You are currently browsing the monthly archive for January 2010.

Update:  For evidence of serious (ha!!) impromptu conferencing among some waterbloggers on Friday night, check out Peconic Puffin here.

Cold winds and spray trigger a hibernation reflex in me . . .  especially when the day is gray and

ice encases everything like the manifold here on Maersk Bristol.

But there is a beauty, too, particularly

on sunny days like the one when Pacific Fighter headed south not from below Albany through the crystalline Hudson.

More shades of blue:  Meagan Ann

Emma Miller,

Department of Sanitation scow 170 . . . here schlepped by the versatile James Turecamo,

and finally this all-blue unit called

Kenny G.  By the way, does anyone have identification on Kenny G?  I find nothing in my usual indexes.  Come summer, we might miss the blues.  Or blueblues.

Credits:  renowed ship/tugboat photographer Jed for the first three, a bird blogger (Richard Guthrie)  from the Albany Times-Union for  Pacific Fighter, and the rest by Will Van Dorp.  More Kenny G–the sax player–although there’s a lot of water with it.)   here.  Actually, while on the blues, here’s a fun,  bittersweet (blue-gray-crazy)  love song with water references from (?) late 1960s, shared by someone with a birthday today.

Happy end-of-January.

The past 24 hours has seemed the right time to reread parts of Arctic Dreams by Barry Lopez. Not that I’ve ever visited the Arctic.  And ice is part of the bargain living at our latitude.

Ice is habitat, among many other things.  We see some, but if it was 20 in the sixth boro this morning, it was at least 10 degrees colder a single latitude farther north, and that means crossings like this, less than 50 miles north of New York City.

We catch a glimmer of the Arctic here in winter, as birds from the North migrate in and travel around in formations like the one beyond Comet.

The goose in the middle came in for a landing, over-extending forward, and needed to use the underside of its neck as a skid plate.

Buffleheads are the first migratory birds I notice each fall.

Gulls–most sorts are here all the time, although occasionally unusual gulls appear.  Stowaways?  Torm Margarethe and Doris Moran await clearance to enter.

Egrets fish, undeterred by having their feet in freezing water, although

a few weeks back in Chincoteague, a sole pony offered rides to a flock of birds.  Tender-footed ones, perhaps?  Really . ..  not a single bird rested on any other pony.  What was the social contract?

Watching these Brant geese swim out  (I thought of them  as surfers headed out beyond the breakers) through the wake of Comet, I recalled Lopez writing about snow geese:  “what absorbs me in these birds, beyond their beautiful whiteness, their astounding numbers, the great vigor of their lives, is how adroitly each bird joins the larger flock or departs from it.  And how each bird while it is part of the flock seems part of something larger than itself.  Another animal.  Never did I see a single goose move to accommodate one that was taking off, no matter how closely  bunched they seemed to be.  I never saw two birds so much as brush wingtips in the air, though surely they must.  They roll up into a headwind together in a seamless movement that brings thousands of them gently to the ground like falling leaves in but a few seconds.  Their movements are endlessly attractive to the eye because of a tension they create between the extended parabolic lines of their flight  and their abrupt but adroit movements, all of it in three dimensions.”

That “part of something larger than itself” makes itself visible as a flock of starlings moves through a tree with berries, a fruit crop reaped by an insatiable harvesting machine.

Without this cold season, I’d never have time to reread the books I savored before.  Nor would I find new ones.

The top foto comes from Paul Strubeck, crew on Cornell, who took the foto near Kingston.  I’ve seen eagles but never gotten a good foto.  Thanks, Paul. The next foto–kayaker passing eagle–comes from the flickr stream of ninjaracecar.  Thanks for putting these on flickr, ninjaracecar.  All other fotos here are mine, including the one below of my 28-year-old boss.  The green one.   For some really exotic bird fotos, see the ODock.

The amazing diversity of traffic on the boro all year round thrills me, like feather-light kayaks gliding past dredgers sucking alluvial ooze from the floor,

one human powered craft yielding to OOCL Verrazano Bridge 4738-teu vessel with almost 60,000 (59764.08…) horsepower,

more kayaks posing with Lucky D and different sullage scooping equipment before

heading north into the habitat of furious ferries, who might change their whole image by slowing down a notch and getting themselves renamed as Tinker Bell and Puck.

On another day, overlaid with haze, more traffic flows:  left to right are Petalouda, Lucky D, Patapsco,  dredge barge GL51, and Sarah Dann.  As to Petalouda, check out the name of the rest of the fleet in the link in the previous sentence.

