Long before dawn broke over the Scheef East Point Nature Preserve on South Bass island, the Tug “Ohio” left Cleveland on a dispatch to break the ice blocking Put-in-Bay. Nick James shared on Facebook, “As of 4:39 Eastern Time they were NNE of Lorain with a heading of 271 at 10 knts.”
Choosing East Point as a vantage point was a natural choice since the ice-breaker had to round Buckeye island on its path around Ballast Island and on to Put-in-Bay. Seating was somewhat problematic.
A marvelous horizon and view to Pelee Island proved to be the wrong lookout perspective because the tug rounded the south side of Kelleys Island instead of cutting between Pelee and Middle Islands.
Beyond this ice shove off Buckeye Island lies Cedar Point Amusement Park on the mainland.
Renee Brasher captured this outstanding image from the skies on an Island Air Taxi flight from South Bass Island to Port Clinton. The time was 10:29 am.
Dustin Shaffer spotted the Tug “Ohio” as it ventured northward after stirring up some water around the Miller Boat Line Dock on Catawba Island.
The first view of the tug coming to East Point came at 11:31 am.
Unbelievably, two ATV riders showed up way out on the ice to the east of South Bass Island. The ice-breaker is seen approaching from the right (actually, southwest!).
Even Perry’s Monument appears dwarfed by the massive expanse of ice and sky, as seen from Buckeye Island.
At 11:17 am, Donna Steinbach embraces the snow shower while wondering, “Where’s the ice-breaker?”
“Yours truly” practicing patience . . .
An hour later (12:17 pm) East Point became the most populated spot on the island.
Finally, at 2:40 pm, the Tug “Ohio” passes between Buckeye Island and Middle Island, Canada. During this stage of the transit, the ice-breaker frequently backed up and then charged forward to break ice.
The BessieB, barge, and crew await the tug’s arrival at Put-in-Bay.
By 3:31 pm there were copious amounts of broken ice floating inside the Put-in-Bay harbor as Tug “Ohio” maneuvered around to prepare a path for the BessieB.
The massive tug and its forward force created an impressive scene for many islanders now gathered around the Jet Express Dock at Put-in-Bay.
With an eye toward success, the tug backs carefully toward the barge to be used to haul dock cribbing.
Contact! A lil’ kiss and the barge is freed from the icy grasp at 3:52 pm.
First stage mission complete!