Welcome aboard !
Even Before this trip started so many things were happening! I knew when I could arrange to join Anders on the ship ( which was after my Daughters High School Graduation on the 15th) But it's not quite that easy with planning a trip on a working ship! We didn't even get his schedule for where he was going until 2 weeks prior to that and of course when we it did arrive it landed him in Nanticoke on the 15th!! ( Which is the pretty much the closest place I can drive to meet him..) But with her graduation I for sure couldn't go on that day , so I would meet him in Lambton on Saturday. Well I have quickly learned that ship schedules are for sure not carved in stone. Lots or reasons for it too...and MOST of the time it has nothing to do with the ship directly. So I wasn't overly surprised when he told me that I wouldn't be meeting him at 4pm on Saturday it would now 10PM on Saturday night . That was okay though I wouldn't of cared if it was 1AM, I've done THAT before!!!! But on the Wednesday before I was to leave Anders called me and said now don't panic but they took the Lambton trip out of the schedule so I'll be going directly from Nanticoke to Superior....Don't PANIC????? what was he kidding??? I don't think I need to tell you my heart dropped to my stomach!! Well NOW what do we do??? By then I had arranged for someone to work in my store for two weeks..got the dog in the kennel for the same..arranged for someone to come feed my horses etc. etc....needless to say by the time that conversation was over I was looking for a map and a hotel room in Sault St. Marie, Michigan! OH MY...(15 hour drive....now is that love or what???? :o)
Well the schedule was still changing (should of prepared us for what lie ahead!!! ) at first I was going to meet him at 3am Sunday morning in the soo, but that soon turned to 9:30 which actually was fine by me..by then I'd be there so a few hours wouldn't be quite so bad!
I got "underway" 4am Saturday morning..I just couldn't wait any longer!!! Thing is I knew Anders was going to be in the St. Clair River that afternoon and I was hoping if I timed it right I'd at least get a glimpse of him !!! He had told me the night before that I would miss him by 2 hours...hmmmm well I had a goal now!
The trip was pretty uneventful, I know that I90 from Albany to Buffalo so well now I could do it with my eyes closed. When I went over the Peace Bridge I started getting pretty excited seeing the lake down there and knowing that Anders was out there and I'd soon be seeing him again! Traffic was moving along really well and soon I saw the sign that said Sarnia 120 Kilometers...oh boy...it was going to be really really close but I really thought I'd make it to at least see him somewhere! When I actually got to the tollbooth on the Bluewater Bridge I called him to see where he was. There was a ship going under the bridge at the time. Anders told me he was about 20 minutes down the river so I thought for sure I'd get to see him go under the bridge...that was when I saw the line to go through customs oh my gosh, it would take forever!! So I pulled a little trick and stayed in the truck lane for quite awhile and snuck by LOTS of cars!!!( but I was in a truck!!!) but I still had to wait!! Finally I got up to the booth and I said "I HAVE To get down to the waterfront QUICK my fiance' is coming up the river in his ship and I need to see him!!" So he very nicely sent me on my way with directions to the waterfront! I found the park in Port Huron pretty quickly and got my truck parked just in time to see the Coolbeans come up the river.
It was really exciting but then I realized at that moment sure, I was seeing him but he'd be sailing right by me!
While I was on the phone with him he told me I was very close to Jim and June Clatworthys condo ( a boatnerd friend we had been corresponding with who had very nicely hung out a really coolbeans, "coolbeans" sign!! ) Anders told me they wanted to meet me so after he went under the bridge I walked over to say hello and to check out the sign!
The rest of the trip??? Oh my is their anyone who actually LIVES in Northern Michigan!!! :o)
And I thought the I90 was BORING!!! The trip over the Mackinaw bridge was pretty cool though!
It was also a bit unsettling driving up the interstate there with the big signs that say
"PRISON AREA IF YOUR CAR BREAKS DOWN DON"T GET OUT OF YOUR CAR"
okay!! I won't!!!!
