“Algoma” Montrealais arrives Duluth and heads to Holcim Cement

The Montrealais was built in 1962 and christened  the name Montrealais. When ULS sold out their fleet to Algoma Central, Algoma re-named their new ship Algoma Montrealais. She is 730 feet long and for her entire career has been Canadian. She is expected to be retired at the end of this season (2014) but was also expected to be retired last year.

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Roger Blough arrives Duluth

The Roger Blough arriving Duluth on July 12th, 2014. This was the only boat that could be caught that trip.

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Winter in March

The last time I was in Duluth, there was snow on the ground. So, some might assume it was a week ago still with their ice. Sadly, last time I was up, it was March. There was little action happening in the harbor. The St. Clair was still at Garfield D, The Presque Isle was at Calumet Fuel, The Great Republic was being painted, Kaye E. Barker, John J. Boland and the Great Republic were all at Fraser, and the American Victory was at Elevator M, while the Walter J. McCarthy, Jr. was at Lakehead Pipeline. The American Spirit was also at Holcim Cement

Here, we see the St. Clair. Had to shoot through the gates as there was a security guard (in an intimidating PT Cruiser) who asked me to leave and not take photos.

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The American Spirit at Holcim
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Fraser Shipyards


American Victory
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Presque Isle
Stenstrup- Presque Isle

The roads were too muddy for the McCarthy.

That’s all I got for now. Hoping to head up there soon.

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2013: The Year In Review

Sooooooo…… I got really busy with school (AP World History). I finished this December 30th, but for some reason never finished. It is May 25th, 2014, but not too late to post!

This year was a fun one. Met some new nerds who I can speak my language with, learned some new camera tricks, and caught some new ships I had never seen before. Didn’t get to board a ship though like I thought I would, maybe next year’s review will have an on-board shot.

The season started out with a trip up during the final days (and for some, hours) of winter layup. The Mesabi Miner was anchored off the piers waiting to load iron ore, after being the first ship to leave for the 2013 season, with coal for Marquette.

Mesabi Miner


In port, we had the usual layup fleet still tied up. The John J. Boland, John G. Munson, American Victory, and Edward L. Ryerson sat on the sidelines. The American Spirit, American Century, and Indiana Harbor were all still ballasted out. The Indiana Harbor, though, arrived the Duluth entry after leaving the Superior entry.

Indiana Harbor


The Roger Blough was over at CN.

Roger Blough


The next time I would come up would be 6 days later. There I would see the Philip R. Clarke, Edgar B. Speer, Algoma Olympic, and Algoma Progress.

The Edgar B. Speer was leaving Two Harbors with her first load of the season. The Philip R. Clarke was arriving for her first load of the 2013 season from Sturgeon Bay. Edgar B. Speer Philip R. Clarke

Algoma Olympic Algoma Progress Sadly, the Algoma Progress will head to the scrap yards this season. This will be the best picture I have of her. Also heading to the scrap yards this year from the much-adored (sarcasm) Algoma Central Corporation will be the Algoma Provider, Algoma Transfer, Algoma Quebecois, and Algoma Montrealais. Rumors of the Algoma Navigator being scrapped after the end of this season are around, but seemed to have died down. With the recent arrival of the Equinox class (well, one of them, anyway), many ships from the former Upper Lakes fleet will be headed to scrap.

I wouldn’t catch a boat until next July (had driver’s ed and no time in June) in the great state of Wisconsin, home to the best football team in the world (GO PACK GO!!!). I caught the famous SS Badger in Manitowoc. This was her 60th year of sailing as a coal-burning car ferry.

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Then I would drive up to Green Bay (the Holy Land) to watch the Calumet arrive.




I would go back to Duluth July 31, mostly to spend time in Silver Bay. I would watch the St. Clair leave Two Harbors and the Buffalo leave Silver Bay. The CSL Laurentien would arrive Silver Bay right after the Buffalo would leave. I would then head down to Duluth to watch the James R. Barker leave, and then head home.

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I would make it back to Duluth in August to catch the Thunder Bay leave Duluth for the first time in her new career, the St. Clair arrive, and the Kaye E. Barker arrive. The Kaministiqua waited to load coal at Midwest Energy.

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This would be the final time I would head to Duluth until school started again. I would catch the St. Clair (this boat gets boring to see after a while), the Saltwater Vessel from POLSTEAM Isadora, the Walter J. McCarthy, Jr. in Two Harbors, and the Thunder Bay leaving again from CN. I also payed a visit to the Edward L. Ryerson at her new home. 

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The final time I would get up this year would be for the Gales of November event on November 2nd. Just like last year, no boat passed under the bridge. The only ship to photograph in port was the Vaasaborg loading at General Mills Duluth.



Here’s to a great season! Can’t wait for the next one.





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Edgar B. Speer arrives Duluth

The final boat I would see pass under the bridge in 2013 (Saw 6 boats this season under the bridge) was the 1004 ft Edgar B. Speer of Great Lakes Fleet. I listened to the captain talk to the bridge operator for about a minute. I recorded the conversation.

“Hey there bridge, this is the Edgar Speer. Just lettin’ ya’ know we’re about 5 miles out.”
“Sounds good cap’, I uhhh, see ya’ out there, just give me a call when you’re a mile and a half out.”
“Yup, will do bridge. Hey uhh, how’s the ice in there? Safe enough to come in?”
“Yeah, we had a guy go out earlier and he broke it up pretty well [James R. Barker] so you should be fine to come in.”
“Alright, sounds good bridge. We’ll give you a call at a mile and a half.”
“Sounds good cap’.”
I then thought to myself, “my scanner is the best $4 investment in the history of the world.”

The Speer took about twenty minutes to line up and make it under the bridge. In this picture, it almost seems she wants to hit the South Pier light.



She then made it under the bridge, and I had my camera ready to photograph my 6th boat under the bridge this season.

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Vassaborg at General Mills

The Wagenborg ship Vassaborg loaded wheat at General Mills Duluth on November 2nd, 2013. She departed about three hours later, which I was unable to catch. She was built in 2000 and is 433 feet long. vaasaborg

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Walter J. McCarthy, JR. loading in Two Harbors

It was about 45 degrees Fahrenheit on Saturday at the break wall to see ships at the ore dock in Two Harbors when I took the picture. In other words, with it being in the upper 80’s down in the Twin Cites that week, it was really cold. The Walter J. McCarthy, Jr. had been waiting for a while to load iron ore while the Arthur M. Anderson was taking their turn. It was around 7 am when this picture was taken, almost perfect light, and no digital editing was done to this photo. The McCarthy would then depart Two Harbors at 8 pm with her completed load.


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