Jump to content

Lake freight ships.


Recommended Posts

My father-in-law sailed the lakes on a steamer right out of school. He got married in 1948 and 6 months later his bride won out so sailing the big waters ended. 

We have been to the island several times but never stayed at the Grand. We are too cheap for that. But we usually eat lunch there. After the island we usually go to the locks and the area around there. Beautiful any time of the year. My wife's great-grandparents lived around Copper Harbor and Houghton-Hancock Michigan. Her grandparents migrated to Mora, Minnesota area.

Bridge crossing on tractors looks interesting but my wife (and me) gets very nervous crossing the bridge in our 37' motorhome so I doubt if I ever do that.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've been to the up and lake superior several times, both summer and winter. They don't Really have summer but the snow is impressive during the winter.

My favorite area in the up is the Keweenaw peninsula and copper harbor. It reminds me of the Ozarks. Try to go while you're up there. Bayfield WI and the Apostle island are very nice as well.

International harvester used to have two iron ore lake ships back in the day, 'International' and 'Harvester'. I have pics somewhere...

Thx-Ace 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Michigan is a truly beautiful state if you know where to look.  You found a great area to visit.  The UP is in a world of it's own.  Mackinac island is fun; more fun if you get on two wheels (no cars allowed!) and pedal into the center and backside of the island where tourists seldom visit.  

 

The only steam powered ship on the lakes that I know of is the SS Badger out of Pere Marquette (Ludington)- sails from there to Manitowoc WI and back each day. 

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Did the bridge crossing in '18.  It was worth all the effort it took to get through the process and physically get there.  If you can work it out sometime go for it. Rollie

Link to comment
Share on other sites

13 hours ago, Wi Ih said:

On your way to ironwood stop at Bond falls it beautiful. And you could go to the lake of the clouds but that’s a little north.

561C3F1F-5D2C-4D7E-8DEF-7F67AE2A95B7.jpeg

Go to lake of the clouds every time we go. 

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Copper Harbor and Brockway Mountain Drive are worth the drive up the Keweenaw if you get bored on your way to Ironwood. 

Those big ol boats sure are amazing. Back in my heavy equipment repair days, the dealer I worked for sent me and another guy to the limestone mine in Rogers City, which I think is still the largest limestone mine in the world. We worked up there 2 winters in a row, rebuilding their 2 seven foot cone crushers, one each winter. Nearer spring, when the boats were back moving on the lake, at lunch or break I would walk out the back door of the crusher plant and onto the dock where the freighters and tug barges would pull in to get loaded. It seemed like there was only about 8 feet between the boat and the concrete docks on each side of the biggest boats, you could almost touch it. The huge conveyors at the mine would swing out and load, and load, and load for hours, and you could watch the draft markings on the hull disappear as she took on the limestone. I believe it was around 30 feet of draft. I was told that the water depth in the dock was 60 feet deep, and it sure looked it. The crusher plant was 12 floors high if I recall, and you could go up there and look down at the boat being loaded and get a great view of what was going on. One of the sailors offered to let me have an up close look on the boat, but I didn't have a TWIC card like the other guys around there, and apparently that is needed to get onto the boat. I would have loved to get up there while it was in action. The amount of material one of those things will hold is astronomical. It wasn't a great job, but I sure got to make a lot of memories over the years. Enjoy your MI trip!

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Enjoy our state?  it is amazing up north and the U.P.  Back in the 80's I rebuilt the Cummins engine on one of those ferry's to the island. The only thing it powered was the rooster tail pump for show. I also did some work on the loaders at the limestone pit near rogers city and the loaders in alabaster.maybe there when RBootsMI  was there. Did alot of road service back in the day working for construction equipment company

