Tuesday, December 24, 2013


Tug Stephan M. Asher is laid up for winter along the south side
of the Ferry Line bulkhead.
Washington Island -

Winter weather has been with us for at least a month, even though officially this season began last Saturday.

At home, we've had time to get settled into a routine of shoveling, getting wood into the woodbox, and cutting new wood for next year.

Each day last week, it seemed, we received more snow. Temperatures were often in the mid-20s, with northeasterly winds, conditions that encouraged the production of lake effect snow.  Those fluffy, light flakes accumulated quickly on the ground, a good seven inches last Sunday alone.  In addition, our part of the state received moisture from a more southerly origin that became snow as it met colder, northerly air masses. An easy 10" of snow on the level now covers the landscape.

Dredging operations wrapped up Monday, December 16, and by late Tuesday the equipment had been set for winter by the Roen crew.  The silt curtain, already torn to shreds by the ice, was extracted from the harbor in pieces. The remains were loaded in the Jordan dump truck, destined for a box at the Town's recycling center.  A few Roen crew members may return during early January for maintenance work on their equipment, but otherwise the operation is shut down until warmer weather returns and ice is gone.   The

View from Ferry Line office window as shredded silt curtain
is disposed of from barge to dump truck.

The Detroit Harbor dredging project has had its share of hiccups, but overall I would say that I've been pleased with the progress made, and I'm hopeful that spring-like weather, along with WDNR permit approvals, will allow for the second half of the project to be completed before the Fourth of July.  As of the date when production stopped, 51% of the estimated total yardage had been dredged.

Bill Engelson forwarded a copy of a news clipping taken from the Door County Democrat, found when he was looking for information about his family's history.  (The Engelsons started Sunset Resort, and prior to that Torger Engelson was a commercial fisherman, first on St. Martin Island, then Washington Island, as I recall.  He noted the cost of the current project.)

I'm guessing this dredging project would have been the first such Detroit Harbor project, and it could have created the short-cut, "false channel," that runs east of the present-day channel.  This would have made entry possible, and safer, for the deeper draft sailing and power vessels that entered Detroit Harbor.  For many years - and perhaps until the later 1920s) there were no piers, or reasons to stop at what we now associate as the Ferry Dock area.  Water traffic went to the Shipyard near Jensenville, to the Ida Bo dock near the foot of Main Road, or to Richter's Point on Detroit Island, which had homes and a number of fish boats.

I wonder what sort of bottom material they encountered, and where they placed the spoils.   Chances are, they weren't hauled far from that location before being dumped.

We have a beautiful winter day going, with plenty of sunshine, in advance of another predicted three inches of snow tonight to dress up the landscape.  Why not?  It's winter.

Have a Merry Christmas!

PS - This is posting #201.   Besides those blogs archived with this site, I previously dumped about 80 blogs in 2010.   The spinning globe on this blog now has registered over 85,666 hits since it was installed several years ago.  Thanks for your continued interest.
 -   Dick Purinton


Anonymous said...

Does anyone else think the tug Stephan M. Asher is absolutely adorable?
Nancy in Middleton

Ken, Arlington Heights, IL said...

Thank you Richard for the great writing and the continuing peek into life on the Island. I don't get up there nearly as much as I'd like but between your blog and the Ferry's webcams, I'm never too far away.

Bill in denver said...

I'm with Ken. Those are exactly my thoughts.

Thank you Dick, and Happy New Year!