Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Boatnerds Gather

Last week, the Boatnerds, an unofficial group of boat watchers, met in the Sault for their annual celebrations of the glory of Great Lakes ships. This group share a love for watching the great boats that traverse the waterways. I wasn't able to join them this year but I found a great description of the time at Nerds Gather.

Today is the groundbreaking of the new lock at the Soo at 10 AM. I will post pictures as soon as they become available.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Detroit News Article

Today's Detroit News (detnews.com) is running a great article called Rebuilding the Soo Locks. It details clearly the need for a new lock and the importance of the shipping industry to our economy and security.

You can click on the article and I'd like to hear your comments on the ideas expressed there.

Are any of you readers attending the ground breaking tomorrow for the work that is beginning on the Locks? I hear that Governor Granholm and our senators will be attending. I'll keep you informed as I learn more.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Boat Traffic for Friday 6-27-09

Since I'm back in town, I'm working very hard to get caught up on my work-both inside and outside the cabin. Actually, I have two vegetable gardens this summer and I didn't plant either of them. My father did the one I have in the Soo and my daughter and husband planted the one here at the cabin. But I promise to take care of them. I haven't had a vegetable garden in years so I'm looking forward to enjoying them all summer.

So yesterday seemed like a busy day on the river because I had to keep stopping and recording what I saw out front.

Here is what I saw:
Lake Guardian
Paul R. Tregurtha
Edwin H. Gott
Edgar B. Speer
American Integrity
J.W. Shelley

The Presque Isle just went down this morning.

Comments from Bill K.

Bill K. has been leaving comments on the Sault Boat Watcher to fill in for me while I have been traveling across the UP. His comments have been so filled with information that I wanted to put them into their own post for everyone to enjoy.

I am leaving for downstate again today and won't be back for a week. Our family has a wedding coming up and I'm helping to throw a bridal shower. Then my husband's birthday is next week too and the country always throws a party for him-it's on the Fourth. Once we return then, it should be for the rest of the summer.

Here is Bill and here are his comments for the last few days:

June 25, 2009 9:45 PM

Welcome home. Spent the day over at the Boat Nerd picnic. Nice bunch of people. Watched the Carson J Callaway down bound. Also saw the David Boyd a work tug for the Corp of Engineerss up bound. Saw the Charles M. Beeghly up bound around 3:30 PM. I would also like to pass along that the Locks Webcam have been reprogrammed and are functioning as they are suppose to. I watched 2 boats lock down bound at 9:15 tonight.
Glad to have you home safely.

June 25, 2009 10:16 PM

wanted to add one other thing to the Boat Nerd picnic. The Beeghly gave a Captains Salute to the Boat Nerds as they lined the river bank. It can send a shiver up your spine. It was really a fun day

June 27 12:46 AM

Bill K. said...

for all you fans of the Boats...I found a great picture of the old William H Donner. The picture was taken shortly after she was converted to a Crane Boat. Really a beautiful boat in her day. She hasn't been on the river since the early 80's. She is tied up and being used for storage. She will probably end up like the old E M Ford (Presque Isle) which has been across the St Mary's River on the Canadian side since November, tied up to the Purvis Docks and being stripped and then sent for salvage.
I saw the Dutch Boat Maxima go though the locks up bound with a load of windmill parts. She is a pretty boat. They have her painted red and yellow upper structure and a grey hull.
Also spotted the AlgoCape down bound at the same time. The Boat Nerd group is still in town and having a good time. Glad to have them here.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Back at the Cabin

Many thanks to Bill K. for keeping us up-to-date on the boats this week. I'm back in a town for a few days and then I'm back on the road again. My summer seems to be working out like that.

As I toured the Copper County, I realize how important the Soo Locks were to the development of the mining industry up there. Each museum or historical spot that we stopped at, talked about how the mining industry was able to grow because of easier transportation of their goods due to the opening of the Soo Locks in 1855.

My husband and daughter keep watching for boats. Today they saw the American Century down and the Cason J. Calloway and John J. Boland up.

Since I've been home there has been the Canadian Progress and John B. Aird are both out front right going down.

Tomorrow is Engineer's Day at the Locks. It is a great day to get a close up view of the workings of the Locks and also a close-up view of the government buildings. They don't make them like that anymore.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

UP Roadtrip

I am on a cross Upper Peninsula trip to accompany a friend who is calling on college bookstores. We started in Bay Mills on Monday and I even saw a boat there. But couldn't identify it. After hiking around Pictured Rocks, we arrived in Marquette last night.

