Welcome aboard !
Anders and I had planned for me to take a trip sometime during November or December. A schedule came in to him that we could "work" with as far as me driving out there and getting back to the same place. This schedule had him going from Nanticoke to Sandusky to the Soo then to Thunderbay to Detroit than Conneaut to Lambton I would leave around the 21st of November to spend 8 days or so with him. I have learned though not to get too excited about dates as somehow those schedules have a habit of changing like the weather does in Vermont. Well Sunday the 11th Anders called and I could tell from his voice that he had some news I wouldn't be thrilled with so he told me the trip had been changed and he wouldn't be going to Nanticoke after all just a bunch of trips back and forth from Windsor to Detroit. After a few phone calls he had it figured out ( seeing as though he had a wife at home that NEEDED to get out there!) He asked me if I could get to Windsor on the 15th in 3 days..are you kidding??? I'm there! So Thursday morning 5 AM I set out to find the salt dock in Windsor...10 1/2 hours later I was there waiting patiently..:o)
It was a fairly warm day driving but down on the river the wind was blowing and it was pretty chilly. I called Anders and told him I was there and he told me he was about an hour down the river but another ship was ahead of him that was going to anchor in the Ojibway Anchorage so he'd have to slow down to wait for him. Oh geeezzzzzz! Well the sun was starting to go down and it looked kinda nice so I took pictures of the Federal Welland coming in while I was waiting.
Of course by the time the Federal Welland got anchored the sun had gone down so no sunset pictures of the coolbeans but I had to take some pictures anyway while I was telling Anders to HURRY UP!!!! Amazing how much slower the ships seem to take when your waiting to see someone! There were a few other people waiting as well and they went down to the river and waved and waved at the ship until she came to the dock then we all got in our cars and drove down and waited. I soon found out it was Sara's (the Cadet) Mom and Grandmother. Since Sara is from Windsor she was going to be able to go home for awhile while the ship loaded the salt. Nice for her!!
The Federal Welland FINALLY got anchored and soon the Algolake was right where we wanted her. Stopped at the dock! While I was standing there waiting some guy came walking by and stopped and asked me "Are you Donna?" hmm well I said yes I was. I soon found out it was Jamie from Windsor someone who I had seen make posts on the boatnerd site occasionally. He had seen the Algolake come around the corner and decided to come down to the dock to take some pictures. After Anders came down to get me I introduced him to Jamie and Anders invited him to come over the next day for a little tour. He seemed a bit excited and said sure he'd be back tomorrow!
After we got my stuff on board and unpacked we went for a walk into town to have some dinner and relax a bit. I needed to stretch my legs after driving so far! We saw a few members of the crew up there too, it was a fun time. Then we walked back to the ship to get some rest, Anders would be called to work the next morning to take the ship to Detroit.
We got up the next morning and we were still loading. But Anders had a lot of paperwork to do , amazing all the forms and stuff he has to do everyday. All part of the job. Jamie, our new boatnerd friend arrived just on schedule and he got his tour then even got invited for lunch. We visited a while then had to send him on his way since the loading was finished and it was time to take the coolbeans out for a long long trip. lol
When we got underway, Anders pointed out this ship and told me he had once sailed her The Agawa Canyon, course I think he's sailed most of the Algoma fleet at one time or another but I kinda admit I'm kinda glad he's staying on the Algolake she really is coolbeans. :o) . I think the whole trip to Detroit took about an hour.
Seemed like it was going to be a pretty simple trip but once we got almost to the dock the first mate called up to the wheehouse and said he saw a guy jump in the water off the pier.. This made things a little bit out of the ordinary and soon Anders called out a couple of the crew to help grab the shoes and wallet I was watching float by with a pair of binoculars. Wasn't too long after we had the coast guard chopper going by and a officer of the coastguard on the ship asking everyone what we saw. He joined us for dinner and then Anders had to get to work on his paperwork again now he'd have some more reports to fill out.
Then Detroit Police and some guy from I think it was the MSO..marine safety office arrived and Anders and I decided to go down on the dock to see what was going on. They all were really nice and if you want to see something funny you should see 16 Detroit Police officers climbing the gangway of a ship. Course they all wanted a tour and the Captain guy was very willing to oblige seeing as though we weren't leaving until the salt was unloaded! Still wishing I had asked one of THEM for a hat...:o) After we were done unloading, the bow thruster was raised out of the water to find we had sucked up a big steel pipe while docking so the Chief Engineer had to get that out before we could head back down to Windsor again. ( The coast guard found the body of the man who jumped the next day by the way...very sad thing to witness.) We headed down to get some rest as we had been out on the dock with all the coast guard and the police for 4 hours about an hour after we got to bed that annoying phone next to Anders bed rang telling him they had the bow thruster completely out of the water and Anders had to go down to inspect it. Then the phone rang again another 4 hours later after it had been removed and everything was ready for us to get back underway again. That was like 3 or 4 am . So throw on some clothes and up to the wheelhouse we went...where's the coffee?????
