Calumet here with salt

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The Calumet came under the Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge on Saturday morning, September 6, 2014 with a cargo of salt to discharge at the Hallett #8. This is her first visit here this season; she was here twice last year; loading iron ore pellets on each trip; she brought salt in on her September 23rd trip before loading pellets. Later in the day, the John G. Munson came into port and I got a picture of Nick getting a picture of the Munson.
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3 again and still 1 more and then the Mac

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.
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Half an hour later, the Whitefish Bay came in, followed by the Baie Comeau and then the CSL Tadoussac.
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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.
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Convoy Departs!

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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.
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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.
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Convoy arrived!

20140414-102The 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.
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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.
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A season like no other

Click on any picture to see a larger version

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katmaibay20140409-080This 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.
convoy 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.
t1140981646LakeSuperior143250m-ps 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

Help is on the way

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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.

Morro Bay gets local help

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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.
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Ice is not nice to ships

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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.
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Mackinaw and 2 friends

Three Coast Guard cutters arrive Duluth on March 25, 2014 (from my window)

Coast Guard cutters coming to Duluth

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)
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LSMMA takes a ride on the Alder

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The LSMMA went ice breaking with the Alder today (March 20, 2014). After clearing ice in Howards Pocket, they came up the harbor and went under the Lift Bridge and out into Lake Superior. As  you can see, they took advantage of the occasion to get some nice shots from on high.
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Alder turns ice into water!

This  video was taken March 10, 2014, and is a little less polished than others but I wanted to get it posted quickly.

Ice? How about blue water!

I took the pictures in the post below this post with my phone on the Alder and then emailed them to Holly in Arizona. She posted them here. Just below are pictures I took aboard the Alder today (Monday, March 10. 2014. (Click a pic for a larger version)
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The Alder performed well making the first trip of the season under the Lift Bridge and into Lake Superior. Only once in the 7.5 mile trip into the lake was she stopped in the ice. Above, the V-shaped mark in the ice is where the bow of the ship was stopped. We are now backing and getting to ram the ice again. Called backing and ramming, after a couple of those, we were back on track.
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Above, we return from the land of sky blue waters to the cold cruel northland. The Alder returns from Lake Superior after finding blue water 7.5 miles out, as far as the eye could see.
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Going home

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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)

Spring is sprung

Note: The Alder did make it back to the dock early evening. They saw ice between 2 to 5 feet thick, with it getting thicker as they moved down the Superior channel. They should be back at it tomorrow (Wednesday).
Alder gets to work on breaking ice today, March 4, 2014.  She got away from the dock with little trouble, which was very surprising to me and others watching. She slowed down when she got to the middle of the harbor and turned up the harbor toward the Port Terminal. It has, I am told, been very very slow as she is backing and ramming her way down the Superior channel. Video at bottom shows Alder leaving the dock.
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Tug/barge/icebreaker

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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.

Ice and cold with new and old

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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.

Having fun in the Coast Guard

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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.

Coast Guard Katmai Bay brings her own ice

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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.
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Back home again

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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.

Watch the Mackinaw azipods in action

The Mackinaw has a unique method to break open large ice fields

Mackinaw breaks ice in Duluth

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.
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Mackinaw arrives Duluth

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Above, the Coast Guard cutter Mackinaw arrived Duluth on Saturday afternoon, March 16, 2013.

Watch my wet video of the launch of the Mackinaw in April, 2005

The Duluth Shipping News has 18 pages about the Mackinaw here

Go along with the Alder

On March 13th, 2013, the US Coast Guard cutter Alder made her second ice breaking trip of the new season. She retraced some of the tracks she broke out on Monday and went under the Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge to open a track to the end of the ice pack, about 5 1/2 miles out.