This is the old ore dock. They discontinued using it in the 1970's. There is a great park and pier there and we have a lovely dinner nearby on a patio overlooking this area.

This is the 'new' ore dock. I called and there isn't a ship expected until Thursday when the Beeghley arrives around 3 PM. So it should be in the Soo tomorrow.

I'm sure experienced boat watchers know all about Marquette but this was my first visit to the waterfront there.

It was very hot in Marqutte yesterday and today but the city is full of parks and lovely sights.

I am sorry that I won't be able to attend the Boatnerd Picnic on Thursday afternoon at Mission Point but we hope to be back for Engineer's Day at the Locks on Friday.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Father's Day

Thanks to Bill K. who is commenting and filling in the ship passages when I'm busy. Bill, I'm going to be away for a few days. I really would appreciate if you could keep us up to date on what boats pass by this week.

Yesterday, the Federal Elbe passed down when my family was here for Father's Day. I love this shot. It combines lots of things I love.

Besides the boats Bill listed from yesterday, I've seen the Montrealais, the American Century going down early this morning. Actually, our house guest Bonnie, spotted the boats, used the binoculars and Know Your Ships to identify them and left notes on my computer. We're making a boatnerd out of her very quickly.

Bonnie and I are making a cross Upper Peninsula trip this week to explore bookstores. Bonnie works for a college textbook company and will be calling on clients. I'm going along to help explore the UP. I'm hoping to post during the week. If not, I hope we hear from Bill.

Friday, June 19, 2009

New Traffic on the River

Yesterday was a moderate day of ship traffic but we had a different mode of transportation out in the river in the afternoon.

Our neighbor here on Scenic Drive has a hanger and a plane which he occasionally takes up. We have front row seats to watch. It takes a while to get the plane off of the water and into the air.

Other than that, we saw
Down bound
H. Lee White

Up bound
James R. Barker
Canadian Leader
Indiana Harbor-I heard a master salute from down river and I think it was the Indiana Harbor saluting someone on Neebish Island

The only traffic this morning has been the American Mariner up bound around 9 AM.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

USCG Cutter Mackinaw

The United States Coast Guard cutter Mackinaw just went down after spending the night in the Soo. You can see it is still a bit foggy but it was a beautiful sight.


The name of the game this morning is fog-thick, heavy and silent. The visibility in the Soo is zero. Out here on the river, I can see to the water's edge, about 50 feet, and that is it.

It is very quiet. No boats anchored out front to serenade us with their fog horns. Only the geese seem to be moving in the water. The goslings are now being brought to our water front for lessons on eating from our buffet. That is the grass that we keep mowed which they interpret as preparations for them.

Yesterday was a moderately busy day of boat traffic. Here is what passed by:
Niagara Spirit

Coast Guard -small
Walter J. McCarty Jr.
Herbert C. Jackson
Burns Harbor
American Integrity
Maritime Trader

Federal Elbe
McKeil tug/barge

The tug and barge were after dark but it may have been the Niagara Spirit returning down bound from early in the morning.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

We have a Czar!

I just read that President Obama has appointed Cameron Davis from Chicago to be the Great Lakes czar. The South Bend Tribune has a good article, "Czar a gain for the Great Lakes".

I returned to our cabin last night after being downstate to take care of some family business. Ship traffic has been slow according to the neighbors but I saw three ships last night.
CSL Niagara and Vaasarborg were headed down around 9:30 PM and the Paul R. Tregurtha was up just after dark. I heard them call in on the scanner and then enjoyed seeing the lights from the 1,000 footer passing out front in the dark.

The only traffic this morning has been the Niagara Spirit upbound around 6:30 AM. A small U.S. Coast Guard vessel was out front for a bit this morning but other than those two, it has been very quiet.

The river is calm this morning but the level is quite a bit higher than last year.

My friend, Bonnie, from Caledonia is coming up next week. She is in college textbook sales and is making a trip across the Upper Peninsula to call on clients. We have decided to make an adventure out of it. I'm going to accompany her all week. She will work in the mornings and we will explore in the afternoon and evenings.

