Saturday, June 10, 2023

Friday, June 9, 2023

"Welcome Aboard" Ocean Navigator arrived in Duluth 06/09/2023

Ocean Navigator arrived in Duluth this morning with passengers for a pleasant visit to the Northland.

Sunday, June 4, 2023

Thursday, June 1, 2023

Saturday, May 27, 2023

"Superior Traveler" Michipicoten arrived in Duluth 05/27/2023

Michipicoten arrived in Duluth on one of its many voyages from one side of Lake Superior to the other hauling iron ore pellets.

Thursday, May 25, 2023

The North Pier Lighthouse: Guiding Ships and Preserving History in Duluth


One of the most prominent points of interest on the Canal Cam is the North Pier Lighthouse. The lighthouse is a historical gem of maritime safety. With a century-old legacy, it has guided ships and captured the hearts of visitors. So let's delve into the captivating story of the North Pier Lighthouse.

Constructed in 1910 by architect Oliver G. Traphagen, the North Pier Lighthouse was built to aid ships entering Duluth Harbor. It has since become a cherished landmark, embodying Duluth's rich maritime heritage.

Equipped with a Fourth Order Fresnel lens, the lighthouse's powerful beam guided ships through foggy nights and stormy weather, ensuring their safe passage. Its contribution to maritime safety cannot be overstated.

 Despite facing challenges, dedicated organizations and enthusiasts have kept the North Pier Lighthouse. Restoration efforts have maintained its structural integrity and original charm.

The lighthouse's striking red hue against the backdrop of Lake Superior makes it a visual delight. Visitors can capture its timeless beauty from vantage points along the shoreline and nearby parks.

Located near Canal Park, the North Pier Lighthouse offers easy access for locals and tourists. While visitors cannot enter the lighthouse, they can enjoy scenic walks along the pier and appreciate its significance.

The North Pier Lighthouse represents Duluth's maritime heritage, guiding ships, and captivating visitors. Preserved with care, it symbolizes the bravery of sailors and the enduring connection between Duluth and Lake Superior.

Monday, May 22, 2023

"Honorable Mention" - Hon James L Oberstar departed Duluth 05/22/2023

Hon James L Oberstar departed Duluth this evening loaded with Iron ore pellets.

The Duluth Shipping Canal: Gateway to the Great Lakes


The waterway you see before you on the Canal Cam is located at the far western end of Lake Superior in Minnesota, the Duluth Shipping Canal has served as a crucial gateway between the Atlantic Ocean and the North American heartland for centuries. The canal is an engineering marvel, a testament to human ingenuity, and a centerpiece of Duluth's industrial and cultural history.

Historical Background

The Duluth Shipping Canal came into existence in the late 19th century. Its construction was motivated by a need to facilitate the flow of goods and raw materials across Lake Superior. This objective was becoming increasingly significant due to the booming industry in the region. Iron ore, grain, timber, and coal were in high demand and required an efficient transportation route.

Two entrepreneurs, William Austin, and John D. Ray, began the canal project unofficially in 1870. They took the rather bold step of digging a canal across Minnesota Point, a thin sand spit separating the St. Louis River from Lake Superior. Their action was initially controversial and only partially legal. However, the benefits of the new route became immediately apparent, and the canal soon received official sanction.

Engineering Marvel

The canal was initially a simple, man-made cut through the sand spit. However, the risk of sand filling the channel and the high waves of Lake Superior threatened its usability. This led to the construction of two parallel piers extending into the lake, ensuring that the canal remained open and navigable. The iconic Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge was later added in 1905, initially as an aerial transfer bridge, before it was altered to its current design in 1930.

The Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge is one of the city's most recognizable landmarks. It operates by lifting a section of the roadway vertically to allow ships to pass underneath, rather than using a traditional drawbridge design. When raised, a clearance of 180 feet will enable even the most massive lake freighters to pass through.

Economic Importance

Since its inception, the Duluth Shipping Canal has been central to the region's economy. Serving as the entry point to the Duluth-Superior Harbor, the largest and farthest-inland freshwater port in North America, the canal plays a significant role in North American trade routes. Annually, it sees over 900 vessel visits and handles around 35 million short tons of cargo.

The raw materials transported through this gateway, such as iron ore, coal, and grain, are vital to industries across the continent. This constant flow of goods fuels the economy, supports jobs, and provides resources for industries far removed from the shores of Lake Superior.

