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Old 21st March 2014, 08:46 AM   #41
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The first two images are Katmai Bay breaking ice at the Soo Locks yesterday. The third image is Mackinaw. You can see that the 3,500 ton Mackinaw is considerably larger than the 662 ton Katmai Bay. These pictures are from the webcam at the Administration office. This is the South Canal. The strip of land with the row of poles on the left side is the separation from the North Canal. The triangle at the bottom of the image with poles is the separation between the two South Canal locks. The MacArthur Lock is on the right-hand side. No ice has been cleared from this. The largest lock is Poe on the left and this is where the ice is being cleared. The fourth image is looking west or upstream. In this picture, the MacArthur Lock is on the left and is empty. The Poe Lock is on the right and is filled with water. Poe is considerably larger than the other locks and is the only one capable of passing the lake giants.

Mackinaw passed through the Poe Lock at 8:45am Eastern Time this morning. Morro Bay passed through at 8:53 and Katmai Bay passed through at 9:01. Mackinaw has been working upstream breaking ice at about 5 knots and is now in Whitefish Bay. It is being followed by Morro Bay and Katmai Bay. I assume they are going to start breaking trackways through the ice. This is actually a day ahead of what I was expecting so this is looking pretty good. I know that Mackinaw has several ports to open in Lake Superior before the Soo Locks officially open on the 25th.

I did get confirmation of the condition of the Mackinac Straits yesterday. Joyce L Van Enkevort had to be escorted westward across the Straits, and Samuel de Champlain had to be escorted eastward. So, apparently, the broken ice is still an impediment. I assume this will be as bad on Lake Superior so most likely the ships out of Duluth will have to be escorted by Alder.
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Old 22nd March 2014, 08:01 PM   #42
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Originally Posted by Molinaro View Post
That would be the Sault Ste Marie locks. I grew up in that town and lived within walking distance of the locks. I spent a great deal of time there, fishing, exploring, or just watching the boats pass through the locks.
Is this near Mackinac Island? I was like 6 years old at the time and on this trip we took the bridge, rode the locks and ferried onto that island. I dont think they had cars on that island, but i cant remember.
If i was the more venturesome soul that i was some years back...this year i should have gone to see those ice caves at the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. I saw the pics. Absolutely astounding, one of a kind thing. A photographer`s dream.
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Old 24th March 2014, 08:20 PM   #43
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Soo Locks update - Full steam ahead!!!
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Old 1st April 2014, 08:08 AM   #44
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Originally Posted by The Central Scrutinizer View Post
Soo Locks update - Full steam ahead!!!
Clearly the brain damage is permanent. See if you can find something shiny to play with.
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Old 1st April 2014, 09:30 AM   #45
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This to me is one of the most spectacular pictures this season. This was taken by Ken Newhams at the Duluth Shipping News. It shows the Coast Guard ships, Mackinaw, Morro Bay, and Katmai Bay approaching the Duluth harbor at 7pm eastern time, on March 24. This was the first transit of Lake Superior since December of last year.



The plan was for Mackinaw to escort the freighters, John G Munson, Cason J Callaway, and Presque Isle back to the Soo Locks. Mackinaw, Morro and Katmai did leave Duluth on the morning of the 26th. Mackinaw led the convoy up the coast past Thunder Bay where CG Morro Bay and CG Katmai Bay stopped. About 7:30am the next morning they began breaking ice. However, after 8 hours, they had only made it about 4 miles into the bay. Morro's rudder had problems and she had to be towed by Katamai and then the larger ship, Alder, back to Duluth.

On the same day, the Canadian icebreaker, 6,000 ton Pierre Radisson, passed south through the Welland Canal into Lake Erie replacing the smaller, Griffon, which then went north through the Welland into Lake Ontario. Also, that day, the freighter, Algoma Equinox passed through the first two locks, stopping at the third. This put Equinox in place for the top hat ceremony the next day at St. Catharine's marking the official opening of the Welland Canal on the 28th. On the same day, Alder and Katmai were still towing Morro back along the coast which took much longer because they were only moving at a speed of about 7 knots.

These are the Coast Guard ships coming back into Duluth on the 28th. Morro Bay is tied alongside the larger ship, Alder.


