No matter that Padre Island might be the sixth boro’s version of Sisyphus . .  . or an enormous vacuum cleaner/wet vac, no matter . . . I’m always happy to see the trailing suction hopper dredge (TSHD), especially up close.   The northeast corner of Staten Island looks remarkable uninhabited, an illusion to be sure.

I guess this is the front dischange head.  See a video of this attachments to this head used for “rainbowing” here.  (Correction/crossout made here thanks to SeaBart.)

Here Padre Island heads out toward the Verrazano Narrows.  I’ve wondered sometimes whether it uses its sonic eyes to make the “bottom of the harbor” equivalent of crop circles in the fluff.

Not the best foto, but the black structure is a drag head, attached to

the suction pipe, like arm and hand.  See a trove of dredge images here.

Pipes and heads are stowed here, up and out of the way, as Padre Island travels to the area needing

to be carved or aspirated.  I get dizzy thinking of all the potential jokes here, like “This job/boat sucks.”

As she passed by this week, I was surprised how much noise came from her 3000 hp propulsion.  And how speedy she was.   Was there ever sail-powered dredging?  What artifacts get sucked up and dumped during the dredging process?  I know progress calls, but what stuff otherwise treasured gets missed?  What fauna gets sucked up?  Was Oliver Evans‘ steamer Oruktor Amphibolos,  “Amphibious Digger,” really the beginning of dredging?

All fotos Will Van Dorp.

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