Here is the James R. Barker leaving Duluth this morning. Notice all the ice in the harbor and in the canal. The Barker has a very distinctive horn. A few people were there to see it off at 7:53 am (local time) this morning standing in a chilly 24 degrees F (-4 C) in Duluth.
TheArthur Anderson has been on service on the Great Lakes since 1952. She was the last ship in communication with the Edmund Fitzgerald when it sank in 1975. On Saturday she headed into Duluth Canal early in the morning. As you will see from the video, sea smoke was abundant that morning. Sea smoke occurs when you have cool air above a warmer liquid causing condensation to appear. The effect is quite dramatic when you see it on the Great Lakes or on any body water. That means the air is colder than the water causing this effect.
The SS Arthur M. Anderson, the ship that was following the Edmund Fitzgerald on that fateful night of 10 November 1975. And the last ship that had communication with her. She was also one of the first ships to go in search of the ship. Here she is entering the Duluth Canal on that same night in 2020. The night is cold and snowy, and the water is sloshing around quite a bit on the lake and in the canal due to a storm. Despite the cold, some brave people went out to see the ship enter. She gives off the master salute to the harbor. One of the people there started playing the famous Lightfoot song adding more to the occasion.
As many of us slept in on New Year’s Day, final pickups and deliveries were being done on the Great Lakes. The region has been under a real Arctic chill of late sending temperature well below zero. The Paul R. Tregurtha is seen departing from Duluth in the morning and it is minus 13 degrees below zero F. You can see the think ice and but more interestingly the sea smoke. This happens when the air is cooler than the water causing this effect. It looks like the water is giving off steam. Due to its morning departure and how cold it was, only a few wavers are there to see it off.
(“COOL” Departure) – Paul R Tregurtha departed Duluth 01/01/2022
Shipping did not stop on the Great Lakes during Christmas. Many people must work on Christmas from emergency responders to retail workers that have to work in grocery or convenience stores over the holiday. The same goes for crews of Great Lakes freighters that load and unload cargo during the Christmas season and in particular Christmas Day. Ore and bulk freighters carry raw materials needed by power plants, factories, and other things. That means ship crews need to work over the holidays so that these raw materials get delivered. Such was the case of the Mesabi Miner which departed from Duluth on Christmas Day.
Of course the crews do celebrate Christmas aboard ship. Most ships these days have comfortable crew areas where they can get fed and relax. So no doubt they had Christmas decorations up, music playing, and of course some Christmas food as well. And when they get home (and the shipping season generally ends at the end of December and early January) they will probably have celebrations when they get home once their ship is laid up for the season (until late March or early April depending on the weather) .
We should never forget those who do provide essential services during the Christmas season. They work in the background to get things done that benefit us all.
It is hard to believe the Arthur Anderson is 69 years old. Built in 1952 for the Pittsburgh Steamship Division of U.S. Steel, she has become one of those lake freighters that has become popular with those who observe such boats on the lake. She has had several refits over the years allowing her to carry up 26,000 tons and with a self-loading boom added in 1981, she can load and unload quicker. She famously was the last ship in contact with the Edmund Fitzgerald on that fateful night of 10 December 1975 when she sank. She reported the loss to the Coast Guard and later participated in searching for survivors. In 2015 the Anderson became stuck in ice in Lake Erie and had to be assisted by the Canadian Coast Guard. After being freed from the ice, the ship was put on long term lay-up to determine her damage and refit as needed. She was returned to service in July 2019 and continues serving on the Great Lakes. Here shew is entering Duluth Canal on 9 Dec 21. It is cool morning but there is large group of people there to see her arrive. Note the ice in the canal indicating winter has most definitely setting in on the Great Lakes. She gives off a master salute as she enters.