Tuesday, May 6, 2014


Treasure Seeker,  former C. G. Richter, recently
photographed moored in St. Marten harbor.
Detroit Harbor, Washington Island -

Our foreign correspondent and his wife were recently vacationing on St. Marten Island, where he took this picture of the Treasure Seeker.   Other than her hull still floating, there wasn't much to indicate she ever left the mooring in Philipsburg Harbor.   Locals said the Treasure Seeker had been stationed there since some time in November.  "Maybe awaiting a gold shipment from South America to Europe" was how our correspondent interpreted the situation.

We can imagine the salt air and salt water are by now taking their toll on the old girl.  Keeping up with pockets of rust had become a standard spring activity during the last years here, in fresh water, even long after the last trips as a ferry.  Time and the elements are not kind to vessels, despite lack of daily service.

Water levels continue to rise

Our Lake Michigan water levels are up nicely over last spring, and a rather wet week with strong easterly winds knocked out the last of the bay and harbor ice in addition to contributing moisture to the lake.

According to the Army Corps, Lakes Michigan and Huron are now about 11 inches above last year's level, with another expected rise of at least five inches over the next month.

With the harbor ice gone and danger of ice en route being eliminated, the ferry Robert Noble made its first trip of the season May 1.  The Arni J. Richter, which began winter service back on December 10, 2013, was sidelined for cleaning and routine maintenance, some of it deferred during that period due to the daily need for availability during the period of ice.   With so much ice in the bay this winter, and the potential for problems during breakup, this year's process nevertheless went quite smoothly, with only one day's interference during a heavy snowstorm three weeks back when a large field came against Plum Island.  From then it was smooth sailing, and the bay ice melted, more or less, in place.

Saturday, May 3, the ferry schedule bumped up to 11 daily round trips, one per hour through the heart of each day.   We hope adequate traffic will soon follow.

Dredging progress

Since resuming the Detroit Harbor channel dredging project in April, the Roen crew has made good progress, edging the 80% mark by last week's end.  The rig with backhoe and crane moved into the middle section of the channel, as the WDNR requires with three designated "fish windows."  Foth Project Manager Ken Aukerman now believes they are on track to complete this project by the middle of June.  This is good news for everyone, in that the trucking and the resulting mess on the roads will settle down in time for the start of the heaviest tourism season.

Dredging in fog April 30.

The Town's gravel pit, the receptacle for the dredge spoils, is fast filling up.  Much of the material in the past weeks has been exceptionally sloppy and mucky - easy to dig and transfer, but not particularly easy to truck, or to contain on site.   This, too, should change as the rig works its way further out the channel, where higher stone content has in the past been found.

This has been a big project, and while it stirred up commotion in terms of truck traffic, road damage and so forth, none of that comes as unexpected.  One positive is that, perhaps in late August, brand new asphalt paving is expected for those trucking roads, in addition to other roads the Town of Washington and Door County designate for paving.   Six months from now, we should see many, excellent miles of newly paved roads.

Currently, with temperatures pushing to edge above the 50 degree mark (it was 33 degrees yesterday morning), it's hard to believe that Cherry Train tours begin in two weeks, and that we'll entertain Memorial Day guests with an Island that is now only partially awake from a long winter.

-   Dick Purinton

1 comment:

Don said...

You know the old Navy adage: if it doesn't move, paint it. Typical Caribbean action, let it sit at anchor hampering navigation for a long time before doing anything. Amazing. Makes me want to buy a boat and sit on it at anchor in Bonaire for the winter --- at no cost, I imagine.