Tuesday, December 30, 2008
I was sorting through my pictures section on my computer today and saw this photo. Doesn't it make you anxious for summer to return? The St. Mary's River is very beautiful and I can't wait for next summer when I'll have time to sit and watch the boats.
Happy New Year wishes to all of you. I appreciate my faithful readers. If you have any suggestions on topics, or improvements, please let me know-either through the comments or email me at
Saturday, December 20, 2008
I received an interesting email this week from Jack Wainio of Wellington Ohio. He sent this photo of the J P Morgan Jr.
This brings up two questions in my mind. 1) What is the history of the David M. Weir? 2) I haven't heard of the Acme Photo Shop in Sault Ste. Marie. Does anyone remember this business?
I had previously research the Morgan and found it was damaged in a collision in dense fog near the Apostle Islands. You can read about it at J P Morgan, Jr.
If you have any answers, please forward them by commenting here or emailing me at email@example.com Thanks to Jack Wainio for sending this interesting information.
Sunday, December 14, 2008
With all the talk about public work projects being created to help ease the unemployment crisis, it sounds like one more good reason to begin the project now.
Let me know what you think.
Thursday, December 4, 2008
Great Lakes Compact goes into effect Dec. 8
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
I found these photos of the Roger Blough on VisittheSault's Facebook page. She took them from Freighter's Restaurant at the Ojibway on November 29th at 3:30. It makes me lonesome for my little cabin on the river watching the Blough slide by.
If you have any photos to share, please send them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Saturday, November 29, 2008
What is there to do now that winter is setting in? The long winter nights give us a chance to reflect and plan for next summer.
I've been reading a great book about the Great Lakes called "The Living Great Lakes." I have to recommend this book to everyone.
Traverse City author Jerry Dennis wrote this book in 2003 describing a trip he made in 2000. He sailed from Traverse City to Bar Harbor Maine aboard the Malabar, a 100 foot tall-masted schooner that was moving to her new home after being a teaching ship in Traverse City.
Dennis expands his book to include chapters on all 5 Great Lakes. This is more than a story but rather a study on the Great Lakes including history, geology, and biology. This is not a textbook study. Dennis writes with a poet's eye for details and his love for the lakes is very evident.
I will expand on the book in future posts. Please let me know if you have read this book or plan on reading it. I'd love to post reactions from readers. Maybe we could be a cyber-book discussion group.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
I have been writing this blog since the beginning of the summer of 2008. I certainly enjoy sharing with you every day and also hearing comments from many of you. Many of you have shared how you enjoy the blog especially seeing the pictures of the St. Marys River.
We have come to a decision point now. We have closed up our cabin and moved back to our home near Grand Rapids. We will be here until after Christmas. Then we will be leaving for Phoenix, Arizona to spend two months with our daughter out there.
The decision is what to do about this blog. I would like to hear from you readers about what you would prefer to read here. I can do the following:
1. Ask someone in the Sault to report to me what is going on with shipping and then report it to you. I could also use news sources such as boatnerd.com to get information.
2. I could write about what is going on in my life no matter where the road takes me.
3. I could turn 'my baby' over to someone else to write until I return to the cabin next April or May.
4. Just stop posting until I'm back on the river.
I'd like to hear from my readers about what you would choose. Thanks for your input.
Friday, November 21, 2008
Tom Farnquist then gave us some background on the Fitzgerald and mentioned "there is growing evidence that there was a problem with the ship" as the reason for the shipwreck. Do any of you readers have more information on this?
The Us Coast Guard commander from Sector Sault was scheduled to speak but had to be replaced at the last minute by a deputy commander. Commander Padle (I think that was his name) read the names and position of each of the 29 sailors from the Fitzgerald. After each name was read a person came forward to ring the ship's bell in their honor. This video will show you a short clip from the bell ringing ceremony.
The bell was rung a 30th time in honor of all sailors lost of the Great Lakes. This time Mary Mahsem-Seymour rang the bell for her father and others.
This was an impressive and solemn ceremony. The numbers of sailors lost over the past couple of hundred years is unbelievable.
Carl Behrend then sang 'Amazing Grace' during which the audience spontaneously joined in for the final verse.
The Benediction by given by Bucko Teeple, a Native American spiritual leader. Bucko prayed eloquently combining Native & Christian traditions.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Monday, November 17, 2008
Last Monday, November 10, 2008, we attended the Great Lakes Mariners Memorial Service at the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum at Whitefish Point, Michigan. It was the 33rd anniversary of the sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald where 29 men lost their lives. The service was meaningful and informative. The service included speakers associated with shipping or shipwrecks.
