Anders came home the end of September and went back to work on October the ninth. The day he left I knew it would be the longest stretch he's ever been away from home since I've known him so it was really hard to let him go! The week after I started planning my trip out to see him . I told him anywhere around the 9th of November and I'm there. Sometime around the very end of October he told me I could put a circle around the 11th as he got some trips from Nanticoke again and would be going back and forth there pretty regularly so I'd be able to catch the ship there and get back .(most important as since I drive I do somehow have to get back to the car!) Of course as soon as he set the date it was the 2nd of November that I was listening to the scanner and heard the water levels in the Detroit River going down and down and knew that would be a concern since of course he was there. Yep he had to tie up and wait several hours for the level to go back up as he needed plus nine inches to have a safe trip through there. I always find that so amazing that it disappears out of there so fast when that west wind blows . I was a bit worried that all this would delay my trip plus now he was going to have to wait for the Algobay to finish unloading in Nanticoke before he could get in there to unload himself. But yahoo so far it's still okay yahoo! I can hardly wait! Right now he says the trip will be Nanticoke then to Sandusky to Lambton, Thunder Bay to Detroit, Toledo to Nanticoke. Sounds like fun to me plus I get to go to Toledo a new port for me! I've only been through Toledo on our drive to Alberta and back this fall. (whew an adventure in itself! ) I don't have to tell you I"m pretty excited to go! Not only will I get to see the beauty of those beautiful lakes again and see the "coolbeans" but I'll finally be back with "my sailor guy"!! The countdown begins!!!!!
November 10th - Put Bandit and McKenzie in the kennel told the woman who owns it. I have NO idea when I'll be back! I did leave a BIG window for delays just incase. Called my girl who was watching the store and told her I was going so hmm I think I was ready! Finished packing (well okay so I've been packing for a week now. I get VERY bouncy!)
November 11th - Left home at 6am. Trip was pretty uneventful. I stopped a couple times for gas but otherwise made the 8-hour drive from home straight through to Port Dover. It's always so excited to see those Huge Hydro Towers as I'm driving up. Funny how I hate seeing them when I'm going home though! I arrived in Port Dover, Ontario around 2:15 that afternoon. Anders was still out there but WOW I think this is like the first time that he's really going to be on time! I went down to the beach there to see if I could see the ship coming in, talked to a few people who were wondering why the heck a woman from Vermont was sitting in a parking lot in Port Dover, Ontario. Of course once I tell them what I'm doing then a whole other list of questions start. But I don't mind it helps pass the time away and I get to brag about my husband too which I always love doing!
I got back in the van and started driving back to Nanticoke and finally I saw the ship coming in still a ways out there but oh boy was I happy to see it! I drove right down to the plant and of course security holds you there until they are secure at the dock and you better be sure your name is on the list of "invited" guests or your not going in there! My name was on the list though so then they told me to go ahead down to the ship. I didn't waste anytime!
The pictures won't be the greatest sorry! This is how she looked to me while I was waiting .
After the unloading had started Anders and I decided to go down to our favorite Pizza joint in Port Dover "Captain Billy's" oh they have GREAT pizza there! It was good for Anders since he hadn't been off the ship in so long! When we got back to the ship we went to take a nap since Anders expected to be called around 1am and we both had been up since 6am.
November 12th - 1am - The buzzer….ahh yes I remember that STUPID buzzer next to the bed. Yes he says it's so the Captain can hear it and wake up if he's needed but why can't he have a nice little ringer on it and not that BUZZZZZZZZ ZZZ ZZZ? Ha! Yep, I jumped for sure. We got dressed and headed up to the wheelhouse so Anders could take the ship out. We got back to bed around 2:30. OH it was SOOO nice to be sleeping back on the ship! I love it when the ship is on the Lake and we are sleeping. Nothing is more relaxing. Reminds me of being in my hammock out on the deck.
