Thursday, November 23, 2017

Something You Don't See Everyday

As I was heading into work on Tuesday, I heard an unusual sound in the sky.  Of course I looked up and saw this.
It was an An-124 Ruslan (or Condor in NATO parlance).  It was flying out of Detroit Metro but I'm not sure what it was carrying.  Anyway, it was a pretty impressive looking aircraft.

Development of the Condor started in the 1980's by the Antonov Design Bureau in the the Ukranian SSR (now the Ukraine).  The An-124 is the largest military transport in the world.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

The Snow Queen

I didn't really feel like doing much today.  There wasn't a ton of traffic on the river and it was snowing.  That didn't stop me from catching the Queen.
 The last flight into Detroit of the 747 is December 17th.  That means that I have less than a month to get more pictures of her.  It might even be less because I saw an A350 being used for this route later.
 As I said, it was snowing and I think weather makes for nicer plane pictures even if the skies are gray.
 It was still cool to see her passing over head.
 And it is still amazing to see one of these monsters fly.
One more shot before heading home for a nice relaxing afternoon.

A Detroit Edison Switcher Engine

Every so often when I pass the St. Clair Power Plant during my travels to hunt down ships, I will pass one of the switcher engines at the St. Clair Power plant.  Generally they are not in a position where I can catch them.
 Yesterday I was able to catch one because it was in a position where I could get a decent picture.
 This particular engine is an EMD SW-600 and was acquired by Detroit Edison in 1954.  It looks pretty good for being over 60 years old.  Although, I suspect it probably sees less use than some of the mainline engines.
 This engine is an SW-1001 and was acquired in 1968.  It looks newer but the Detroit Edison mascot is worn off.
One more shot before moving on.

The Claude A. Desgagnes Makes an Appearance

Technically, this is the second appearance of this ship but the first was a glimpse of her bow, so I'm not sure it really counts.
 The Claude A. Desgagnes has eluded this blog since her introduction to the Lakes in 2012.
 And given the weather yesterday, she almost eluded this blog again but I wasn't going to let that happen since I was already there.
 I do like the look of the Desgagnes ships.  They seem to be one of the few companies that run salties that keep their ships looking fairly nice.
 The other reason that I wanted to catch her was because she was carrying odd cargo.  She was carrying some construction equipment but I'm not sure what it was for.
 I believe that she is on her way to Thunder Bay.
 I presume that she will pick up a load of grain for the return journey while there.
One more shot as she works her way up the St. Clair River.

The Federal Mosel Makes an Appearance

The next ship is new to this blog.
 The Federal Mosel is another newly built ship.  This time for the Federal Navigation Company of Montreal.
 She was built at the New Century Shipbuilding Company, which is also in China.
 Like many of the Federal Navigation ships, she will deliver her cargo to foreign ports.
 I think she is on her way to Sault Ste Marie where she will probably pick up coils of steel.
 I do like the looks of these ships.
 She approaches the subject of the last post.
Makes for a nice passing shot in the fog.
One more shot as she continues her way up the St Clair River.

The Algoma Equinox Makes an Appearance

Shortly after the newest Algoma Equinox class boats passed by, I was greeted by the oldest of that class.
 The Algoma Equinox was introduced with some degree of controversy in 2013.  She was the first a new class boats that was to be built in China.  This was after the Canadian Prime Minister relaxed some of the tariffs that helped the Canadian shipyards.
 Personally, I think that Canadian companies should support other Canadian companies but I can understand the costs involved.  As I said in my last post, I do think these are nice looking boats.
 Unlike the Algoma Niagara, the first four ships of the Equinox class were straight deckers.  I think that pretty much puts them exclusively in the grain hauling category.  Two of the boats were owned by the Canadian Wheat Board but I think that ownership transferred to G3.  They are still operated by Algoma Central.
 She makes her way past the Blue Water Bridge.
 Looking at her pilothouse.  I like the big windows they have on these ships.  When you see a picture from inside the pilothouse, it almost looks like a starship.
 She continues on her way down the St. Clair River.
 I ended up catching her again at St. Clair because I wanted to catch two other ships.  I decided that I wanted to shorten the time before catching those two.  As you can see, it was foggier here.
 I like a thin fog because it makes for nice ship pictures.
 I don't like rain though.
And she continues her way down the St Clair River again.  She is on her way to Port Cartier, Quebec which is almost in the Atlantic Ocean.  One of the reasons why Canadian ships have a shorter lifespan that American ships is that many of them do come in contact with saltwater, even if it is somewhat diluted.

The Great Lakes Welcome Their Newest Resident

Back in 2013, we saw the introduction of the Algoma Equinox.  She was the lead ship of an 8 ship class of ships that were to be built in China for the Algoma Central corporation.  I was able to catch that ship as she worked her way up the lakes on her first cargo run.
 Construction of the Algoma Niagara was completed in September of this year at the Yangzijiang Shipyards in China.  She then made her two month trek across the Pacific Ocean, through the Panama Canal and up the Atlantic Coast to the St. Lawrence Seaway.  I believe the Algoma Niagara is the first self unloader of the Equinox class.
 Typically when they come from China, they carry a load of stone or something.  I think that is to make sure their loading and unloading mechanisms work. 
 From the port where she arrived on the Great Lakes, I think she delivered a load of coal to Hamilton, Ontario.
 Now she is on her way to Thunder Bay, Ontario where she will presumably pick up a grain load that will probably be delivered to one of the Quebec ports.
 I think these are pretty nice look ships, despite their origins.
 And I suspect I will see this ship for several years.
She continues on her way up to Lake Huron.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Two Views of the Detroit Skyline

Since I went to two different places, I figured I would grab two different pictures of the skyline.
 The first place I stopped is the current terminus of the Detroit Riverwalk.  One of these days I would like to take a walk down the length of the Riverwalk.  Might make for an interesting post.
This picture is from the fishing pier on Belle Isle.  I wish I would have caught it a couple weeks ago in better light.

The Mesabi Miner Sails Past Detroit

I was up at the Troy office today and prior to leaving I took a look at Marine Traffic to see if there was anything passing while I'd be passing Detroit.  It turns out that there was.
 If I was following Marine Traffic correctly today, she was leaving Toledo.  I'm pretty sure she would have been delivering coal there but I'm not sure.  Anyway, it turned out that she would be passing around the Belle Isle Bridge about the same time I would arrive in Detroit.
 Since I wasn't 100% sure, I ended up stopping at a little park that I will sometimes use.  It's not a very nice park but I think they are in the process of working on it.  In fact, someone was getting questioned by the Postal Police while I was there.  I didn't realize there was such a thing.  I don't linger long at this park but it is nice for getting shots of Zug Island in the background.
 She passes under the Ambassador Bridge.
 It was kind of a mixed bag for an evening.  It was actually pretty warm but cloudy.
 The straight out shot.
 And she continues up the river.
 I decided that I wanted a couple more shots of her, so I headed up to Belle Isle.
 I kind of like the look of ships as it gets close to nighttime.  They generally have their lights on and it looks cool.  I really like the looks of the ships with the scrubbers because it looks like they are billowing out steam as a reminder of days gone past.
 The foc'sle light reflecting on the Detroit River.
 A closer shot of her pilothouse.
And one more shot of her.  She is on her way to Duluth Superior.  I presume that means she will be picking up a load of coal from there.  Anyway, I don't envy Great Lakes sailors at this time of year.