The service was attended by CPO1 Navy League Cadets from Canada.
The service was opened by Carl Behrend who is a Great Lakes balladeer from Munising, Michigan. He opened by singing "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald", the song made famous by Gordon Lightfoot. Later in the service, Mr. Behrend sang "Amazing Grace" acapella. His beautiful voice combined with the powerful words really touched the crowd. During the the final verse, the audience spontaneouly joined in with him.
The opening remarks were given by James Spurr, President of the Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society. He spoke about the importance of the water and shipping to human kind. He quoted the oldest poem that has been written down called the Wayfarer which was written around 900 AD.
The next speaker was Rev. Patrick Pointer. Rev. Pointer appeared twice in the program. He gave the invocation as well as presenting two beautiful wood carvings of the Edmund Fitzgerald. His words were so meaningful and really touched my heart. I contacted Rev. Pointer and he was gracious enough to share the words of the invocation with me. There are important enough to share with you. You can contact Rev. Pointer about his award-winning carvings at email@example.com.
I will continue my description of the service in the next blog.
Edmund Fitzgerald Bell Ringing Ceremony
November 10, 2008
This year marks the 50th Anniversary of the Launching of the Edmund Fitzgerald. We have come here this evening to pay tribute and to remember, not only those who sailed on that great ship, but to honor, and remember those who built, sailed, captained, and crewed the thousands of ships large and small that have sailed these Great Lakes as well as those who dedicated their lives to the Life Saving efforts of those in the United States Life Saving Service, the United States Coast Guard and the many civilians that put their lives in harms way to save the life of another.
For there are thousand upon thousands of lives that will be truly represented here tonight and each one of them has a story. When a ship is lost to these Great Waters, it is not just about one ship and one crew, but it involves many who are left behind and each of them have a story as well. And some how, we are all connected to these many stories. We drive the cars that came from the ore that these ships carried, live in homes that were built with the bricks and lumber they shipped, driven on roads that were provided by their cement and gravel, and the list goes on! Some how we are all connected.
I know that Gordon Lightfoot is very dear to many of you as his song “The wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” has brought significant attention to
Tonight, I have the answer to that perplexing question. His LOVE never left, it has been there all the time! And it is here tonight to heal, to comfort, to draw you near to Him, and to fill you with His presence if you will allow Him to.
The two carvings that I created to dedicate to this ship were carved to encompass the many who were involved over the last 50 years of the history of this ship. The first of the two titled; “Fare Thee Well” depicts the Mighty Fitz as she passes The
That Scripture is often quoted when a ship is launched, for everyone knows when you put a ship on the water, whether it is as small as a canoe or a thousand footer there is always the chance it will be lost.
For the past 33 years, this ship has become the “Icon” of the over 6000 ships that have been lost on the
The second of the two carvings is entitled, “FAREWELL.” Often times when a ship is lost no one witnesses what happened or what actually took place and those who have survived are left with the questions of HOW… WHY… and memories of a loved one now gone. And the love of God is there… and the Love of God is here.
There was a small ship on the sea of Galilee in the middle of the night, in the midst of a storm and the lives of those on her were in peril. They called out to Jesus who was in their ship and He calmed the storm… He saved them. The Bible tells us that…For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” I cannot help but think in those moments when one finds their life in Greatest Distress, that God would not give them the opportunity to “Call upon the Name of the Lord.” His Love is there… and His Love is HERE!
On the carving entitled, “FAREWELL” I engraved on the back a verse out of the New Testament in hopes to bring comfort and closure not as much to the many stories of the many lives who have been lost to these Great Lakes… but to those who have been left behind… wondering… “Does anyone know where the love of God goes when the waves turn the minutes to hours…?” His Love was there… and His Love is HERE. And for those who were given that great opportunity to Call Upon the Name of the Lord… If they were able to speak to us here tonight… I believe in my heart they would say… something very close to what is engraved on “FAREWELL”
Grace be with you all. Amen.
His Love was there… and His Love is Here Tonight… And now I call upon the name of the Lord… SAVE US! Amen… and Amen!
Saturday, November 15, 2008
Last Monday, 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 & 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!
I will write more later about the service at the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum. This was the 33rd anniversary of the sinking of the Fitzgerald.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
I observed the following ships yesterday at our cabin. It was a busy day for shipping.
