Thursday, June 28, 2012


Detroit Harbor, Washington Island -

Roen Salvage work barge No. 73 entered Detroit Harbor late Wednesday morning, and within approximately 5 hours the crew had set the two aluminum poles atop Aids to Navigation bases #4 and #5.  I had received an email or two asking about the completion of these cylinders just the previous day, and as if prompted by public curiosity, the tug and barge appeared, rounding Door Bluff on a stiff southerly breeze with the two towers on deck.

These towers appeared to be fabricated entirely of welded aluminum, built and installed to fail-proof federal government (U. S. Coast Guard) specifications, with foot pegs and a trap door for access to the light platform.  Each all-alminum platform with rails will hold a battery, solar panel, light and day boards.  These light bases are substantial, bolted to the top of robust - some have used the word "overbuilt"- concrete, steel and rock pedestals.  These massive objects take the place of the former red nun and green can floating buoys that were held on station by chain and concrete sinker.

The Roen tug Charles Asher and the work barge under command of Don Sarter, having finished their work here, then waited until the southerly winds diminished before setting a course in northern Lake Michigan for the Straits of Mackinac, St. Mary's River, and then a long tow across Lake Superior to Duluth.  There, contract work involving dredging and driving pilings awaits in Duluth harbor.

This morning, Thursday, by 10:30 a.m., U. S. Coast Guard Aids to Navigation personnel from Milwaukee's Sector Lake Michigan were on hand to complete activation of the aids.  Green or red day boards were bolted to the railings, solar panels installed, and a corresponding light with battery were added to the circuit, making the aids fully functional.

Arni J. Richter approaches island dock as Coast Guard personnel
complete work on light structure #5.
Mariners are advised to keep both hands on the wheel and reduce speed when approaching these new, immoveable objects!

-  Dick Purinton

1 comment:

Bill Tobey said...

Maybe it's just me, but the two new navigation aids strike me as being out of step with the island as I like to remember it. Too modern, industrial, citified for my tastes.