The Winter Fleet Arriving In Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin

Green Bay, Wisconsin Drone Photographer • Earlier this week, I was finally able to shoot some photos I’ve wanted to shoot for the past few years, but never worked in my schedule.  Each year around mid January, large freighters come into Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin for winter maintenance.  The ships’ arrival usually coincides with the closing of the St. Lawrence Seaway for the winter.  The opening and closing dates of the StLawrence Seaway vary from year to year due to weather conditions and the demands of commerce. The system’s locks have opened as early as March 20 and as late as March 31. The closing date has ranged from December 24 to December 31.  This year it was later since we are having a warmer winter than usual. The seaway is a system of locks, canals and channels in Canada and the United States that allows ocean going vessels to travel from the Atlantic Ocean to the Great Lakes. 

Last Monday I started watching an app called MarineTraffic and spotted a couple ships with clever names like “Are we there yet” as their destination.  I kept an eye on those boats, and as luck would have it, one came into the Sturgeon Bay ship canal at the perfect time, right at dusk.  With the sun setting and colors popping on the horizon, the 728 foot self unloading bulk carrier – the Joseph L Block – entered the canal that connects Lake Michigan with the bay of Green Bay.  I wasn’t the only photographer who had the idea to shoot this event, and was one of maybe six or seven other photographers, two of whom also were flying a drone.  Luckily we all got along fine and kept out of one another’s shots; at least I hope I didn’t get in anyone’s way.

On Tuesday I went back up and was able to capture the 715 foot self-unloading bulk freighter, the American Marine, as it came in off of Lake Michigan on its way to the shipyard to join the rest of the ships in what is called the “winter fleet”.  The one disappointment is that some of these shots don’t look like winter photos,  but we all should be happy that the mild winter will help the water levels decrease from the record highs we’ve experienced the last couple of years.

To see more of my Door County stock photography please visit this link.

If you’d like to see a blog post with other winter photos from Door County please visit this link.

Thanks for looking!


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