Can't take the boat out without at least a trip into the Calumet River to see if there are any lakers up there.  Sunday morning was no different...a beautiful clear morning, idling up the river.  Marveling at the railroad lift bridges, wondering if the disappearing industrial complex of south Lake Michigan will ever return.  As we motor under the Skyway, I see what appears to be an extended unloading boom behind the 106 St. Bridge...somebody is back there.
This is different!  It's the Manistee, a Grand River Navigation boat.  I'm used to seeing Interlake boats up here, in particular the Kaye A. Barker. So this is kind of a treat. The Manistee is a recent addition to the Grand River fleet being acquired from Oglebay-Norton in 2004.
Formerly the Richard Reiss, she has a long history on the lakes working for several owners. The Reiss Steamship Co., American Steamship Co., and finally Erie Sand Steamship before being acquired by O-N in 2002.  
Formerly the Richard Reiss, she has a long history on the lakes working for several owners. The Reiss Steamship Co., American Steamship Co., and finally Erie Sand Steamship before being acquired by O-N in 2002.  It's not hard to tell she's been around a while, look at the classic straght stack!  Originally powered by a 2,500 hp triple expansion steam engine she was convered to a 2,950 hp diesel in 1976.
Today I found her loading coal at the KCBX Docks in the Calumet River.  The boom is swung out to make room for the loader to reach into the hatches and distribute the load.  The river is a nice place to photgraph lakers as you can drift along without interfering and get some nice pictures.  I was fortunate that it was still early morning and the sun was still in the east and not too high.  made for some nice lighting.
You can also get some nice detail shots that are normally inaccessible.  Here's a look at the unloading boom mechanical.  They may not look as elegant as a straight deck boat but without that boom, she would have been cut up long ago.  The bow is a long ways up as they have already loaded several of the aft hatches.  As they progress forward she'll level right out.
Just one last look before I motor back to the marina.  The Manistee is a beautiful working boat, classic lines that deliver a functional look, synonymous with making money.
Manistee
Grand River Navigation
Launched: 1943
Capacity: 14,900 tons
Length: 620 ft.
Beam: 60 ft.
Diesel - 2,950 bhp each
Single Screw
Self Unloading
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