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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