Mar 25-09

Past-E-Mail: Cam Notes - 2009: March: Mar 25-09
Shipping trails    ...scroll down to share comments
Photos by E. Neil Harri
Coming in    ...scroll down to share comments
Photos by E. Neil Harri
Stannard Rock Lighthouse    ...scroll down to share comments
Photos by E. Neil Harri
Gull Rock Lighthouse    ...scroll down to share comments
Photos by E. Neil Harri

Mary Drew at Pasty Central (Mdrew) on Wednesday, March 25, 2009 - 06:54 am:

Today marks the day that the Soo Locks reopen for the Shipping season, but on Lake Michigan the freighters have been moving around already as you can see in the top two photos from E. Neil Harri. These were actually snapped last week, as Neil was flying over Escanaba. I didn't realize that even though the Locks were closed for the shipping season, that there's still some freighter activity going on within the lower Great Lakes. How neat to get a glimpse of the shipping activity in the midst of icy waters like this. Do you see those fishing shacks in the first photo? Toward the middle of the photo, look to the left of the spot where you can see a section of water with no ice floating. Now that's some daredevil fishing, if you ask me!

The Stannard Rock Lighthouse and the Gull Rock Lighthouse photos were taken a few weeks back, so the ice cover may have changed since then, but I didn't want the winter to pass by and not show you these two aerial shots. It's just amazing to me that lighthouse keepers actually lived at either of these lighthouses, out there at the mercy of Lake Superior completely. Stannard Rock is located about 23 miles southeast of Manitou Island off the tip of the Keweenaw. Even though it was not manned during the iced in winter months, there's one account of a keeper being removed after he threatened to jump in the water and swim for shore, and another Coast Guard seaman was removed in a straitjacket. Totally understandable with the isolation they experienced there.

Gull Rock Light was also only manned during the months when there was no ice surrounding it and because of it's isolated location, it was considered one of the most difficult stations on the Great Lakes. Provisions were made to have a keeper and an assistant keeper on the grounds, more for companionship than for the amount of work needing doing there. Wives of keepers were also approved for appointment there, so they could join their husbands during the long months of isolation. What a tough way of life and a difficult way to make a living.

Don't forget to check out Neil's webpage: You'll find a great variety of photos, note cards, Aerial Tour DVD's, Photo CD's, quilts and much more for Easter Holiday gifts or Mother's Day giving (it's not too early to start thinking about Mom's big day!).

By jbuck (Jbuck) on Wednesday, March 25, 2009 - 06:59 am:

As usual, excellent shots by Neil.... was just checking out his gallery this morning. Always impressive!

By D. Clark (Dcclark) on Wednesday, March 25, 2009 - 07:15 am:

Very nice photos, Neil! I remember seeing the Gull Rock lighthouse out on the horizon when I was camping out by the Rocket Range at the tip of the point -- an extremely beautiful and remote place to camp for anyone who hasn't been there. (And a reminder of warmer times...)

By Janie T. (Bobbysgirl) on Wednesday, March 25, 2009 - 07:47 am:

Wonderful group of pics today! All reminders of warmer weather is ahead to get out and enjoy! Yay!

By Alex "UP-Goldwinger" (Alex) on Wednesday, March 25, 2009 - 07:47 am:

Very cool pics...and Xtreme fishing!

By Cindy, New Baltimore, MI (Cindy) on Wednesday, March 25, 2009 - 08:00 am:

Wow! These are fabulous pictures. I can't wait to share them with my fourth graders when they arrive this morning. Thanks!

By Marianne Y (Marianne) on Wednesday, March 25, 2009 - 08:14 am:

Today's pictures of the shipping lanes and lighthouses are great. I have been a lighthouse lover for many, many years, to the point that my car has a MI lighthouse license plate on it. I am fascinated with the picture of the Stannard Rock Lighthouse, especially because of the blue ice surrounding it. I wonder what tints it blue? I had always been told that the blue color of the water in Michigan lakes came from the way the light hit them because of their sandy bottoms, but that does not seem to compute when we are talking about blue ice? (I should note that there was some blue ice on Saginaw Bay, Lake Huron recently, too.)

