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Category Archives: Presque Isle

After a brief stop at Stoney Point we continued our drive up the North Shore for a brief stop in Two Harbors. We always drive out to the Harbor area to check things out. The sea fog was also hanging around Two Harbors.

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The Presque Isle was at the docks loading iron ore pellets. This would be one of the last ships in the harbor until the 2017 shipping season starts in March.

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Before leaving I took a shot of the lighthouse.

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After hiking the Union Mine Trail in the Porcupine Mountains we drove through the park on the South Boundary Road to the Presque Isle River. Our intent was to walk the loop trail along the river. Unfortunately the fall colors were not that great so we decided to walk along the boardwalk to check out the waterfalls. Normally on a visit to the River we stop for some photos of the bowls from the suspension bridge. This is the iconic shot that everyone takes. Unfortunately this year there was so much water in the river that the bowls were covered in water. This is a shot from an earlier visit.

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We walked across the bridge to the island and down to the mouth of the Presque Isle River.

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The water was still low enough that we could walk along the east side of the river following to the North Country Trail.

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We then headed back to the suspension bridge and hike along the boardwalk to Manabezho Falls.

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After a few photos we continued on to Manido Falls before returning to the car.

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It was a beautiful day out, one of the few we have experienced. We decided to take a short trip up the North Shore. As we neared Two Harbors we noticed on Marine Tracker that a ship was just about to enter the Harbor and another ship was already in the docks loading taconite. When we arrived there were already quite a few boat watchers on hand. I don’t think I ever visited Two Harbors and not found a fair number of people watching ships.

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The Walter J. McCarthy Jr. was already loading and the Presque Isle was just about to enter the harbor.

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Walter J. McCarthy Jr. 16-4-_1906

It had been raining in Duluth, Minnesota for almost a week and I had been under the weather so I hadn’t gotten out much. I noticed the Presque Isle was going to be leaving port. It was still raining out but thanks to the sky-walk system in Duluth I was able to walk down to the harbor in comfort. I was able to watch the Presque Isle make the turn for the Lift Bridge while still in the DECC. I walked over to the Lift Bridge to take a few photos of the ship leaving the harbor.

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That’s when I heard the roar of the waves hitting the beach. When I reached the beach I noticed that the strong winds had blown ice from the lake into shore and the high waves were coming over the breakwater. When the waves hit the shore the water was way above the breakwater. The water would fall onto the breakwater then chunks’ of ice would fall out of the sky. It was a little dangerous because some of the ice chunks were as big as softballs.

Uncle Harvey’s Mausoleum-

Uncle Harvey’s Mausoleum

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As the Algoma Montrealais approached the Holcim Docks the Presque Isle was in the process of moving away from the docks.

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It was a strange sight to see the Presque Isle backing up the Saint Louis River to the Midwest Energy Docks.

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They Appeared to be using steam to clean the ice off of the bow of the ship.

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These photos were taken last week.  Tugs were breaking out several ships in the Duluth area prior to the start of the shipping season. The U.S. Coast Guard Cutters Morro Bay, Katmai Bay and Mackinaw had broken a path to Duluth, Minnesota from the Soo Locks. On Wednesday morning they left Duluth to Lead a convoy of ships back to the Soo Locks.

Mackinaw

Mackinaw

The convoy picked up the Cason J. Callaway just outside of Two Harbors and it picked up the Presque Isle near Grand Portage. The John G. Munson was still loading in Two Harbors when the convoy left Two Harbors. The convoy slowed as it neared Thunder Bay and the Munson was able to catch up.

Cason Ju Callaway

Cason J Callaway

Things started going south after that. The Morro Bay and Katmai Bay stayed behind in Thunder Bay to break ice. The Morro Bay was damaged while breaking ice. The Katmai Bay had to tow the Morro Bay back to Duluth with assistance from the Alder. On Friday all three Cutters returned to Duluth with the Morrow under tow.  Divers discovered that most of the bolts holding the Morro’s rudder were broken.

