Shipping Season: The Saginaw at Mission Point

Saginaw at Mission Point, photo by Krystal Kauffman

Capistrano has their swallows, but a sure sign of Spring in Michigan is when the freighters return to the Great Lakes. One of the best places for shipwatching is right where Krystal took this photo: Mission Point at the mouth of the North Channel near the Soo Locks.

View the photo bigger and follow My Michigan by Krystal on Facebook for more.

The USS Michigan

USS Michigan, photo by US Navy/Steven F LeBlanc

We move from a Coast Guard photo yesterday to a Navy photo today. While this photo showing a starboard bow view of the nuclear-powered strategic missile submarine USS Michigan (SSBN-727) was taken sometime before June of 1982 in the north Pacific, I’m going to allow it. mLive reports that the USS Michigan nuclear submarine is now operating in Korean waters:

The USS Michigan is more than 560 feet long and weighs more than 18,000 tons when submerged and is regularly deployed throughout the Western Pacific from its home port of Bremerton, Wash.

It was first launched in 1980 and commissioned two years later. It was built to carry the Navy’s third generation submarine-launched ballistic missile, the Trident C-4. The Michigan carried out its primary mission of deterrence for nearly two decades in over 60 missions.

At the end of the Cold War, it was spared from decommission and converted with two other ships to the Ohio-class sea frame. In 2007, it followed the USS Ohio, Florida and Georgia as a guided missile submarine.

The vessel is capable of hitting speeds of over 20 knots while submerged and can drop over 800 feet below sea level. It also contains 22 tubes that carry seven Tomahawks each.

…The Michigan is the third ship to bear the name in the U.S. Navy’s history. The original Michigan was the first iron warship in the U.S. Navy and likely the first iron or steel warship of its size in the world, according to a biography on the Navy’s website.

Read on more more at mLive and also see the Navy’s page on the USS Michigan.

View the photo bigger and see more pictures at the USS Michigan photo archive from the Navy.

#TBT: Shining in Cheyboygan with the Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw

USCG Mackinaw, Cheybogan

Shining in Cheyboygan, photo by Bill Johnson

Here’s a neat “Throwback Thursday” (TBT), a photo of the United States Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw on May 25, 1993 when she was still in service. Bill writes:

This is the original Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw, WAGB 83, wearing its silvery whitish colors, in its home port of Cheboygan, MI. This beauty was built in 1944 to aid the war effort by keeping the Great Lakes open during the winter. The cutter was intentionally built too wide to get through the Saint Lawrence Seaway in order to keep her in the Great Lakes. She was moved to Mackinaw in June of 2006, decommissioned, and turned into a museum at the Chief Wawatam docks. Today, she wears the red hull that she was retired in.

You can see the current look of the Icebreaker Mackinaw and get information about visiting on the Icebreaker Mackinaw Maritime Museum website.

View Bill’s photo background big and see more in his Boats, Ships, and Stuff That Floats slideshow.

More Throwback Thursdays on Michigan in Pictures.

Freighterwatching & Moonchasing

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Freighterwatching & Moonchasing, photo by Stephanie

MoonGiant’s page on the February full moon says:

The Full Moon for Feb. 2017 will occur in the afternoon of February 10th for the United States and just after midnight on February 11th for Europe.
 
February’s Full Moon is commonly known as the Full Snow Moon or Hunger Moon by the American Indians. The Apache Indians refered to it as the “frost sparkling in the sun” Moon while the Omaha Indians refefred to it as the “moon when geese come home”.

See Stephanie’s photo of a freighter on the St. Clair River taken in November of 2016 bigger, view more in her slideshow, and also check out Flickr’s Supermoon 2016 Gallery that features Stephanie’s photo along with pics from all over the world.

Bradley Fleet in “the Frog Pond”

Bradley Fleet in the Frog Pond

Layed-up in the Frog Pond, photo courtesy Presque Isle County Historical Museum

This would be where I would tell you the fascinating history of why the winter harbor at Rogers City was referred to as the Frog Pond, but I’m unable to find much except for that’s what everyone calls it. There’s one in Toledo too.