I checked into my room and talked to Anders on the phone for a bit ( who told me that because a tug had got in front of him in the river I would be meeting him at 11:15 not 9:30am..well that was okay too...:o) But at that point I said to myself if there is fog in that river tomorrow morning I will SCREAM!!! ;o) Then I called my kids and my Mom who was biting her fingernails I'm sure imagining her daughter driving all the way to northern Michigan! I went to have some dinner (which was GREAT by the way right there at their restaurant..but I did have to lodge a complaint because all their tables had different ships on them..and I found NO Algolake :o) After dinner I went to see the guys in the security office at the locks to be sure of where I needed to be and when, they were all very nice and I told them I'd see them tomorrow morning! I then went to my room and crashed after driving 15 hours I was wiped out! I got my wake up call the next morning around 6am, I had asked Anders to call me so I knew he was actually in the river and on his way! Okay now I had to find something to do in the next 5 hours and 15 minutes! So I walked in the park, went into some gift shops and had some breakfast...okay that killed 15 minutes..NOW WHAT??? :o) So after awhile I decided heck with this, checked out of the hotel took my bags down to the security office (the guy I talked to the night before didn't recognize me..I guess I looked different cleaned up and not exhausted from driving 15 hours! ha ha) So I walked down to the end of the park and waited ..PATIENTLY...the park would be a really nice place to spend the day though for sure..the fountain is beautiful and has piped in music making it sound like your in a theme park but a very nice quiet one! But for some reason several people could tell I was waiting for someone..heck I don't know how...could it be the path I had worn down ??? :o)
After I heard from him that he was coming around the corner I decided to go up to the viewing stand to see if I could actually see the ship..which I couldn't but decided to wait there anyway. People were coming up and seeing no ship on the way and leaving again when at one point a family came up and said "Is there a ship coming?" and I said "there sure is!!" they asked me "how do you know that?" well I said " my fiance' just happens to be the Captain on the ship that's coming and I'm meeting him here" Well they figured that was a good reason to know why so they stayed and waited for him to show up too. Now their daughter , I would say she was 6, she was getting very impatient and finally looked at me and said." if there is a big boat coming it sure is slow" and I told her I agreed with her! We talked quite a bit and she helped me and I think I helped her to wait to see the big boat! Finally I saw the current from the bow thruster along the wall and I said goodbye to my little friend and ran down the stairs to the security gate and they let me inside. I asked them if I could go up and stand closer so I could watch and he nicely said okay.
It wasn't long before he was coming into the lock and I waited for what seemed like forever for them to tie up the ship. I saw Anders walking down the deck to the gangway they had out, but the security guard wouldn't let me go until the lock door shut behind the ship. Then the guy I had spoken to the day before came over and asked me if I wanted to ride or walk. I looked at the golf cart and then the dress I was wearing and said..I do believe I will walk so he walked me down to the gangway. I can't tell you how excited I was to be walking up that gangway to see the man I love more than anything else in the world who I hadn't seen for 5 weeks. We got in the elevator and went up to the wheelhouse since Anders still had to take the ship out of the lock. I went to the window to look for the little girl I had been visiting with and I finally found her she was waving like crazy she seemed pretty excited to see the big boat and me on it standing next to the captain guy! ! In about an hour or so we were out on Lake Superior on our way to Duluth.
We actually arrived in Duluth around 5pm oh my gosh it was cold ! But there were still some diehard boatnerds out there watching us go by! Ken Newhams included which took me forever to find him standing there in the crowd but finally saw his waving arms and I said Anders how do you know that's Ken and he said "Because I gave him a hat and he's got it on! Sure enough he did! Anders was taking the ship to Murphys fuel dock and we were going to have to wait there as there was a ship at the coal dock already and another ship in front of us waiting to take his place! So after the ship was tied up we got a taxi and went uptown to get some dinner at applebees! YUM!!!!
