Friday, September 30, 2011

Autumn in the Northland

The landscape of Northern Minnesota is now a tapestry of autumn colors. Here are some images from the North Shore area of Lake Superior over the past several days. Enjoy!

Duluth Harbor Boat Traffic for Thursday 9/29/2011

Lee A. Tregurtha departed at 04:00
American Integrity arrived at 17:30
Indiana Harbor arrived at 18:00
Michipicoten arrived at 23:00 and 22:55
Joseph H. Thompson departed at 23:10

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Lichen, Schooners, and Lighthouses

A late September sail on the 50 foot schooner Hjordis, located in Grand Marais Minnesota, is a fitting end to the summer season. The orange colored lichen, a moss like fungus that clings to many of the Lake Superior rock outcroppings, makes for a colorful foreground as the Hjordes leaves the Grand Marais Harbor for an evening sail.

James R. Barker at Taconite Harbor

 As I was traveling the North Shore of Lake Superior taking Fall color pictures, I happened across the James R. Barker unloading coal at the Taconite Harbor power plant near Shroeder Minnesota.

Taconite Harbor has served for many years as a major iron ore facility on the North Shore. The harbor, the massive loading dock, and the railroad line are landmark structures that remind the visitor of the important role that the mining industry has played on the North Shore. Currently Minnesota Power Company has a power plant and owns a large tract of land at Taconite Harbor. The company is exploring development opportunities for its land and is entertaining the potential of ceding some land by Two Island River to the State for public use. Recently public access to Lake Superior has been provided at Taconite Harbor; a safe harbor and a boat launch have been built by the State of Minnesota.

Duluth Harbor Boat Traffic for Wednesday 9/28/2011

Arthur M. Anderson departed at 00:35
Paul R. Tregurtha departed at 05:55
Lee A. Tregurtha (US) arrived at 19:00
Joseph L. Block (US) departed at 19:55

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Duluth Harbor Boat Traffic for Tuesday 9/27/2011

American Mariner arrived at 02:30
James R. Barker arrived at 06:35
Joseph L Block arrived 16:15
Paul R. Tregurtha arrived at 16:15
Heloise (Pan ) departed at 17:10
James R. Barker (US) departed at 17:40
American Mariner (US) departed at 20:15

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Duluth Harbor Boat Traffic for Monday 9/26/2011

Alpena arrived Duluth at 02:20
Philip R. Clarke departed at 08:10
Arthur M. Anderson arrived at 18:35
American Courage departed at 23:00

Monday, September 26, 2011

Duluth Harbor Boat Traffic for Sunday 9/25/2011

Spruceglen departed at 01:13
H. Lee White departed at 11:10
American Century arrived at 13:00
Heloise (Pan) arrived at 15:15
Philip R. Clarke arrived at 17:00
American Courage arrived at 19:05
American Century departed at 23:00

Heloise Enters Duluth Port

The 620 foot Heloise entered the Twin Ports to pick up a load of grain.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Duluth Harbor Boat Traffic for Saturday 9/24/2011

James R. Barker (US) arrived at 03:21
Spruceglen (CA) arrived at 07:11
American Spirit (US ) departed at 07:49
Walter J. McCarthy Jr. (US ) departed at 08:45
James R. Barker (US) departed at 16:50
H. Lee White (US) arrived at 17:20
Mesabi Miner (US ) departed at 18:50

James R Barker

The 1000ft James R Barker leaving port Saturday Afternoon.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Duluth Harbor Boat Traffic for Friday 9/23/2011

American Spirit arrived at 09:35
Manistee departed at 12:40
Cuyahoga arrived at 15:10
Quebecois arrived at 15:45
Sundew departed at 18:30
Sundew arrived at 18:55
Walter J. McCarthy Jr. arrived at 18:55
Mesabi Miner (US) arrived at 19:50
Indiana Harbor departed at 22:30
American Spirit departed at 23:55

Friday, September 23, 2011

Duluth Harbor Boat Traffic for Thursday 9/22/2011

Paul R. Tregurtha (US ) departed at 02:00 c. Columbus (Bah) arrived at 06:40 Roger Blough (US) arrived at 07:00 American Integrity (US) arrived at 09:30 c. Columbus (Bah) departed at 18:15 American Integrity departed at 22:00 Roger Blough departed t 23:55

C. Columbus visits Duluth - again

The beautiful cruise ship C. Columbus visited Duluth for the second time this month. The 473 foot boat carries 420 mostly English speaking Germans, out to see the Great Lakes.

