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Category Archives: Rice’s Point

We were driving back to Duluth from Wisconsin and noticed as we crossed the Blatnick Bridge that the Joyce L. VanEnkevort and Great Lakes Trader was approaching Rice’s Point so we exited the bridge and drove down to Rice’s Point to watch it go under the bridge. You will notice that the Joyce L. VanEnkevort is a tug and Great Lakes Trader is a barge. The back of the former ship has been modified so the tug can insert itself into the barge. Apparently it is far less costly to run a tug/barge combination than it is to run a ship.

A day later I happened to be down in Canal Park when the Joyce L. VanEnkevort and Great Lakes Trader was leaving Duluth Harbor through the Ship Canal.

The Eemsborg had been sitting outside the harbor for several days. I just happened to look out the window and noticed it was getting underway and would be entering the harbor.


I jumped in the car and headed down to Canal Park to watch it enter the Ship Canal. Unfortunately the Eemsborg was really moving it out and I arrived just in time to see it sail under the bridge. I tuned the car around and headed for Rice’s Point hopping to get a photo it as it sailed under the Blatnick Bridge.


I noticed there were some ships coming into Duluth early in the morning so I drove down to Canal Park to watch. It’s great this time of year because the parking is free.

The Paul R. Tregurtha, the largest ship on the Great Lakes, sailed in. I photographed it as it entered the harbor then decided to drive down to Rice’s Point to watch it sail into the docks.


When I arrived at Rice’s Point I checked Marine Tracker and noticed that another ship was sailing toward Rice’s Point. There were a couple of other Boat Nerds at Rice’s point watching the ships. The Mesabi Miner was just making the turn to go under the Blatnick Bridge. The Paul R. Tregurtha had to wait for the Miner transit under the bridge. For some reason the ship was going to back up the Saint Louis River to the docks.



While I was waiting for the big ships to work their way up the river I took a few photos of the small fishing boats that were heading out into the lake for some Trout fishing. The season just opened so everyone was in a hurry to get out into the lake.


As we walked out onto Arrowhead Bridge I noticed a Canada Goose just above my head. The other photographers were over six feet tall and the goose was not happy. It reached down and hissed at them. Apparently it has been nesting there the last few years and has been known to attack passersby.


There were also several other Canada Geese nesting next two the Arrowhead Bridge.



Once the Miner had gotten under the bridge the Tregurtha started backing up the river.

Paul R. Tregurtha Rice's Point 16-4-_1722

After leaving Observation Park we drove down to Rice’s Point. There were some nice views of the Blatnick Bridge, Midwest Energy Center and Bong Bridge.

Blatnick Bridge

Blatnick Bridge

Bong Bridge

Bong Bridge

Midwest Energy Docks

Midwest Energy Docks

This past weekend in Duluth the wind was blowing Lake Superior ice onto shore. I spent some time photographing the ice flows. This shot shows the ice being blown into the harbor through the ship canal. The harbor lighthouses are in the background. The photo was taken from the Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge.



These two shots were taken on the outside of the ship canal where the ice was still frozen in place.



This shot was taken from the Arrowhead Bridge at Rice’s Point. The ice had been broken up by the tugs and ships passing earlier in the day.


On Sunday morning my wife and I were heading out for a walk along the Duluth waterfront when I check the Marine Traffic on my phone and noticed that the Heritage Marine Tug the Nels J was out breaking ice. We decided to forgo the walk and drive out to Rice’s Point to watch the tug work.

Helen H

Helen H

When we arrived the tug was working at the Calumet Fuel Dock which is a secure area where we couldn’t photograph. I assumed that a ship was going to move from winter layup to refuel before the start of the shipping season and the Nels J was breaking up ice around the dock. I was having problems following the Nels J with my Marine Tracker and discovered the app hadn’t been updated in some time so I updated it. When It came back on I noticed the Nels J was heading to Rice’s Point. I grabbed my camera but was a little late to get any good photos. Just about then my wife noticed another Heritage Marine tug, the Helen H sail out from Howard’s Pocket where the Frasier Shipyards are located. We watched as the Helen H moved back into Howard’s Pocket.

We jumped in the car and drove down to Conner’s Point which offers a good view of the ships in winter layup at Frasier Shipyards. Sure enough the Helen H had already broken ice to free the John G. Munson from the ice. As was getting up steam to move out of winter layup. This was a far cry from last year when we watched most of the day while the Helen H and Nels J tried to free the Munson from the heavy ice.