And on a still hazier day,  Vera K waits as Cosco Boston rounds Bergen Point on its final mile into Port Newark.  That’s the Bayonne Bridge off in the east.

Fotos 2, 3, and 4 many thanks to Vladimir Brezina.  See his comments on “Mixed Use.”  Other fotos by Will Van Dorp.

Unrelated but you will be thrilled to check out these videos of paddlecam and icecam . . . via peconic jeff, 2010 comes to documenting surfing and ice-skating!!

Back when Alice Oldendorff occupied a large part of my  . ..  well, nautical heart, I did a post examining her parts, discovering –of course– her magic created a presence much greater than their sum, a fact I cherish in all those I love.

Some recent fotos suggested I revisit this title.  Of course, parts often bear no resemblance to or hint of the whole.  Like the foto below.  Judging by the arc of numbers near the right side of the foto, the left-to-right expanse of the structure might be about 30 feet.  A rocky bank lies not far beyond this curved underside of the hull.  And the rest of the story?  Is the ship aground?

It’s MSC Carla, all nearly 800′ of her.

Half a dozen crew gather around the hook of a crane.  On this foggy day their vessel seems to be in contact with a red #30 buoy.

It’s Katherine Walker doing buoy maintenance.

And . . . yes, I rubbed my eyes too when I saw this, vowing to visit the eye doctor soon.

But when I looked here,

my fear of blindness dissipated.  I could even recognize the unmistakeable profile of Ellen McAllister, winner of the 2009 tugboat race, shown in the video here.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp.

Speaking of hulls, phototiura has some of the most beautiful ones I’ve ever seen.

Here was RS 11.  This one might be called two hours on the Narrows, as that was the time I could linger there before feeling pressed to get elsewhere . . . like to earn a living.  First, let the record show that Sichem Defiance remains as of early January 28, nearly three weeks after the incident.   Alongside her is tanker Ben, which itself has ABC-1, McAllister Responder, and Defiance, all tied up to starboard.

The light is all wrong on this shot, but the starboard bow of Ben seems quite rusted or discolored.

Torm Gunhild offloads to barge Patriot, tended by Donald C.

Sun Road heads for Newark Bay.

Cosco Melbourne races a pilot boat in as

crew prepare for docking.

An OOCL container vessel suddenly looms around Norton Point, revealing

itself as OOCL Hong Kong, here cruising past SCF Pechora.

And as she passed, a member of the crew watched from a hatch.

Finally, Atlantic Concert headed in as tugboat Virginia (ex-Bayou Babe)  headed out, and I headed off to work.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp.

Unrelated:  I just got a comment from one of the kayakers I fotoed a few days back;  in his comment, Vlad sent a link to the fotos HE took from the kayak.  See them here.  I wish I had seen the container ship OOCL Verrazano Bridge.

A new movie monster?  A snared mutant terrapin or parrot?  Puff the magic dragon roused from a peaceful hibernation?  My wildest love with green painted nails?  Double click to enlarge, if you dare.

Dragster engine turned on its side?

A new dynamic stabile installed along the KVK?

Rock sampling?  Old port building demolition?  EPRC bucket advantages?

Sinewy muscle of a bionic arm?  A new type of prison cell?

A watery dozen plus cubic yard of problem-solving?

Enough red-bean chili to feed a horde?   The rock collector in me wants one of those rocks, no matter how smelly.

Props for a Mad Max sequel set on water?

Nah!  It’s Lucky D and just another

morning on bucket dredge New York.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp.

Me:  wool cap and hood, three layers under my jacket, silk longjohns, and gloves on except when I took a foto.  Then surprise:  a half dozen kayakers paddling south toward the Narrows:  I hope they have drysuits, winter paddling gloves, wool toques, advanced paddling skills, and local knowledge.  Like me the hiker, the paddlers were out for exercise.  Here the lead kayak passes dredger Padre Island and Torm Emilie.

Kayaking was once my obsession;  scroll through this post to see me in my kayak 15 years ago.   Below more of the group paddles past Tavrichesky Bridge and  Kimberly Turecamo.

When I paddled, I was conservative and cautious, yet I did have a capsize that scared me.  Obviously, I survived, but it made me even my conservative in the challenges I undertook.  I still kayak when I can, but not here.  I dismissed the sixth boro as a paddling area.

I’ll bet you’re looking for a kayak in this foto.

There’s no kayak there, but expecting the unexpected–in no matter what activity–is essential.

From today’s NY Times magazine “Lives” section, here’s a cautionary tale of kayakers who under-estimate the challenge and who get rescued by “good samaritans”  with something themselves to hide.  Makes a good five-minute read.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp.

