Thursday, January 27, 2011



Jim Rose has, once again, sent us a few excellent photos, these showing hard, clear January ice frozen in the absence of snowfall.    Here is the accompanying text Jim sent, followed by two more of his photos, with thanks for giving us permission to use them.  There is nothing quite like being out along the ice shoves in winter, listening to the groans and pops, enjoying the raw beauty of the ice and the bluffs.  This ice is about as clear as you will find, given its thickness, in any winter.  -  DP

    "On Friday evening, the 21st, Steve Waldron and I skied from the Little Lake museum, to the cut to the bay, and then up to Boyers Bluff.  The ice had shoved some, but was incredibly clear.  These pieces are almost a foot thick and you can see Steve's face through it, in the second photo.
And the next day I went over to Rock Island, and did some skiing there.  The ice in front of the boat house was almost like a mirror.  
Could have used a little more snow."     - Jim Rose

Sunday, January 16, 2011


Washington Island, Wisconsin -

Packer fans can look back at this weekend as a huge success, with a decisive victory over Atlanta on Saturday taking them on to Chicago next Sunday, now surprisingly, only two games away from winning the Super Bowl.

But, locally there were other activities, and one event that we attended at Fiddler's Green was the book launch of Robert Mazibuko's This Side Up, an autobiography of a man who grew up in South Africa, was shaped by the African culture and customs of the day, and who is now a Washington Island resident and an active member of the Baha'i global faith.  Robert told stories, something he is very good at, and answered a few questions before signing books.

The photo is of Robert holding a copy of his new book while posing with his wife, Gretchen.

Sunday Sled Run 

Although the temperature was in the low teens, the snow cover made a perfect blanket for a quiet walk in the woods.   Aidan led the way in a pair of snow shoes, with Magnus in the sled and Mary Jo in harness.   I had a late start, following their tracks around the wooded trail near the barn, catching them on the uphill climb.

We had been without much snow cover for nearly two weeks, and so the new blanket of snow is welcomed, along with the moisture it represents.   Out on the harbor ice we now count 23 ice shanties, most scattered toward the line that runs between the two ears of the rabbit, near Petersen Bay.   Perch have been caught, fairly numerous and some quite large (14 inches was one reported catch) by the ice fishermen.    We walked across the north end of the harbor, circling Snake Island just before sunset, watching the sun drop behind the trees, glinting off the shiny tin of ice shanties.  It was a quiet softness, that last hour before sunset, with the moon already high in the eastern sky.   Even the Packers cannot improve on this!

   -  Dick Purinton

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