This is what I saw when I looked out Anders bedroom window before we left for dinner..hmmm where did the front of the ship go???? :o) During the day it was one thing but when we got back ..after taking a very interesting taxi ride in a taxi with no air in one front tire and fog so thick you couldn't see 10' in front of you...what an experience! When we got back down to the dock we didn't actually even see the ship til we were right in front of it. That night there were tornado warnings within 20 miles of us...!! Sometime during our stay there in Duluth Anders got a phone call from the office telling him they were...no...not changing his schedule again??? Yup they were going to send him up the St. Lawrence seaway....there went my heart in my stomach again...considering I had only got on the ship 2 days prior to this and the only time he'ld be going by my little truck again was in another day and a half....well we actually talked about that I would get off in the soo and drive my truck down to Nanticoke and board again. Crazy but that was the plan at the time but by the next morning they said nope the schedule would stay the same so my truck stayed in the soo and I stayed on the ship..WHEW!!!!!
We headed out of Duluth about 5Pm it was a nice night so after we got back out on the lake we spent the night just relaxing and saw one of many amazing sunsets..
I love going to the back of the ship ..listening to the sound of the engine..hearing the water splashing beside the side . Its a great sound. :o) The lake was so calm that night. Lake Superior and it was like glass..hard to imagine that something this beautiful could get so mean. Amazing it didn't get dark til almost 10:30 est. pretty neat! Anders wrote up his schedule again that night so we would know where we'll be and at what time....hmmmm
We headed out of Duluth about 5Pm it was a nice night so after we got back out on the lake we spent the night just relaxing and saw one of many amazing sunsets..
I love going to the back of the ship ..listening to the sound of the engine..hearing the water splashing beside the side . It's a great sound. :o) The lake was so calm that night. Lake Superior and it was like glass..hard to imagine that something this beautiful could get so mean. Amazing it didn't get dark til almost 10:30 est. pretty neat! Anders wrote up his schedule again that night so we would know where we'll be and at what time....hmmmm
So then it CAN"T be out in the middle of the lake..course he also says that there is a monkey living in it...hmmmmm
This is another one of his "famous" drawings he made me to explain that it was on a rock.....:o)
We arrived at the locks around 12:30 am Thursday morning..and gee no one in the viewing stands to say hi....*sniff* *sniff* :o) During the 8 hour trip in the wheelhouse there were many discussions. Course I think the most common is the fact that there ARE lakes in the St. Marys River that no one on the Coolbeans wants to admit are there.. :o) (Lake George, Lake Nicole and Munascon Lake) Oh and you guys at the soo ( I heard you read my stories)..just to PROVE that there is no such thing as Mud lake...he told the guys in the wheelhouse they would no longer call in at Mud Lake..they'd call it the JUNCTION...now how do you like those bananas? Course what the Captain guy says goes so they called in and said Algolake..at the junction...Freedom of speech in the wheelhouse huh??? HA HA HA HA Well then there were also lots of discussions on the menus served on the ship....beef heart, beef tongue..ewwwwww!!! Fried Bologna...??? Bacon wrapped hotdogs....for breakfast?????????????? oh and get this...fried Spaghetti...!!!! Oh yeah they serve regular stuff too...I eat very well when I'm aboard the ship...I think I gained 3 lbs in those 2 weeks...!!! But I stay away from certain..."delicacies"???????
The wheelhouse at night...well some of it...its like starwars in there with all the lights!! Its really interesting actually the radar screens and the computer that shows the course your on ..even shows a little ship going along its way ...pretty cool...all this to help the Captain guy take good care of the coolbeans..and he sure does!
The locks at night too...the empty viewing stand!!! The rest of the trip til we got to Detour was at night..by 4:30 or 5am we were bushed and I swear I could of fallen asleep standing up...so we went to bed and slept til about noon..When we got up we went down for some lunch ..Lake Huron was very overcast but extremely calm..very pretty..We arrived in the St. Clair River Friday night. so more pictures of black and lights :o)
Another night up and to sleep during the day..I sure was getting confused as to what time it was and heck if I knew what day it was! We got to the Detroit River light at 7:30 am so went down for some breakfast then went to bed...makes sense huh ? :o) While we were actually going down the river they are constantly keeping track of how much water is in the river...because of some strong westerly winds on Lake Erie the river had lost 4" in a matter of an hour...this is totally amazing to me. But I guess the water has to go somewhere!
