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I thought all the vessels had left under cover of night.  Unceremoniously.  It turned out that the Japanese and Colombians had, but lots remained.  So the best place to go was near the exit . . . everyone would depart through the Narrows.  The forecast was 50 percent chance of rain all day, but I’d shoot from under an umbrella if necessary.    At 10, tugs were ready for USS Gonzalez to cast off.  Doubleclick enlarges fotos.

10:14 . . . she was under weigh.

10:23 . . . Responder returns for the next departee and Miller Girls (?) shuttles yokohamas back to Miller’s home base.

USS Mitscher at 10:33,

10:36, and

10:38, posing for Black Hawk photogs with a better perch than mine.

10:55 . . . Cuauhtemoc is next.

11:15 . . . USS Donald Cook moves away.

11:25 . . . San Jac next?

Nope. 11:34 . . . Argus heads for the Narrows

leaving Brooklyn’s “gold coast” (as on lots of these fotos) to port.

USS San Jac proceeds at 11:53 with escorts and fans aplenty.

11:56 . . . it’s “local-build” USCGC Seneca.

12:26 . . . Elcano departs under  11 sails . . . and screw  turned by ” motor diesel sobrealimentado de 2.000 caballos de potencia.”

Scotty Sky passes. . . WW2 vet and still at work, as is

Julia Miller.

12:50 . . . and I’d thought all vessels had exited, but here comes USS  . . .

Roosevelt, 

followed by LHD-1 USS Wasp with all her

like this Sea Stallion.

It’s 13:38:  Wasp has left the Narrows and Scotty Sky is topping off the tanks of Dewaruci.

Tankers wait in the anchorage, and

 . . .oh wait . . . for today, the end of the parade is provided by Guayas.

Some of these vessels will reconvenrge in Norfolk.  By 1400 yesterday, I know the French schooners, the Brazilians,

and the Indonesians were still in the sixth boro.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp, who is looking to score two XL OpSail shirts.    Barters . ..  anyone?

So what happens in the rest of the sixth boro during Fleet Week?  Works goes on.  Ellen goes past the Statue to the next job, possibly to move USCGC Eagle out.

As is McKinley Sea, with its Kirby livery.

Terrapin Island continues its 24/7 sand moving.

Tankers transfer fluids and container vessels come and go.

Susquehanna follows Quantico Creek to the east.

Holiday jetskiers race off bow waves, abandoning prudence and caution.

Gulf Service awaits an appointment at the tanks.

Ice-bowed Ice Hawk, newly painted and

maybe newly-named, awaits its call.

And (in town for OpSail, Bay City, Michigan registered Appledore V, enjoys the late Monday sun and breeze.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp.

Unrelated from Lake Michigan:  1907 SS Keewatin moves.

Here’s the engine order telegraph and a bit of uniform.  Guess the vessel?  Doubleclick enlarges fotos.

Here’s more signage.  Identification later in the post.

And a closeup of the topsail furling system of Etoile, one of the French schooners.

More brass and brightwork on Etoile.

And the guard of the passerelle.

Not far away, crew on this vessel looked less inviting.  Guess the nationality?

Canadian.  She’s guarding HMCS Iroquoisbuilt in the same Quebec town as Mathilda!

Here was Iroquois last Wednesday converging with other vessels in the sixth boro, and

here she is nose to nose with USCGC (WLB 202) Willow, alternatively captured by bowsprite.

From the bridge deck of Argus, looking over the stern and toward the west . . . Governors Island and New Jersey beyond.   Along the horizon near the south tip of Governors Island . . . those are the cranes of Bayonne and even fainter beyond that Port Elizabeth.

Here’s the view from the forward positioned bridge.  Back in 2007 I caught these fotos of Oslo Express, the only bridge-forward container vessel I can recall seeing in the sixth boro.