And here is a diver on the 29th trying to determine the damage to Morro Bay.


Presque Isle also sustained some type of damage and had to be escorted by Mackinaw back out of the ice field to the western coast of Lake Superior. Mackinaw then spent a number of hours breaking ice in Thunder Bay all the way into the harbor. Mackinaw then went back north to continue escorting Munson and Callaway.

Katmai Bay was out of Duluth at 9am eastern time on the 30th. They steamed up the coast and then spent time breaking out Silver Bay and going back over Taconite Harbor which had been previously broken out by Alder. At 8pm, they were again heading up the coast. Almost twelve hours later, about 7:30am on the 31st, Katmai Bay steamed back into Thunder Bay. Over the course of the day, they widened the track made by Mackinaw, especially inside the Harbor. At 9pm, they tied up at the dock, getting some rest after 36 hours of hard work. This was the first ship able to use the dock in Lakehead Harbor in three months.

I had expected that the first ships would have moved through the Soo Locks by the 29th. Instead, Welland is open and the rest of the St. Lawrence Seaway is open. The Soo Locks have technically been open since the 25th. Three freighters--Roger Blough, Steward J Cort, and Edwin H Gott--are waiting in Lake Huron to pass through the Soo Locks. It is now April 1 and the convoy led by Mackinaw is still not within radio tracking range of Sault Sainte Marie. They were last reported east of Caribou Island which would be about 60 miles from the mouth of Whitefish Bay. If they make it in today, it will have taken 6 days to cross Superior. Considering that the shipping season closed early last year, this delay is not helping anything. The one bright spot is that shipping is going well on Lake Michigan with a constant stream of freighters bringing iron ore down from Escanaba at the top end of Green Bay and taking it to ports in Indiana and Ohio.

Damaged Presque Isle returning to Duluth early in the morning on the 29th. This webcam image is courtesy of the Army Corps of Engineers.
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Old 1st April 2014, 10:12 AM   #46
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That is Lake Monona in the distance. It's hard to tell from the photo, but it is still frozen over. There is no freight moving at all. The Jenny Sue was expected last week, but she's busy breaking ice up north.
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Old 2nd April 2014, 06:50 AM   #47
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Originally Posted by The Central Scrutinizer View Post
That is Lake Monona in the distance. It's hard to tell from the photo, but it is still frozen over. There is no freight moving at all. The Jenny Sue was expected last week, but she's busy breaking ice up north.

300 block of N Bassett?
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Old 2nd April 2014, 07:07 AM   #48
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Originally Posted by Frank Newgent View Post
300 block of N Bassett?
I'm in a hotel on Johnson between Broom and Bassett
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Old 2nd April 2014, 07:39 AM   #49
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Did you bring binoculars?
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Old 2nd April 2014, 10:28 AM   #50
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Originally Posted by Frank Newgent View Post
Did you bring binoculars?
Nope
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Old 3rd April 2014, 10:54 AM   #51
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Originally Posted by The Central Scrutinizer View Post
That is Lake Monona in the distance. It's hard to tell from the photo, but it is still frozen over. There is no freight moving at all. The Jenny Sue was expected last week, but she's busy breaking ice up north.
Other than being a jackass, why are you posting in this thread?
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Old 3rd April 2014, 08:16 PM   #52
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I have a deep interest in shipping and how it is affected by weather.

What are we going to do about the ice on Lake Monona? The Jenny Sue is still not here, and freight isn't moving.
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Old 3rd April 2014, 10:42 PM   #53
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Originally Posted by The Central Scrutinizer View Post
I have a deep interest in shipping and how it is affected by weather.

What are we going to do about the ice on Lake Monona? The Jenny Sue is still not here, and freight isn't moving.



I have to admit, you have certainly established the standard for the most pathetic poster on this forum. When someone manages to sink below the depths of inane, they will have truly reached the level of Scruty.

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Old 6th April 2014, 06:15 AM   #54
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Originally Posted by The Central Scrutinizer View Post
I have a deep interest in shipping and how it is affected by weather.

What are we going to do about the ice on Lake Monona? The Jenny Sue is still not here, and freight isn't moving.

