Thursday, November 10, 2016

Edmund Fitzgerald 41st Anniversary

On November 10, 2008, my husband I had an opportunity to attend the Edmund Fitzgerald Memorial Service at the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum at Whitefish Point, Michigan. It was a moving and educational experience.

The program stated:
November 10, 1975, the Fitzgerald and her entire crew of 29 men were lost in one of the worst storms in three decades. No one knows why a 729-foot ore carrier could founder so suddenly and mysteriously. The Fitz lies just 17 miles north-northwest of Whitefish Point in 535 feet of water."

We arrived at Whitefish Point in the mid-afternoon so we could take some photos in good light. It was a blustery, cold day.

We went down to the beach on the walkway and saw two boats heading out into the lake.
I recently read The Living Great Lakes by Jerry Dennis. It is a great book for learning about the Great Lakes and their history, biology, geology through Dennis' love for the Lakes. In the book, he describes this time of year on Lake Superior.

"November is the deadliest month. Ask any sailor. It's when the lakes still embrace some of summer's heat, but the air above has turned to winter. A meteorologist for the National Weather Service once calculated that on the average the greatest difference between the temperature of the lakes and the temperature of the air above them occurs on November 10."

This November 10 was windy & damp; cold but not dangerous to shipping. When we arrived there was a rainbow right over this boat but it doesn't show up in the photo.

After taking pictures, we drove into Paradise for dinner. The Berry Patch stayed open late to serve the visitors for the Fitzgerald ceremony. I enjoyed a great pastie in this small restaurant and bakery.

When we returned to Whitefish Point, it was dark and the beacon from the lighthouse was showing bright.

I took this video in the afternoon. You can here the howling wind and the fog horn sounding!

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Gales of November -November 9 in Michigan History

I'm sitting in my warm living room listening to a howling northwest wind outside.  The northwest wind never means good weather on Lake Superior.  Especially in November.

November 9, 1913 is the anniversary of the huge storm that struck Lake Superior.  It started on November 9 and raged for three days.  It is remembered as the most devastating storm on Lake Superior.  The winds blew at hurricane force for 16 straight hours.  It is remembered as the White Hurricane.

When the winds died down 40 ships had been sunk resulting in the loss of 235 seamen. 

 The following two pictures were taken on November 9, 2008.  The St. Marys River pic was from near the Soo.  The photo of me getting blown away is from Whitefish Point later that day.  I was there getting ready for tomorrow's big anniversary-the loss of the Edmund Fitzgerald.  More about that tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

November 8 -Election Day History in Michigan

Today is an important day in the United States as we elect a new president.  This has been a hard-fought battle between Trump and Clinton.  Most people seem glad that the campaigning is now over.

But November 8 has been an important day in Michigan's history of elections.

It was November 8, 1836 when Michigan citizens were first able to vote for president.  Michigan became a state officially on January 26, 1837, however the citizens were allowed to take part in the 1836 Presidential election.

Martin Van Buren won the election in part thanks to the vote of Michigan.  He had been the Vice-President under Andrew Jackson.

November 8, 1870 is also an important day in Michigan history because it is the first time that blacks were allowed to vote in a Michigan election.  The right to vote or suffrage was guaranteed to African-Americans by the 15th Amendment to the US Constitution.  Of course, this was the right to vote for black males.  No females of any race were allowed to vote until 1920.

I recently visited Seneca Falls,  New York where the first convention on women's rights was held.  The convention issued a Declaration of Sentiments calling for rights of women to be increased including the right to vote.

Image result for seneca falls woman's rights convention  The idea that women should be given the right to vote was a matter of contention at this convention.  Frederick Douglass, the African-American social reformer, urged the women to include the right to vote on the convention's Declaration of Sentiments.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Fall in the Sault

The colors this week have been stunning.  After a late start for the changing leaves, we have been treated to the best of autumn's color spectacular.

If you travel west from the Sault past Brimley, Mission Hill Overlook offers some of the most beautiful views of Lake Superior.  The lake in the foreground are Spectacle Lake.

 Follow the road to the overlook and it becomes gravel.  We enjoyed the tunnel effect of the trees that covered the road like a pergola.

Of course, if I head out to Brimley, I always want to stop at Dancing Crane, the local coffee shop.  Dancing Crane is unlike most other coffee shops except that it serves wonderful lattes.

Where have you been seeing great fall colors?  In Michigan?  Or other states?

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Your Favorite Ship

Boat watching for 2015 is starting to gear up with the warm April weather helping melt the ice pack of the Lakes.  What is your favorite boat to watch?   A beauty or a tried and true work horse?

My grandfather started me on my boatwatching hobby early in my life.  Our cabin on the St. Marys River gave us the perfect viewing spot at a time when there were many more boats passing every day.

Wilfred Sykes  was Pa's favorite. tell the following information on her. (Plus much more if you follow the link.)  She was build by American Shipbuilding Co in Ohio in 1949 for Inland Steel Co.  "The steamlined bulk frieghter was the first new American-built Great Lakes vessel constructed after World War II.  At the time of her launch, she was the largest vessel on the Great Lakes."

My favorite app for boatwatching is Marine Traffic.  It lists 1950 as the year the Sykes was launched.  That makes her 65 years old and especially fun for me because I was born that year too.

The Sykes is still active and is hauling limestone and sand from the Cedarville area. Right now she is on her way to Escanaba, Michigan.

The Edward L. Ryerson is a sister ship to the Sykes. The Ryerson was launched in 1960.

I took the following pictures of the Ryerson passing the Presque Isle from our cabin on the St. Marys River south of Sault Ste. Marie. 

What is your favorite boat on the Great Lakes?  Is it the Ryerson or the Sykes or another boat I haven't mentioned? Tell me at

Friday, April 17, 2015

Are Sailors Content with Their Lives?

Does life aboard a ship sailing the Great Lakes appeal to you?  Long, quiet days filled with beautiful scenery and no daily hassles of traffic, noisy neighbors and barking dogs.

A recent survey has concluded that most sailors are content with their lives on the water.  The gCaptain story tells of an recent survey given to those in the shipping industry.  

The majority of respondents to the survey said they are content with their life at sea.  

The sailors indicated two things have greatly improved their live on board their ships in the past two years.

1) increased basic pay
2) internet access 

This survey was given world-wide to sailors from over 40 countries.  I would like to conduct an informal survey of Great Lakes sailors.

Are you happy with your life on-board your freighter?

We'd like to hear from you through email and also by completing this survey. 

Great Lakes Sailors Satisfaction Survey

Monday, April 13, 2015

Help Make the Sault-Hockeyville USA

Saturday was a very exciting day in Sault Ste. Marie.  The town was turned into NBC Sports in the afternoon.  During a break in an NHL hockey game, the 10 finalists for Hockeyville USA honors were announced and Sault Ste. Marie was one of the finalist.  Social media erupted with the good news.

Now we can help the Sault move to the next step in the contest.  Here are in instructions.  You can also see these instructions at

Help Sault Ste. Marie's Pullar Stadium win $150,000!

Each eligible voter can vote fifty (50) times per method per day during each of the three Voting Phases. This could equal at least 150 votes per person per day, which is why it would be a huge help and greatly appreciated if you could take a moment to vote each day and to forward this email to friends, family, staff…anyone! Every vote counts.

Voting Methods
(a) click here to reach and select the Pullar Stadium 

(b) use a two-way text-messaging device and text 
PULLAR to 35350. Message and data rates may apply.
(c) call 1-855-255-5975 and follow the instructions to vote

You can vote 150 times per day during Tuesday-Wednesday-Thursday this week.  But each vote helps.  So please vote at least one time to help the Sault.