Cultural Significance

Over the years, the canal and the adjacent Canal Park have become cultural hubs of Duluth. Canal Park, once an industrial warehouse area, has been transformed into a bustling district filled with restaurants, shops, and hotels. Visitors can watch ships pass, learn about the area's history at the Lake Superior Maritime Visitor Center, or enjoy the beautiful lakeside scenery.

The sight of massive freighters silently gliding through the canal, yards away from spectators, is genuinely something to behold. This daily spectacle has turned the shipping canal into a significant tourist attraction, and watching the ships has become a beloved pastime for locals and visitors.


The Duluth Shipping Canal is not just a man-made waterway but a lifeline connecting North America's heartland with the world. As we look towards the future, the canal's importance as a center of commerce, transportation, and culture will remain. Its history is a testament to the innovation and resilience of those who dared to dream, and its future holds the promise of continued relevance and vibrancy in an ever-changing world.

"Morning Boats" Hon James L Oberstar, James R Barker, & Algoma Discover...

Hon James L Oberstar, James R Barker, & Algoma Discovery motored through the Duluth Shipping Canal this morning.

Inset images by: Jeff Doty - David Schauer -

Sunday, May 21, 2023

"Gott-cha" Edwin H Gott arrived in Duluth 05/21/2023

With a cool Master Salute, the Edwin H Gott arrived in Duluth this afternoon to load iron ore pellets after stop at the Port Terminal.

"Hauling Limestone" Philip R Clarke arrived in Duluth 05/21/2023

Across Superior's azure swell, 
Moves the Philip R. Clarke, true and well. 
With heart of crew and hull of steel, 
Hauls limestone with a fervent zeal. 
From distant shores to Duluth's bay, 
Guided by the North Star's ray. 
In sunshine or in storm's harsh rhyme, 
A stalwart symbol across time. 
Anchors down as daybreaks light, 
In Duluth bay, a welcome sight, 
Her legend grows with every line, 
In the warm sunshine, 
Clarke does shine. 
Inset photo by: Jeff Doty -

Saturday, May 20, 2023

"Big Bad Barker arrived in Duluth, 05/20/2023

With a bellowing horn, the James R Barker made its arrival know with a Master Salute to the delight of a large crowd on a warm and sunny afternoon in Duluth.

Tuesday, May 16, 2023

"The Switch" Candance Elise switching positions 05/15/2023

Candace Elise pushing her barge Robert F Deegan, switches from a pusher to a short tow for all to see.

Monday, May 15, 2023

" Boats in Review" Duluth 05/15/2023

Car Ferry Bayfield, Tug Candace Elise, American Mariner, James R Barker Sailboats, Fishing boats, Saltie UAL Fortitude made their way through the Duluth shipping Canal on a busy day.

"Lake Superior Steel Hauler" Michipicoten departed Duluth 05/15/2023

Michipicoten moved iron ore pellets from one end of Lake Superior to the other on a continual basis.

(Wake-Up Duluth) American Century departed, James R Barker arrived in Du...

With a mighty Master Salute from the James R Barker, Duluth received a wake-up alarm this morning like no other. Inset photos by: Jeff Doty -

Thursday, May 11, 2023

"Rattling Windows" John G Munson arrived in Duluth 05/11/2023

With it's powerful horns, the John G Munson rattled windows across Duluth with a Captains Salute followed by a Master Salute.

"Pushing Limestone" ATB Clyde S VanEnkevort / Erie Trader arrived in Dul...

The tug Clyde S VanEnkevort pushed the Erie Trader through calm water into the Duluth Shipping Canal this afternoon loaded with limestone.

Tuesday, May 9, 2023

"Old Friends" James L Oberstar & Edwin H Gott - 050823

James L Oberstar (with limestone) & Edwin H Gott (with iron ore pellets) pass each other in mid-harbor as they go about their business in Duluth-Superior.

Monday, May 8, 2023

Saturday, May 6, 2023

Thursday, May 4, 2023

"Tug Assist" Algoma Discovery departed Two Harbors 05/04/2023

With Strong winds, the Algoma Discovery needed a bit of help this afternoon departing Two Harbors loaded with iron pellets.