Do you have any suggestions for sights or activities we should see? We know the big ones but we're looking for unusual or beautiful or out of they way things. Thanks for you input.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Thursday June 11

Yesterday seemed like a slow day on the river. We were working in the yard most of the day, and I use a boat sighting as a reason (excuse) to take a break. After all, I have to get the name and then go in the house and write it down. Now that I use Twitter, I send out a quick tweet. By that time, I usually get some refreshment and you know how it goes. It seems like I didn't have many breaks yesterday. But in the end, we saw:
Paul R. Tregurtha
Peter R. Cresswell
Walter J. McMarty Jr.
Herbert C. Jackson
American Integrity

I didn't take that many breaks. We won't be posting boat traffic over the weekend because we are going down state to see two of our children who are coming to town. If you see the boat traffic, send a comment or an email to saultboatwatcher@gmail.com and I will post what you see.

We will be visiting friends and family for the next few days. You can follow my adventures there at http://brendabenedict.com.


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Busy Day on the St. Marys River

Today has turned out to be a beautiful day here on the river. After a cold morning of 43 degrees, the clouds moved out and our temperature reached 63 degrees with a partly cloudy sky. I was able to get lots of flower garden work done. The soil is still quite cool so my hostas that are on the north side of the house are just emerging out of the ground. My apple tree is just starting to blossom, so you can see we are a bit behind in the vegetation department.

I've counted 12 boats passing by today.

Robert S. Pierson-up

9:45 AM
Going to Algoma Steel
Joseph L. Block -down

7:45 AM

American Courage-up

12:15 PM
saw in the Locks

9:12 PM

Indiana Harbor-down

12:00 into system at Gros Gap

John J. Boland-up

4:45 PM
sunny & cool 62 degrees
Edgar B. Speer-down

8:49 PM
called leaving Lock
Burns Harbor-down

4:50 PM


5:20 PM

American Century-up

8:00 PM

Quebecois-down-only heard on the scanner

Indiana Harbor-down

5:55 PM

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Wind, Rain & Fog

We arrived back at the Cabin around 9:30 PM yesterday after having been gone downstate for several days to take care of some business. The wind was blowing here from the east harder than I had ever seen it in the summer. The water was being pushed in and came right up to our bonfire pile of brush. It is actually good to see the water level rising.

I saw two beautiful ships passed last night-American Spirit at 10:40 PM and the Algolake at 10:55. If there were other boats after that, I was gone to the land of sleep and didn't see them or hear them.

This morning things have calmed down and it is quite foggy but not foggy enough to close the River System. The James R. Barker just passed up and I could barely see it but heard it on the scanner.

It is going to be too wet today for much yard work. I'm working for the summer at the EUP Learning Center in the Sault teaching classes on writing and tutoring students in reading comprehension. Today is my first day of work there for this summer.

This photo was taken last summer at the opening of the Sault Campus. The other campus is near Brimley. I'm on the right in the yellow shirt and those are my grandkids in the picture too.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Feeling More Like Summer

This morning was very cold and damp but by noon it started to warm up. We were able to get lots of yard work done in the afternoon and early evening. The temp was in the low 60's. A frost is predicted tonight and tomorrow night.

The American Spirit went down past here around 7:30 AM. There was a boat just before her but I was relaxing, watching the Today Show and missed it. But the American Spirit came back upbound around 12:30 PM. I haven't heard what was going on but I will post if I learn anything.

Also Down bound:
Pilot-a tug that overtook the American Spirit out in front here
John D. Leitch-8:30 AM
Robert S. Pierson -2:45 PM
Ojibway at 3:00 PM

Pineglen 1:15 PM
Adam E. Cornelius 3 PM
Algosoo 4:40 PM

Monday, June 1, 2009

Monday - June 1

The first thing I do each morning as I wake is look out to the river to take in the many changing faces of the great body of water. Today I was greeted by low hanging gray clouds and a heavy rain. I could see a Canada goose family trying to eat at the river's edge. Mother, Father and two young ones were the only action to be watched.

The ship traffic was slow again all day. Last night after I posted the blog, two ships passed in the dark. The first was a 1,000 footer but I couldn't identify it.

The first boat I saw today wasn't until after 4 PM. There was one earlier but I missed it because I was fixing breakfast-which just proves that I'm spending too much time in the kitchen.

Today's traffic included the Maritime Trader upbound at 4:11, followed by the American Integrity. Downbound was the H. Lee White and the John G. Munson.

Right now I'm watching the orange Coast Guard small rescue boat heading down stream. It was out front this morning and rendezvoused with another CG boat. I need to learn the names of those boats and what they are used for.