I started laughing at one point because as we were altering course around Long Point the ship got some rollers and it wasn't a lot but just enough that it was like a bit of turbulence on an airplane, Course on the Airplane I wouldn't of liked it but on the ship, that's different! I was out cold in seconds I know it and didn't wake up until around 8:30 the next morning. We got cleaned up and went down for a great breakfast in the Galley. Anders had a bunch of paperwork to do so I just relaxed and enjoyed the ride. :o) Lake Erie is quite calm today the sky is overcast but its not bad I think they said it was around 45 degrees. We are on our way to Calcite, Michigan. (a slight change of orders from when I first heard about my trip but heck I didn't care!) I have no idea where the day went, other than Anders working doing his customs papers, vessel traffic reporting, office mail, going up to the wheelhouse checking on things going on. He's actually quite busy even when he's not up there navigating the ship. Another nice night on the lake and no buzzers!
November 13th - We got up around 9 this morning; missed breakfast but there's always some good leftovers for munching on so that was fine with me! Then we headed back up all those stairs to the wheelhouse to check to see how things were going. We spent the morning up there and then headed down for lunch. Then Anders had his normal pile of paperwork before we went back up so he could go do the fun part of his job. There wasn't much traffic in the Detroit River today. Of course most of this river trip was in the Dark so I couldn't get many pictures. By the time we cleared buoys 1 and 2 it was 1am. I don't even need to tell you I was really tired! It's about a 10-hour stretch, oh but I enjoy it. Always plenty to look at in the river even if it's only lights!
November 14th - Out on Lake Huron, its overcast and cloudy the waves - what waves? There are NO waves. Oh well, once again woke up to late for breakfast so we went up to the Wheelhouse to chat with the guys and see what was up. By 2:30 that afternoon we were approaching Calcite so Anders was back to work. He backed her in there, that's always pretty neat watching him back the ship.
Actually I find it really fascinating how he can know exactly when to alter her to get her in with out even bumping the dock.
These are pictures showing the view all around in the wheelhouse, pretty nice place to be!
November 15th - Got up around 7am had breakfast, Yeah! Home fries, scrambled eggs, toast, bacon, very yummy! We left Calcite around 8am, now THAT was interesting too! Seeing as though there was only 20' between the two ships, the Adam E. had to shift all the way back in the slip and we had to shift all the way up in the slip before Anders used the engines to move her out. I guess if they didn't do that then they'd just get sucked in together and we for sure didn't want that!
This morning it's a bit cloudier and there are actually some waves with whitecaps on them on the lake still not too bad though. You can feel a slight motion occasionally though. We are now on our way to the Soo.
It's pretty quiet in the St. Mary's River today too. (Did you know the St. Mary's River has lakes IN it? Yep, we are still discussing that. We go through two of them Munuscong Lake and Lake Nicolet) Munuscong Lake has the junction buoy that goes Ding as you go by it. Cute. :o) That is also one of the call in points in the river, there are several so that Soo traffic always knows who's in the river and where. Also other ships in the river need to know who's there so that they are prepared in advance when they are to meet a ship. Don't want to be coming around and corner and see a huge ship and say oh…I'll just move over for you. Nope can't do it, takes a little bit to move over one of those big guys. :o)
The Algomarine was pretty far ahead of us but going to the same dock. Anders was pretty sure that he'd get there and get unloaded before we got there though so he wasn't really worried about it. He was right, go figure. :o) By the time we got in the locks they were unloaded and on they're way out. Anders backed the ship from the river all the way back into the slip at the Steel Plant. The wheels man DJ. Lives up there so his wife was there somewhere waiting. They got her with the spotlight. :o) He was pretty excited to be going home to see his wife and two beautiful children, even though it was only for 4 hours. He hadn't been home in a couple months! Once the ship was docked, Anders told him to get home, DJ didn't waste anytime. We blinked and he was gone! I bet there were two kids and his wife that was pretty excited on the dock waiting too!