We got to the anchorage in Nanticoke around 12am ...but another delay the Indiana Harbor was in there already still unloading..and the Canadian Transport was going in behind them. We are following them and the Canadian Progress is still behind us. The Captain guys says we just might be here all day tomorrow and go in around 9am.....oh yeah??????? :o)
Well so much for THAT idea!! Saturday morning we got up , had some breakfast then went up to the wheelhouse to "get the rest of the story". Guess the Indiana Harbor had just barely left at 9am and they decided to let the Yankanuk in first before us...so looks like we will be here awhile since...probably til 6 am TOMORROW morning. So I went for a walk on the deck but you can see the Captain guy came looking for me...:o) Cool beans....:o) the size of the stacks are amazing aren't they?
There is quiet a line up of us out here on the lake waiting to get into Nanticoke! and we had several sailboat regattas going around all of us!
No lack of things to do on the ship...the boys were out greasing the wires for the unloading boom. We decided to go for a walk and Anders could "check things out" around the ship. So I got to see into lots of cubbys and closets and rooms full of all sorts of stuff. There sure was a lot of it and everything had its place that's for sure! We went up to the bow and watched the water for awhile..I loved it
Then checked out underneath and found this really great hammock!!! (well okay it wasn't REALLY a hammock but it could be a good one if they didn't need a tug line and seeing as though I'm STILL waiting for my sailor guy to make me one.....but he said I couldn't take it home...bummer...:o)
I'm not sure how often they did it ..I'm sure someone told me, but every once in awhile you'll see one of the guys using some gadget to check the methane level of the coal...they are very careful..it was pretty amazing walking by the hatches and feeling the heat coming up from it...keeps you warm in the winter I guess! But phew! it stinks too!
By Saturday night the Canadian Transport was FINALLY headed into Nanticoke..we were next in line..so hopefully by Sunday morning we'll be heading in...
What do we do when we are at anchor ??? Watch movies...:o)
Now anytime Anders isn't up in the wheelhouse he writes orders for the mates in his...."night order book" now I had a few questions about that....since sometimes he was writing in it at 7am....:o)
Well another sunset and the next morning, Sunday we still hadn't been called to the wheelhouse so I guess we are still sitting here again...appears another day in the harbor anchored..possibly midnight now.. By this time since it was like 95 out there I was trying to get Anders to install a swim platform on the back of the ship so I could go swimming...!!! :o) no he didn't...:o)
11am that morning another event changed the whole scenario we were up in the wheelhouse when we saw smoke ...and a lot of it coming from the Nanticoke direction and soon heard the voice of the Captain on the Canadian Transport giving orders to his crew. There was a fire on the ship and a big one...We all listened as he calmly got everything under control and all the crew safe. We were too far away to really see a lot even with binoculars but heard pretty much what was going on and sure were glad to hear that all were safe! But of course that meant a longer delay for us as she would have to be towed out..so another day in the harbor!!! By this time Anders looked at me and said.."remember that plan we had in Duluth about you driving your truck to Nanticoke and boarding again there? well you would still be waiting there...right there..as he pointed at Port Dover" oh my..I sure am glad I stayed on!!! We were all pretty anxious about getting moving again ..the crew too everyone was waiting to get to shore!! And the phones!! oh my they were ringing all the time , grocery guys, laundry, all sorts of people wanting to know.."when are you docking"?? Who knows!!!!
Monday morning 9:45am we FINALLY got into Nanticoke..The Transport was gone..and the Yancanuk was coming out since she was having technical problems so they were going to let us in while they fixed them...whew!!!! The unloading going to take 12-16 hours so we decided to go into town so we went to Port Dover and had some fun!
We spent the Day off the ship and did some shopping Anders needed to do, played some mini golf (of course!) And I unfortunately didn't take him but I will! We got back to the ship just in time for dinner , relaxed a bit then took a nap. Anders was called up the wheelhouse about midnight but we didn't actually get out till around 2am. It was soooo nice when we finally heard the unloading gear shut off!!! Another Schedule Change we are now on our way to Ashtabula!!! There goes that schedule again! At this point we were wondering if we'll ever get back to the soo where my truck was! I told Anders he needed to start writing his schedules in pencil so he could erase them and save paper!
