both Azipods can be rotated 360 degrees, providing great maneuverability. She goes backward as easily as it goes forward.
|The US Coast Guard cutter Mackinaw came under the Lift Bridge on June 9th to get repair work done on their 2 Azipod thruster engines mounted on pods at the stern of the ship (above). The propulsion units are below water, so the Mackinaw went into the dry dock at Fraser Shipyards in Superior. They expect to come out on Friday and may move to a dock at the Port Terminal on Saturday for further inspection before heading back to work, possibly early next week. In the photo above taken on Wednesday, workers, many here from Finland where the Azipods were developed, are completing their work. Both Azipods can be rotated 360 degrees, providing great maneuverability. She goes backward as easily as forward. Photo taken on June 10, 2009|
|*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 06-11-2009|
|We have three Coast Guard cutters in Duluth and no ice. It’s a good thing since the three ships are not in the best of shape. The Mackinaw arrived a couple weeks ago and is currently up on blocks in the Fraser Shipyards dry dock. The Coast Guard cutter Hollyhock arrived in Duluth on Wednesday (above). It was expected a little later since it has an appointment in the same dry dock after the Mackinaw gets out, probably late in June. It is here now to help the ailing Alder with some buoy tending. Both the Alder and the Hollyhock are Juniper class cutters, the Hollyhock was launched in early 2003; the Alder in 2004. The Alder will undergo repairs later this summer although the exact time and place have not been determined. Photo taken on May 27, 2009|
|*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 05-28-2009|
|The US Coast Guard cutter Mackinaw arrived in Duluth just after 6 pm last night. It is here for some repairs in the dry dock at Fraser Shipyard and is expected to move over there today. Kevin Wirth (left foreground), commanding officer on the Alder, was out to greet the Mackinaw when it arrived. Wind gusts up to 36 mph made the trip through the Duluth ship canal a little more interesting than usual. Mackinaw Commander Scott Smith had originally planned to dock behind the DECC but after approaching the DECC, he decided to go to the Port Terminal instead. Smith and Wirth planned to have dinner together last night. There will be much to talk about. Smith served in Duluth on the Sundew as executive officer from 1995 to 1997. The Alder has its own problems and will shortly go into dry dock for some repairs. We have high winds but no ice so the two ships have some time to recover from their wounds. Photo taken on May 19, 2009|
|*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 05-20-2009|
|The US Coast Guard cutter Mackinaw arrived in Duluth on Tuesday evening, May 19th, 2009. Wind gusts up to 39 mph added to the fun. The Mac is here to go into dry dock at Fraser Shipyards for some repairs to their Azipod propulsion units.|
|The twin, fixed pitch Azipods can be seen facing each other just as the ship was sliding down the rails and into the Menominee River when she was launched on April 2nd, 2005. The Azipods can be rotated 360 degrees and are used to steer the ship. They eliminate the need of a rudder.|
A ceremony to recognize the anniversary of a Coast Guard rescue attempt is scheduled for Thursday, at 2 p.m., just outside the Lake Superior Maritime Museum in Canal Park. The ceremony will honor Boatswain’s Mate 1st Class Edgar A. Culbertson (left) who lost his life while trying to rescue 3 boys just off the Duluth piers during a April 30, 1967 storm ,
Click here for Coast Guard press release on event:
And for more information, go here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edgar_Culbertson”
The Coast Guard cutter Mackinaw arrived in Duluth on Friday morning, coming in the Superior entry and moving down to moorings at the DECC. On Friday afternoon, members of the Duluth Fire Department visited the ship. The two groups share many duties. Like all ships, the Mackinaw is its own fire department when under way. Both groups are trained to handle a variety of emergencies. And, when they are in Duluth, the Duluth fire department is the ship’s fire department. The fire fighters were down to check on the ship and its fire fighting capability in case of an incident. Another thing they have in common; the fire fighters would love to take a ride on the Mackinaw and the crew on the Mac would love to get a trip on a fire truck. Crew members of the ship were offered a tour of the fire house. In the picture above, Electricians Mate First Class Robert Bytlewood, back to the camera, is talking to fire department members, Capt. Perry Ludwig, Lisa Consie and Ed Schumacher. Bytlewood was explaining his duties in the ECC, Engineering Control Center.
|Mackinaw Commander Scott Smith (above, left) hosted a well attended community visit on Saturday afternoon. It was a homecoming of sorts for Smith. From 1995 to 1997, he served as executive officer on the Sundew, then our ice breaker and now a museum easily seen from the pilot house of the Mac. Above, he is on the bridge explaining how the Mackinaw breaks up ice to Jim and Tina Rogers of Duluth. Since leaving the Sundew in 1997, he served aboard the Bramble in Port Huron, and has commanded the cutter Anacapa in Alaska and the cutter Bristol Bay in Detroit. He took command of the Mackinaw last May.|
|*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 04-05-2009|