Nope. Not these kinds of Nuns.
And not these kinds of Cans.
It’s these kinds of Nuns and Cans.
Today while I’m waiting for parts for the Journey, I went down to St. Louis and visited my son, Ryan’s Coast Guard cutter, the Cheyenne. Ryan is the Chief Engineer on the cutter, responsible for all the machinery, running gear and equipment.
Many folks have asked what is the Coast Guard doing on the Mississippi River? Well, the rivers of the United States are used for all kinds of water borne commerce and the Coast Guard is tasked with providing Aids to Navigation, also known as buoys.
The red buoys are called “Nun” buoys, sort of from the shape of the buoy which resembles a Nun’s habit. The green buoys are called “Cans” again because of their shape.
You can see the front of the cutter’s barge is loaded with buoys to get underway on another trip to service and replace missing or damaged buoys.
The Cheyenne is a 75 foot long tugboat that has a barge attached to its bow. There is a lot of equipment on the barge.
The buoys are held in place by concrete “Sinkers”, which are attached by a chain.
The barge carries two small boats to access buoys and other navigational aids that are in water too shallow for the cutter to reach.
There is a crane on the barge to lift the boats in and out of the water as well as lift buoys. It is the tan colored structure on the barge.
The Cheyenne is powered by twin large CAT diesel engines.
It has two smaller Cat diesel engines that drive the cutter’s generators.
One more diesel powered generator, this one a Detroit Diesel which powers the barge equipment.
The cutter is controlled from the bridge. It looks like something from Star Wars. It is unusual because it does not have a wheel or helm. Steering is done by the handles on each side of the chair. There are two handles on each side which control two sets of rudders for maneuvering in tight spaces.
This is the view, where all the work can be observed on the buoy deck on the barge.
The cutter was built in 1961 and despite its age it is in top shape and excellent running condition, a credit to its crew.
The crew takes great pride in their ship.
It may not be a very glamorous job, it has lots of dirty and dangerous physical work servicing the buoys, but it is very important to American commerce.
Just a little view of some of the unsung workers of the Coast Guard.
Thanks for visiting and feel free to leave a comment.