If you want to go with, plan on about $3000 for the 12 day voyage, per person.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Harbor History - Minnesota Point Lighthouse

Harbor History - Minnesota Point Lighthouse

At the far end of Minnesota Point stands a lonely monument representing a significant era of the Duluth-Superior Harbor history. The ruins of the old Minnesota Point Lighthouse stand tribute to a long faded memory of our rich nautical heritage.

With the opening of the Sault Ste Marie Locks in 1855, larger sailing ships began to travel the waters of Lake Superior bringing the rich natural resources of furs, lumber, and minerals to the rest of the world. As large shipping traffic increased, the need for navigational beacons began to grow.  It would be another 30 years before electricity would be harnessed and 20 years after that, before electricity would be made widely available. The rocky coast of Lake Superior was especially dangerous during the nighttime hours and even more so during raging storms.

The great need for a lighthouse was recognized by Congress  and the Minnesota Point Lighthouse, located at the end of Park Point, was built in 1858 at a cost of $13,675. The original lighthouse stood 50 feet high and made was of red brick painted white for greater visibility.

The lighthouse was built 3/4 mile from the Superior entry into the harbor.  The fog signal was a tin horn blown by the keeper and at the top of the light was a 10 ft wooden lantern room with 4 windows containing the Fifth Order Fresnel Lens. The two story brick keepers house was located next to the tower.

Old Tales and interesting facts
  • RH Barrett was first keeper of the light. An old tin horn was used as the official “fog horn”. Barrett  or his wife would blow “fog horn” sometimes for hours until the incoming ship responded.  Barrett’s Fog horn sound came to be know by Superior residents as “Barrett’s Cow” because it sounded more like a dairy farm than a sea port.
  • The Minnesota Point Light is also known at the Zero Point. Zero Point refers to a specific spot at the base of the lighthouse that the bearings for the original lake surveys made by Lt Henry Wesley Bayfield for the British in 1817-25 were made.
  • Old Fisherman told stories of being able to row around the lighthouse during storms and spring runoff. .
  • There was also an ancient Indian burial ground near the lighthouse site until a northeaster in 1870 blew the sand away and exhumed the skeletons. Copper Indian ornaments and jewelry can still be found on this site. Another burial ground exists today on the Wisconsin side of the canal.
Due to shifting sands the lighthouse location needed to be moved.  On August 6, 1885 the lighthouse was discontinued and the light was moved to a new location on the North Pier of the Superior Entry.  The Keepers dwelling was still used for the keeper until the Light was moved a second time in 1893 to the Wisconsin side of the entry.  The keepers dwelling were finally abandoned in 1894 when new quarters were constructed of Wisconsin Point.

How to get there? ---at the end of Minnesota Point, take the hiking trail past Sky Harbor Airport for 1.5 mile. You will run right into it.

Information provided by Seeing The Light (Terry Pepper):
Lake Superior Maritime Marine Museum

Duluth Harbor - Boat Traffic for Wednesday 9/21/2011

Edgar B. Speer (US ) departed at 04:55
Erieborg (Dutch) departed at 09:00
Great Lakes Trader/Joyce L. Van Enkevort (US) arrived at 12:00
Paul R. Tregurtha (US) arrived at 15:00
Manistee (US) arrived Duluth at 18:15
Hon. James L. Oberstar arrived at 22:00
Great Lakes Trader/Joyce L. Van Enkevort departed at23:00

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Duluth Harbor Traffic for Tuesday 9/20/2011

John J. Boland (US) arrived at 02:30
Presque Isle (US ) departed at 10:00
Mesabi Miner (US) arrived at 10:44
Erieborg (Dutch) arrived at 11:15
American Century (US ) departed at 11:50
Kwintebank (Dutch ) departed at 12:00
John J. Boland (US) departed at 14:30
Isa departed at 21:00
Mesabi Miner departed at 22:55

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Twilight Departure

The Arther M Anderson slips under the Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge on another Lake Superior Voyage.

