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Category Archives: American Spirit

There are a number of Great Lakes Ships in Duluth for winter layup. The shipping season usually ends in mid January and resumes again around the third week in March. As you can see most of the ships are being worked on while they are in port for winter layup.

Philip R. Clark

Philip R. Clark Port Terminal Berth 1

American Century

American Century Port Terminal Berth 11

American Spirit

American Spirit Port Terminal Berth 8 and 9

Rodger Blough

Rodger Blough Port Terminal Berth 4

 

Author M. Anderson

Author M. Anderson At CNN Docks

The Philip R Clarke arrived in Duluth at six am. I managed to get out of bed at sunrise and saw that it was attempting to dock. I drove down to the harbor to watch as several tug boats attempted to get it into the docks for winter layup. I finally gave up and drove back to the condo for breakfast. Late in the morning we were leaving town so we drove past the docks to see how things were going. The Clarke still wasn’t docked but they were getting close. More photos from Duluth Harbor can be found on my website.

American Spirit- Philip R. Clarke

American Spirit- Philip R. Clarke

American Spirit- Philip R. Clarke and Helen H

American Spirit- Philip R. Clarke and Helen H

- American Spirit and Helen H

-American Spirit and Helen H

American Spirit and Helen H

American Century – Helen H – American Spirit and Philip R. Clarke

 

It was one of the last days of the 2016 Great Lakes shipping season in Duluth, Minnesota. I was awaken at 6 a.m. when I heard salutes as  the Philip R. Clark sailed under the Aerial Lift Bridge. It was still dark out so I didn’t get up to go down to the harbor. At sunrise I checked on the Live Ship Map to see where the Philip R. Clark was in the harbor. Because of the ice in the harbor it was just attempting to dock at berth 1 at the Port Terminal. I grabbed my camera gear and drove down to the harbor to watch the Helen H from Heritage Marine breaking ice and attempting to pull the Clark into is berth. There were quite a few other Boat Nerds watching and photographing the docking. There was some great light as the sun was just coming up.

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philip-r-clarke-and-hellen-h-duluth-harbor17-1-2585

philip-r-clark-duluth-harbor17-1-2540

In the summer one of my favorite places to watch the ships is behind the South Pier Inn. The owners of the South Pier Inn have a beautiful flower garden along the shore. The garden provides a perfect foreground for the ships as they enter the harbor. On this particular day the American Spirit was entering the harbor.

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American-Spirit -Duluth-Minnesota-16-7-_1514American-Spirit -Duluth-Minnesota-16-7-_1543

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During a week in Duluth there were other ships that came to or left the harbor. Most of the days it was cold and rainy and the winds were blowing in off of Lake Superior. Ships leaving the harbor were running into some large waves.

Roger Blough

Roger Blough

American Mariner

American Mariner

The  American Spirit was putting out a lot of smoke as it headed toward Duluth.

American Spirit

American Spirit

American Century

American Century

It has been a slow season for the ship watchers on the great lakes and the Duluth/Superior area has also been slow. This past week the American Spirit Arrived in Duluth from Two Harbors. It spent the winter in Duluth and saw its first action when the Presque Isle was damaged in the first convey out into the lake. The Presque Isle returned to Duluth and offloaded some of its taconite to the American Spirit to raise the ship up so it could be repaired.American Spirit  14-4_0643

The American Spirit then sailed to Two Harbors to top off its load of taconite. It is shown here returning to Duluth. Apparently the plans are to wait in Duluth until ice conditions on the great lakes improve or the upbound convoy of ships arrives to assist it on the downbound voyage to the Soo Locks. C-_Users_Phil_Pictures_2014-Pictures_14-4_0647

So far this season only two ships have made it from Duluth to the Soo Locks. A convoy of three ice breakers and three cargo ships left Duluth. One ice breaker and the Presque Isle were damaged and returned to Duluth for repairs. One of the icebreakers and two cargo ships arrived at the Soo Locks eleven days after leaving Duluth.Ship-Watching-14-4_0637

More Photos from Canal Park can be found on my website.

Apostle Islands Ice Caves:

Normally I’m complaining about the lack of a good winter but this year we have had a fantastic winter. Every winter I look forward to photographing the Apostle Island Ice Caves but this is the first year since 2009 that they have been accessible from the ice on Lake Superior. I was very surprised when I checked  the middle of January and found that the ice caves were already open. Normally they don’t open until January but with the cold weather they were early this year.Apostle-Islands-Ice-Caves-14-1-_1471a

We immediately drove up to Cornucopia to visit the caves. This was followed by two other visits to the caves. We weren’t the only ones visiting the caves. Thanks to social media more than 140 thousand people visited the caves before they closed in mid March.Apostle-Islands-Ice-Caves-14-1-_1672

In-spite of the large number of people visiting the caves I was able to get some great photos and, for the first time, my wife was able to visit the caves. As you can see by the number of blogs I wrote on the subject this was my favorite winter activity.Apostle-Islands-Ice-Caves-14-3-_0983

Bald Eagle Watching:

The cold weather has been a boon for Bald Eagle watching since it concentrated the eagles in areas where there was open water. This winter we spent time visiting three locations along the Mississippi River to watch Eagles. Our most productive location was Covill Park in Red Wing, Minnesota where we always saw eagles. There were also a large number of ducks that provided entertainment when the eagle watching slowed down. The water is always open below the heating plant above Covill Park so the eagles and ducks hang out in this area.Bald-Eagle-14-1-_1996

The second best location was Reads Landing in Minnesota. On three occasions we saw large numbers of Eagles at this location. We also saw Trumpeter Swans that were hanging out in this section of the river. Viewing at this location slowed down as the winter progressed.Bald-Eagle-14-1-_0599

Alma, Wisconsin was the least productive area we visited. We only saw a significant number of eagles on one visit. On several other visits we didn’t see any eagles or only saw a few. I found this a difficult area to photograph eagles because you are usually looking into the sun.Bald-Eagle-14-1-_2164

I wrote a number of blogs describing our visits to these locations.

Trumpeter Swans Watching:

We made a number of trips to Hudson, Wisconsin to watch the Trumpeter Swans. Several people had mentioned that Trumpeter Swans hung out on the St. Croix river but didn’t know the exact location. We eventually found them in downtown Hudson.Trumpeter-Swan-Hudson-Wisconsin-14-2-_1125

Because of the very cold weather they were hanging out it a very small area of open water close to shore during the coldest part of the winter. You could walk down along the shore and photograph them and they didn’t seem to be the least concerned with your presence.Trumpeter-Swans-Hudson-Wisconsin-14-2-_1176

These trips resulted in several blogs reporting on our visits.Trumpeter-Swans-14-2-_0592

Lake Superior Ship Watching:

The very cold weather resulted in a lot of ice on Lake Superior. The early ice made for some great opportunities to photograph ships in the cold weather. One of my favorite year around activities is ship watching in Duluth and Superior Harbors so being able to photograph them working in ice was a great adventure.

Baie Cormeau

Baie Cormeau

We were able to watch ships arrive in the harbor during the very cold winter.

Baie Comeau

Baie Comeau

The Coast Guard Cutters were very active this winter and I was able to see them in action as they were breaking the ice and anchored in the harbor.

Coast Guard Cutter Alder

Coast Guard Cutter Alder

Tug Boats were also required to help break the ice when the Coast Guard was not available.

Helen H

Helen H

A large number of ships are in the Duluth/Superior docks either being repaired or for winter layup.

American Spirit

American Spirit

The long winter will continue into spring as the ice breakers are working to free the harbor of ice and the ships in layup are waiting to head out for the 2014 shipping season. The season should start in the next couple of weeks.

Coast Guard Cutter Alder

Coast Guard Cutter Alder

 

Rush River Ice Formations:

I discovered the Rush River Ice Formations this winter. What a wonderful place to visit. A local land owner has run piping around his property tapping into underground springs. At about two dozen locations on the property he has run vertical pipes with holes drilled into them. The result are some spectacular ice formations.Nelson's-On-the-Rush-River-14-1-_1918

Long Ski Season:

For the second year in a row we have been blessed with a lot of snow. The difference this year is that the ski season started at Thanksgiving and has continued into March. With a little luck we should be able squeeze in at least one more ski trip this year.Boulder-Lake-Ski-Trails-14-2-_1375

Our favorite location this year was the ABR Ski Trails because they usually receive early snow and they do the best job of grooming of any ski location. They are usually able to have good skiing even after warm weather because they have equipment to break up the trail in icy conditions and lay a new track.ABR-Ski-Trails-13-2-_1183

We also skied at The After Hours Ski Trails in Brule a number of times this year. This is a great location because of the large number of trails and its close proximity to Duluth.After-Hours-Ski-Trails-13-3-_3674

We discovered the Boulder Lake Ski Trails near Duluth and made sever visits to these trails. There are enough trails to provide a nice day of skiing without skiing the same trail twice.Boulder-Lake-Ski-Trails-14-2-_1378

We only made one visit, to what we consider, the most beautiful ski trails in the Midwest. These are the Swedetown Ski Trails in Calument, Michigan. They get more snow and beautiful light fluffy snow than anyplace else.Swedetown-Ski-Trails-13-2-_1124

 

As I mentioned in an earlier blog the 2014 shipping season is about to get underway in Lake Superior. The Coast Guard Cutter Alder has been breaking ice. Currently there are 10 Great Lakes ships in the Duluth/Superior Harbor waiting for the shipping season to start. Four ships the Kaye E. Barker, Great Republic, John G. Munson and John J. Borland are at Fraser Shipyards in Superior.

Great Republic

Great Republic

The Presque Isle is at Port Terminal for Winter Layup.

Presque Isle

Presque Isle

The St. Clair is at Garfield D

St. Clair

St. Clair

The American Sprit is at Port Terminal.

American Spirit

American Spirit

Current thinking is that with all of the ice on Lake Superior that a Coast Guard Cutter will need to be called out to lead a convoy of ships out into the lake. If that happens it should be really exciting and something to see.