We went ashore ourselves since Anders needed to go to the mall for some ship stuff. Had to hurry though since the ship wasn't going to be there that long. Anders told me I have to mention that as we got out of the taxi back at the plant and started to walk back to the ship I had a moment of panic because I realized I didn't have my pocketbook. Okay think of this. You are on your way to a ship that's leaving in a very short time. Do you think the ship will wait while you wait for a taxi to bring back your pocketbook? You better believe they won't! So I was really worried. Anders called the taxi company to hopefully catch the guy and we walked back to the gate. Yeah the guy hadn't left yet he was talking to his girlfriend on his phone and yes my bag was in the back seat…whew!!!! So no big deal, no like locking your keys in the car or something. :o) Then more excitement. We got back on the ship and got stuck in the elevator. I'm not going into details on this one because I for one did NOT enjoy it. Norm of course says it's my fault because I'm a jinx!! Ha! (Course he's kidding, well I think :o)
November 16th - Its 1am Anders is writing night orders and I can't wait to get out of this river so we can go to bed! We are on our way to Thunder Bay, Ontario so across the big Lake Superior we go. It's exciting really something about being out in the middle of that big lake looking around in all directions and seeing nothing but water. We finally got to bed and then woke up to a beautiful sunny day out on the lake the wave, waves? Yeah they were 1-2' I think. It sure did look cold though. But of course it did we were very close to the ARCTIC :o)! Anders spent the morning doing the not so much fun part of his job, lots of paperwork. Amazing all the forms he has to fill out everyday for every load and ever port he enters. We went down and had a GREAT lunch I had a hot turkey sandwich and Anders had braised short ribs Yum! They always have tons of food and I was well prepared to gain a few pounds on the trip, just like always! One thing though I wouldn't have to worry about my intake of that incredible homemade bread though because the chief cook Pauline was gone on holiday so I wouldn't be tempted by it! We took a short nap after lunch since we'd be getting to Thunder bay late this evening. We actually arrive around 10PM. We relaxed a bit once we got there and watch a movie in Anders living room. He expected to get called around 2am but we lucked out because I guess the load rig kept freezing up it was -27 degrees there! BRRRRR! Works for me because we got to sleep until 7:30!
November 17th - It was so very cold there and I got to witness my first "sea smoke" now that was really strange! I'm a big Steven King fan so I was imagining creepy things lurking in it! There was also a bit of ice floating around and along the shores, which was not surprising considering the temperatures! At one point Anders decided to go outside to see just how cold it was and for some reason felt I needed to experience it as well. Oh my! Too cold for me! I took a breath and ouch! My lungs cracked! Ha! IT was also so cold if you looked down at the hatches the steam rising from the cargo holds looked like there was a fire down there! But of course it was just because the coal is warm and the air...well that was very cold! We were underway and out past the piers by 8:30 that morning I as really glad to be inside nice and warm the lake looks very very cold too!
November 18th - Its 3:30am I've already had a shower and I'm dressed now what is wrong with THIS picture? :o) Anders is at the chart table calculating if we can get down through the rock cut since the water seems to be disappearing in the river. The Mate called down and told him that 4 ships are anchored due to the fact that its -4 inches. Hmmmm
We saw some ship anchored, hmm somewhere in the river waiting and he kept calling in for water levels. Anders had it figured just how much we needed to get through and knew we were going to be okay, he reduced the speed of the ship to a crawl to reduce the squat (it's amazing how much stuff is involved in this) I was watching the thing behind him that read out the level of water below the ship. Oh my we had like 3 ½ feet at one point! Amazing that a ship can move with that little water under her. Funny too as soon as they heard us go through most of the other ships came right behind us. That other one waited most of the day though.
We were out of the river with no problems around noon. Saw my friend Patricia's husbands ship the Henry Jackson so took some pictures for her. Hopefully next year the digital camera will be in the budget! They were going to Drummond Island and we watched her turn around while we were going by. There is a gale blowing on Lake Erie right now and I'm hoping it pulls the water out of the river so we can't go down there. (Sorry Algoma :o) I don't want to go home yet though! Anders will be listening to the weather reports a lot tonight I'm sure. We got to bed around 9 it was snowing like crazy the wind wasn't bad though just enough so you could see some white caps and if I tried to stand still in one place I'd feel the ship making me sway a bit. It was kind of fun actually.
November 18th - Woke up very early to feel her rolling back and forth a bit and it felt like I was in this HUGE hammock. It was really relaxing. The Darn phone rang around 3:30 am to tell Anders we were an hour from buoys 1 and 2 so time to get up and go to work. It was a beautiful clear morning and I saw a bunch of falling stars everywhere. We were headed under the blue water bridge and Anders was explaining to me exactly how he navigated the ship under it he said that there is such a strong current under the bridge he told me to watch him go to Port, then midship and the current will just swing the ship around. That's just what happened to and with him telling me I could feel the current take her. Amazing, a huge ship like that being bossed around by some water under her. I can see though if you didn't know what you were doing you really could get in a lot of trouble there and another good reason why they only allow one ship in through there at a time.