Large ships, such as icebreakers, won't be able to navigate down the Yahara River and into Lake Monona until the Tenney Park locks open probably sometime later this month.

https://plus.google.com/105161242560466660256/about

You ought speak with more reverential awe of Lake Monona. Otis Redding died there.
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Old 6th April 2014, 11:03 AM   #55
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Originally Posted by Frank Newgent View Post
Large ships, such as icebreakers, won't be able to navigate down the Yahara River and into Lake Monona until the Tenney Park locks open probably sometime later this month.
Oh. Maybe that explains why the Jenny Sue isn't here yet.
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Old 7th April 2014, 05:34 PM   #56
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On April 2, Mackinaw finally appeared on radio track east of Caribou Island. There were only two ships, Munson and Callaway, left in the convoy since Presque Isle had to turn back. Normally by April 2nd, there would be at least a dozen ships moving to and from Lake Superior.

By that evening, the much heavier Canadian ice-breaker, Radisson, had made it up the St. Marys to Whitefish Bay. They began breaking ice about 4:30pm. It took them 7 hours to cross Whitefish and another 2 hours to make it through the pressure ice near the mouth of the bay. They finally reached the convoy at 6:15am the next morning on April 3rd. Callaway was the first freighter to pass through the Soo locks at 11:13am on April 4th. However, the two freighters didn't make it out of the St. Marys River and into Lake Huron until April 6th. Munson will make it down to Indiana later today. The trip will have taken 12 days. Keep in mind that the normal trip from Duluth to Indiana is 4 days.

Unfortunately, on April 4th, US Steel had to shutdown the plant at Gary IN because they ran out of iron ore. This plant is 1/3rd of the entire capacity of the largest steel maker in the US which is already down after the roof collapse at the plant in Ecore MI. When Gary got more iron ore on the 6th, they were able to restart one of the three mills. Unfortunately, the entire cargo of the Callaway and Munson combined would only be about 2 days worth of ore for Gary. So, they are running at no more than 33% capacity. They need more iron ore but they aren't likely to get it from Escanaba which is already topped out. The next closest would be Marquette but the Coast Guard hasn't even begun breaking a track to them. It isn't just iron ore, a number of power plants are getting desperately low on coal since coal shipping was down 70% in March this year. There doesn't seem to be any extra capacity to add in terms of ships. The Adam Cornelius might be able to be brought out and that's about it. I'm not sure how much one ship can help in catching up this year.

We need another convoy to bring back a serious load of iron instead of just two small ships like Munson and Callaway (the loss of Presque Isle knocked out more than half the convoy capacity). There have been five freighters waiting to go up into Lake Superior. These are the Roger Blough, Edwin Gott, Stewart Cort, Sam Laud, and Edgar Speer. As of now, Roger Blough is just reaching the Soo Locks and the Gott is about halfway up. Algoma Enterprise may be intending to head up to Lake Superior. If they can get the ships over to Duluth then Presque Isle and perhaps others will convoy back. Five or six ships would be a great start, however, I doubt Radisson and Mackinaw are enough to get this many freighters up through the ice and 1-3 additional freighters back. Assuming that Katmai Bay is finished breaking out Thunder Bay and perhaps if Morro Bay gets her rudder fixed, that would be two more escorts coming back. But, I'm wondering if maybe Hollyhock is going to help escort them over. A large convoy is already overdue and if this takes another two weeks, it's going to hurt. Let's just say that I would not currently be buying stock in US Steel. Meanwhile, if coal deliveries ramp up, they can probably keep ahead of demand at the power plants.

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Old 7th April 2014, 06:45 PM   #57
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Since obviously this question must have an answer...what`s the reason why they don`t temporarily use trains?
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Old 8th April 2014, 05:36 AM   #58
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Originally Posted by Iamme View Post
Since obviously this question must have an answer...what`s the reason why they don`t temporarily use trains?
They can, but it's a longer route around the lake. If the ships stay trapped much longer, those companies will use planes, trains and automobiles to haul their coal.
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Old 16th April 2014, 07:02 PM   #59
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Originally Posted by Iamme View Post
Since obviously this question must have an answer...what`s the reason why they don`t temporarily use trains?
That's a good question. It's about 500 miles by train from Duluth to Gary. It would take about 850 of the 110 ton hopper cars per day to supply the iron needed by the mills on the Great Lakes. Averaging 25 mph, you could get a train to Gary in about 20 hours. Adding in loading and unloading and that's a two day round trip. For Gary alone, I believe you would need 360 hopper cars to supply the 180 you would need per day. So, you would need four trains, each about a mile long. I don't know why this wouldn't be feasible. However, I have checked but found no indication of increased ore shipping by rail.