Alder goes out in the lake

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The Coast Guard cutter Alder covered all the bases today (March 13, 2013), first going under the Lift Bridge and to the edge of the ice sheet, about 5 1/2 miles out. The ship made quick work of the ice, easily breaking open a track and then coming back in to break up more ice in the Superior channel to the BN dock and then up the St. Louis River just beyond the winter moorings of the Mesabi Miner at Midwest Energy. We then went into Howard’s Pocket, approaching the Roger Blough. Video probably tomorrow.
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To the edge and now back in, following the track laid on the way out.
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The American Spirit (above) is spending the winter at Elevator M in Superior. (Seen as we went out the Superior channel)
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Above, the Indiana Harbor was just a bit further down the channel. Below, we turned around after getting to the BNSF dock.
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We then moved up the St. Louis River, passing by the Mesabi Miner, wintering at Midwest Energy Resources.
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We then turned into Howard’s Pocket, the back door to Fraser Shipyards in Superior. Above, we will approach the Roger Blough, just to the left of center above. She is seen again as we get closer below.
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We left an Alder bow print in the ice, as we backed out. Distances are deceiving in these pictures, we were closer than the picture above seems to indicate. Below, we are backing away, about to go under the Blatnik Bridge.
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Alder opens 2013 season

Spring has sprung

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… and the Alder didn’t seem to have any trouble breaking the ice around her this morning (March 11, 2013) when she pulled away from her moorings, the first vessel to move in the port this new season.
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Winter in Duluth: Is it fun?

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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.

Getting ready for the Munson

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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.
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Mesabi Miner had ice in 2008

Go here for latest information: www.duluthboats.com

That was then …

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and this is now: For immediate release: Sunday, February 19th, 2012

Duluth, MN. —U.S. Coast Guard Station Duluth is issuing a warning that the unusually warm temperatures observed this year have greatly increased the possibility of weakened ice.
"Ice conditions are deteriorating rapidly, major wet cracks and ice breaks have been recognized the last few days, with forecasted temps climbing to the high 30’s, this will only accelerate weakening ice " said Boatswains Mate Third Class Matthew Murphy, Coast Guard Station Duluth, MN.
The combination of warmer temperatures and shifting winds has caused extremely hazardous ice conditions in the St Louis River. The Coast Guard cautions those ice fishing and transiting on the ice due to the unpredictability of the ice breaking apart. (Picture taken on February 17th, 2007.)

Mackinaw here; maybe Thunder Bay later

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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.
111212-G-JL323-050 CGC Thunder Bay arrives in Cleveland

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.

First ice and a breaker!

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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.

No ice today, just wind and sleet and cold

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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.

Nice and warm; cold and ice coming

Coast Guard cutter Alder arrives Duluth on October 22, 2011
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.

Alder breaks the ice on a new season

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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.

A sure sign of winter:

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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

Alder departs Duluth

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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 welcomed home to Duluth from the Arctic

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Saturday morning, September 11, 2010

Alder almost home from the cold for more cold

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.

Our U.S. Coast Guard cutter Alder is getting serious about ice and cold

LCDR Mary Ellen J. Durley sent a note down to Capt Tom Mackay, most of which is repeated here. I have included a picture she sent me also; not sure who took it:
ALDER has become a Blue-Nose and joined the Polar Bear club by sailing above the Arctic Circle. We are currently on our journey home, but I won’t be able to give an exact time or date. The crew is very excited to get home to see their loved ones after participating in a Joint International Mission with the Canadian and Danish Forces, called Operation NANOOK 2010. We increased the interoperability of conducting missions by all three countries in the high Arctic and the mission was a success and first of its kind. We saw ice bergs, whales, a glimpse of a polar bear, beautiful fiords, and lots of fog, rain, and heavy seas. Don’t worry, we’ll be back in Lake Superior to take care of the fall aids to navigation season and winter ice-breaking.
LCDR Mary Ellen J. Durley, Commanding Officer, Alder

Joe Walters returns to the Sundew

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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.

The Mobile Bay stops by for some rest and relaxation

The Coast Guard cutter Mobile Bay pulled up at the Decc in Duluth Minnesota on Sunday morning, March 21, 2010.

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 Alder makes her first appearance of the season

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.

Several months ago, Jeff Foster purchased the Sundew …,

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… 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)

Icebreaker returns to Duluth in July

alder20090802_0103 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??

Mackinaw gone for the summer

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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

Mackinaw comes out of dry dock, departs under the Lift Bridge

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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.

Mackinaw about to get out of dry dock

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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.

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Mackinaw in dry dock

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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