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Regarding the ship ID, as noted it is in an Interlake boat. They have 4 running candidates that are traditional fore-and-aft lake boats- the Lee A Tregurtha, the Herbert C Jackson, the James L Oberstar, and the Kaye E Barker. It's not the Tregurtha- she is a converted WWII oceangoing tanker that has a very distinctive profile in her decks, stack, etc. It's not the Barker, because she has a distinctive triple deck forward cabin with large rectangular windows that is not present here. So it's either the Jackson or the Oberstar. To me, it appears to be the Oberstar because the Oberstar has taller exhaust uptakes coming out of the stack which this one seems to match (the Jackson's are stubbier), the black rectangular "tank" on top of the rear deckhouse behind the stack appears to be present on other photos of the Oberstar but not on the Jackson, and the Jackson's stack is set back farther on the deckhouse leaving a noticeable gap between it and the unloading apparatus which this ship does not appear to have.

As others have stated, all four of these ships were built as steam turbine vessels but have since been converted to internal combustion diesel for efficiency and environmental/regulatory reasons. I can't speak to exactly what the light colored steam looking exhaust is, but it very well may be a byproduct of the emissions systems- it is coming directly from the uptakes, so most likely is a direct output of the engine exhaust. These ships do usually retain auxiliary boilers for heating and to operate legacy steam-operated equipment, but those should not generally release large quantities of steam during normal operation- at most, maybe a bit out of a relief valve every now and again. And it would not come out of the engine exhaust uptakes. Even when they were steam operated, there would not be constant, large volumes of steam emitted. Ships generally did/do not exhaust their steam like a locomotive- rather, it was a closed circuit system that condensed the exhausted steam and returned it to the boiler. So as a part of normal operation, steam emission was minimal. The main reasons would be, again, for pressure relief purposes or when they were blowing down the boiler.

There are still a few steam turbine powered freighters in the active fleet- most of the ones I can think of are owned by Great Lakes Fleet (formerly the US Steel fleet), notably the Arthur M Anderson which was the ship closest to the Fitzgerald when she went down and who had the last communications with her. These tend to be the first ones laid up when business is slow, however. Even this year, with high demand, some of them are at the wall. They will likely either be converted to diesel or scrapped within the next 10 years or so. Even with economic considerations aside, there is getting to be a shortage of qualified engineering staff to operate marine steam plants, not to mention parts, etc. Only 20 years ago, a good chunk of both the American and Canadian fleets were steamers, but they have fallen off rapidly since. The car ferry Badger is the only remaining commercial vessel on the lakes that is coal fired, as well as the only remaining steamship using a reciprocating engine (as opposed to a turbine).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So here's a question for all of you boat worms. 

The Edmund Fitzgerald, I understand she went down and lost every crew member. RIP sailors. What is so significant over the other 6,000ish ships that went down killing most crew members? Was it Gordon's song that made it famous, or what? It seems there have been dozens of other Lakers go down just the same nobody knows of. I'm strictly going off a writ up I saw and poor memory. It seems like it said 6,000 ships and over 30,000 sailors on the great lakes. I haven't googled that to fact check in advance to posting this. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Missouri Mule said:

So here's a question for all of you boat worms. 

The Edmund Fitzgerald, I understand she went down and lost every crew member. RIP sailors. What is so significant over the other 6,000ish ships that went down killing most crew members? Was it Gordon's song that made it famous, or what? It seems there have been dozens of other Lakers go down just the same nobody knows of. I'm strictly going off a writ up I saw and poor memory. It seems like it said 6,000 ships and over 30,000 sailors on the great lakes. I haven't googled that to fact check in advance to posting this. 

I’m a bit of a Fitzgerald nut so I’ll chime in With my opinion. The song has definitely made it famous and helped bring it up to a popular item. Another thing is to this date, it is the largest and most recent ship to sink in the Great Lakes. When the Fitzgerald went down, that wasn’t supposed to happen, meaning it was the latest and greatest ship outfitted with all the state of the art gadgets for a ship. The last is the mystery of it. There were no survivors and very little clues as to what happened that November night. Most other wrecks either had survivors to tell what happened or some other clues. Some are even accessible being in shallower water where the Fitzgerald rests at 530 feet deep and is hard to access. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, Cummings1486 said:

I’m a bit of a Fitzgerald nut so I’ll chime in With my opinion. The song has definitely made it famous and helped bring it up to a popular item. Another thing is to this date, it is the largest and most recent ship to sink in the Great Lakes. When the Fitzgerald went down, that wasn’t supposed to happen, meaning it was the latest and greatest ship outfitted with all the state of the art gadgets for a ship. The last is the mystery of it. There were no survivors and very little clues as to what happened that November night. Most other wrecks either had survivors to tell what happened or some other clues. Some are even accessible being in shallower water where the Fitzgerald rests at 530 feet deep and is hard to access. 

Wow. That's amazing. I was under the impression it was one of several like it that went down. Well since your the nut, what's your opinion on why it went down. Also did you see the clip on YouTube of it from a home movie clip. It wasnt very long but a cool little clip of it going through soo locks. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

30 minutes ago, Missouri Mule said:

Wow. That's amazing. I was under the impression it was one of several like it that went down. Well since your the nut, what's your opinion on why it went down. Also did you see the clip on YouTube of it from a home movie clip. It wasnt very long but a cool little clip of it going through soo locks. 

There was one I think it was back in the 60s if I remember correctly called the Carl D Bradley. That would’ve been the Most recent one before the Fitzgerald and it was a little smaller size wise and probably was about 15 to 20 years older. I did see that clip and that’s really cool. It was neat to see it actually in action. Well I know there’s a few different theories on what actually happened. I know that it was sailing awfully close to Caribou island and there is a shoal over there And I think it scraped bottom and did some damage. He had his pump’s running at full bore so that tells me that water had gotten into it probably from scraping and the pumps couldnt keep up with the amount of water that was coming in. I know that one of the fence rails was down and when one of those breaks you know that you have a structural problem. Combine that with the unprecedented waves that night I think she took a nosedive and never recovered.  It happened so quickly that no one had time to radio for help. Also that with the fact she was loaded quite heavily and when it went down under the waves the iron ore just shifted forward and made it worse. I think the nose of the ship plowed straight into the bottom of superior and the rear of the ship was actually above the water and then it split in two and that’s why the wreck is the way it is. The back half of the ship is actually upside down and the front is upright. I remember when the Coast Guard was doing the search the head guy said that they had searched for three days in some of the roughest seas that he had ever been in including those of the Ocean. 

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

That is horrible.  Some of the men on board probably didn't even know anything was wrong until it was too late like you said. I've always heard superior gets nasty. Me being a dumb Missouri farmer would never guess the great lakes would be meaner then the ocean. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I understand the problem with the waves on the great lakes is the 'confused seas'. 

Waves are caused by the wind. On the ocean huge waves can form but generally run downwind. When you are negotiating the big waves you can chose to take them at whatever angle you prefer. I've seen pics of waves crashing over the bow of navy ship including aircraft carriers. That's big!

A problem with the great lake waves is they are coming from multiple directions. On the sea they travel for thousands of miles. On the Great lakes they hit shore and are bounced off in some direction. So you could have waves coming at you from multiple directions. This makes it practical impossible to control how you take the waves.

Thx-Ace 

 

images (14).jpeg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, acem said:

I understand the problem with the waves on the great lakes is the 'confused seas'. 

Waves are caused by the wind. On the ocean huge waves can form but generally run downwind. When you are negotiating the big waves you can chose to take them at whatever angle you prefer. I've seen pics of waves crashing over the bow of navy ship including aircraft carriers. That's big!

A problem with the great lake waves is they are coming from multiple directions. On the sea they travel for thousands of miles. On the Great lakes they hit shore and are bounced off in some direction. So you could have waves coming at you from multiple directions. This makes it practical impossible to control how you take the waves.

Thx-Ace 

 

images (14).jpeg

it was promulgated the lakes ALSO have rouge waves,from/with those random reverberations,making it even harder to predict or prove the perfect storm of 10 little things and 1 big thunk to the bottom

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...