Upbound: Algolake, Burns Harbor, J W Shelley
Downbound: Stewart J. Cort, Walter J. McCarty and an unidentified 1,000 footer that slipped by before I could check it out.
The Shelley was not on my ship log from the summer which means I hadn't seen it before. Research showed it is newly named. You can read about it at J W Shelley.
J W Shelley entering the Locks. I know it isn't a very good picture but it was so cold and I didn't want to walk through the snow. Sorry!
Later in the day we crossed the Mackinac Bridge and observed 4 freighters in the distance. Busy day on the Lakes.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Remember the pictures I posted last week. The warm weather didn't last much longer and this are what the river looked like yesterday and today. I have lots to post about the boats and also the Edmund Fitzgerald Memorial Service but that will all have to wait until another day. Can't wait to tell you all about it.
Thursday, November 6, 2008
Monday, November 3, 2008
There is a memorial service at the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum at Whitefish Point at 7 PM that is open to the public and free.
You can see more information at Annual Fitzgerald Memorial Service.
I'm reading a great book on the Great Lakes right now. The Living Great Lakes by Jerry Dennis is the story of a sailing trip through the Great Lakes but it is more than that. I will discuss it more in a future blog. What good books have you read about the Great Lakes and/or the Edmund Fitzgerald? Let me know by commenting here or emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sunday, October 26, 2008
Friday, October 10, 2008
Shipping still continues at a fast pace.
Unidentified tug and barge.
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
Since I'm away from the river right now, I'm using the web to follow what's new on the St. Marys River and in the shipping industry.
The problems at the Poe Lock are making big news. Having the Poe Lock shut down emphasizes how dependent the shipping industry is on the this one lock that can handle 1,000 ships.
You can read about it at Another Poe Lock Problem Could Maroon 70% of the Great Lakes Fleet.
I also found a lighthouse festival in Alpena on greatlakesshipwatchers.com. You can read about it on Great Lakes Lighthouse Festival in Alpena.
While I am gone, I would appreciate hearing from my readers about what is happening on the river. Thanks
Friday, September 26, 2008
The property could be home to a $140 million wind farm to generate energy for the Holland Board of Public Works.
The article goes on to say that Holland Mayor Al McGeehan and other city leaders could meet with Chippewa County officials next week to discuss the project while they are up north for a Michigan Municipal League convention.
With the Gros Cap wind farm fresh in our minds, it is important for Chippewa County residents to be aware of what is being proposed. Please let me know what you think about this!
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Commercial shipping between Lake Superior and the lower Great Lakes was on hold for a few hours today after a malfunction of the Poe Lock in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.
The 1,200-foot-long lock’s gate malfunctioned at 9 a.m., and crews were called in to investigate with an underwater camera. Three ships were delayed while the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers worked to determine the cause of the malfunction.
Repairs were made by early afternoon, allowing normal vessel traffic to resume.
I found a great site for learning about the shipping industry-that is besides www.boatnerd.com.
News of the business side of shipping and many other interesting posts can be found at www.greatlakesshipwatchers.com.
You can subscribe to sites such as that makes it possible to get updates as they are published and you don't have to check the sites. If you need information on subscribing, let me know.
Friday, September 19, 2008
We saw three 1,000 foot ships today-Indiana Harbor, Presque Isle and the American Century. I took my granddaughters to Rotary Island and had the pleasure of seeing the Ojibway going down. A fellow boatwatcher said that there aren't many of those straight deckers left. He then explained that that means no self-unloading equipment. After all the boats I've watched, I did not know that term. What else out there don't I know that I should to be a good boat watcher? Let me know what you think is important to know or what you think I'm missing. Thanks
Saturday, September 13, 2008
My grandson had a memorable visit there this summer.
Lack of tourists could mean auction block instead of dock for Duluth's Sundew
Boatnerd.com is reporting that a museum vessel in Duluth, the Sundew, is struggling to survive because of a low number of visitors. I visited Duluth in May and took this picture of the Sundew.
I received an email from a reader about another ship that has been taken out of service.
Brenda, I wondered if you knew this, But the Cleveland Steamship Company is looking for a museum or city to take the E.M. Ford for use as an exhibit. It is currently moored in Saginaw in use as a cement storage vessel. I wondered if you can maybe rattle some chains in the Soo, It would defiantly compliment the Valley Camp. I would hate to see such a historic vessel go to the scrapper's. No, I didn't take this picture today. There is no ice in the St. Marys River right now. I found this picture of the E.M. Ford on boatnerd.com.