There are possible bottlenecks. Chicago could be one but 35,000 rail cars pass through there each day so I find it unlikely that a few hundred more would be much problem. Another possible bottleneck would be the tracks near Duluth and Grand Rapids. The actual iron mines are west of the western coast of Lake Superior. Right now, they can just move the iron to the coast to the several harbors that can store and load iron ore. These are Taconite Harbor, Silver Bay, Two Harbors, and then the Twin Harbors at Duluth/Superior. However, if you need to go to Chicago then all of this would have to go by Duluth to get around the western end of Lake Superior. I know that they are taking iron by rail to Marquette and Escanaba. But, I know that Escanaba has run low on stockpiles of ore. So, apparently, it isn't being moved quickly enough. And, recently, I saw another odd occurrence. Marquette needed coal. So, the giant, Mesabi Miner, and the smaller freighter, Kaye Barker, were escorted over there by Morro Bay and Katmai Bay. These two ships unloaded their coal. However, only Barker took on a load of iron. If iron was available, it would have made sense to me for Mesabi to also load up with iron. But, that didn't happen. That is why Morro and Katmai are now escorting Barker east to Whitefish Bay but Mesabi is still back in Marquette.

So, if it is difficult to get iron by rail to Marquette and Escanaba then I can imagine it would be tougher to get it to Gary or Cleveland. That's my best guess.

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Old 16th April 2014, 07:33 PM   #60
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Right now, there are eight freighters waiting in Whitefish Bay to be escorted across Lake Superior to Duluth. There are three more near the Soo Locks, five more down in the St Marys River, and others waiting to enter the river. The backlog for shipping is huge. The backlog for iron is equally huge. This is because, so far, only two small freighters with iron have made it from Duluth to the Soo Locks. It wasn't nearly enough.

But, that is going to change very soon. Over in western Superior, we see the Canadian ice-breaker, Radisson, coming out to join and escort a group of five freighters, loaded with iron ore, heading for the Soo Locks. Two of the freighters are already outside of radio tracking range so only the last three (Cort, Discovery, and Laud) show up.

At the bottom right of the third image, we can see the freighters waiting in a line in Whitefish Bay. Only Roger Blough's label is shown.

In the upper right, we can see the Mackinaw convoy. There are actually five freighters even though only four green icons are showing. Walter J McCarthy Jr is the only label shown.

Then in the lower left we see Kaye E Barker being escorted by Morro Bay and Katmai Bay.

So, this is eleven freighters that are now heading for the Soo Locks; and five of these ships are lake giants. These loads of iron will take care of the pent-up demand and get the shipping season moving.
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Old 16th April 2014, 09:41 PM   #61
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Originally Posted by barehl View Post
Right now, there are eight freighters waiting in Whitefish Bay to be escorted across Lake Superior to Duluth. There are three more near the Soo Locks, five more down in the St Marys River, and others waiting to enter the river. The backlog for shipping is huge. The backlog for iron is equally huge. This is because, so far, only two small freighters with iron have made it from Duluth to the Soo Locks. It wasn't nearly enough.

But, that is going to change very soon. Over in western Superior, we see the Canadian ice-breaker, Radisson, coming out to join and escort a group of five freighters, loaded with iron ore, heading for the Soo Locks. Two of the freighters are already outside of radio tracking range so only the last three (Cort, Discovery, and Laud) show up.

At the bottom right of the third image, we can see the freighters waiting in a line in Whitefish Bay. Only Roger Blough's label is shown.

In the upper right, we can see the Mackinaw convoy. There are actually five freighters even though only four green icons are showing. Walter J McCarthy Jr is the only label shown.

