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River traffic travels in all weather and times of day.   So at first I was dismayed to be without my camera, but fortunately Elizabeth had hers when Timothy McAllister came past and got

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really close.  Thanks to the crew, whose demonstration probably inspired some young’uns to want to grow up and be mariners.

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Earlier Madeline had moseyed past, checking out Gazela and all else along the PA side while

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Captain Harry did the same on the NJ side.

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While the rain fell, Caspian Sea headed out as

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Teresa McAllister headed upriver.

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as did Reid McAllister.

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Art and reality mimic each other.  At the Independence Seaport Museum, you have just over a month left to see the exhibit of friend and marine artist Dave Boone’s work and wit.

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You’ll be thrilled by the paintings and the biographical materials.

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All fotos by Will Van Dorp, except the first two by Elizabeth Wood, who had a charged phone.

This book makes very clear what the heart of a ship is.  And it’s not the electrical or mechanical systems.  It’s not even the galley, although I can attest to the revival I felt after consuming the goods from this vessel’s galley at sea.  By the language on the engine order telegraph, can you tell the vessel?

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It’s Gazela, possibly the oldest square-rigger in the US still sailing, rebuilt in 1901 from timbers of an 1883 vessel, a Portuguese barkentine  retired from dory-fishing on the Grand Banks the year Apollo 11 shuttled peripatetic passengers to the moon.    As Eric Lorgus says in one of over 50 personal stories in the book, “she the ultimate anachronism, having been built before man’s first flight, and still sailing [commerically] the summer of the first moon landing.”   But history by itself is NOT the heart of a ship either.

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The heart of a ship is the stories told by her crew, by those who love her.  A vessel underway is like an elixir;  as she makes voyage after voyage through the decades, sea and weather and crew different each time, her pulse is the magic recounted differently by each person on board.  Heart of a Ship breathes.

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Here’s an excerpt from John Brady’s story:  “We have sailed with master mariners and people who seemed just north of homeless.  We have stood watches with carpenters, physicists, bank officers, and doctors.  We have seen those just starting out in life and those salvaging what they could from mid-life crises.   . . . We have sailed with strippers and masons, machinists and software writers, nurses and riggers, professional mariners and grandmothers….”    For more samples, click here.

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But don’t take my word for the life that pulsates in this collection.  Buy your own copy, and support Gazela’s continuing preservation.  Every historic vessel project should be so lucky as to have a collection like this.

For some of the posts I’ve done about Gazela, click here, here, here, and here.

Foto below was taken on July 3, 2012.  Charles D. McAllister . . . featured here dozens of times, was assisting British Harmony (see name on lifeboat) out of IMTT Bayonne . . . for sea.  Where?  Doubleclick enlarges fotos.

Related:  note the follow-though handwork demonstrated by the line thrower below.  Where is he?  He’s not throwing the line to anything belonging to British Harmony, but he is in the same watershed.

Ditto this tug and barge.  Where it it?  Notice the water color.  Notice the name on the barge.

MANAUS on the tug is the best clue.

All fotos in this post except the first one were taken by my daughter, Myriam, who’s on the Amazon all summer as a grad student.  I bought her a camera and said . . . “tugster needs you,” and she’s been following through since mid-May while I’ve focused mostly on my end of the sixth boro, not hers.  More on this later in this post.   That’s a sweet ride below.

She’s based in Macapa and took this and all the others from her workboat.  No, she doesn’t drive it.

Cargo moves by vessels like this, and

this.  Right now Ikan Suji is Shanghai bound with a hold filled with Amazonian raw materials, I’d bet.

My guess (and I’m often wrong) on this cargo is navigational aids in the making.

I wish she’d caught the rest of the ferry . . . but there are fewer possibilities for a bow than a stern.  I’d never imagine this house/stern arrangement.

NYC’s sixth boro  . . . as all areas . . . have their

government boats.

Behold two Amazonian “rebocadores ”  Excalibur and Merlin. Click here for Smit Rebras including some interesting newbuild fotos.  Thanks to Harold Tartell for suggesting looking here.

But, not unexpectedly, vessels on the Amazon and its many fingers are as diverse as the population of that great country.

This could be the Mississippi,

as could this.

From Macapa to Manaus upriver is 500 to 600 air miles.  Stadt Gera, in Macapa today, was in the sixth boro and on this blog  a year and a half ago.

And here’s why I put the foto of Charles D. McAllister and British Harmony first:  British Harmony is about halfway up the Amazon to Manaus as I write this.  One really can get anywhere watery from the sixth boro.    Knowing that and having concrete reminders like this are not the same.

From fishermen, people with cameras along the KVK, and Macy’s barge waiting for the 2012 Independence Day fireworks . . . to kids in wooden boats like this . . .  all seen by crew on British Harmony  on the same trip  . . . I find amazing.

