the serene before Irene.  As of Friday, the USCG Captain of the Port announced the following: “Commercial deep draft vessels greater than 300 gross tons are not authorized to remain in port alongside a pier after 1800 on Saturday, August 27, 2011.   All vessels must be out of Bay Ridge, Stapleton, and Gravesend Bay Anchorage Grounds by 1800 on Saturday, August 27, 2011.  Only one barge per commercial mooring buoy, with a tug in the vicinity, is authorized after 1800 on Saturday, August 27, 2011…”

NYC officials dictated that 300,000 residents of certain low- lying zones evacuate.   Public transportation will cease at noon today, Saturday.  From the morning NYTimes, find these other announcements.  Doubleclick enlarges most.

Lots of folks I spoke with yesterday remembered Gloria’s visit in 1985.  If Irene heads in, our wake could be breadcrumbs for Irene to find the Battery.

Structures that could move yesterday were doing that, like Fox Boys and this construction barge.

Sailboats played nervously in front of the Statue, where hundreds waiting in line . . . but

lots of smaller vessels moved upriver, like Kimberly Poling here pushing barge Edwin A. Poling as

well as Austin Reinauer and RTC 100.

A friend from upriver called last night to say he’d seen at least $300 million worth of luxury yachts heading north, like

the 1958 Black Knight, the Goudy & Stevens yacht featured here three years ago . . . then also running from a storm albeit a thunderstorm that time.

However, some, infirm and not easily moveable,

their lines reinforced,

… is that a terrified face appearing like stigmata on the second porthole from the right, and a grinch-like demon on the one to its left? … will ride it out at the dock.  I hope the “custodians” in the SSSM offices know our eyes are on them as those same eyes are on the vessels left at the dock.

And who will be in the harbor . . . I’m guessing these folks and ones like them–police, Coast Guard, mariners working on the big ferries and certain private commercial vessels …  For frequent updates, read Hawsepiper, Paul the pirate, a scholar who works on an oil barge.  Paul . . . if you could get me keys, I’d move your truck outa Zone A.

Be safe.  I’m staying on high ground inland.

Since I posted here a half month ago about WIX-327 USCG cutter barque Eagle, visiting the sixth boro, I’ve read Capt. Gordon McGowan’s The Skipper & the Eagle, which details the months he spent in 1946, post-war Hamburg, refitting Eagle (his orders were that appropriating Eagle and getting her safely to the US should happen at NO EXPENSE to taxpayers in this country).  If you need a good read, to end the summer, this is it.  McGowan’s success depended on many things, maybe the foremost of which were Eagle‘s seaworthiness and the brotherhood of the sea that bridged the divide between Capt. McGowan of now-christened Eagle and Kapitanleutnant Barthold Schnibbe of ex-Horst Wessel.

A hurricane struck Eagle on the final leg of the journey–between Bermuda and New York.  As Irene approaches, consider these excerpts from McGowan’s book, written about the experience of being in an open bridge, exposed to wind, rain, and wash.

“In the rising seas the swells were beginning to overtake us, each crest coming in from a slightly different angle, and delivering a wallop to the underside of our old-fashioned overhanging counter”  (195). [McGowan added six additional helmsman to the two then on the three linked wheels.]

“Whitecaps had long disappeared nd been replaced by angry streaks gouged on the breast of the waves by the claws of the wind.  Puffs became roaring blasts of wind.  The average velocity rose above fifty knots.  This brought another change.  The streaks on the surface vanished, giving way to clouds of spray as wavetops were sheared off by the wind … The stinging pellets of water fly horizontally downwind” (196).

“The early skirling and piping of the fresh gale through the rigging had risen in volume  and in tone to belowing and shreiking.  The vast sound seemed to fill the world.  Voices of men died away and became inaudible.  Lips moving, neck cords and veins standing out recalled the silent movie days.  Here were faces transmitting thoughts by expression alone.  Here was sound without sound.  It pressed upon eardrums and bodies as a solid thing.  The singleness of this mighty roar brought about a solitude …  The voice of the storm was more than a roar.  There was a sharp tearing sound–the ripping of the fabric of the gates of hell …  The    fore upper and lower tops’ls were the first to go.  One moment they were there; a second later they had vanished.  It seemed incredible that all that remained of the broad spread of sail were these ragged little ribbons” (200).

“I turned to the idea of heaving to.  The ship had begun to dive and wallow like a wounded wild thing.  Each time a wave overtook us I looked apprehensively astern.  As the stern began to lift on the face of a wave, the bowsprit dipped deeper and deeper until it disappeared from sight.  When each crest swept from aft forward, the stern settled deeply upon the back on the wave, and the bowsprit pointed toward the sky” (202).

Sorry . . . you’ll have to read the rest.  Then there’s also Drumm’s book, which I haven’t read.

All fotos taken Friday by Will Van Dorp, who might not post tomorrow.

A South Street Seaport update:  Pioneer and Lettie G. Howard have departed for Kingston.

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