"Twilight Maneuvers" (Timelapse) in Two Harbors. 05/04/2023

Walter J McCarthy Jr, Algoma Discovery and Presque Isle maneuvered through Agate Bay in Two Harbors overnight.

"Overnight Shipping - American Century, American Integrity & Arthur M An...

American Century (for coal) , American Integrity (for iron pellets) & Arthur M Anderson (with limestone) arrived in Duluth overnight.

Thursday, April 27, 2023

Tuesday, April 25, 2023

Friday, April 21, 2023

"Double Entry" Algoma Intrepid (Duluth) Vlieborg (Superior) 04/21/2023

Algoma Intrepid (Duluth) arrived in Duluth with salt & Vlieborg arrived in Superior to load beat pulp.

"Gales of Superior" Spring storm 2023

The power of a Lake Superior Gale was on full display as 60MPH winds kicked up a fuss.

Tuesday, April 18, 2023

Thursday, April 13, 2023

Monday, April 10, 2023

Sunday, April 9, 2023

"Easter Sunrise Departure" Algoma Sault departed Duluth

Under a bright Easter sunrise, Algoma Sault departed Duluth early this morning after unloading salt.

Saturday, April 1, 2023

Thursday, March 30, 2023

Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Tuesday, March 28, 2023

First Saltie - The Federal Dart arrived in Duluth 03/28/2023

The first saltie of the season arrived in Duluth loaded with cement. The Federal Dart set a record of the earliest saltie arrival ever. The previous was March 30th.

"Night Arrival" Arthur M Anderson arrived in Duluth 03/28/2023

The famous Arthur M Anderson arrived early this morning to load iron ore pellets.

Spring Sunrise 03/28/2023

It's a good day to be alive! It's the simple things like a sunrise that we can be thankful for today. We are blessed indeed!

"Queen of the Lakes" Paul R Tregurtha arrived in Duluth 03/27/2023

The longest vessel on the Great Lakes, thereby holding the title "Queen of the Lakes" at 1013 feet long, arrived in Duluth Monday evening.

Monday, March 27, 2023

Sunday, March 26, 2023

"Pushing Ice" Stewart J Cort arrived in Superior 03/26/2023

The 1000 ft. Stewart J Cort pushed it's way into Superior this afternoon through floating ice to load iron ore pellets at BN.

"Chip off the Old Block" Joseph L Block arrived in Duluth 03/26/2023

Joseph L Block arrived in Duluth this morning to a warm greeting at Duluth Canal Park.

Thursday, March 23, 2023

"Break Out" - The Lee A Tregurtha opens the Shipping Season 03/23/2023

Helped by tugs, the Lee A Tregurtha pushed aside harbor ice this morning as it made its way out through the Duluth Shipping Canal. Final image provided by: David Schauer - Lake Superior Ports & Shipping

Sunday, March 19, 2023

"Dusk to Dawn" - Sunrise Timelapse 03/19/2023

In the realm of the slumbering giants, 
Where the ancient stones gently sigh, 
A canvas of hues is painted anew, 
As dawn graces Lake Superior's sky. 
The serenade of whispering winds, 
Caress the waters' placid face, 
Reflecting hues of pink and gold, 
In this, nature's sacred space. 
A celestial blaze ignites the horizon, 
Emerging from the edge of night, 
Gently erasing shadows past, 
With tendrils of soft, warm light. 
The sun ascends, a glowing orb, 
A herald of life's eternal grace, 
Bathing the shores of Lake Superior,
 In a luminous, tender embrace. 
In this dance of light and shadow, 
A moment's beauty, forever to savor, 
We find solace in the splendor, 
Of a Lake Superior Sunrise, a moment to treasure. 


Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Fundraiser for new Western Harbor Cam

Update 4/13 - Complete

Updated 3/15/2023 - The camera has been tested and I am waiting for electricians to complete wiring to the top of the building.  Expect completion by April 15th or before.

Updated 01/21/2023 - Fundraiser complete -- Equipment is ordered.  This will be an incredible camera location.  I will be putting the project together during February and then it depends on weather.

Thank you so much!
We have a wonderful opportunity to add another camera into the system that will be located on the western side of the Blatnik Bridge on the roof of the Lincoln Park Middle School.
This is an incredible panorama view that stretchers from the Blatnik Bridge to the Bong Bridge in the west.

The camera will be great for boat watching and weather observation. 
I will be starting a fundraiser in order to try and get the camera installed by April 1st.