Duluth Harbor Traffic for Monday 9/19/2011

Edgar B. Speer (US) arrived at 03:49
Presque Isle (US) arrived at 04:46
Algoma Progress (CA ) departed at 05:28
Isa (Cyp) arrived at 06:43
Arthur M. Anderson (US) arrived at 07:19
American Mariner (US ) departed at 08:36
Kwintebank (Dutch) arrived at 09:01
Arthur M. Anderson (US) departed at 19:30

Monday, September 19, 2011

Big Ships that go bump in the night!

During the early morning hours on Saturday  the Cason J. Callaway bumped the stern of the 1000ft Indiana Harbor as it was loading coal at Midwest Energy.
Both boats are under repair and will be back to work by the end of the week.
Thanks to Capt. Tom Mackay for the heads up and John Harrison for the picture.

Duluth Harbor Traffic for Sunday 8/18/2011

Cedarglen (CA) arrived Duluth at 01:37
James R. Barker (US ) departed Duluth at 02:59
CSL Tadoussac (CA) arrived Duluth at 08:30
Algoma Progress (CA) arrived Duluth at 09:50
Philip R. Clarke (US ) departed Duluth at 13:00
Canadian Enterprise (CA ) departed Duluth at 13:30
American Mariner (US) arrived Duluth at 20:45
Cason J. Callaway depart at 23:00

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Crimson Tide

The Lake Explorer II maneavers to leave port as the "Crimson Tide" of another beautiful Lake Superiro Sunrise seems the envelope the boat in color.

Duluth Harbor Traffic for Saturday 9/17/2011

Adam E. Cornelius (US) departed at 00:15
Canadian Enterprise (CA) arrived at 03:32
Walter J. McCarthy Jr. (US) arrived at 04:23
Philip R. Clarke (US) arrived at 14:55
James R. Barker (US) arrived at 16:00
 Walter J. McCarthy Jr. (US) departed at 20:15

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Golden Arrival

The Adam Cornelius entered the Port of Duluth under a Golden Sunrise on Friday Morning.

Yiks! There is a Warship in the Harbor!

Well, not officially. There is an interesting story behind the American Victory which is now laid up at Fraser Ship Yard in Superior. 

The 730 feet long American Victory was built in 1943 and was immediately put into service as a tanker in support of the war effort.  During the Second World War the ship saw duty on both the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean as a tanker. She is credited with shooting down an enemy aircraft and was also hit by a Japanese bomber while refueling a destroyer in the Pacific.

Much like an old veteran from that era, the American Victory has seen better days, but, has a very rich and colorful history that makes it  such a valued part of our nautical heritage. 



You can read more about the American Victory at: Duluth Shipping News and Boatnerds


Duluth Harbor Traffic for Friday 9/16/2011

Cason J. Callaway (US) arrived at 02:30
American Integrity (US ) departed at 03:40
Adam E. Cornelius (US) arrived at 06:25
Indiana Harbor (US) arrived at 18:15

Friday, September 16, 2011

Duluth Harbor Traffic for Thursday 9/15/2011

CSL Assiniboine (CA) departed at 06:15
American Integrity (US) arrived Duluth at 14:40
Paul R. Tregurtha (US ) departed Duluth at 15:40

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Lonely Sail

As winter closes in, a lone sailboat pushes the season hoping for a few more nice days and remembering the warm days of summer.