Here’s a bit more info on Argus.  My tour guide and globalsecurity.org describe Argus as the only vessel in the world to have a CT scanner.    As it turns out, she also has a cat.  This is Simon, and yes . . . Simon went off duty decades ago, but his healing presence in the hospital lives on.  More sobering, Argus has patient monitors that allow patients to have a chance to survive IED-caused triple amputations.

Nearing dusk, yesterday afternoon . . . the Brooklyn vessels as seen from the water:  stern of Seneca, Shirane, the French Belle Poule and Etoile, and Cuauhtemoc.

Which brings me back to the Mexican ship.  Some of the cadets I spoke with finally explained this flag . . . it’s the captain’s personal flag . . . personal pirate flag, actually is what the cadet said.

Aboard were over 250 crew, who started their morning yesterday polishing brass before they let any visitors up the pasillo.

And the vessel was immaculate.

Below the stack here, I’m told, is a 1250 hp Cat.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp, who needs to get to another job now.

It had just finished pouring in Red Hook, 8 a.m.  Here, looking SW are the two French schooners (l to r) Etoile and La Belle Poule, RFA Argus beyond extending overtop of the warehouse, Cuauhtemoc, Pohjanmaa  now departed, and the bowspit of Elcano.

Virgin of Guadalupe adorns the jibboom tip of Cuauhtemoc.

This HAS to be one of the best ever figureheads.

The 1932 French schooners fly the French flag with the cross of Lorraine, in honor of their service to the Free French.  Their design was once used by hundreds of French schooners that fished cod off Iceland.

Note the double booms (oh . . . I’m on thin ice with technical terminology  here.) atop the topsail.  I can’t quite figure out how this furling/unfurling system works until I see it happen.

This helm and compass appeared here in April 27 in Jed’s post from Fernandina Beach, FL.

Click to enlarge.  The brass plate shows engine rpms for various orders, AV (forward) and AR (reverse).)

Recall that fleet week/OpSail happens in the context of regular traffic in the sixth boro, although I’ve seen NOT a word referring to these events in the NYTimes.  Should I really conclude that in spite of how many folks stood in line to see these vessels today, NYC in general and in officialdom care  very little for these events.  But I digress . . .  notice something new on the barge company logo?

Click here for a host of changes on Labrador Sea over the years I’ve followed harbor traffic.

Looking NE, that’s JS Shirane, schooner Elcano, and Finnish mine layer Pohjanmaa.

I’m guessing these critters on the superstructure of Pohjanmaa are ermine;  if so, does each symbol represent a number of “ermine laid” maybe?  Sorry.

Argus was once a RORO container vessel called Contender Bezant.  Today her roles include “primary casualty reception [PCR] ship” aka hospital, aviation training, drug interception, and disaster relief.

Self defense?  Sniper rifles on board are used to disable engines of drug boats.

Here’s her engine order telegraph.

Click here for another foto of Argus pre-conversion.

Here’s part of her equipment for PCR duties.

Note the kayaker, seagull size, alongside Seneca.

Looking NW toward the southern tip of Manhattan, that (near to far) Willow and Iroquois.

Tomorrow I plan to visit Elcano, she of the four masts and

and golden figurehead.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp.

If you live near NYC , a great way to mark Memorial Day aka Decoration Day, visit any of the open piers.  Check out the “early history” in this wikipedia link.  I seized the morning out here, on DDG 57 USS Mitscher.

Here’s the view forward from the starboard bridge wing,

to port were CG-56 USS San Jacinto and DDG-56 USS Donald Cook.

and starboard aft toward DDG-66 USS Gonzalez.   On the tour I saw a wide range of specialists.

I had been assigned to Dewaruci, and went incognito, wanting to check some rumors . . .  like  . . as the US Navy has SEALS, but the Indonesians have

walruses!!  And it turns out they do!  Although, seriously, masks of different sorts are worn in traditional dances–reorgs–and the walrus represents strength.