I hope you enjoyed this glimpse of another watershed.   Myriam certainly has the gallivant gene.  Here’s some self-disclosure.  39 years ago  (!!) I traveled to my first professional job about 500 miles up the Congo River on a huge tugboat named Major Vangu, pushing four deck barges.  The tug had 8 or 10 “staterooms” and a bar/restaurant for paying first class passengers.   Second class were on a barge with shade, and third class slept among the cargo (barrels of fuel, trucks, crates of beer, misc .  .  .) on the other barges.  It took four days and nights to get from Kinshasa to Mbandaka, near where I spend the next two years.  The reason for the choice of a tug was the airplane was non-functioning and roads to get there would have taken weeks.   Making this realization today suggests the need for a long river trip next year. . . . hmmmm . . . .

This post is inspired by Jed’s extended resume of last April here, and a “lightbulb”  comment by Maureen.   Thanks to you both.

Related:  Several times I tried unsuccessfully to find good profile shots of Major Vangu, which sank in 1979.   Anyone have ideas on finding fotos of the old Onatra vessels like Major Vangu?

Related:  In writing this post, I stumbled onto this blog by an artist in Belem, a major Amazonian port.

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.

From my reading Stephen King phase, I remember a formula that involved a storm or fog moving on and leaving something inexplicable, usually malevolent.  If I

hadn’t expected Gazela at this appointed hour, my imagination would have raced.  Instead, it did my heart good to see Gazela–who was still dory fishing on the Grand Banks when Armstrong  strolled around some lunar real estate since abandoned.  Crossing paths with Gazela as it entered the KVK was John P. Brown.  If you’re interested in dining (DINING) aboard Gazela Friday evening, click here for info and reservations.

Gazela‘s in town as part of Atlantic Salt fest.    For fotos of Gazela in clear bright August sunshine, click here.

This too, had I not been forewarned, would have conjured up Stephen King thoughts;  given its beam, I’d call this “one big-ass ship” aka Makulu . . . if you speak Zulu.  Dimensions:  735′ loa x 210′ beam!

It looks like it could carry all of BAT to some foreign shore.

In spite of its color, it’sBlue Marlin.  Click here and scroll through to see Blue Marlin–back when it was still blue–carrying the DDG-67 USS Cole from Yemen back to Mississippi in 2000.  Click here on Fogonazos to see some huge loads.

I saw some Reinauer boats skittering around the boro today . . . for fear of being loaded onto this orange Blue Marlin.  I expect to see more of Blue Marlin loading the next few days.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp.

Unrelated but almost . . . See these fotos Capt Joey of Good Morning Gloucester took of Wanderbird high and dry up in Cape Ann.

What’s this?  Clam-shell bucket and helicopter markings?

Amazing, as in IMO9456331.  Amazing is the name of the vessel.  And amazingly, three vessels here appear mostly on the rocks:  middle ground in Noble Express and in the distance the stack belongs to Inyala.

I’m not sure where the cargo has originated, but

Amazing arrived in the sixth boro about a week after  traversing the Panama Canal.   So although we get salt from lots of places, this salt

I believe comes from somewhere in Asia, and

other minerals are commingled, here’s the color on the pile.

Ultimately it gets to storage barns like this one on the sanitation Pier on “thirteenth avenue.”

All fotos by Will Van Dorp.

Unrelated:  Gazela will be at this very salt dock for a few days starting May 18 in transit to Portsmouth, NH.

Totally unrelated but amazingly upsetting to me:  Can a government official with an annual salary of less than $7000/year order a yacht costing over $350 million?  Sure, if the official happens to be Minister of Agriculture and Foresty of Equatorial Guinea, and named Teodorin Obiang, son of Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo (scroll through to see an official 2009 portrait).    Disclosure:  I’ve never visited Equatorial Guinea, but between 1975 and 1977, as a Peace Corps volunteer in Cameroon, I visited along the border between the two countries.

A big smile covers my face now.  Call me Jane (or Call me, Jane.)  Address me as “sixth borough president and historian” if you like;  I don’t cost taxpayers anything.

Three weeks ago just before I headed for work, an email popped onto my screen from Alexis Mainland.  She explained she does a NYTimes column called “New York Online” and wanted to profile “Tugster.”   The 30-minute telephone interview lasted for a fun hour, and Alexis Mainland’s good questions yielded a fine article here (already online and in the Metropolitan section of 2/20/2011 Sunday’s paper) .  If you read it online and wish to leave a comment on the Times site, please do so.

Since the article mentions some of my “offices,”  I pasted in this map; click on it anywhere to make it interactive.  You can follow Richmond Terrace starting westward  from the northeast corner of Staten Island, a locality called St. George.  The dotted lines in the water leading to St. George reflect the Staten Island Ferry route to Manhattan’s Whitehall.  Richmond Terrace offers great views of the Kill Van Kull, the curvy strip of water separating Staten Island from Bayonne, NJ.  If you follow Richmond Terrace to the west, past the Bayonne Bridge and Shooter’s Island, you see a strip of green on the Elizabethport, NJ side called Arthur Kill Park, another of my “offices.”

Seriously, the article gets it and takes the “sixth boro”  seriously, and I’m grateful for that.  I think it’s important that we be cognizant of  the seminal value of the harbor and its pivotal role in this becoming a metro area of 20 million people.  Out of 192 countries on the face of the earth today, 135 have a smaller population than metro NYC!