Snow Showers and Rainbows

September is a great month for weather phenomena and yesterday was no exception. With the passing of a cold front, snow squall moved across Lake Superior  while at the same time there was enough moisture in the clouds to provide a rainbow (or perhaps snowbow) during some glancing sunlight.
Like life,  beauty often comes after some rather uncomfortable events.

Duluth Harbor Traffic for Wednesday 9/14/2011

Columbus (Bah) arrived at 04:34
American Century (US) arrived at 07:29
Mesabi Miner (US ) departed at 10:29
Columbus departed @ 20:30
Joseph L. Block (US) arrived at 20:40
Paul R. Tregurtha  arrive at 21:30
American Century depart 22:50

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Columbus Sets Sail Under a Full Moon

The cruise ship Columbus left Duluth under a full moon as it motored under the Aerial Lift bridge on it's continued journey across Lake Superior.
Although occasional snow squalls drifted across the Arrowhead region, hearts were warmed by this friendly boatload of Germans.

Columbus Discovers Duluth!

The cruise ship Columbus sailed under the Aerial Lift Bridge in the early morning hours for an eight hour visit to the Zenith City.  While the passengers woke to bright sunshine, they probably did not go on deck for their breakfast coffee, as the wind chill was a bit nippy at 25F.
 The 472 foot MS Columbus is a 15,000-ton, 420 passenger, luxury cruise ship. She was built in 1997, in Wismar, Germany. Her relative size allows her to transit the Great Lakes, one of the few modern cruise ships and the only German one able to do so. However, she is flexible enough to cruise worldwide as well, for example traveling the Mediterranean for cultural cruises. Her top speed is 16 knots.

Most officers working in the ship are native Germans who are well versed in English. In addition to this, the vessel also houses a full-time international crew of 170. The ship can accommodate up to 420 passengers.

Resko Departs Duluth

Trying to stay ahead of the incoming cold weather, the ocean freighter Resko is captured by the Inner harbor Cam leaving Duluth for warmer climates. Temperatures were forecast to dip into the 30's F. overnight.

Duluth Harbor Traffic for Tuesday 9/13/2011

BBC Jade (Ant) departed at 07:36
Mesabi Miner (US) arrived at 14:40
Resko (Bah ) departed at 17:00

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Harbor History - Tugboat Graveyard!

The other day when I happened to be out taking pictures, I ran across the remains of the old Essayons tugboat resting on the bottom of the harbor with only the pilot house and smokestack sticking out of the surface like a grave marker.

Once the pride of the fleet, the Essayons was the historic retired Army Corps of Engineers tugboat that had been a Twin Ports fixture since 1908. The tug's engine is on display at the Marine Museum in Canal Park. 
The tug's owner was hoping to turn the boat into a floating bed and breakfast. However, vandal damage postponed the plan in 2004 and the tug was than docked near the Duluth Timber Company.
In 2009, shifting harbor ice pushed by a strong northeast wind, punctured the hull and the boat sank the the bottom, where it still rests today.
Perhaps someday it will be raised, but, for now, it quietly rests in peace, out of sight, and unnoticed.
"ESSAYONS" means - "Let Us Try" and is the branch song of the Army Corps of Engineers.

Essayons, sound out the battle cry
Essayons, we'll win or we'll die
Essayons, there's nothing we won't try
We're the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Pin the castle on my collar
I've done my training for the team
You can call me an engineer soldier
The warrior spirit has been my dream
We are builders, we are fighters
We are destroyers just as well
There've been doubters who met with the sappers
1 - We know our sappers will never fail
2 - And then we blew them all straight to hell
Our brothers fighting on the battlefield
Look to us to point the way
We get there first and then we take the risks
To build the roads and the air strips
And bridge the mighty river streams
We don't care who gets the glory
We're sure of one thing, this we know
Somewhere out there an engineer soldier
Designed the plan for the whole darn show
Essayons whether in war or peace
We will bear our red and our white
Essayons we serve America
And the U.S. Army Corps of engineers
Essayons! Essayons!