Interesting thoughts. If we could develop our waterfront in the Soo to include more shipping related attractions, it would complement our historical walk on Water Street. Please share what your thoughts are on these ideas.
Friday, September 12, 2008
"On Saturday (September 6)the 630-foot Robert S. Pierson was stuck between the breakwaters trying to enter the harbor with a load of sand, according to U.S. Coast Guard Station Ludington. The ship, formerly called the Wolverine, approached from the northwest and ground to a halt. After 20 minutes of visible heavy prop wash from the back of the ship, Coast Guard Station Ludington contacted the vessel. After about 20 more minutes, the vessel freed itself."
Further investigation showed me that this is not the first time the Pierson has grounded. At least three other incidents are recorded on boatnerd.com.
According to the Ludington Daily News this grounding may be as result of reduced Federal spending on dredging. Do any of you have more information about this?
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
Since yesterday's post we saw the Canadian Transfer, Cedarglen and Ojibway-all upbound. Quiet day other than that.
Monday, September 8, 2008
Our morning started with a beautiful sunrise over Sugar Island. The first picture was taken at 7 AM and the second at 11:30 AM. You can see we now have some dark clouds hanging over the river. Picture-Pathfinder -
The boat traffic has been steady with the Mesabi Miner and the Pathfinder downbound. Upbound, I've seen the Paul R. Tregurtha, American Spirit, and the Canadian Leader.
But the river is jumping with smaller boats. There is a Professional Walleye Tournament in the Soo this week and I think many fisherman are practicing here in the St. Marys.
Since yesterday's blog we also saw these boats on Sunday:
Upbound-Frontenac-1 long and 2 short to another boat out front but it was too dark to identify.
Downbound-Lee A. Tregurtha, Joseph H. Thompson, American Integrity, Wilfred M. Cohen & 2501 (tug & barge), John G. Munson.
Sunday, September 7, 2008
There have been two ships this morning-the Montrealais upbound and the Presque Isle-downbound.
I just observed a U.S. Border Patrol boat streaking down the river. They have had a large presence in the river this summer as well as an expanded facility in the Sault. I found an interesting web site explaining the role of the Border Patrol in the Soo along with a photo of the type of boat I saw this morning. History of Border Patrol link.
I always wonder where the Border Patrol boats are going and if they are investigating something.
Saturday's boats included: Upbound-Pathfinder & Quebecois
Downbound-Keizerborg, Adam E. Cornelius, and Rt. Hon. Paul J. Martin
Friday, September 5, 2008
Charles M. Beeghly
John G. Munson
Phillip R. Clarke
Edwin H. Gott
So far today we have had two
Stewart J. Cort & Edgar G. Speer-both upbound
It was drizzly rain that started after lunch yesterday and continued until this morning. Now the sun is trying to peek out but the temperature is in the high 50's.
Thursday, September 4, 2008
8:00 AM September 4
As I was sitting, sipping my coffee and enjoying a beautiful sunrise, I heard the distinctive sound of the McCarthy's anchor being raised. I went out in the cool air to take these pictures. I think I should have been a reporter instead of a teacher-it's more fun.
She is currently turning in the river and will begin down bound.
The McCarthy's deck lights were on until about 3 AM and then she went to the running lights.
McCarthy remains anchored this morning. The American Integrity just passed up bound. The two ships saluted each other after the American Integrity successfully passed.
I suspect low water levels at the Rock Cut may be the cause of McCarthy's trouble. It was below datum last night. You can check the water levels on line at Great Lakes Online. I'll put a link on this site.
Yesterday's other passages include:
Rt. Hon. Paul J. Martin
Kaye E. Barker
Cason J. Callaway
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
Tugs are among my favorite vessels to watch. I think it is because they are so hard working. I must have read a story when I was young about the 'little tug boat that could' but I don't recall it.
Sunday and Monday we had two tugs pass by here together. The Avery Bay and the J.D. Graham went down on Sunday and returned back up yesterday.
I could not find either of them in the Know Your Ships. But I did find some information by googling them.
Avery Bay-"Built in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin for the US Army Corps of Engineers in 1943. She saw service in New Orleans until 1952 & Chicago until 1978. Dan Avery picked her up at Benton Harbour, Michigan in July 2004. She has gone through major renovations including the addition of a 475 hp engine. New home port "Point aux Pins" On, Can."
I found that information on www.tugfest.net. I did not find anything about the Graham. Anyone out there able to help me out?