Thursday, January 13, 2011


Rich Ellefson (holding welding helmet) and Ken Berggren - Jan. 12

North Breakwall - Northport Harbor, tip of Door Peninsula


The ramp shown above has seen many winters when it was a part of the Northport landing for the C.G. Richter.   

Once the Arni J. Richter was built, winter side-landing became officially obsolete, and within a year or two the ramp and foundation beams were pulled out and the dock surface was leveled with concrete.   Because this ramp structure still had potential use as a loading ramp, Rich, Ken and others modified it for insertion in a concrete foundation made for that purpose on the Potato Dock.  New lifting arms were added for possible future adjustments, and in time hydraulic rams (currently in use at Northport) will be installed.   This Potato Dock landing may not see a great deal of activity, but it provides an alternative spot to unload freight or vehicles.     

Just one or two days before this photo was taken, two old Potato Boat doors that were welded together, extremely heavy and not well-suited for adjustment, had been removed from this same site.  Those doors had been cut years ago from the Mackinac Straits ferries used by Ed Anderson, and they've been used in varied locations around our ferry docks when transition was needed to accommodate water levels.   

The current 2011 lake levels, and the Army Corps predictions for the coming summer, indicate we'll be operating in shallower depths than last year.  Already,  stern loading on several of the ferries requires the ramp to touch or rest on the sheeting and concrete when in lowered position.   That is true on the island, and even worse at Northport.  We could use steady rains this spring and summer.    

I took a few photos as I caught up on the work Rich and Ken were doing, and during this time a heavy, dense squall had slid across the Door from the west, obliterating first Door Bluff, then Hedgehog Harbor, and finally, Plum Island.  The first flakes were like detergent, but they grew in size as the breeze-driven snow continued to fall.   Within half an hour the snowfall had subsided, and the low clouds had passed over, heading in the direction of Charlevoix, leaving behind a dusting of snow. 

More Ice Photos

Several postings back I ran a photo of an ice-covered Northport breakwall light.  My photo hardly did justice to the shaping of the spray as it froze under heavy winds.   

Jim Rose then forwarded these excellent shots, and I pass them along to readers, with thanks.   The extent of ice and the angle of formation is about as extreme as I can recall seeing there.   

Melting and evaporation since these photos were taken have altered the scene a bit.    While some ice will stay through the winter, the fact the bay has lots of floating ice will prevent such a formation again this winter (we think).    Part of the interest of a winter scene is that it is always changing.
 -  Dick Purinton     



Anonymous said...

thanks your posting is being cut off on the right side. Can you fix it?

How is the ice fishing?

Richard Purinton said...

My apologies for improper use of template. I believe the caption carried down with my text, extending with the enlarged photos, past the bounds of the template. I didn't notice until several readers raised a flag. *** Ice fishing, apparently, is improving greatly, with many fishermen making frequent trips to and from the ice (before work and before sunrise; after work and just prior to sunset; and lots of back-and-forth in between those times. Must be something happening out there!
Dick Purinton