Sunday, January 16, 2011

January 16, 2011 HARD WATER

It was -3 degrees this morning, so far the coldest day of the winter.

Yesterday, the Coast Guard Cutter Mobile Bay had made several passes out into Green Bay. It has been pretty warm this winter and the ships haven’t come in to Bay Ship Building for winter layup yet. The water is getting hard now and they are arriving.

When I walked out to the shop this morning I noticed the tug Susan L., breaking Ice and heading out into Green Bay.

Before building the morning fire, I turned the scanner to the marine channels and heard a ship calling the Oregon Street Bridge for an opening in 20 minutes or so. After the fire was goin well, I went back into the house, grabbed the camera, some warm clothes,…oh yeah, a caramel pecan roll.

While driving toward Michigan Street I could see the lift was up for the Oregon Street Bridge. I parked on First Ave near the Great Lakes Yacht Works and walked/ran onto the Michigan Street Bridge, which was starting to open too.

The Ore Carrier, John J Boland was about 100’ from entering the Oregon Bridge, with the Tug Jimmy L following. Smoke was steaming off the broken water into the -3 degree air and I could hear the bow thruster throttling up and down, keeping the ship centered in the bridge opening. The John Boland did well and didn’t need assistance from the Jimmy L to navigate from one bridge to the other…the bridges are 1000’ or less apart, the shipping channel makes a slight turn to the North, so the ship has to make continuous corrections while trying to stay lined up between the span of both bridges. The Boland took about 20 minutes to navigate both bridges. It looks difficult in the winter with the ice trying to shove the ship one way or another. The sea smoke was pretty cool adding a haze to the air. At Bay Ship the John Boland looked like it was going to berth in the South Yard of Bay Ship. In order to see over the chain link fence I climbed the 50’ snow pile in the parking lot across the street. That is convenient. Every winter Bay Ship piles their yard snow up there, so I can climb the “mountain” and get a clear view of the yard…it is large enough that sometimes it doesn’t totally melt until mid June. After watching the yard tug Bay Ship run around in the ice, I was frozen…so I headed home to throw more wood in the fire.

The yard tug Bay Ship
Ah...remembering those warm summer days
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