Although Dewaruci was built at Stulken Sohn in Hamburg, begun in 1932 (pre-WW2 and therefore commssioned by the Dutch??) , it was completed in 1953, year four of Indonesian independence from the Dutch.  The design, then, dates from a time that commercial sail still existed.  But the detail on this vessel, currently on its last voyage, is phenomenal.  I haven’t seen so much wood carving on a vessel since I visited the schooner Anne.

Here’s the namesake hero aft

and forward.  The rest of the weekend I will be figurehead comparing, but this is hard to top.

Three main islands of Indonesia west to east are Sumatra, Java, and Irian Jaya;  so the three masts–fore to mizzen–of the vessel are decorated in those styles.  Here’s Sumatran.

and Javanese

with Garuda and

Irian Jayan, actually the western end of the island of New Guinea.

Here’s the wheel and

and the engine order telegraph.

A poster onboard shows the itinerary for this last voyage.  A replacement vessel is on order;  I’m curious whether it will

carry the same figurehead and wood carving.

An intriguing poster on deck also shows all the commanding officers from 1953 to present, from Majoor A. F. H. Rosenow to Haris Bima B. Letkol Laut.

Meanwhile, I have confirmed that the Indonsian Navy has walruses, which I was unable to interview, and

flies the jolly roger.

Tomorrow I head over to Brooklyn.

All fotos and story by Will Van Dorp.

I’m slowing this down;  yesterday I posted a record-setting 32 fotos, if I counted right.   And I’m making this personal, dedicating this to my wonderful Colombian and Ecuadorian students and to my Indonesian relatives.

Gloria is the official flagship of the Colombia Navy, based in Cartagena.  Yes, we’ve heard too much about some malfeasance there recently.

The population of Colombia is 46 million; the size of the Navy is 35,000.

Here’s view from astern of barques Gloria and Guayas, looking toward Coney Island.

The population of Ecuador is 14 million, and the total personnel of the Navy is a bit over 7200.   The logo on the “sail” between the foremast and mainmast promotes Ecuadorian tourism.  If I had limitless funds and time, I’d go everywhere, but Ecuador includes Amazonian forest, high Andes, the Galapagos, and so much more.

You might know this, but the population of Indonesia is over 240 million, the fourth most populous country, with many cultures and some 700 languages!

Click here for Dewaruci’s itinerary on their round-the-world voyage.

As an archipelago nation made up of more than 18,000 islands, it’s not surprising it has a navy of 150 ships and 74,000 sailors. In the distance, that’s Buchanan 1 moving rock through the archipelago of the sixth boro.

As to my relatives . . . I did have four uncles who fought there against Indonesian independence a half century ago.

I’m eager to see the wood carving closeup;  as a kid, I was scared to visit my grandmother’s house because of a frightful Balinese mask hanging on her wall.

If you have the chance, visit these and other vessels around the sixth boro this weekend.  Click here for further info.  I’ll be working a dock of Staten Island Saturday morning and Brooklyn Sunday and Monday morning.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp.

When I see foreign mariners, whether on modern cargo vessels or on tall ships, I recall reading that Ho Chi Minh (scroll through to the paragraph “In the USA”) traveled to the US aboard a ship 100 years ago exactly and lived here for a  number of years.    Too bad that story doesn’t have a happy ending.

Unrelated:  Check this list of nations with tall ship/sail training vessels.  It’s interesting to think of which do not . . .

Finally, thanks to all who voted for Peagus and LV-79;  unfortunately they were not in the top four.    We tried.

Here’s  some of my May 2010 coverage of Fleet Week’s arrival.  So Fleet Week and OpSail 2012 have converged, commingling state-of-the-art with traditional vessels.   Now add  into the mix F/A-18s and Hudson river water pumped through the system of  1931 John J. Harvey.  Doubleclick enlarges fotos.

Leading the fleet is Eagle.

And leading the tall ships is J. S. de Elcano (1927).

The day was blessed with atmospheric light

…and acrobatic and disciplined sailors.

Not as common a name to our ears as Magellan, Elcano was Magellan’s second-in-command and the one who completed “Magellan’s circumnavigation” more than a year after Magellan was killed in 1521.