After we had cleared the bridge we met a ship in the river that we couldn't even see because she had no deck lights on. Anders flashed his like you would your headlights in your car to let the guy know that it would be helpful with his on it was kind of funny actually! Anders had Mike his first mate doing the navigating after that so he could start calculating how much water he needed to get into the rouge river in Detroit. The gail was still blowing on Lake Erie I was crossing my fingers that I'd get lucky and we'd have to anchor for a while. :o) Dang! So much for that idea!
The water level was rising so there was going to no problem getting in the Rouge. It was fun watching the Carolyn Hoey work next to us. The current is really strong here in the river today and it really took the ship I could feel it but Anders knew just what to do and we got in there only to find that some of the ballards the guys needed to put the lines on for the ship weren't there! They had to get a rig to dig one of them up and two of them were broken somehow so it was a bit tricky but they got her secure and started unloading the ship. We were really tired at this point and went to bed only to be awoken to go up the wheelhouse so Anders to shift the ship twice. Most of the time the boys can shift it themselves with the cables but with those ballards missing it was impossible to do. The third time they called we just stayed up since they'd be finished unloading soon and there was no sense trying to go back to sleep. Sleep? Who could sleep, one the unloading gear is right there and is pretty loud and with the phone buzzing. …Yeah I know wha, wha, and wha. :o)
It was about 4:30 pm by then and I decided to call my daughter at home to see how the weather would be since regardless of how I liked it I'd be driving home in a couple of days. It was shortly after that that the lights went out. NO Norm it wasn't my fault! :o) That was interesting; power failures on ships are NOT a good thing. I'm glad we were still at the dock though! Everything was back up and running soon though well except the compass thingy that gives the direction of the ship. Since the power went out it would be whacked out for a bit until it settled down I guess. But since Anders knows the river like the back of his hand that wasn't a problem and we headed of the rouge river. Now that was really fun! I had been there before but the current was really strong and as he backed her out I soon felt like we were going sideways down the river, no problem he knew what he was doing and had expected it and soon we were turned and headed in the right direction with Anders using points of land to tell the wheels man where to steer on.
November 20th - We got out of the river and were on our way to Toledo, now normally we clear the river and at a certain point the boys take over the navigating but not going to Toledo, Anders has to stay up the whole time and oh my what a straight stretch of "road " we were on! It's a pretty narrow channel though I was curious what it would be like to meet another ship in there. We got to the dock at 1:30 am.
I was past exhausted and he was called at 3:30 to go shift the ship to the loading dock. We sort of boomeranged around that was cool. I was hoping it would take 12 hours to load I was soooooooooooo tired! But alas it was time to head back out before I knew it, no water and all. Anders and his first Mate Mike kept a close eye on how the loading was going and finally decided on a draft that would get them out of their before all the water disappeared. You could see the water line on the dock next to us the water had dropped at least a foot since we had got there.
Finally out on the lake again but unfortunately this is where my journey would end and I had to go home BUT I got a break FINALLY! Yep the Algowood had anchored last night since the wind was to strong to get into Nanticoke so now we were going to have to anchor and wait for him to finish unloading. Oh darn…:o)
So 12 hours later we were docked in Nanticoke then Anders and I went to check me into my hotel (nice place the Erie Beach Motel) then went up to Captain Billy's for some pizza before I took Anders back to the ship. I headed back home the next morning and circled December 23rd on my calendar and started wondering if that would be the day I'd get to drive back out to Ontario and bring my sailor guy home for the winter.
December 7th - Yahoo! It worked!.....update...no it didn't...got a call December 20th..he wouldn't be coming home because some ship in the soo ran into a wall so they were sending Anders up to get the cargo..well I joined him in Nanticoke on the 28th of December and stayed with him until the ship laid up in Sarnia on January 7th..so we got to spend New Years together anyway..and it was really interesting to watch them get the ship ready for lay up..wow...the cables alone ..what a lot of hard work they did. I sure was glad to get him home though!! And to enjoy our winter together!! yahoo!
Hope you enjoyed my story; sorry about the pictures, most of the trip when I was up in the wheelhouse was dark so I couldn't get many. The quality isn't the best either as I used my movie camera to film them then pulled them off.