Thursday, July 29, 2010


Kiyi, a research vessel for the Great Lakes Science Center just headed down river at noon on 7/29. The work of the Kiyi is described as research in Lake Superior. The vessel and crew conduct fish research including stock assessment, fisheries research and habitat monitoring especially on the lake trout population. Click on either Kiyi for additional information of the work of the Kiyi.

I just received the following note from the captain of the Kiyi, Joe Walters. He explains that the Kiyi is on her way to Cleveland for some work. She will return to Lake Superior in late August so we'll be seeing her again.

Hello Brenda!
I'm Joe Walters, the Captain of Research Vessel KIYI. Mike McCann forwarded your email to me.
Let's see if I can put things in a nutshell for you.
KIYI was built in 1999 at Patti Shipyard in Pensacola, Fl to replace the aging 57 ft SISCOWET, which had been in service for over 50 years.
KIYI is 107 ft long, 27 ft wide and draws 9 ft. She is the largest of the five research vessels operated by the US Geological Survey Great Lakes Science Center in Ann Arbor, MI. We do fish assessments in Lake Superior. That means we essentially do population checks of fish by trawling and hydroacoustic survey. That's a fancy name for a very high end fishfinder that can actually count individual specimens.
We are on our way to Cleveland to get some work done in a shipyard. Namely, we're getting a new anchor system installed. We should be headed back to Lake Superior sometime in late August.
I guess that's a start. If you have any more questions please don't hesitate to email me. I'd be happy to tell you all I can!

Joe Walters
Marine Operations Specialist
Captain, R/V KIYI
U. S. Geological Survey
Lake Superior Biological Station
2800 Lakeshore Drive East
Ashland, Wisconsin 54806
715-682-6163 office
715-492-8676 cell

Benedicts versus Canada Geese

If you have visited us here at the Cabin, you know that Tom has an ongoing battle with the Canada geese. Every year, we watch the geese go through the same cycle of raising their young.

The geese like to bring their young up onto our beach area for feeding. We could probably live with that but if we don't chase them off, they come right up into our yard and all around the cabin. We would be willing to share our lawn with them but they leave disgusting 'calling cards' all over which we don't want to step in. So Tom has found it best to keep them completely away.

Now that the babies are almost full-grown, the geese are also much more bold. They don't leave at the first sight of a human like they did when they had babies but have to be chased to the water's edge.

I will tell you that no geese are harmed in this battle. And the geese seem to have learned several things. First, come very early in the morning when no one is awake. They come floating down the river and slowly make their way on shore. They typically start around 5 am. Some days one of us is up but often we are not. This is the Cabin where relaxing is treasured. We don't use alarms or have any routines. Every day is different.

Secondly, the geese seem to recognize Tom. As soon as he comes into the front yard, they start to leave. Now they don't do that for me. But Tom uses loud noise makers to frighten them and they don't like it. Also, Tom is relentless. He doesn't give up until the geese are floating out of sight. I don't have the patience or time to spend out there glaring at them.

So if any of you know any methods we could use, please let us know. Once we've conquered that problem, we could move on to the problem of sea gulls that raise their young on a small island out front. Thankfully, they have moved on now but for June and most of July we listen to their squawking 24 hours a day. Thanks.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

2009 Compared to 2010

There are many economic experts who analyze numbers to make predictions about trends and the upcoming future of any industry. I'm sure Great Lakes shipping has its own set of pundits. But I'm going to step out on a limb and make my own observation and prediction.

My observation isn't based on economic indicators or anything from Wall Street. Rather, my indicators are the ships that are passing by our cabin here on the St. Marys River.

I am a compulsive person when it comes to boat watching. Since I was a child, I have kept a record of the boats I see. Back in the 1950's and 1960's all I had to use was a notebook, a Know Your Ships book and my eyes. I couldn't identify individual ships but only shipping company based on the smokestack. My grandfather wouldn't let me use his binoculars for fear that I would break them.