Duluth Harbor Traffic for Monday 9/12/2011

James R. Barker (US) arrived at 01:35
Resko (Bah) arrived at 06:33
Spruceglen (CA ) departed at 07:02
James R. Barker (US) departed at 15:05
Great Republic (ex American Republic) (US ) departed at 16:15

Monday, September 12, 2011

Duluth Harbor Traffic for Sunday 9/11/2011

Innovation/ Samuel de Champlain (US) arrived at 01:24
Canadian Transport (CA) arrived at 04:20
Arthur M. Anderson (US ) departed at 08:10
Indiana Harbor (US) arrived at 08:38
Great Republic (ex American Republic) (US) arrived at 14:10
Spruceglen (CA) arrived at 18:45
Indiana Harbor depart at 19:30

Duluth - Morning Arrival

The Ocean Freighter Resko sailed under the Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge this morning as it made it's way into the harbor to pick up a load of grain.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Abandon Ship!

A unusually warm Saturday afternoon on Lake Superior brought out the college kids for a cool plunge into the lake.
Using "Uncle Harvey's Mausoleum" (aka "The Cribs") as a diving platform, young people enjoyed the lake for one last time this season.
Uncle Harvey's Mausoleum, located 100 feet off shore from Canal Park, was an old gravel unloading facility until the lake got the best of her back in 1922.
Below: A would be tight rope walker takes a spill into the lake.

Duluth Harbor Traffic for Saturday 9/10/11

James R. Barker (US) departed Duluth at 01:30
Arthur M. Anderson (US) arrived Duluth at 19:35

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Moonrise on Lake Superior

The Arther M. Anderson makes it's way across the calm waters of Lake Superior as the moon rises through clear September skies.

Northern Lights (Aurora Borialis)

In case anyone missed the Northern Lights display last night, here is what they looked like reflecting in a small lake north of Duluth.
The Northern Lights, (Aurora Borialis) are created when solar winds generated by sunspots, strike the earths upper layers of the atmosphere and excite the charged particles into a region of the electromagnetic spectrum that is visible to the human eye.

Duluth Harbor Traffic for Friday 9/9/2011

Hon. James L. Oberstar (US ) departed Duluth at 03:20
Great Lakes Trader/Joyce L. Van Enkevort (US ) departed Duluth at 04:00
American Integrity (US ) departed at 08:45
James R. Barker (US) arrived at 15:30
Paul R. Tregurtha (US ) departed at 17:20
American Mariner (US ) departed at 20:00

BBC Jade unloads wind turbines

After a three week voyage from Denmark, the BBC Jade docked at the Duluth Port Terminal to unload 4000 tons of wind turbine components for Minnesota Power.
The bright red, 3 year old Jade, is 456 feet long and makes for a beautiful sight to see in the harbor.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Duluth Harbor Traffic for Thursday 9/8/2011

 Note:  A live Marine Traffic Map of Lake Superior is now displayed on the bottom of the page. - Some boats may not be displayed due to signal strength, but, it should be of interest to most Boat Watchers.

American Century (US) arrived at 01:55
BBC Jade (Ant) arrived at 03:15
H. Lee White (US ) departed at 08:55
American Century (US) departed at 12:55
American Mariner (US) arrived at 14:25

American Integrity (US) arrived at 18:05
Hon. James L. Oberstar (US) arrived at 18:15
Great Lakes Trader/Joyce L. Van Enkevort (US) arrived at 19:20
Herbert C. Jackson departed  at 19:30    
Paul R. Tregurtha arrived at 23:30

Nighttime Arrival-BBC Jade

In the early morning hours on Thursday, the BBC Jade arrived from Denmark  loaded with wind turbine components destined for Minnesota Power’s Bison Wind project in North Dakota.  

The  Duluth waterfront is much different at 3AM. Without seagulls screeching and traffic crossing the Aerial Lift Bridge there is an eerie quiet on the harbor. One can hear the inner workings of the ships as they pass through the canal and listen to the waves slap the breakwater.  It's definitely different and worth a 3AM stroll through Canal Park.
BBC Jade

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Traffic Jam!