John G. Munson and Helen H

John G. Munson and Helen H

Duluth has a good collection of Boat Nerds that show up whenever there are boats moving. Many of the folks that were watching the Munson leave were also on hand to watch the Indiana Harbor arrive to end the shipping season at Wisconsin Point.

Indiana Harbor

Indiana Harbor

We watched as the John G. Munson slowly backed out of Howard’s Pocket and under the Blatnick Bridge. It was followed by the Helen H in case it ran into trouble. He Nels J was waiting at out in the Saint Louis River in case it was needed to help turn the Munson.

Helen H and John G. Munson

Helen H and John G. Munson

The Munson then sailed under the Blatnick Bridge past Rice’s Point before turning and then backing into the Calumet Fuel Dock where it spent several hours refueling. The Nels J was on hand in case it needed help docking.

John G. Munson and American Integrity-

John G. Munson and American Integrity-



While out photographing ships in layup I walked out to the tip of the Arrowhead Bridge at Rice’s Point in Duluth, Minnesota. On the way back I took a few photos of the historic bridge.




While photographing ships from the Arrowhead Bridge I noticed ice patterns where the ice had broken up and froze again.Ice-14-12-_0073

On one section of ice there were frost flowers on top of the ice.Frost-Flowers-14-12-_0067

We woke up with the intention of going cross country skiing but saw that it was going to be a warm day. The day before it had been -10 but this morning it was pushing +20. I happened to notice that the U.S Coast Cutter Alder was out in the harbor breaking ice so we put the skis into the car and drove over to Superior to see if we could catch the ice breaker at work.Alder-14-1-_0372

It was a frustrating experience. The Alder was really moving it out and by the time we reached Barkers Island it was already down at the Superior entrance to the harbor. We waited for it to come back but it then went out into Lake Superior. We thought we might get a photo of it coming back into the harbor and started driving over to Wisconsin Point. It soon became obvious that it was traveling too fast and would be back in the harbor long before we reached Wisconsin Point.Alder-14-1-_0400

We then headed back down to Barkers Island to see if we could get a photo of it passing Barkers Island. It turned out to be a race because the ship was moving faster than we could drive through traffic. We quickly pulled into a parking area before Reaching Barkers island and I was able to get a few shots of the Alder as it passed. It was a strange sight with the ice breaker breaking up the ice and people fishing and driving cars on the ice just a few yards from the ice breaker.Alder-14-1-_0405

We then noticed that the Alder heading up the Saint Louis River to break ice by the taconite loading docks. We drove down to Rice’s Point to try and get a few photographs as it came down the Saint Louis River into Duluth Harbor.

A week earlier I happened to be down at Canal Park when the Baie Comeau arrived in Duluth. The Baie Comeau the last of four Trillium Class self-unloading ships of the Canada Steamship Lines .Baie-Comeau-14-1-_0080 A week later my wife and I planned to go cross country skiing but it was -10 degrees with a additional wind chill so we decided to kill sometime in the morning by driving around Duluth and Superior looking for possible photo locations in the dock area. Our first stop was Rice’s Point Under the Blatnick Bridge. We walked out onto the old wooden Arrowhead Bridge which sticks out into the St. Louis River and took a few photos.Arrowhead-Bridge-14-1-_0464 Just as we were leaving we notice a tug boat upstream from Rice’s Point. It seemed to be working around a ship leaving the docks. We walked back to the car and drove to a better vantage point. There were two Heritage Marine tugs, the Helen H and Nels J, breaking ice and helping to turn the Baie Cameau.Baie-Comeau-14-1-_0465We watched for a while then drove back to the old Arrowhead Bridge where we could get some close-up photos of the tugs and the Baie Cameau as they navigated down the Saint Louis River under the Blatnick Bridge. The tugs were working hard to break up the ice ahead of the ship.Heritage-Marine-Tug-Nels-J-14-1-_0477 Baie-Comeau-14-1-_0963 Baie-Comeau-14-1-_0498 We then drove back down to Canal Park to watch the ship exit the harbor and sail out into Lake Superior. It was one of the last ships to leave port. The shipping season ended a few days later.Baie-Comeau-14-1-_0568