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Category Archives: Baie Comeau

My wife and I frequently walk down to Canal Park in Duluth, Minnesota to watch the ships arrive. On this night we were able to catch two ships as they arrived about an hour apart. The first to arrive was the Baie Comeau flying the Canadian Flag.

Between ships we walked out to the North Breakwater Light. There have been a large number of Double-breasted Cormorants hanging around the harbor this year.

There was some nice light and clouds behind the North Breakwater Light.

We watched the Herbert C. Jackson approach the ship canal.

Throughout the evening there were some interesting lake/sky photos.

 

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So far this summer I’ve not had good luck in my ship watching endeavors. I’ve been to Duluth a number of times but either there were not many ships coming in or they came in during the night or I missed them. This past week I had a very successful day watching ships. I don’t know if eight ships is a record or not but it was the most that I can remember.

It all started just before sunrise when the Paul R. Tregurtha came under the Aerial Lift Bridge. A short time later the Joseph L. Block came down the harbor.

Paul R. Tregurtha

Paul R. Tregurtha

Joseph L. Block

Joseph L. Block

 

After the Block exited through the Duluth Ship Canal I went for a walk down the Park Point Beach. After a couple of miles I noticed a ship was heading for Duluth so I returned to Park Point and watched the Baie Comeau sail under the Lift Bridge.

Baie Comeau

Baie Comeau

The Mesabi Miner was scheduled to exit Duluth Harbor within the next hour but I decided to stop at the newly opened Endion Public House in Canal Park for an early lunch. In the middle of a cold one I saw the Miner heading out into Lake Superior.

Late in the afternoon I headed back down to the Waterfront Plaza to watch the fishing boats come in from their afternoon trip. While I was watching them I noticed another ship heading into the Harbor. It was the Algolake. About the same time the American Mariner headed out under the Lift Bridge.

Algolake

Algolake

American Mariner

American Mariner

I knew that several more ships were schedule to exit the harbor early in the evening so I walked back home for a quick snack. Sure enough I had just gotten home when I notice another ship had pulled away from the docks. A quick hike down to the Harbor and I setup to watch the CSL Tadoussac head toward the Lift Bridge. I was in such a hurry to get down to watch the ship that I didn’t realize that a big storm was coming over the hills above Duluth. There were a few sprinkles in the harbor but it looked to be raining to the northeast. About the same time I noticed a rainbow forming over the Lift Bridge.

CLS Tadoussac

CLS Tadoussac

Right behind the Tadoussac was the Baie-Comeau. There was a beautiful rainbow over the Baie Comeau as it exited the harbor. The Baie Comeau had arrived mid morning and made a quick turnaround. It loaded Tackonite and stopped at the fueling station to take on fuel before exiting the harbor less than 12 hours after arriving. The ships seem to be making a quick turnaround this summer in an attempt to make up for the time lost during the terrible spring.

Baie Comeau

Baie Comeau

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

 

I drove down to Canal Park a few weeks ago to watch the Baie Comeau arrive in port. It was -26 with a wind chill that was even colder.Baie-Comeau-14-1-_0085

There were a few brave people around to watch the ship come into the harbor. Most of the folks weren’t aware there was a ship about to arrive until I told them. Unfortunately the fog was so thick that we weren’t able to see the ship until it reached the ship canal entrance.Baie-Comeau-14-1-_0086

The Baie Comeau was accompanied by a couple of Great Lakes tugs that would help it get through the ice to its dock.Baie-Comeau-and-Great-Lakes-Towing-Tug--14-1-_0098

Most of the ship canal as well as the harbor was covered in ice so when the Baie Comeau broke up the ice even more steam rose from the harbor.Baie-Comeau-14-1-_0107