Saturday, March 29, 2014

Duluth Harbor Boat Traffic for 3/28/2014

Ice is taking it's toll in early Spring Shipping.
The CGC Alder towed in the broken CGC Morrow Bay after the Morrow Bay damaged it's rudder in heavy ice. The CGC Katmai Bay was also an escort.
CGC Alder towing CGC Morrow Bay
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Friday, March 28, 2014

News -- about the boat schedules

In an effort to provide more complete boat schedules, I have removed the boat schedules listing from my site. Please use the link to as it is a more thorough listing of the boat traffic.


After the Storm!

While some areas around the Northland received up to a foot of snow, the sunrise this morning was a sure reminder that Spring is here.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Duluth Harbor Boat Traffic for Wednesday 3/26/2014

Wednesday, March 26, 2014 - Arrivals & Departures

John G. Munson (US) departed Duluth at 01:55
Mackinaw (US ) departed Duluth at 08:03
Morro Bay (US ) departed Duluth at 08:05
Katmai Bay (US ) departed Duluth at 08:07

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Mackinaw departs

The CG Cutters Mackinaw, Morrow Bay, and Katmai Bay departed Duluth at 8:05 this morning.
CGC Mackinaw
Cutters Mackinaw, Katmai Bay, Morrow Bay

John G Munson Departure

The John G Munson departed Duluth at 1:50 this morning on it's first trip in more than a year. It will meet the Cason Callaway and three cutters in Two Harbors this afternoon before venturing across Lake Superior.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Mackinaw Arrival 3/24/2014

The cutters Mackinaw, Morrow Bay, and Katmai Bay arrived in Duluth this evening to provide ship escort across Lake Superior latter this week.

View Mackinaw Gallery

View the inside

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Break - Out!

After weeks of hard work by the Alder and tugs, the big Lakers are out of winter hibernation.
The Cason J Callaway was the first out of the harbor today on it's way to Two Harbors to pick up a load of Taconite.
It will load and join a convoy of 3 Lakes and 3 cutters to venture across Lake Superior which is still 85% ice covered.
The 1000ft Presque Isle and John Munson will depart by tomorrow night to also be part of the convoy after loading in Two Harbors.
Cason J Callaway
Cason J Callaway

Friday, March 21, 2014

Shipping Update

Provide by the Duluth Port Authority
First Lakers of the 2014 Shipping Season to depart Port of Duluth-Superior this weekend
Duluth, Minn. (3/21/14) – Near record-setting thick and fast ice across the Great Lakes has slowed the start of the 2014 navigation season. However, traffic is set to start moving in the Port of Duluth-Superior as early as middaytomorrow – Sat., March 22 – with the anticipated departure of two Great Lakes Fleet carriers: the Cason J. Callawayand the Presque Isle. Both will head to Two Harbors, where they will load iron ore pellets bound for steel mills on the Lower Lakes. Plans are to have a third fleet mate that wintered in the Twin Ports – the John G. Munson – join them in Two Harbors to load on Sunday or Monday. All three vessels are operated by Key Lakes, Inc., and all have reinforced hulls able to withstand significant ice pressure here at the Head of the Lakes.

Those three lakers will then await the arrival of three U.S. Coast Guard icebreakers – the MackinawMorro Bay andKatmai Bay – who are currently cutting tracks across Lake Superior from the Soo Locks to Duluth. After a respite to restock/refuel, the USCG units will depart, slowing down just long enough near Two Harbors to pick up and escort the GLF vessels in a convoy across the Lake and through the St. Marys River and locks at Sault Ste. Marie. 

Local icebreaking assets – USCG cutter Alder and commercial tugs from Heritage Marine and Great Lakes Towing – will continue working to open up tracks here in the Duluth-Superior Harbor as the Mesabi Miner is scheduled to load coal at the Superior Midwest Energy Terminal early next week for delivery to Taconite Harbor, then return to reload for a trip to Marquette. Additional vessels that wintered over in the Twin Ports (including the Kaye E. BarkerGreat Republic,American SpiritSt. ClairWalter J. McCarthy) are fitting-out and plan to get underway within the next couple of weeks.