After we got back to Windsor, on man,were we ever tired, but before we could get any rest Anders had to fill out more forms, customs, immigration, coastguard reports.....while we were sitting there the lights in his office flickered a little bit. Hmmm, I said don't you wonder what that is? Naa that's the Chiefs department...a few minutes later the lights went off and then about a minute later they went back on again. Still don't wonder? Nope.....hmm okay.
Then about 2 minutes later some loud noise was ringing and he jumped up and said..Now THAT I do something about that, Honey that is the fire alarm let's go up to the wheelhouse. Oh man, So Anders got on the radio and got his Fire Chief hat on. (Well not a hat but he was at that moment the fire chief.) Within 1/2 hour they had everything under control and things were back to normal. It was a minor fire and before you knew it we were back to loading the salt again. But oh my that was exciting. Hmm oh no poor sailor guy another report to write. lol
We went to bed that night expecting to be called up to the wheelhouse around 3:30 am but weren't called until much later..whew! But only to go up to the wheelhouse and not be able to see out of the windows because of all the fog!!!
The loading was done around 9sm but we had a ship anchored in front and behind us. (Well the radar showed it, sure couldn't SEE them!) Then there was another ship trying to anchor that was sorta having a few problems so getting out of there right then wasn't an option at the time. Meanwhile we were listening to the ship traffic when the Invincible snuck by us and decided to go to unload instead of going for fuel and of course at the same dock we wanted to go to . Well no use of doing anything now so I guess we'll sit around in Windsor a bit longer! But the Captain always has plenty of work to do and so doesn't the crew for that matter. While we were there we got a sort of surprise visit from Jamie. He came aboard to show Anders the pictures he had taken the day before and to bring him some Tim Hortons coffee. Which was promptly labeled for Captain ONLY! ha ha! Jamie was sent on his way as Anders had the phone ringing off the wall with people wondering when are you going to be at the dock?
I did get a picture of Jamie in Anders office before he headed off to fix his tire!
We headed up the river later on that afternoon and anchored up by Belle Isle to wait for the Invincible to finish unloading. Luckily no one jumped in the river this time. Although when we headed back down the next day we saw a bunch of police cars, ambulances etc. in St. Claire and sure enough we heard the Coast Guard announce they had someone jump in the water so all the ships needed to slow it down. Pretty sad to hear about. I guess they say at least one person a month jumps...already we had almost witnessed two in less than a week.
Soon we were at the Ambassador Bridge and the Pilot Boat came out to bring a letter, just one letter. I tell you, I have a lot of respect for the Westcott Company. They take great pride in what they do and they do us a great service. Being away from people you love is so very hard but getting that one letter, I'm sure made someone's evening much brighter. Anders slowed the ship down, just like he always does, so that the transfer could take place safely. Soon the bucket was lowered and the letter brought on board. Then off she went with a big salute from the Captain.
Our next stop was to be Sandusky, Ohio. It was really nice to be underway again somewhere! I had really missed sleeping on the ship while she was underway. Something about it just is so wonderful. When we got to Sandusky the wind was starting to pick up some, no problem getting in but Anders had plenty of deck hands available in case he had a problem at the dock. Sandusky is quite the place to get into from what I can see anyway. The channel is narrow and there is no water on either side of it, well 4' or something silly like that. Also its got a few sharp turns to make so with it being windy could make things interesting for sure. Once the ship is in there he has to completely turn it around so that she's heading back out again and turn around while staying in one spot with a ship 730' now that is just too cool. We got there with no problems but soon the wind was really picking up even more. Once we were docked we had to go to the airport to the customs office then we went to the mall to pick up a few things for the ship and had a nice relaxing dinner there. Nice for Anders to be able to get off the ship and relax for a little while.
I got the waitress at Ruby Tuesdays to take our picture :o) Yeah we had a couple drinks but don't you believe we had many. Anders takes his job very seriously and never over does it when he knows he's going to be back to work in a few hours. He told me many stories about the "old days" and for sure things have changed alot since then.
