The internet is amazing (I read that somewhere on the internet). Couldn’t have imagined it when I was at “the islands” as a kid, watching all manner of St. Lawrence Seaway shipping. I remember a small guide to smoke stack patterns that my mom bought my brother and I. As a ship passed by, or we passed one in our Steel King boat, too far away to read the name, we would take note of the pattern and colors on the stack, furiously thumb through the pages until we got a match, and then read all the details available. It was fun watching ships pass by, and sometimes at night as we tried to drift off to sleep at Calumet Island Marina, we could hear the whump, whump, whump of a huge propeller thrashing about as it pushed a working ship along the seaway. I miss those ships. A summertime treat: tied to the Clayton town docks looking out at the river, to the left the Golden Anchor restaurant, to the right the coal docks. Amazing ships came to refuel. You could see the crew-members walking about. Some of the hottest days and longest fuel stops actually gave inspiration for a few of them to jump ship into the river to cool off (more guts than I had at my young age (ok, even now; it was a long way down!)) Today, thanks to the internet and a wonderful site at http://www.theshipwatcher.com/ I can visit with the ships, see where they’re going, feel the excitement as the map shows them passing Clayton, maybe even catch a glimpse through photos and webcams. It’s a great site, ya ought to go visit. As ships do, time comes and time goes. If you’re not at the seaway, spend some time with the ships, online. The internet is amazing.
(Image courtesy www.FreeDigitalPhotos.net)