The Presque Isle County Historical Museum is located in the historic home of Carl D. Bradley, general manager of Michigan Limestone and subsidiary Calcite Transportation. About the photo, they write:

The Bradley fleet layed-up in the “frog pond” at Calcite in 1949. From left to right are the W. F. White, B. H. Taylor, John G. Munson, Carl D. Bradley, T. W. Robinson, and Calcite.

View it big as the Bradley and see more in their Bradley Transportation Fleet slideshow including this aerial shot of the Frog Pond.

Click for more about the Carl D Bradley which ultimately became one of Michigan’s most tragic wrecks.

 

USS Edson at the Saginaw Valley Naval Ship Museum

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USS Edson frozen in the Saginaw river, photo by Tom Clark

The USS Edson is located at the Saginaw Valley Naval Ship Museum in Bay City. The say (in part):

The keel for the Forrest Sherman class destroyer USS EDSON (DD-946) was laid at Bath Iron Works in Bath, Maine, on 3 December 1956. EDSON is one of the relatively few ships of the U.S. Navy named for a United States Marine, in this case Major General Merritt Austin Edson.

Edson was launched on 4 January 1958 by General Edson’s widow, Ethel Robbins Edson, who broke the traditional bottle of champagne over the ship’s bow. EDSON’S final fitting out and sea trials occupied the next ten months, and on 7 November 1958, EDSON was commissioned under the command of CDR Thomas J. Moriarty, USN. She then sailed in early 1959 to the Caribbean and through the Panama Canal to reach her original homeport of Long Beach, California, on 2 March 1959.

For the next two decades, EDSON served as a valuable member of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, earning a reputation as a Top Gun ship and the nickname, “The Destroyer.” Her ship’s crest included a skull copied from the shoulder patch worn by then Colonel Edson’s First Marine Raider Battalion.

Note that the Museum itself is closed for the winter until March!

View Tom’s photo bigger and see more in his Ships & Boats slideshow.

More ships & boats on Michigan in Pictures!

 

Anchors Aweigh: S.S. Greater Detroit Anchor Recovered

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Launch of the SS Greater Detroit,  courtesy Great Lakes Maritime Institute

Thanks to an alert reader who let me know that the dredge in yesterday’s photo was on the way back from a mission to retrieve a 6000-pound anchor from the Detroit River for the Great Lakes Maritime Institute. There’s a video below and you can get the story via mLive:

The anchor emerged from the river just before the sun set behind the Ambassador Bridge, catching its first glimpse of daylight for the first time in 60 years.It once belonged to the luxury steamer Greater Detroit, one of the two largest side-wheel steamers ever built, which ferried passengers around the Great Lakes in style from the mid-1920’s through the mid-1950’s.

The Great Lakes Maritime Institute has a nice history of the SS Greater Detroit aka “Leviathan of the Great Lakes” that says in part:

The Detroit & Cleveland Navigation Company was planning on expanding after World War I by providing more daily commercial traffic on Lake Erie between Buffalo, New York and Detroit, Michigan.

…In 1922 the naval architect Frank E. Kirby provided the Detroit & Cleveland Navigation Company with a architectural drawing for a massive side wheel steamer that would carry passengers and freight on the Buffalo to Detroit route. The plan called for the Detroit & Cleveland Navigation company to construct two vessels, the S.S. GREATER DETROIT and the S.S. GREATER BUFFALO which would provide continual service across Lake Erie.  The length overall of the vessels was 536 feet and with the side paddle wheels the overall width of the vessel was ninety six feet.

…The Detroit & Cleveland Navigation Company was so proud of the Steamer GREATER DETROIT that when they issued new stock certificates in 1925 the image of this vessel was engraved at the top of the certificates. The vessel could not only carry some 2,127 passengers, but provided 625 staterooms and made allowances for the storing of 103 automobiles on the main deck.

There were excellent accommodations provided for the passengers and the crew. In the pilothouse there was a separate steering wheel for the bow rudder to help navigate the narrow rivers and harbors. The bow rudder also helped when the steamer left the Detroit dock. At 5:30 P.M. the captain would ring the telegraph to the engine room and request the engineer to start the engines and to back away from the dock. Using the Detroit River current and the bow rudder the vessel would swing out into the current and turn around headed downriver to Lake Erie.

Read on for lots more including some cool old brochures and click to their homepage for more in the recovery!