By Brooke (Lovethekeweenaw) on Wednesday, March 25, 2009 - 08:43 am:

The lighthouses are my favorite today. As always great hots by Neil.

By Rowdy (Roudymi) on Wednesday, March 25, 2009 - 08:51 am:

I believe the Stannard Rock Light is the farthest off shore light of any in the US.

By Richard L. Barclay (Notroll) on Wednesday, March 25, 2009 - 09:20 am:

Great photos. There are three freighters in the "Coming in" photo. Busy Port!

By D. Clark (Dcclark) on Wednesday, March 25, 2009 - 09:21 am:

Marianne -- isn't that blue ice cool? I've seen both blue and green ice in various places around the Keweenaw (Here is some blue ice at Copper Harbor and both blue and green ice at Hungarian falls). I went a-looking and sure enough, Wikipedia has an article about blue ice on glaciers. I believe that what the article says is that it's a result of both the process of forming the ice (slowly over time, as the ice compresses) and a chemical found in some water. I think that we only get a little sample of what blue ice could be, compared to the glaciers.

By Helen Marie Chamberlain (Helen) on Wednesday, March 25, 2009 - 09:38 am:

SUPER pics, Neil, and thanks again for these wonderful visuals. Amazing how they look from the sky! Talk about a "different" perspective! :)

By Uncle Chuck @ Little Betsy (Unclechuck) on Wednesday, March 25, 2009 - 10:01 am:

Beautiful pictures Neil! Hope to plan a trip U.P. next month.

By Marianne Y (Marianne) on Wednesday, March 25, 2009 - 10:46 am:

Thank you for your wonderful pictures, today, Neil Harri!

Thank you, D Clark for the links to your cool pictures and the article in Wikipedia. That was interesting on the crystalline structure of the ice changing and a possible chemical in it. It makes sense that there might be a chemical in the water that colors both the water and the ice blue. Many years ago, I worked on a project trying to remove a slight yellow tint in a polymer with a blue dye. There was only tiny range, between removing the yellow tint & coloring the whole thing blue. Just a couple of parts per million of the dye colored the whole polymer blue.

By Matt Karhu (Matt_k) on Wednesday, March 25, 2009 - 11:17 am:

I recall reading a theory years ago that the blue in lake ice is the ice crystals' reflection of the sky. I wonder if this theory is correct.

By John W Anderson (Wd8rth) on Wednesday, March 25, 2009 - 12:09 pm:

The two pusher-barges winter over in Escanaba. They have to make way for boats that come in to load ore. one is over at the coal dock, and the other one in the bay will move from side to side at the ore terminal.

By Serena Sturm (Serena) on Wednesday, March 25, 2009 - 12:31 pm:

I rememeber as a kid my father picking me up and telling me "Look Serena can you see the freighters coming in" it was so exciting and a great way to remember my dad. Thanks Pasty for bringing the good memories back! RIP Dad!

By Eddyfitz (Eddyfitz) on Wednesday, March 25, 2009 - 12:51 pm:

Algosar will open Soo Locks Wednesday

3/25 - Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. 11 a.m. update - The Katmai Bay got underway about 8 a.m. and was breaking out both the upbound and downbound channels around Neebish Island. The Algosar remained stopped at the lower end of Mud Lake.

Iron ore shipments will start later this month and this is bound to be a slow season as the steel mills in the lower lakes are not operating at a very large capacity.

By Thomas Baird (Thomas) on Wednesday, March 25, 2009 - 05:20 pm:

AS usual, great pics, especially the lighthouses.

By David Malcolm (Tug589) on Monday, March 30, 2009 - 05:53 am:

The pusher barges you refer to are actually ATB's and the ATB in the picture that you see underway is the tug Joyce L VanEnkevort and barge Great Lakes Trader. She does not and would not be moving back and forth on the dock to clear the way for the freighters, in fact she normally runs Escanaba to Indiana Harbor all winter unassistted by CG or others and is usually breaking trail for the freighters not the other way around.

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