With ever-changing ice conditions and weather patterns, plans are to have Coast Guard assists for upbound vessel traffic as well, so terminals in the Twin Ports can expect to see the first inbound lakers arrive to load around April 1. Oceangoing (i.e. ‘saltie’) traffic will be later as locks in the far eastern end of the Seaway system aren’t set to open until March 31.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Soo Locks opening on schedule

Ice or not, the Soo Locks will open on schedule, next Monday March 24th at midnight. Ice breakers will be putting in long hours and boat movement will be slow at first, but there's no stopping the season now. The Tregurtha may make some local runs in the mean time to Taconite Harbor on the North Shore. Below is an AIS view of the boats in the harbor that have now come back to life for the season and preparing to ship out.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Shipping Update!

Boats will start departing later this week probably led by ice breakers.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Ice Caves Virtual Tour

The Apostle Island Ice Caves have now officially closed for the season. In case you missed your chance to venture out across the hard water of Lake Superior to visit the caves, I have put together a Virtual Tour of the caves.
 Ice Caves Virtual Tour

Cold and Clear - Spring is Here!

Yesterdays satellite image of Lake Superior showed the Northland still locked in ice.  With shipping season only days away, this truly will be a challenging month for the Lakers.

Ice fishing Lake Superior

Saturday afternoon turned out to be a cool, clear, and sunny afternoon. Perfect for doing some ice fishing along the shore of Lake Superior.
I took advantage of the weather and sent the little photocoter up for a look around at the fishermen and many portable ice houses put up to catch a few trout.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Stony Point Shore Ice

Lake Superior is beginning to lose it's ice cover and during this process, sheets of ice pile up along the shoreline.  Last evening I flew my little remote controlled photo copter over Stony Point, a scenic drive located along the North Shore, about 10 miles northeast of Duluth.
In this birds eye view, the setting sun, shimmering ice, trees, and water all combine to give us a glimpse of Gods creation. (Music by: Mary Beth Carlson)

Friday, March 7, 2014


This is shaping up to be an incredible shipping opener.  Due to ice conditions, convoys will probably be organized with multiple lakers being escorted by cutters.  Besides ice breaking operations, expect the big boats to start moving in about two weeks.

March 5th 2014

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Frozen Moment!

The deep rich colors of dawn and the frozen landscape of Lake Superior extends for as far as the eye can see.  Only the Hand of God can create scenes like this -  and it's free. Don't miss the next one!

CGC Alder slowly making headway

After taking a well deserved evening rest off the shores of Barkers Island in Superior, the CGC Alder once again began the task of breaking the first path through the thick Duluth-Superior Harbor ice-pack.
Before the Alder resumed it operation, it made for some interesting images in the early morning hours with temperatures hanging around 5F.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Point of Interest - Interstate Bridge

Interstate Bridge next to Blatnik Bridge
Today, while I watched the Alter break harbor ice, I strolled out to the end of the old Interstate Bridge scouting for a photographic vantage point.
While the Alder didn't make it this far, I though you might like to visit one of Duluth's hidden secrets.
Built in 1897 the Interstate Bridge once spanned the St. Louis Bay. Open to pedestrians, horse-drawn vehicles and had access for two trains and a streetcar. The toll was set at five cents for pedestrians and bicycles, fifteen for wagons, and a dime for each head of cattle.
Over time the bridge was refitted for automobiles, the streetcar line would be removed and there would only be one railway in use. In 1961 the Duluth-Superior High Bridge was built to replace the Interstate Bridge so longer ore carriers could move through the harbor easier. The Interstate Bridge was dismantled in 1971. In 1981 the Burlington Northern sold the bridge to the Port Authority of Duluth for $1. In 1983, bridge remains were converted into a fishing pier that stand today.
This 360 degree view might give you a good perspective of what you can see. The Alder is out there in the middle.
Alternate Link

Tough going for the Alder

I walked out to the end of the Interstate Fishing Bridge this afternoon to watch the Alder backing and ramming into the thick harbor ice.  Winter does not want to give up the harbor easily. The Alder will earn its keep this year.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Harbor ice breaking operations to begin this week.

While the ice cover and temperatures don't really indicate the arrival of Springtime yet, the calendar still shows Spring less then three weeks away.  

In a news release Saturday, the Coast Guard reported that the cutter Alder will start icebreaking operations on Tuesday in the harbor and out to Lake Superior. Officials warned anglers and others who may be out on the ice to remove ice shacks and other equipment, and to use caution if out in the ice.

Areas where the Alder will be working include - but are not limited to - the Superior Front Channel, the Superior and Duluth harbor basins, the East Gate Basin, the Duluth and Superior entry channels and the Lake Superior ice adjacent to Minnesota Point.

Icebreaking operations later may extend to other areas of the harbor, as well as to Two Harbors, Silver Bay and Taconite Harbor.