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May 1 - 3, 2014

4 /3 - Thunder Bay - John Kuzma
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Friday morning there were six ships anchored and  another one off in the distance coming to
Thunder Bay.
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Ice in the harbor while trees blossom on land.
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Martha L. Black working near the north entrance.
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Tugs resting at the drydocks. They will be busy
soon as more salties will be arriving.

Martha L. Black in Thunder Bay Friday - Justin Eloranta
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 Martha L. Black approached dock after a long Wednesday spent cutting in the bay.
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Federal Nakagawa seen behind.
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Crew members ready to drop gangway.
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2 crew members were deployed to tie up.
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Crew tied up for another night in Thunder Bay. Where they planned to be busy cutting again Thursday.

Historical Perspectives - Door County Maritime Museum
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Crew from U.S. Coast Guard Station Sturgeon Bay conducts surfboat drills as local residents watch from shore (circa 1917).

4 /1 - Thunder Bay - John Kuzma
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After a short anchorage in the bay the Federal Elbe came into port to be the first saltie for 2014. She will be loading durum wheat (pasta).
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Frontenac at Mission Terminal.
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Kaministiqua at Richardson Elevator
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Mapleglen Viterra C Elevator.

Federal Elbe First Saltie to load in Thunder Bay, Federal Nakagawa arrival - Justin Eloranta
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Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
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Mississagi outbound at the Lake State Railway Bridge
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Another view
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Stern view at Smith Park

Hollyhock leaving Cheboygan and Calumet leaving Cedarville - Mike Mishler Lincat
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Departing Monday to help with the convoys.
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Buoy work in the Ice - Paul Beesley
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While keeping the St Mary's shipping channels open CCGS Samuel Risley was required to ensure none of the buoys marking the channels were off position.  If so, the buoys were to be repositioned or removed.  There were three buoys that were removed and delivered to USCG Soo.  In this photo the Risley is backing toward a buoy that is much too close to the center of the channel.
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First, the bulwark has to be removed to allow access to the chain stopper and to make it easier to reach the buoy with the lifting gear.
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 The bulwark is completely removed from the work area.  Canadian Coast Guard buoy tenders on either coast do not remove the bulwarks as they often work buoys in heavy swells and seas and removal of the bulwark would constitute a hazard to the deck crew.
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With the buoy about 6 feet outboard the crew use the "Happy Hooker" (I kid you not!) to pass a line through the lifting lug.  The "Happy Hooker" is used by yachtsmen to allow them to easily get a mooring line onto a buoy and can be found on-line.
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The line from the HH is attached to a web sling that is attached to the lifting gear on board the ship.
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Once it is hooked in the crew are ready to lift.  In this case we decided to use the 15 ton lift.  Because of the ice we did not know how much strain would be placed on the gear as the buoy's anchor came up to the bottom of the ice.  Rather than risk damaging the gear and/or injuring the crew we went with the heavier capability.
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The LED light on top of the buoy, itself topped with wires that prevent gulls and cormorants from alighting and fouling the lens and buoy surface. 
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Buoy is clear of the water.  To attach the buoy to its anchor is a Y-bridle and chain, and the chain has a swivel to prevent it from becoming tangled as the buoy turns with wind and current.
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Near the bottom of the photo can be seen the swivel and attaching rings.
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The buoy chain is put into a Chain Stopper to ensure the buoy does not run overboard by itself.  Once in the stopper the buoy can be safely disconnected from the chain.  The Canadian Coast Guard has much smaller deck crews and a different lay-out for the Chain Stopper than the US Coast Guard.  This necessitates a more hands-on approach at this stage of the operation.
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Once the buoy is disconnected it is laid down on deck and chocked to ensure it does not move.  This is the entire deck crew for the operation.  There is also a Winchman inside the crane cab following the Bosun's hand signals during the op.
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A better view of the chain stopper with the buoy chain swivel on the right and the buoy chain leading off to the left.  The crew now need to secure the chain to the hook using a chain "Nipper".  The nipper is passed around the buoy chain and one master link is passed through the other master link until the nipper is tight around the buoy chain.
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Due to the ice we could not get the Risley directly over the anchor position so the crane was slewed outboard until the chain was vertical.
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The anchor came up fairly easily without lifting ice.  Because the Risley's crane has a 70-foot lift this mooring, which was less than 70 feet long, was brought up in one lift.
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A closer view of the connection to the anchor. 
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 The anchor is brought inboard...
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...and guided into a safe position.
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The chain, which was being held aloft by the crane, is slowly lowered and wrapped on top of the anchor so it can be neatly stowed.  USCG Soo stores both US and Canadian buoys at their facility.  In this instance all three recovered buoys were US.
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One week later, USCGC Marcus Hanna servicing buoys in Portland Maine.  This is a scheduled op as she has a number of freshly painted buoys on deck waiting to be placed.  In this photo the Hanna is alongside a buoy ready to hook in.
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The Hanna has also removed her bulwark.  Their chain stopper is to the right of the buoy and a chain guide is to the left.  There are at least seven deck crew visible.  The Keeper Class, of which the Hanna is one, are 175 ft long, 36 ft wide and have a draft of 8 ft.  They are equipped with Z-Drive (azimuthal) propulsion and a bow thruster.  Compare this to the Samuel Risley which is 229 ft long, 45 ft wide and a draft of 17 ft. with two propellers in nozzles, independent rudders, bow and stern thruster.


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