When we got back to the ship the wind was really blowing strong. By 9:00 that night it was 25-30 knots and in a direction that wasn't so good for getting out of there. Anders brought me to the chart table to show me the wind direction and how the ship would be traveling. He checked a few more things made a few calls to the dock and the ship that was due in there in the morning and finally made the decision that would would stay and see what it was like later on. Well it was nice we got a good night's sleep and in the morning the wind had died down so we were back underway again on our way to Lambton, Ontario.
As we approached the Detroit river the sun again put on a spectacular show for us. I don't think I could ever tire of seeing the sunsets on the lakes. I don't remember what ship that was I got the tail end of. But I took the lighthouse for my Tennessee friend Theresa she's not only a boatnerd she's a lighthouse nerd too. :o)
So we were in the Detroit river at night again. Well it was fine with me, oh man, you can't believe how beautiful the city of Detroit looks and the ambassador bridge from the water! Okay somebody tell me how DO I get a picture of that?? Being a county girl I don't get to see sights like that often and man it's amazing. We got to the St. Clair river and had another kind of interesting experience. I'm not going to name the ships involved (one reason I don't really remember who they were.:o) Well anyway we were a few miles away from the hydroplant and some saltwater ship was coming up behind us. You could hear him radioing everyone in front of him appears he was in a hurry and wanted everyone to slow down and let him go by. Well he radioed Anders to discuss this and Anders made a point. There is a course change coming right ahead and there was another ship coming downbound and once we got around the bend he would be slowing down anyway to make the dock. Well once we got to the bend in the river that other ship was indeed coming around and we waited and waited for her to make the turn. It looked like we were getting very close to me. She still hadn't made the turn Anders blew the whistle to ask in a polite way move over. It seemed like forever but eventually the ship changed its course. Man I was sweating! Certainly had plenty of interesting things happening on this trip that's for sure. Anders made a point of mentioning good thing he didn't slow down for that other ship to pass him. Yikes that could of been bad. He had made the right decision, but why would that surprise me. He is after very good at what he does. Never takes chances with his ship or his crew, and you can see how much the crew respects him for that. We got tied up in Lambton around 2am and went to get some rest. We got called around 9:30 and Anders said we had to go up to Shell oil to "gas er up" We had to pull a fast one as the Buffalo was heading there as well . But the coolbeans beat her to the pumps. :o)
After fueling which took about 4 hours. Anders turned the ship around in the river and we were on our way to Conneaut. A few cars stopped to watch him turn the ship. It is really cool to watch even more so from the wheelhouse!
We met a very little traffic in the river going down. the river just the James Barker and a Captain Rays ferry .
Another beautiful sunset just as we were entering Lake St. Claire.
There were many phone calls being made in route trying to find out if indeed the ship would get loaded tomorrow when we got there since it was Thanksgiving in the US. By the time we got there we found out no they would be finishing up with the ship there then we would have to wait until Friday morning before they would start loading coal again. Anders docked the ship to wait for the guy who was in there to finish and once he was done backed her back in there to take its place. It was pretty funny because as soon as the ship headed out the guys who work at the plant were tearing out of there before we could get to the dock. They wanted to be sure they weren't going to work anymore on Thanksgiving! (Don't blame them!)
Doug another Captain guy from Algoma, he was there doing an audit on the ship and we all went out to dinner later and met another Algoma Captain guy too. Oh boy 3 of them in the same place! But I survived to tell about it! Great guys, we had a great time! I was glad to get out because I knew I would be getting off the ship in Nanticoke at the next stop and for sure didn't want to. I really don't like this part of the trip knowing I have to go home and I'll have to wait another month before I set eyes on my sailor guy again.
We had a great time in town and now we were waiting for the ship to get loaded . I thought it was pretty cool that we had 3 "Bear" ships in Conneaut and kept trying to figure out how I could take a picture of them all without getting off the ship. Well I did it..can you guess how?
Yup I climbed up and walked out on the unloading boom..coolbeans..now that was fun!
Here is my husband, the Captain of the coolest ship on the lakes the Algolake working hard at his desk.We got to Nanticoke around 1am the next day. Didn't want to but had to get some sleep as I'd have a long day of driving ahead of me. The taxi arrived at around 8am and drove me to St. Catherine's where our van awaited me to drive it back home again. By 5pm that night I was back home and wondering where the time went! Hope you enjoyed my trip. I was hoping to get some November weather but the wind didn't cooperate. If course ever since I've left they've had storm after storm out there. But of course now I don't want there to be storms, so that there won't be delays so that I can get my sailor guy home with me again!
Have a great Holiday my friends and family!