When my husband & I purchased my grandparent's cabin in 1998, the first thing I did was buy a pair of binoculars with the money I inherited. Since that time, I've gotten a telescope for better boat watching. I keep my log on an Excel spreadsheet and we've also gotten a scanner.

So I'm using my boatwatching list to make an observation on Great Lakes shipping. I picked a day- July 26 and I compared the 2009 number of ships to 2010. I can say based on these facts that shipping in on the increase.

Ships passing the Cabin
2009- 7 boats
2010- 16 boats

So the Wall Street experts might be saying that our economic future is very uncertain. But things are looking up here. At least for the joy of boatwatching!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Sixteen Boats Today

The July full moon coming up over the river last night

The Beluga Fidelity

McKee Brothers upbound this morning

The geese are hard to scare off this time of year. Their babies are all grown up.

Today has been a busy day on the St. Marys River. We were just relaxing today after a very busy six weeks of company and moving. So I had lots of time to watch all the comings and goings. This has been a perfect summer day with lots of activity in the river. Here's the list of what I saw.
James R. Barker
Mesabi Miner
Edwin H. Gott
Great Lakes Trader
Joseph L. Block
McKee Sons
Walter J. McCarty Jr.
Beluga Fidelity
Peter R. Cresswell
Sam Laud
Rt. Hon. Paul J. Martin

Beautiful Times on the River

July has been an outstanding month here on the St. Marys River in Upper Michigan. Warm temperatures and gentle breezes have greeted almost every morning. My days were filled with grandkids who each had their own visit. The youngest two came together because it was the first time either had left their parents for a week. I took them to the Boatnerd Picnic-Day 2 and they had fun hearing all the talk of boats.

We have had company for 5 weeks straight. There has been a lot of coming and going and we've loved every one. Here my youngest son and his wife enjoy the river in a moment of quiet. We had about twenty ladies over for an afternoon tea that day. The kids were getting a few quiet moments after helping setting up and serving the friends of my mom.

Several tall ships have passed going to the Tall Ships Festival in Duluth. This is the Niagara when she was tied at the Carbide Dock. The crew was busy getting the tanks pumped out and then dressing up for a walk into town. The crew was very young and they seemed to be looking for a good time. You can read more about them at Duluth Prepares for tall ships festival.
The July full moon came up at sunset last night and gave us some stunning vistas for about an hour. The reflection of the moon on the water looked like a path for walking across the river.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Enjoying More of the Upper Peninsula

My friend and I are making a trip across the Upper Peninsula. She is calling on clients for part of the day and the rest of the day, we are sight-seeing. Today we saw Bay Mills, Whitefish Point, Taquamenon Falls and ended up in Munising.

Cathy, As we were approaching Newberry, I told Bonnie, "I have to look for Clementz' North Country Campground. I know it's north of Newberry." Just then, we saw it and waved to you. Such a beautiful area.

Everything we saw along Lake Superior was awesome. What a gorgeous state!

We saw this 1,000 foot freighter at Whitefish Point but couldn't identify it. Any ideas?

Friday, July 2, 2010

July 1

I took 2 of my grandkids to the Boatnerd Picnic-Day 2. We were traveling from down state on Thursday when the Boatnerds had their annual picnic but they decided to hold a second day which allowed us to take part. The kids loved seeing the model boat as well as these life rings from boats they watched earlier in the day-the Sam Laud.

We held our own family bonfire and fireworks last night. There were 16 of us who started with a fish dinner at Wilcox's out past Brimley. 14 of us came back to the cabin for our annual celebration for the 4th of July.

Do you notice the wide grassy area. That was river bottom at one time. I can remember a time 30 years ago and 50 years ago when the edge of the river was up by the rocks you see in the above photo. It gives us more space but is lots more to mow. The geese also love these areas as well.

We enjoyed watching the Walter J. McCarty Jr. go down the river just before dark. The sun was reflecting off her gave her a bright glow.

Life on the river has become much busier. Everyone seems to have out-of-town guests for this holiday weekend. The 4th is extra special at our house because it is also my husband's birthday.