The Big Lake is officially 90% frozen as of the 7th. I don’t think it will get much farther, though. The temperatures threaten to be around freezing or warmer this week and there is some wind. That will cause the demise of the ice sheets. It also means that we can all dress in lighter clothing again!
(Detroit Free Press)
Shipping season will probably be delayed, too, as they usually like to get rolling around the 15th of this month, but I doubt the icebreaker’s ability to open and maintain shipping lanes in these conditions. I guess we’ll wait and see.
The USCGC Mackinaw is the icebreaker used to do this and I haven’t heard that it is out there working yet. I have seen it go by a few times in previous years. She has a distinctive shape and color and so is easy to identify. At 240 feet in length it is about one quarter of the size of some of the freighters it works for, but it does what it does to keep them all going.
(Photos courtesy of Wikipedia)
Note that I referred to the Mackinaw as a “she” in the tradition of sailors. That terminology has been losing favor since the 1700s and continues the downward spiral away from chauvinistic tradition. “Since 2002, Lloyd's List, which began reporting shipping news since 1734, has referred to all vessels as "it", and many news sources have adopted this new convention. Happily, most sailors have not.” (Traveler.com) There is a surprisingly large amount to read about this, should you be so inclined. Any internet search will take you there.
I wonder if the U.S. and Canada will continue with ocean going icebreakers to keep the Northwest passage open as the sea ice continues to dwindle? It opened in 2017 in August and was passable without the use of an icebreaker for the first time in many years. Of course, there is some controversy about who has the rights to use it. Does it belong to Canada or is it international waters? I am thinking it really belongs to Canada, but I am sure every country with an economic interest will disagree with that. It should be an interesting "discussion."