As always, thanks you for you support of the Duluth Harbor Cams.
Cost Estimates:
Camera =                      2500
Camera Software =        300
Mounting Rack=            200
Electrical Contractor=  1000 
Total   Est                      4000


Color Wash - Sunrise timelapse 03/15/2023

This mornings sunrise splashed colors across Head of the Lakes as March moves along.

Thursday, March 2, 2023

"March"ing into Spring - Sunrise Timelapse 030223

The warming power of the sun is increasing now that March has arrived. Soon, the ice breakers will be out to usher in a new shipping season.

Friday, February 24, 2023

Going With The Flow - Lake Superior Seiche 02/24/2023

With ice floating in the Duluth Shipping Canal, the Lake Superior Seiche, or sometimes referred to as tide, becomes apparent. This time-lapse was taken over a two hour period this afternoon. Learn more about the seiche at:,NOAA%20illustration

Sea Smoke Daybreak - 02/24/2023

With temperatures near -15F, Lake Superior is still warm enough to kick up some sea smoke in Two Harbors, even at the end of February.

Thursday, February 23, 2023

Ice Caps - Lake Superior Wave Action - 02/22/2023

Lake Superior kicked up some wave at Canal Park in Duluth as 50MPH wind gusts pushed in ice to top the wave crests.

Tuesday, February 14, 2023

February Sunrise (Timelapse) 02/14/2023

With a few days of rain & snow ahead of us, a golden February sunrise gives us hope of better days ahead.

Friday, February 3, 2023

Kaleidoscope Sunrise 02/03/2023

Timelapse photography from three different harborcams oversees another beautiful sunrise over Lake Superior.

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

"Capturing February" - Sunrise time-lapse 02/01/2023

With dawn breaking on a cool February morning, the warm colors of a sunrise over Lake Superior displays the majesty of creation and the hope of a new day!

Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Two Harbors in a Polar Grip - 01/31/2023

The recent polar plunge raises some incredible sea smoke on Lake Superior near Two Harbors this morning.

Saturday, January 28, 2023

"Fun in the Cold" - Lake Superior Ice Festival 01/28/2023

With temperatures in the single digits, there was a great turnout for the Lake Superior Ice Festival held January 27 - 28 2023

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Tuesday, January 17, 2023

Sunday, January 15, 2023

New Hillside Cam Sunrise - Timelapse 01/15/2023

The new Hillside cam that was installed yesterday happened to catch a beautiful sunrise on it first morning view.

Saginaw departed Superior 01/15/2023

Saginaw departed Superior early this morning loaded with iron ore pellets.

Saturday, January 14, 2023

Tug Victory departed Duluth 01/14/2023

Tug Victory departed Duluth this morning loaded with iron ore pellets.

State of the Harborcams 2023

 With the imminent closing of to Soo Locks and the end of the 2022 Shipping season, I would like to thank all of the viewers, live stream moderators, and entities that provided locations locations for the cameras.

2022 was a wonderful year for boat watching, weather watching, people watching and more.  The cameras operated well and I hope these little "Windows to the Northland' provided interesting entertainments and a break from your routine, I know it did for myself.

I am looking forward to 2023 and hope you are also. Most of the cameras are operating well and I will be spending the off season upgrading firmware and tuning up the networks and servers.

All of the cameras will continue to run during the off season in order to view weather and sunrises.

I especially want to thank the live chat moderators who do so much to make this channel work. 

Best regards,

Dennis O'Hara - DHC

Lee A Tregurtha arrived in Duluth 01/14/2023

Lee A Tregurtha arrived in Duluth this morning for winter layup.

Friday, January 13, 2023

Arthur M Anderson departed Duluth 01/13/2023

Arthur M Anderson departed Duluth early this morning loaded with iron ore pellets on it final departure for the season.

Thursday, January 12, 2023

Tuesday, January 10, 2023

Monday, January 9, 2023

Friday, January 6, 2023

Monday, January 2, 2023

Floating History - Arthur M Anderson arrived in Duluth 01/02/2023

Built in 1952, the Arthur M Anderson has more then 70 years sailing the Great Lakes.

Cracking Ice - James R Barker departed Duluth 01/02/2023

With large ice sheets still floating in the canal, the 1000 ft James R Barker easily pushed them aside to make it to the big lake.