Friday, September 26, 2008

Wind Farm on the St. Marys River?

Wind Farm on Lake Superior at Gros Cap

I am down in Grand Rapids right now and found the St. Marys River mentioned on the front page of the Grand Rapids Press on Thursday, Sept. 25. In a story titled "That's one long extension cord" the Press tells about a Holland-area business man who owns 1,500 acres of property on the banks of the St. Marys River in DeTour and Raber townships.

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

Shipping News

There was a malfunction in the Poe Lock gate yesterday that delayed shipping for a few hours. The Poe Lock is the only lock large enough to handle 1,000 foot boats. This is how it was reported in the Duluth News Tribune.

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

News of the business side of shipping and many other interesting posts can be found at

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

3 "Footer" Day & the Ojibway

I've returned to my river home after a brief trip away. The water level is higher than it was 10 days ago and we've lost more our our beach front-which is fine with us. The higher water level has to aid the shipping industry and we love that.

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

Opportunities for Museum Ships

The Valley Camp Museum Ship is one of our favorite spots to bring visitors to our cabin in the summer. Young and old love the chance to see a Great Lakes freighter. Plus, the Valley Camp has great exhibits including the lifeboat from the Edmund Fitzgerald and an aquarium of Great Lakes fish.
My grandson had a memorable visit there this summer.
Lack of tourists could mean auction block instead of dock for Duluth's Sundew 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

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

Robert S. Pierson's Troubles

A frequent sight on the river this summer has been the Robert S. Pierson who sails for Lower Lakes Towing. According to the Pierson grounded in Ludington, Michigan this week.

"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

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

American Victory

Photo taken at 7:30 AM September 9, 2008

Another beautiful morning on the river with a little fog and a gorgeous sunrise. The American Victory is currently cutting through the haze. She is one of my favorite ships because of her history. She saw action in the Pacific in WW2 and is still serving us as a Great Lakes freighter. American Victory was the Middletown until last year.

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

United States Border Patrol

I am enjoying a beautiful morning here on the St. Marys River. The sun has come out after several rainy days and is coming up brightly over Sugar Island.

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

Thursday on the River

After the Walter J. McCathy Jr. got underway yesterday, boat traffic was fairly steady. This is what I saw:
American Integrity
Canadian Enterprise
Charles M. Beeghly
Katmai Bay
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.

Walter J. McCarthy Jr.

Last night we saw the Walter J. McCarthy rounding the bend at Mission Point down bound. When we returned home, the McCarthy was anchored out front. When a boat anchors here, it must be facing up bound. So the McCarthy must have turned around in the river and we missed it.

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
American Fortitude
Kaye E. Barker
Cason J. Callaway
Presque Isle

American Victory

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Avery Bay & J.D. Graham

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 I did not find anything about the Graham. Anyone out there able to help me out?