Welcome aboard !


Volume Two

The Welland Canal

Sunday, September 17 was a bright sunny day in Vermont as I headed my way west, leaving home around 9am. I was expecting to meet Anders and the ALGOLAKE (AKA COOLBEANS) Monday morning around 10am in Nanticoke, Ontario. But of course I wanted to leave early so I wouldn't be driving at night also I needed to find a place to spend the night to wait for him. When I was an hour from home he called to tell me that he thought he wouldn't make it in until later on Monday night. Oh well, I was headed there nothing was gonna stop me now! :o) 


     Around Buffalo the wind really started to pick up alot and was really pushing my truck around I expected the Lake would be pretty rough and wondered if that would cause a problem with the time I would be meeting the ship. I got to Fort Erie and went over the Peace Bridge, what would the customs guys ask me this time? They always find it interesting about a Country Girl from Vermont driving all the way to Canada to meet up with a Sailor guy..:o) And yep it was an interesting conversation for sure but after a few minutes I was on my way! Once I got to Ontario, I drove until I got to Nanticoke, then went down to the Hydro Plant to be sure I remembered where it was. Pretty hard to miss with those two big stacks with the flashing lights on them though! Then I drove on to Port Dover. Cute little town reminded me of some of the beach towns on the east coast. Found a nice hotel to stay in for the night and waited for Anders to call me. Which he did several times that day.

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I walked down to the the local "exclamation point" and was amazed how much the lake seemed like the ocean. There were two ships anchored out in the harbor and I thought to myself. Wow, that would drive me nuts if that was Anders ship out there...hmmmm little did I know what lay ahead.


I walked up to grab some dinner and sat on the beach and watched the sun go down. what a beautiful sunset! Then I went back to my room and fell asleep watching the olympics on TV...

In the morning I looked out and the wind had died down so at least I didn't have to worry about the " Coolbeans" having to anchor out there because it was too windy to come in. 

It was a beautiful sunny day and I spent the majority of it on the beach just relaxing. Anders called me after I checked out of my room to tell me that he probably wouldn't be docked til 11 pm. There was another ship going in front of him. Darn it! oh well I could wait. 


About 1/2 hour later he called back and said he'd be there at 4:30, then I was excited! Hmmm I don't think it was but 15 minutes Later he called me again and said nope it'll be 1 am Tuesday morning. I was going to have to get my room back . He was having to wait for the Algoport to unload and she wasn't going to be finished till then. Luckily he wasn't going to have to wait for the other ship that was following behind him. They wanted the "special blend" of coal Anders had aboard the ship.

Sometime around 4 pm I walked down to the pier again..and there he was anchored out there in the bay.. After sitting there for a bit and talking to Anders on the phone I walked over to some people with some binoculars and asked if I could borrow them so I could see my sailor guy on his ship. They asked if he was waving to me. Unfortunately they weren't that good but brought me a little bit closer!

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So I went back to the hotel and asked to get my room back...the clerk got this big smile on his face and said "ahhh is he stuck out at sea?" ha ha very funny. I went down to the lake and saw another beautiful sunset. I can only say the beauty of the lakes leaves me in awe. 


It was extremely hard to go to sleep Monday night. In fact I think around 10pm I walked back down to the pier and there was the ship all lit up like a Christmas tree..just out of reach!!! Anders called around 12:30 and said he'll be there in a hour..Didn't take me long to get all my stuff in the truck and headed down to the hydro plant. I watched the ship come in on the security cameras and then the guard said "ok you can go down I guess" She didn't have to tell me twice! I drove the truck down and 5 minutes later I was there!!


Stayed up for a while to catch up on things then got some sleep the loading took 12 hours ..so we walked to bring my truck to security and then I relaxed while Anders did some of his "Captain guy" Stuff... :o) We headed out on Lake Erie around 6Pm...on our way to Calcite to get a load of stones. By the next morning we were in the Detroit river it was a really nice day. But Anders was spending a lot of time listening to the weather reports as we heard there would be some bad weather when we got out onto Lake Huron. 

I told myself I was going to write down the names of the ships as I saw them..but alas I didn't so all the photos above they are just that. Ships.


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There was a lot of discussion that day about "Lake Champlain" (the teenie little Lake in Vermont with the teenie little ferries and the teenie little boats..Ha Ha ) and also continuing confusion on Anders part with not understanding that some of the lakes "exclamation points" are indeed out in the middle of the lake...:o)


At the Port Huron Lightship..we got a salute from them and yep Anders gave it right back. Somewhere around here I have a friend who has this "coolbeans" banner he's going to hang out to show Anders when he sails by.so far he hasn't been home when he's been by yet !! Someday though!!! Its amazing how many people out there have picked up me calling the ship "coolbeans" I had no idea what I had gotten into! 


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Yup the weather forecast was right so Anders was busy keeping updated on the forecasts, charting a safe course for the ship, and answering lots of phone calls from the bridge when he wasn't up there.  Amazing from up in the wheelhouse the waves don't look big at all though.


I found it really exciting .most of the storm was during the night and I loved looking out at all the whitecaps and seeing the waves splashing up on the ship. The waves were around 12 feet I guess but didn't feel any different to me then being out in 4 foot waves on Lake Champlain. The ship didn't rock much at all..but a gentle sway back and forth. It sure was beautiful. 