Sometimes even light boat traffic in the Duluth Harbor can get congested when boats converge at the same time.
Here, the Vista Star, a sailboat, and the Herbert C. Jackson all want to occupy the same space.  You can guess which boats moved first.

Duluth Harbor Traffic for Wednesday 9/7/2011

Pere Marquette 41/tug Undaunted (US) arrived at 01:15
H. Lee White arrived at 04:10
Alder arrived at 09:40
Birchglen (CA) arrived at 10:45
John G. Munson departed at 16:40
Herbert C. Jackson arrived at 17:20
Pere Marquette 41/tug Undaunted  departed at 20:00
H. Lee White depart Duluth at 23:55

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Frontenac Arrives at the Superior Entry

The 730 foot Frontenac arrived through the Superior Entry on a beautiful September afternoon.
Seagulls lined the breakwater on the Minnesota side of the canal and seemed to be spectators as this long time visitor proudly entered port.

Since the winds were calm, I sent the photocopter up to snap these pictures of the arrival.

The vessel was launched December 12, 1967 and christened Frontenac (5) for Canada Steamship Lines, Inc.  The Frontenac was named in honor of Mr. Louis de Buade, Comte de Frontenac at Palluau who was born in 1620 and was the governor of New France from 1672 to 1682 and 1689 until he died in 1698.
More info at and

Boat Traffic on Lake Superior

Update: 9/8/2011 -- A live map of this feature is now added to the bottom of this website.
Although it sometimes seems like there isn't much boat traffic in Duluth and Lake Superior, This map shows that acually it is quit busy. Each green arrow indicates a large boat making its way up or down the big lake.

Duluth Harbor Traffic for Tuesday, 9/6/2011

CSL Tadoussac (CA) arrived at 01:15
Paul R. Tregurtha (US) arrived at 02:00
Paul R. Tregurtha (US) departed at 11:50
John G. Munson (US) arrived at 17:15

Monday, September 5, 2011

Duluth Harbor Traffic for Sunday 9/4/2011

James R. Barker (US) departed at 00:28
Chestnut (Cyp ) departed at 01:31
Philip R. Clarke (US) arrived at 04:28
Walter J. McCarthy Jr. (US) arrived at 10:45
Michipicoten (CA) arrived at 15:30
Walter J. McCarthy Jr. depart at 22:40

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Know Your Boats

Duluth Harbor Traffic for Saturday 9/3/2011

American Integrity (US) arrived at 01:32
Lee A. Tregurtha (US) arrived at 13:00
James R. Barker (US) arrived at 13:10
American Integrity (US) departed at 14:15
Arthur M. Anderson (US ) departed at 16:56
Lee A. Tregurtha departed at 22:00

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Duluth Harbor Traffic for Friday 9/2/2011

Atlantic Huron (CA) arrived at 08:20
Arthur M. Anderson (US) arrived at 14:35
Cedarglen (CA ) departed at 16:15
Algoma Progress (CA ) departed at 17:00
Chestnut (Cyp) arrived Duluth at 17:15
Atlantic Huron (CA) departed at 19:40
J. W. Shelley (CA ) departed at 20:20

Friday, September 2, 2011

Duluth Harbor Traffic for Thursday 9/1/2011

The weather is breaking and Fall is in the air. Lake Superior will soon begin acting up and producing some great weather phenomenon.

American Century (US) arrived at 01:15
James R. Barker (US ) departed at 04:30
Cedarglen (CA) arrivedat 05:05
Mesabi Miner (US ) departed at 05:55
American Century (US) departed at 14:25
Algoma Progress (CA) arrived at 19:15
Great Lakes Trader departed at 20:40

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Fog Again !!!

Duluth has an annual average of 52 foggy days and although the cameras cannot see well on these days, fog is as much a part of Duluth as the boats.
While we wait for the fog to clear, enjoy the view of Split Rock Lighthouse, one of my favorite places to visit on Lake Superior.