Alder breaks ice & sweeps & shovels it too

fromAlderDec192016
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.
fromAlderDec192016-3
Alder approaches the Portage Lake Lift Bridge in Houghton, Mich., Dec. 16, 2016.
fromAlderDec192016-2
Alder breaks a path through the ice in the Keweenaw Waterway near Houghton, Michigan on Dec. 16, 2016.

The good old days

While we wait for the Alder to open up the season, probably on Monday, March 9, here is a video I created during the beginning of the 2007 season.

Winter in Duluth: Is it fun?

collageforvideo270316-1-157

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.

First ice and a breaker!

biscaynebay20111206-1542
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.

Biscayne Bay crewmembers get a break

biscaynebaycrew2008Mar17_6262
Shortly after the Alder and the tug North Carolina got the Mesabi Miner out of the harbor on Sunday and on the way to Marquette to deliver coal, the Coast Guard cutter Biscayne Bay arrived after clearing out the ice at Marquette and spending Saturday night in the ice off the Apostle Islands. Yesterday, they broke up the ice near Fraser Shipyards where 4 boats spent the winter and will be coming out soon. After returning to their spot behind the DECC, Chief Engineer John Ellis decided to take his entire engineering department out to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with some pizza, leaving the boat, just behind them, in the capable hands of Captain Cary Godwin and 9 other crew members. The engineering department, left to right, are Branden Underwood, Ellis, James Taylor, David Massey, Chris Timm and Ricardo Villalba. Photo taken on March 17, 2008
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 03-18-2008

Ice breaker Biscayne Bay in Duluth

The US Coast Guard ice breaker Biscayne Bay was in Duluth in December to break ice in the Duluth Superior harbor. The Duluth Shipping News went along.

Biscayne Bay cuts a path

biscaynebay2007Dec12_2279
The Biscayne Bay‘s extended stay in Duluth was cut short when they were asked to go to Thunder Bay to break up their ice. The 140 foot Coast Guard cutter departed the port on Wednesday afternoon. Before departing, it refreshed the tracks made through the ice in the main shipping channels in the port. The tracks they opened up Wednesday meet under the Blatnik Bridge. One goes up the St. Louis River past Midwest Energy Resources and the CN dock. One goes down the Superior channel to the BN dock. And one moves up the inner harbor to the Lift Bridge. In the picture above, the ship is going down the Superior channel toward the Superior entry. You are looking back through a window on the bridge of the ship at the track the ship has just opened. The tracks often freeze over if there has not been a ship going through it for some time and/or it is very cold. The tracks through the ice in the main shipping channels can easily be seen from Skyline Drive. Photo taken on December 12, 2007
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 12-13-2007