Fawn Island/St. Clair River Gathering 2003
By Roger LeLievre

A sunny July afternoon and a parade of freighters that eventually tallied 13  proved the perfect combination for the Third Annual Fawn Island Boatnerd gathering on the St. Clair River Saturday.

Nearly 40 shipfans from the U.S. and Canada attended the event, which began with a three-hour cruise out of Sombra, Ont. aboard the excursion vessel Hammond Bay, operated by George, Dave, Jamie Lee and Carolyn. The cruise first headed upriver, meeting the Herbert C. Jackson, Agawa Canyon, Philip R. Clarke and Presque Isle downbound, and also seeing the Algosoo unloading coal at Lambton and Mesabi Miner discharging the same at the St Clair Power Plant. Heading downbound, cruisers passed the veteran laker Maumee and the self-unloader Earl W. Oglebay heading in the other direction.

After the river tour, the event continued ashore at the waterfront home of Barry and Lesley Hiscocks, who provided an outstanding buffet that include baked ham and turkey, crowned with special Boatnerd cupcakes baked by Shari Schwartz. Schwartz and her husband Ron have hosted the Fawn Island gathering in the past, however they are building a new home this summer, so were unable to preside over the event.

During the afternoon, the parade of vessels continued, starting with Algorail, which passed close aboard as she made her way to the nearby stone

dock across from Fawn Island. Seeing the assembled boatwatchers, Capt. Graham Grattan greeted us with a traditional  three long, two short whistle salute. As Algorail was making her approach, the steamer Reserve was overtaking CSL Laurentien in the St. Clair River, offering the assembled shipfans the rare opportunity to watch three upbound vessels maneuvering at once!

As the afternoon continued, Lee A. Tregurtha made her way downbound, followed by Quebecois, on her first trip since the end of her recent layup, and the tanker Algoeast.

Boatnerds were also able to take part on a raffle benefiting the Sombra Marine Museum, including a wide variety of items donated by Great Lakes shipping companies and others including Algoma Central Marine, American Steamship Co., Andrie Inc. McKeil Marine, Interlake Steamship Co, Inland Lakes Management, Upper Lakes Group, the Blue Water Ferry Co., Canada Steamship Lines, Great Lakes Towing, Scruton Marine, The Officers and crew of the Canadian Coast Guard Ship Simcoe, The Inn at Lock 7,  Force 5 Trading and Promotions, Lock Tours Canada, Huron Lady II Cruises, Lee Marine (Hammond Bay), Marine Publishing (Know Your Ships), Great Laker Magazine, Museum Ship William G. Mather, Duluth Omnimax Theatre and S/S Irvin, Royal Bank of Canada, Rose-A-Lea Gardens, Shari Schwartz, Skip Gillham, Jody Aho, Jim Hoffman and other maritime organizations and individuals.

Our thanks go to Barry and Leslie Hiscocks,  the Lee family, Shari Schwartz and to Dave Wobser, who helped organize the event.

Pictures by Roger LeLievre, Dave Wobser and N. Schultheiss


Middletown starts the parade.

Ready to depart on the Hammond Bay.

Meeting the Jackson

Fun onboard.

Also Soo unloading at the Lambton Power Generating Station

Old friends and new.

Capt. George Lee guides us up river.

Mesabi Miner unloading at Recor Edison.

Agawa Canyon downbound.

Lunch time.

Philip R. Clarke.

Fleet mate Presque Isle

Turning down bound.

Maumee upbound.

Great Lakes Maritime Academy cadet Steve Haverty serving aboard the vessel this summer.

Earl W. Oglebay following closely behind.

Passing the Miner at Recor.

Down bound at Marine City.

Work in progress on Shari and Ron's new home on Fawn Island.

Barry takes our picture as we return to the Hammond Bay dock.

Ready to enjoy the traffic.

Generous donations on the prize table to be raffled off.

Algorail turning in the river.

Algorail continues as the Reserve overtakes CSL Laurentien (How did Barry arrange this?)


Boat race.

Algorail sounds a salute.

Always a crowd pleaser.

Capt. Grattan waves from the bridge.

Three vessels passing.

Canadian Coast Guard on patrol.

Leslie (left) and Shari with trays of cup cakes.

Lee A. downbound.


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