Vessels included destroyer USS Roosevelt (commissioned 2000),

Gazela (1901), (Get tickets to this weekend’s Gazela theater here.)

USS San Jacinto (commissioned 1988),

and Dewaruci (launched 1953, keel laid 1932).

I wondered what these crew would do if the ominous sky sent thunder and lightning.

Etoile, I believe, was there as were

La Belle Poule (1932),

and Cisne Branco  (2000) and   HCMS Iroquois (1970, 1992).

Crew rode high in the rigging of Cisne Branco.

Cuauhtemoc (commissioned 1982) passed in review with

more crew in the rigging.

Emily Miller made the parade and in the distance, it’s  USS Gonzalez (commissioned 1996).

Click here for info on the namesake for DDG-66.

Appledore 5 crosses JS Shirane (commissioned 1980).

The sailing vessel heeled over is Summerwind (1929) and approaching is James Turecamo  (1969), prepared to handle white hulls.

Pride of Baltimore II is especially significant, given that the rationale for an OpSail event this year is the bicentennial of the war of 1812.   This fact also makes significant the participation by a Canadian and a British vessel in Fleet Week.

And huge flag . . . says it’s Gloria  (commissioned 1968), passing

RFA Argus, container ship turned floating hospital.

Colombian crew –men and women–in the rigging

and on the jibbom put on a colorful show.

Guayas (commissioned 1976)

had skyscraper crew at the very top of the mast.

And finally . .  a return for USS Wasp.   Notice the tug midships port side.  Know it?

I was surprised to learned it was neither Charles D. nor Responder but Roderick (1967) !  Generally, Roderick is not a sixth boro tug.

And here’s another unusual sight, commingling the power of a McAllister and a Moran  assisting Wasp into the berth.

Parade over, Catherine heads back to the dock, as does Pioneer (commissioned 1885!!)

And a final shot for today, TWO French handiworks, Belle Poule and the Statue of Liberty.

All fotos by will Van Dorp.

Doubleclick enlarges most fotos.  Few words here, but lots of fotos of the cast that has now converged.  Count them . . . five here and

one more here, along with OOCL Kuala Lumpur in the distance, a lube tanker servicing an oil tanker closeup, and a dredger  in the distance to the right.

From Colombia, it’s Gloria, with Buchanan 1 towing two stone scows in the distance.

From Ecuador, it’s Guayas, with a

condor as a figurehead.

From Indonesia, it’s Dewaruci, with

a regal figurehead and

exuberant crew.

From Mexico, it’s Cuauhtemoc, which is also

the name of the figurehead.

From Brazil, it’s Cisne Branco.

And finally, of the vessels already in Gravesend Bay, it’s the schooner Juan Sebastian De Elcano.

All at anchor, awaiting the parade tomorrow.

Mare Atlantic also awaits orders or appointments within

view of the cliffs of Manhatan.

Thanks to Working Harbor Committee for organizing and executing this sneak preview boat tour tonight.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp.

Unrelated:  See who I missed at South Street Seaport!@#@!!

I had planned to call this convergence, but the sixth boro or any harbor is much too dynamic a place for that title.  Stuff in and stuff out . . . .  From near to far here is Dewaruci, Arabian Sea, and Swan.  Dewaruci, arriving here already last Thursday, was the vanguard of the flotilla that prompted me to think of this as “convergence,”

When Swan left and sank over the horizon, here’s the track she followed for the rest of the day.

As she headed out, a flurry of other vessels moved out as well, like Mariposa. I’ll bet she’s the updated version of Butterfly, which used to call here. . . and maybe still does.   These are non-interactive screen captures of AIS.

Anyhow, as Swan and Mariposa headed out, notice APL Indonesia and A. r. c. Gloria  arriving.  As thrilling as it was to see Gloria, I felt the same to see APL Indonesia, which I foto’d here three months ago headed outbound for China;  THIS is the return, twice via the Panama Canal.