I just can't get over the beauty of the lakes...the sunsets and sunrises..makes you feel so small but so loved..
We got called early Tuesday morning as we were approaching Ashtabula Piers. Anders has to back the ship into there..personally that is always very cool to watch :o)
After we arrived we waited for the immigration guy to come and clear me. While we waited Anders got yet another phone call for another schedule change....meanwhile I was watching how they actually got the cargo from here to there..it is pretty cool actually all the train cars going from here to there. We went into town again for some fun then we got back to head back to Nanticoke again.
The town of Ashtabula is a very nice place to visit and the lighthouse is pretty nice too.
When we got back out on the lake we assumed we were going to Nanticoke then to Conneaut to Lambton, then to Superior where I would be getting off in the soo to go home. Not that I wanted to but I did need to get back sometime I guess....
Wednesday morning finds us Anchored in almost the very same spot where we were anchored before...We are waiting for the Algonova to finish unloading this time. Supposedly we are to be heading in around 3:30 this afternoon. While we were anchored a technician came over in a little boat off the algonova to help fix something on the Algolake it was cool to see them drop the gangway to let the guy come aboard while we were at anchor. He stayed on until we got back into Nanticoke. Sara the ships Cadet bought a new plant for her room and brought it up to the wheelhouse..she named it 361 on the "advice" from the Captain...there is a VERY interesting story that goes along with the reason for this..but that is not MY story to tell...if you know Sara ask her...:o) Hi Sara!! How is 361 doing????
Wednesday night we arrived in Nanticoke and low and behold guess what? Another possible schedule change..I tell you its NEVER been like this before and it was really driving us nuts!!! I guess the Canadian Enterprise had some trouble with her stern tube..(whatever THAT is...:o) so she was going somewhere to get that fixed. Then with the fire on that other ship it doesn't leave too many ships left to bring coal to Nanticoke. So the coolbeans was going to have to take over a few trips. We'ld know more later on about that I guess... Meanwhile we went into Port Dover and I whooped Anders butt and Minigolf...:o) ta da!!!
Another beautiful sunset on the lake...We went to bed for an nap around 11 and got called up to the wheelhouse about 3:30 to take the ship out of Nanticoke ..once out of the channel we went to bed for a good sleep.well 4 hours until we got to Conneaut..but before that happened another phone call..it was for sure now.Anders would be taking that trip up the seaway which meant he wasn't going back to the soo for another who knows when. So I would have to fly back to the soo when we got back to Nanticoke.
In the morning we went up to the wheelhouse as we were almost to Conneaut. Anders called me over to look at the radar and he said..this is my course and look whats in my way.There were about 50 little dots all over that radar screen and they were all fishing boats anchored on either side of the piers. So in order to get through he did alter his course then had to turn around and back down the piers
We had a lot of fun in conneaut even though there were no stores to go shopping in we went down to the marina and looked a little boats and watched some ducks then I waded in the river til he pushed me in...but it felt good it was still so hot! We got back to the ship around 2 ..Anders had TONS of work to do because he had a crew change when we got to Nanticoke plus lots of other stuff to do since we had kept him out most of the day. He didn't have much time to do it in either since it really doesn't take that long to get from Conneaut to Nanticoke and this time of course since I had to get off here..of course we were going right in..then he would have to rest for sure because he has a long trip ahead of him in the seaway..I sure wish I could of gone with him but some other time...and the next time I join him on the ship ..it will be as his wife and I'm very very happy about that!!!
My Chariot arrived the next morning which I was sharing with a guy from the ship Greg who actually had the same flight I had..which was very cool since I HATE flying! So I had someone to talk to on the way to the airport then when I saw this plane???? It had propellers!! But actually it was a pretty nice flight if I have to say so even though I really didn't want to go home!
Back over the mackinaw bridge and on my way back home to Vermont till next time
I hope you enjoyed the story. I actually do this as much for me as I like to share it with you.