The next day we headed towards Calcite but got word that it was too rough and windy for the ship that was in there to head out so Anders just took it slow and easy and waited, the forcast was for the wind to ease up later on. We actually went by Calcite and then turned around to head in THAT was really cool...when the ship turned in the waves...it became a HUGE breakwater and you could see the waves smashing up against one side and it was dead calm on the other side...really coolbeans.



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We arrived in Calcite that night..and the next morning when we woke up the Buffalo was docked next to us loading Iron Ore. Pretty amazing I think there was 12 feet between us.


I actually found it pretty interesting how they get all the stone going around here. There were rocks everywhere of every size you can imagine and they were all going up conveyor belts somewhere.

Funny I didn't see many people around but lots of ROCKS!!! 


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 While we were waiting Anders and I got of the ship and went for a walk on the beach.

In the photo you see Anders mate John looking down at us .I wasn't like overly thrilled climbing down this ladder...at the time I thought it was a long way down... hmmmmm


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We had a great time walking on the beach..I was amazed how clear the water was. and somehow I found out how wet it was...hmmmmm 

I also found out that my sneakers float heck I had been "pushed" in the water enough I figured I might as well have fun...LOL

We turned around and saw the nose of the coolbeans she seems to be saying "okay Anders come back you've been playing out there too long come back and take care of me" And that's just what he did.. 


We left Calcite around 2:30 Friday afternoon and after we got out on the lake went down to take a nap because we would be in the St. Marys River that night. This is the SAME St. Marys River that has TWO LAKES IN IT...funny how you can have a Lake in a River..but yes when you look a the chart..there they are...hmmm The Captain guy sure doesn't like to admit it though... :o)

We went through the locks around 11pm that night it sure was cold but there were a few diehard "boatnerds" out there watching us go thru. We continued on into Algoma Steel where Anders would be unloading the stone. Got tied up around 2am . In the morning when I woke up ..there was this enormous pile of stone outside that wasn't there when we got there. :o)


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It was here that the Algolake was undergoing a light ship survey to see what she actually weighs empty. So once the cargo was unloaded they also empty all the ballast and the aft end came up out of the water so that Peter the Chief Engineer could go down with the help of John and Rhonda to check out the cortnossle .they looked pretty small inside there! They looked like ants next to that huge ship! When Anders told me he was going out to inspect the ship as long as it was so high out of the water, I said..I'll come with you and then I remembered ...."THE LADDER" :o)


I thought the ladder was long the LAST time I walked down it. 

but here is that ladder take in mind that's only like 1/2 of it!!! I did make it down and back up by not looking down!  Then we took a tour around and inside the ship, it was pretty amazing.






 

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We headed back back onto the St.Marys River around 4pm and once we got out onto Lake Superior went down to have a great dinner the galley staff had set aside for us. One thing for sure, they sure do feed them great on the ship. Wow..(although I have my doubts about some of it...a few weird items on the menus at times..ewwwwwww) That night it was pretty funny we were watching a scary movie on the tv and because the ship was rocking everything was shaking pretty good and Anders office chair starting making its way around his office...It was soooo funny!! 


I spent the day relaxing while Anders did his Captain guy stuff...lots and lots of paperwork. Took a nap after dinner seeing as though we'll be getting to Duluth around Midnight...I took a bunch of pics but they didn't come out darn it. Duluth sure is pretty at night with all the lights and the dancing  * Bee Towers (I'll have to post a link about that one LOL ) Anders got done working around 5:30 am and got called again around 11 to head back out again. Sure was weird getting used to sleeping in the day being up at night. I had NO problem sleeping though..That ship rocks me to sleep


Plenty of people around watching on a cool fall day..in fact when Anders blasted the horn some little 3 year old went running behind his mom for protection..it was soo cute..he came out later and waved at us . After we had gone through we got a call from Ken Newhams from the Duluth shipping News..he had wanted to take my Picture on the ship but I didn't see him out there..next time..I'll for sure be back!!!


The trip back was nice and quiet..Poor Anders though, I beat him in the football pool...poor guy...so now I'm the mini golf champ and the football pool champ...ahhhhhhhhhhhhh 

When we were back in the St. Marys River again..it was interesting, there was a salt water ship behind us that was getting a new pilot..I find this very interesting ..I guess some of the Captains are not familiar enough with the rivers to navigate them so they get pilots..again my camera couldn't see as well I could but the pilot boat just drove up to the ship..they hung down a ladder he climbed up and off they went...with the old pilot aboard..after they got through the locks..they got another one...The locks were very busy that night..the John Boland had to wait two hours to get in. We waited an hour ourselves. There were ships everywhere and even a couple of trains!


We were in the St. Claire River at night this trip and unfortunately my pictures didn't come out..next trip..bringing a different camera!! It was a great trip though..sure didn't want to go home. We got to Nanticoke on Thursday night I got a good (?) nights sleep and headed back to Vermont in the morning. .I always find it so beautiful when I get to the Peace bridge that connects Canada to the USA  but sad too because it's here that I say goodbye to the lakes again until next time.