Morro Bay

Morro Bay

About the same time the Presque Isle was damaged by ice east of Thunder Bay and had to be escorted back to Thunder Bay by the Mackinaw. The Presque Isle has since returned to Duluth for Repairs. The Mackinaw spent Saturday in Thunder Bay breaking ice before departing late Saturday to finish leading the convoy to the Soo Locks.

Presque Isla

Presque Isle

The John G. Munson and the Cason J. Callaway are stranded in the northeastern part of Lake Superior waiting for ice breakers to assist them in getting to the Soo Locks.

John G. Munson

John G. Munson

The Locks opened on the 25th but at this point no ships have been able to get to the locks either from Lake Superior or Lake Michigan. The ice is five feet thick in places and some of the pressure ridges are eight feet thick. Three ships are currently waiting east of St. Ignace for ice breakers to assist them to the Locks.

The 2014 Shipping season started on Lake Superior last Saturday. Early in the morning two Heritage Marine Tugs, the Helen H and Nels J, Helped free the Cason J. Callaway from the ice so it could exit Duluth Harbor.

Later in the morning we drove over to Port Terminal 1 in Duluth where the Presque Isle spent the winter in layup. The Helen H was breaking ice around the Presque Isle so it leave the harbor to load taconite in Two Harbors.Helen-H-and-Presque-Isle-14-3-_1829

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The ship’s crew was busy working to get ready for the first voyage of the year. Here they are working on the life boats.Presque-Isle-14-3-_1810

After watching the Helen H work for a while we decided to drive down to Canal Park and see if there were any ducks under the Lift Bridge. As we drove up my wife noticed that the Lift Bridge was up. The Coast Guard Cutter Alder was heading out into Lake Superior. I was so busy watching the Helen H I failed to notice the Alder leave port. We were too late to see it go under the bridge but I managed a shot as it hit the ice just outside the harbor. The Ship Canal was free of ice and it was clear for about a hundred yards out into the lake. There was thick ice out into the lake beyond Brighton Beach.Coast-Guard-Cutter-Alder-14-3-_1825

The Alder made several passes clearing the way for the ships that were schedule to sail to Two Harbors. This is a shot of the Alder as it returned from its first trip.Coast-Guard-Cutter-Alder-14-3-_1848

After Lunch I noticed the Cason J. Callaway was getting ready to depart for Two Harbors. We drove down to Canal Park only to find that it was already out into the lake. Apparently my Marine Traffic App was not working correctly. In fact, I had problems with it the rest of the day. You can see the Alder out in the lake in the background between the anchor and the North Breakwater Light. The Cason J. Callaway was the first ship to leave port for the 2014 season.Cason-J.-Callaway-14-3-_1852

We then decided to drive up to Brighton Beach and watch the Callaway make its way through the ice. It was a surreal scene at Brighton Beach with about a hundred fisherman and cross country skiers out on the ice with the Callaway in the background.Cason-J.-Callaway-Brighton-Beach-14-3-_1856

Just as we were about to leave Brighton Beach we noticed that the Helen H was also heading for Two Harbors. We decided to drive up to Two Harbors to watch the Alder and Helen H break ice before the Callaway docked.

When we arrived in Two Harbors there were already cars in the parking lot with more arriving every minute. Apparently we were not the only ones who thought it would be a good idea to watch the ships come in. It was bitterly cold out with the air temperature about fifteen degrees and a thirty five mile per hour wind.

The Alder was the first to arrive. It sailed around the harbor a couple of times breaking up the ice. I found it strange that the Alder didn’t break up the ice next to the loading docks but it didn’t.Coast-Guard-Cutter-Alder-Two-Harbors-14-3-_1884

The Callaway was the next ship to enter the harbor. Just as it entered the harbor the Helen H arrived to break up the ice around the docks. I always thought that tug boats would be used to help the ships into the docks but they are not required. Cason-J

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After the Callaway was docked the Helen H continued breaking ice around the docks.Helen-H-Two-Harbors-14-3-_1919

The Cason J. Callaway, Presque Isle and the John G. Munson are all scheduled to load taconite at Two Harbors this week. When the loading is complete they will form a convoy with several Coast Guard Cutters and head for the Soo Locks. This is the first time since the 70’s that Coast Guard Cutters have been required to escort ships from Duluth to the Soo Locks.

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.