Related:  For fotos taken from one of those kayaks by Vlad, click here.

Unrelated:  Check out Fremont Tugboat Company blog to see how things look in the Pacific Northwest; I especially like the log barges.

It’s been a while since #2 in this series, but seeing Rebel this past week prompts a new installment.  What first drew my attention was the sound;  Rebel roared as it backed a light barge out of IMTT.  Double click on foto to enlarge.

The superstructure was one I didn’t recognize.  Huge she is:  according to the K-Sea site dimensions are 150′ x 46′ x 22′ deep draft with air draft of 82′ and 7200 hp.  Notice how small Ross Sea (ex-Normandy) seems in spite of her 95′ x 32′ x 14′ and 3400 hp.  I wonder if Rebel‘s air draft is with antenna down.

Given the sound and the ease with which the barge extracted from the dock, I was surprised that Rebel has not more than 7200 hp.  Notice Nathan E. Stewart with potable water barge Aqua passing on the far side of KVK, and a

few minutes later, that’s Rebel and Ross Sea pursuing Taurus, nearing the KV buoy.

In comparison, here’s Christian Reinauer: 124′ x 40′ x 22′ with air draft of 85′ and also 7200 hp.  Christian came into service in 2001, whereas Rebel has worked as Toya Alario and  Patricia E since 1976.

In comparison with the two above, here’s a shot of Vane Brothers Brandywine from this weekend:  launched in 2006, Brandywine’s dimensions are 123′ x 38′ x 22′ deep.  Here’s a foto of the house interior for Brandywine, and youtube of launch of Christiana, Brandywine‘s twin.    I’d love to see an interior shot of Rebel and Christian.  Anyone help?

All fotos by Will Van Dorp.

PS:  For sights we don’t see in the sixth boro or anywhere out east, click here for Fremont Tug, running out of the Puget Sound.  I like the stories and the fotos, especially ones of  Seaspan Commodore and the log barges, as well as the adventures of Stinger and Dixie.

Late December featured the second post on dredging and more; here’s the latest installment.  At first glance, Baltic Dawn seems about to lose its stern to an oversize bucket (or at least get a machine’s version of a butt pinch), but

–no–it was just an illusion.

All progressed well with this project not far from mid-channel in the KVK in front of Atlantic Salt until

MSC Carla approached from the west and Peter F. Gellatly approached from the east.  Whether the sudden plume of black exhaust resulted from reversing the ship’s engine full or not, I

can’t say, but the dredging continued, as did the journeys of container ship and tug with barge on hip.  This MSC Carla (ex-HanJin Long Beach) dates from 1986; a former MSC Carla, built in 1972, cracked in half in 1997.

Meanwhile , trailing suction hopper Padre Island crisscrossed the water in front of Stapleton.  There’s lots going on beneath the dredger, but  very

very little to see from the surface, except hoses running into the water, port, starboard, and possibly trailing from the stern.  I imagine it like a vacuum cleaner transiting a carpet.

I’d love to hear from someone working on Padre Island and willing to explain more of the working below this vessel.

Dredges … mechanical bottom feeders, bringing up dirt, literally.  They’re time traveling too, uncovering silt of many past events.  Be they adventures or misadventures, the act disturbs the memory of the watershed, you could argue;  in exchange, they make way for a modified future.

All fotos taken today by Will Van Dorp.

Last week I caught Lee T. Moran and Miriam Moran wrestling Atlantic Leo into a dock.  If wrestling–versus sacred dancing–it was, then the bout was one of slow but continous strain, where raw power overwhelms other raw power’s muscle fiber, strand by stand.  Diesel versus tide, or petroleum versus gravity, each almost evenly matches one with its counter.

Not that I usually employ this blog to toot my whistles, but this picture snatches me, and holds me, claws into tender skin,  in its clutches.  Double click to enlarge.

It could be the diagonal composition, the myriad tones of orangish-red superimposed with stains and reflection and bowsprite-like squiggles, whose recent additions I’ve found too infrequent,

the appearance of steel against steel as soft textured black cloth against softer  smooth brownish fabric, or the explicit exhibition of contact points,

the depiction of the  crew,  diminished by their work and yet struggling on.

but it holds me, like a scene of an infant or lover snuggling with huge matronly curves.

Fotos by Will Van Dorp.

I’m posting this very late . . . in the wee hours when judgment fails,  you know,  a risky time.  Will I still like this in the morning?  Let me know what you think.

See a focus on Laura K Moran here.

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Graves of Arthur Kill

Click to order your copy of Graves of Arthur Kill, by Gary Kane and Will Van Dorp. 3Fish Productions.

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