In the beginning
Although most of my work was on land, a few times got to ride lake freighters while working on their boiler controls. My first ship job happened to be on the Detroit Edison which had just completed a winter fit-out in Buffalo. Their first run of the new shipping season would be to Toledo, Ohio, but first the ship would have to get through the ice field gathered at the east end of Lake Erie. The trip began with a small US Coast Guard ice breaker alongside, but after several hours of futile ice busting we pulled back into port. The next day a much larger Canadian vessel arrived, and after 15 hours of continuous back and forth motion they finally enabled us to get beyond the ice pack and into open water. What an adventure that was; after my boiler duties were completed I was permitted to be on the bridge and observe the activity!
Coming out of Buffalo harbor into the ice, with an almost peanut sized US Coast Guard breaker training alongside.
On the way finally, the ice behind us...
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