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In an earlier blog I mentioned that the ice breakers were working to clear the shipping lanes in Duluth, Minnesota. This past week the shipping season opened when the Mesabi Miner departed Duluth to deliver a load of coal to Marquette, Michigan. It was also scheduled to be the first arrival when it returned from Marquette.

On Saturday I went down to Canal Park to watch the Mesabi Miner return to Duluth. As I was nearing the harbor entrance I notice a ship leaving the harbor. It was the Biscayne Bay a Coast Guard Icebreaking Tug. It was heading out into Lake Superior to break up the ice outside the harbor.

Biscayne Bay

Biscayne Bay

When I arrived at the shipping Canal there was a small crowd on hand to welcome the Mesabi Miner into port including about a half dozen photographers.

Canal-Park-13-3-_3433

As I watched the Miner steam toward the harbor I thought a jet was going overhead but the sound was coming from the ice breaking as the Mesabi Miner approached the harbor.

Mesabi Miner and South-Breakwater Light

Mesabi Miner and South-Breakwater Light

As the Mesabi Miner neared the harbor entrance a murmur went through the crowd. Someone said she was going to the Superior entrance to the harbor. Everyone ran for their car to drive over to the Superior entrance. That is everyone but me, since I walked down to the harbor. I kept looking at the AIS tracking on my phone and it clearly showed that the Miner was going to enter through the Duluth entrance. It turns out it had headed toward Superior because it was going to anchor outside the harbor and it needed to clear the shipping lanes. The Rodger Blough was still at the docks so it had to wait for the Blough to exit the docks before it could enter the harbor.

Mesabi Miner

Mesabi Miner

Later in the morning the Indiana Harbor left its winter layup in Superior and exited the Superior entrance to the harbor. It made a wide circle and became the first ship to enter the Duluth Harbor because the Mesabi Miner was still waiting for a slip to free up. Since it was around noon there was a large crowd on hand to watch the Indiana Harbor enter the shipping canal.

Indiana Harbor

Indiana Harbor

After entering the harbor it was met by several tugboats that were breaking ice near the refueling station.

Tug Boats

Tug Boats

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