Let’s follow more KVK outbound shipping.

Sunday night I also noticed Gazela exiting Delaware Bay.  Almost two years ago, I stood watch on Gazela inbound from just east of Cape May and upward toward Wilmington, midnight to six, a thrilling experience.   If you’re local or can get here by this weekend, come see pirate burlesque on Gazela.  Get tickets here.

As Mariposa and McAllister Girls tango eastbound on the KVK, crew retrieve Girls’ line.  Just a few days ago, Girls participated in the foggy loading process of Swan.

In the wee hours this morning, I noticed B. E. Guayas (all 257′ loa of her) approach from the south and Eagle from the East.

Line back onboard, crewman flakes it out for the next job.

Also in the wee hours this morning. APL Indonesia heads back for China already, passing between Pride of Baltimore 2 and Cuauhtemoc, converging upon the sixth boro.   Here’s a quite poor foto I got of her at Pier 17 five whole years ago  . . . before this blog sprouted chin feathers!!  For a guide to pronunciation, click here.

Next . . .

Also by Tuesday morning, more Opsail vessels have converged within the sixth boro.  See Gazela at Pier 25 Manhattan, and over at the cement pier in Brooklyn is . . . . Alice!!!    Alice Oldendorff!!    My point is . . . Opsail happens within a context.

More vessels leave via the KVK Sunday to make way for those like APL Indonesia and scores of others arriving.   Below are Cosco Kobe and MSC Natalia.

And when I woke up this morning, Eagle was doing a turn in the Narrows while Scotty Sky (52 years young . . .  bless her vital Blount-built tanks!) was supplying Gloria with liquid sustenance.

Final shot . . . no one’s walking the plank here.  It’s the docking pilot debarking Cosco Kobe (check out her port history and more here.) onto Catherine Turecamo.

Enjoy Opsail and Fleet Week, starting tomorrow.    All fotos and captures by Will Van Dorp.

Latest . . . J.S. El Cano (1927 built and 371 ‘ loa) has popped up on AIS;  I had seen her in the wee hours.  Cisne Branco, La Belle Poule, Etoile, and all the FleetWeek vessels are still out of range or in stealth mode.

Unrelated:  Who works at the highest elevation in NYC?  Tom Gordon.   And, bothered by the rain today?  Read this from Zinder.

More context:  Click on the word for ships (in no particular order) of the Mexican Navy,  Ecuadorian Navy, Colombian Navy, Indonesian Navy, Brazilian Navy, and Spanish Navy.

Kirbyfication, which looks

like this on Norwegian Sea, is only one transformation, although if you asked me to personify and interpret, I’d say Norwegian looks positively

mortified in these fotos.  “OMG!!  I can’t bear bare   . . .

myself, can’t bear to see this,” she seems to say.

Here’s the changes from Barbara C (October 2010) to

Arabian Sea sand stack decorations (March 2012) to

this past weekend.

Others, like Miss Yvette take things much more in stride from  here (third foto down) to June 2011

to yesterday.

Heron transforms from this March 2011 foto to

this one last week.  And a year from now, as she plys waters off Equatorial Guinea . . . what will that look like?

Sun Road was clearly not always known that way, although

one of my sources was of no value.

For a thrilling transformation story, check out The Skipper & the Eagle, which relates how Horst Wessel became Eagle back in 1946.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp.

If you like to hear Jefferson Airplane, click here:  their lyric based on a John Wyndham sci-fi novel goes “Life is change.  How it differs from the rocks . . .”

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Graves of Arthur Kill

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Seth Tane American Painting

My other blogs

My Babylonian Captivity

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Henry's Obsession

My imaginings and bowsprite's renderings of Henry Hudson's trip through the harbor 400 years ago.

Tale of Two Marlins

Blue Marlin spent 600+ hours loading tugs and barges in NYC Sixth Boro. Click on image for presentation made to NY Ship Lore and Model Club, July 25, 2011.

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