Then in the lower left we see Kaye E Barker being escorted by Morro Bay and Katmai Bay.

So, this is eleven freighters that are now heading for the Soo Locks; and five of these ships are lake giants. These loads of iron will take care of the pent-up demand and get the shipping season moving.
Have they even tried calling in the Jenny Sue? If not, I have no sympathy for them.
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Old 19th April 2014, 01:16 PM   #62
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Originally Posted by The Central Scrutinizer View Post
Have they even tried calling in the Jenny Sue? If not, I have no sympathy for them.
Have you tried shock therapy combined with large doses of Thorazine? If not, I have no sympathy for you.
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Old 19th April 2014, 02:04 PM   #63
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It took a number of hours to break through the pressure ice at the mouth of Whitefish Bay. The Canadian ice-breaker, Radisson, can move through 40" thick ice at 6 knots. Yet, she was forced to back and ram the ice so it must have been quite thick.

The ice this season has not been much to joke about. Presque Isle was damaged when she first tried to cross in the first convoy from Duluth to the Soo Locks and had to turn back. She made the trip this time but apparently sustained more damage and had to be assisted by the tug, Missouri. She is working through the Soo Locks now. Roger Blough was part of the first westbound convoy and sustained a 3' crack in the hull and damage the engine room and had to turn back for repairs. Roger Blough is now heading out in the second westbound convoy.

The six ships from the second convoy (counting Kaye Barker which was escorted from Marquette by the two Bay Class tugs) have passed through the locks. The first of these, St Clair, has made it out of the lower St Marys River and over to the western side of the Mackinac Straits. The second ship, Kaye Barker, is still near Neebish Island. However, the convoy is now approaching the St Marys River. The third westbound convoy has left Whitefish Bay. And, it looks like more help will be coming from the Canadian ice-breaker, Martha Black, which is now steaming up the St Clair River toward Lake Huron.

With eleven ships now back with iron ore, I believe the steel mills will be able to get back up to normal production and bring back the thousands of layed-off workers.

To give an idea how bad the ice has been, the city of Green Bay WI has a betting pool every year for when the first freighter arrives at the beginning of the season. This normally happens between March 28 and April 3. However, this year, the first ship, the pusher-tug, Michigan, arrived on April 18, a bit over two weeks later than usual. Also, it is rare that ice-breakers are still being used this late in the season. Yet, at this moment, ice-breaking continues in the St. Lawrence Seaway, eastern Lake Erie, the Mackinac Straits, the St Marys River, Green Bay, and Lake Superior.

The Mackinac Straits on April 16: https://scontent-b-ord.xx.fbcdn.net/...33941845_o.jpg

Ships lined up, waiting in Whitefish Bay on April 17: https://fbcdn-sphotos-h-a.akamaihd.n...46672746_n.jpg
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Old 19th April 2014, 04:45 PM   #64
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This is the section for economics and business. Yesterday, the first ocean vessels came to Burns Harbor in Indiana from overseas. Burns Harbor is Indiana's international port. The freighters Isolda, and Federal Nakagawa were carrying steel products from Holland. By tradition, the captains were presented with steel beer steins. They said that it took a week to reach Indiana from Cleveland when the trip normally takes two days. There are another 7 ships due in to this port over the next ten days. So, with the eleven iron carriers that just came back from Lake Superior, I would say that shipping is now picking up in Indiana even though movement through the Straits is still not routine.

Thunder Bay has grain silos that are full. There are now two ships on the way to Thunder Bay to load grain. And there will be more ships so the season has almost started for them. It has started for Duluth/Superior and the iron ports north of Duluth along the coast. However, even though Marquette has loaded one ship, it would be difficult to claim that their season has started. It would probably be difficult to make this claim for Green Bay even though many ships have been in port at Escanaba. There are still ports that aren't open yet but the thaw is now on its way.
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Old 20th April 2014, 11:44 AM   #65
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Green Bay is looking good!
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Old 28th April 2014, 08:00 AM   #66
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All ports are now open and ice free!
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Old 12th May 2014, 12:06 PM   #67
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Perhaps my enthusiasm was premature. Looks like we still have ice on Lake Superior (which I think is the same as Gitche Gumee).
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