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Now down to 2 operating steamboats!

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Old 03-29-2009, 09:25 AM
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 1,053


It is scary isn't it? Back in 1970 we were down to 4 (PRESIDENT, BELLE OF LOUISILLE, ADMIRAL, and DELTA QUEEN) and then by 1976 back up to 6 (one, the ADMIRAL had already gone diesel, The JULIA BELLE SWAIN, NATCHEZ and MISSISSIPPI QUEEN had joined the fray).

It seems the natural swell and ebb of steamboating changes alot...usually, from what I see we go through phases, each phase seems to end us up one one less than before.

I truly hope someone buys the JULIA BELLE SWAIN and brings her over to the Ohio River or somewhere south where she can have a longer season and make her operator a little more money. I always wondered about the operation in LaCrosse,WI. with such a limited weather season (seems to be about 4-5 months tops). Back in the days when Capt Dennis Trone first built her, she had two in Peoria, IL (summer and early fall) and one in Chattanooga, TN (late fall, and spring). Seems things were good for her back then doing this. Perhaps the next owner will look back for the answers to his future problems and she will survive as she is supposed to.

In "Saga of the Delta Queen" Capt Fred Way Jr. penned 2 lines which best explain to me the entire story of the recient loss of many of our steamboats on the rivers...

"A big steamboat is a mysterious creation. The original builder designs into it a purpose, and until that purpose is fulfilled the persons who trod her decks with titles of authority are in some ways grist for her mill, carrying forward their decisions oblivious to the deception. The real aim, the purpose, is incorporated somewhere in the keel line."

Think about these very wise writings of Capt. Way and the story of Delaware North, Ambassadors International (have you seen their "Press Release" site lately...go look Ambassadors International, Inc. - Investor Relations Home ), and the current ownership of the JULIA BELLE SWAIN all start to make sence, in that they don't!

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