The North Shore was hit with a blast of arctic air this week. The shipping season was technically over but the John G. Munson was still on the east end of Lake Superior. The 768 foot ore carrier built in 1952 was on its way to the Fraser Ship Yard in Duluth for winter layup. On the coldest day this winter the Munson started its 36 hour journey across Lake Superior. Before making it to the Keweenaw Peninsula it encountered heavy seas so it turned back and anchored on the east end of Lake Superior to ride out the storm. After the winds subsided the Munson again ventured out into the cold. The temperatures were still around 20 degrees below zero when it arrived in Duluth. Surrounded by sea smoke it looked like a ghost ship.
Two Duluth based tugs assisted. The Nels J. shown here is 103 ft long and has a 16 cylinder diesel engine capable of 1,950 horsepower. The sounds of the huge ice chunks hitting the bottom of the tugs were pretty impressive.
As soon as paths were made in the ice the Munson headed for port. The refracted light caused by the warmer Lake Superior water evaporating into the cold morning air made the ice covered Munson look exceptionally tall.