Thursday, August 2, 2012

A Wounded Buffalo

I've been seriously boatwatching for 3 years now and I don't ever think I've got to see a ship in distress before.  If I weren't working today, I would have went up to Port Huron to catch pictures of the Buffalo as she was aground.  But I had to work, so I couldn't catch pictures of that.
 I did see her on AIS a little later and found out that she was heading to the Belle Isle anchorage for an inspection.  Since I was heading to Detroit anyway, I was hoping that I would end up seeing her as she was heading there.  The shot above was as she was passing the Algomarine.  Nestled to her side is the tugboat Wyoming (more about her in a later post).
 Normally ships are vibrant looking.  You can see a wake at the bow and occasionally you see smoke pouring out of the stacks.  Usually you can hear the sound of the diesels as she plows through the water.  Heck, sometimes it even seems like there is a spring in their step and they look like they are moving with a purpose.
 That was not the case with the Buffalo tonight.  She was slowly moving from Belle Isle.  If she were a person, I would say she was limping.  At her side was a tugboat making sure that she made it to the anchorage safely.
 When I saw the Herbert C. Jackson do this same thing, the smoke was pouring out of the smoke stack and even the action of docking looked like a thing of purpose.  Tonight it looked more like, "I can finally lay down for a bit".
 Under the careful hand of the Wyoming, she did manage to start turning around in the Detroit River.
 Albeit fairly slowly.
 It seemed like she was using the River's current to "help" in this endeavor.
 She did start to whip around though.   Now it seemed like the river was pulling her away from her bed.
 It seems like she may have been drifting in this part of the picture.
 I would imagine there would be some degree of concern in the pilothouse at this point as well.
 But the sun was getting at the right angle.
 And a nice reflection.
 You can see a little smoke coming out of the stacks in this shot, so did have some power but the tug was helping her get into her bed.
 Pouring on a little more power.
 And she's at her anchorage after a hand from her little friend.
 The orange boat at her side was a Canadian Coast Guard boat.
 The tug keeping a watchful eye on her to make sure she doesn't move back.
 The Westcott approaching.  It looked like the Westcott had some sort of inspector on her but more on that later.
 The Buffalo finally getting a chance for a rest after a busy day.
 And not too soon it seems.
One last picture of her.

While it was pretty neat to see something that I don't usually get to see, it was also pretty sad.  To me a casual observer, it seems like ships have personalities.  I can't imagine what it is like for someone who is on one from day to day.  It would imagine it's probably pretty troubling to have have something that is normally fairly reliable fail on you at the wrong time.  I just hope that nobody on the crew was hurt when the ship run aground.

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