Last summer thanks to a passage to Philadelphia I made on Gazela, I finally read Harvey Oxenhorn’s Tuning the Rig.  Gazela fotos here and here (scroll thru).  Here’s a favorite section of the book, in which Oxenhorn describes an encounter with a Greenland family in Nuuk (Gothab), and he locks eyes with a young woman standing with her daughter and husband:

“When those eyes met mine, she realized I was staring at her.  She stared back and then began to laugh.  That got me laughing too.  My presence was a bit preposterous.  But not unwelcome; they had joy to spare.  Soon everyone picked up on the joke and joined in.  They laughed at me looking;  I laughed at their laughing while watching me laugh.  I laughed.  They laughed.  We laughed together until the reasons for the laughing were forgotten and the only thing that mattered was the pure free pleasure of it all.”

Doing this blog and getting your comments and support gives me that “pure free pleasure.”  And if you learn something from the blog, great because I learn several things every day from it as well.  And if you wish to  disagree with or add to anything I write, send a comment or a private email.  And I love it when you send along fotos or suggestions about posts.  Huzzah the NYTimes.  Huzzah the sixth boro!

The last milestone was the 1000, but this one, post 1280, goes up exactly four years (well, I’m three days late, actually)  after my first ever post.  Since then, I’ve spent countless hours of free time educating and entertaining myself,   touring other folk through the sixth boro,

interacting with passersby in ports wherever they beckon–ports like the sixth boro,

Philly,

Baltimore (and many other places …)  and more I hope to come.  Thanks to all for your tours and advice and feedback.

Meanwhile, I’m enjoying this blog more than ever, learning to see, fishing

(sometimes in extreme conditions) for

flights of fancy and

all manner of lore and historical info about the sixth boro and all the waters connected to it.

Like yesterday, I was reading about Alice L. Moran, her marvelous feats, and wondering if she’s still called Amsterdam and working in Bahraini waters.    And I was reading about PY-16 USS Zircon (later a pilotboat named New York and previously a Pusey & Jones steam yacht Nakhoda), predecessor of pilotboat New York.

I’ve enjoyed these first 1280 and will be continuing.  Meanwhile, here’s another interesting thing I stumbled upon yesterday on page 12 of the Spring 1966 Tow Line magazine.   I hope no one is irked by my printing a screen shot here.  Enjoy.  Letter 1 with request on left and response on right.


Thanks for reading this blog and commenting for four years.  The ride goes on.

Photo credits here to Les, Allen, Carolina, and bowsprite.  Greets to the guys on SKS Tyne.

Meanwhile, a few words about the MWA Waterfront Conference tomorrow:  “

New York, NY: On Tuesday, November 30, senior officials and representatives from over 14 government agencies will join over 500 waterfront advocates, educators, and planning experts for the Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance’s 2010 Waterfront Conference at Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian in New York, the George Gustav Heye Center.

Dozens of agency officials, politicians, and other experts will be on hand to offer their perspectives on the future of the NY-NJ Harbor, including: NYC Deputy Mayor Robert Steel, Bob Martin of the NJ Department of Environmental Protection, Col. John R. Boulé II of the US Army Corps of Engineers, Capt. Linda Fagan of the US Coast Guard, Peter Davidson of the Empire State Development Corporation, David Bragdon of the NYC Mayor’s Office of Long-Term Planning & Sustainability, Adrian Benepe of the NYC Department of Parks & Recreation, Amanda Burden of the NYC Planning Commission, Cas Holloway of the NYC Department of Environmental Protection, and Seth Pinsky of the NYC Economic Development Corporation.”

Late summer sail might look like this, Clipper City motorsailing up the Buttermilk Channel past Caribbean Princess, and early autumn

sail like this: Gazela showing the flag in Oyster Bay.  The town dock here is roughly located in the former Jakobson yard, and that’s Growler and the Jakobson-built Deborah Quinn (1957, ex-W. R. Coe, Karen Tibbets, Ethel Tibbets)   across from Gazela.   W. R. Coe’s first work was for the Virginian Railroad.

Early autumn sailing can also look like this:  Breck Marshall‘s skipper standing while making her play in the wind.

Or this:  a heeled over Escape Plan.

or this: 1929 Summerwind playing a bit before headed for the Chesapeake Schooner race last month.

while on that same day Lettie G. Howard comes out of slumber to mingle with the likes of this

varnished catboat-with-a-blog named Silent Maid.

Getting later into autumn can mean mild weather and bright light over this aptly-named vessel–Persephone . . . preparing to head for the underworld or –at least–the southern approach to northern winter.

Or it can look like this:  skipper Richard Hudson beginning winter preparations as Issuma heads in the direction of its port of registry . . .  the Yukon.

More Issuma soon.

For now, as you make your own preparations for winter, check out this new Thad Koza 2011 Tall Ship calendar featuring a sixth-boro based schooner . . . . Any guesses?

All fotos by Will Van Dorp.

Uh … transplant to the Delaware?

Wilmington Tug’s Sonie passes junk-rigged Summer Wind as

she pushes light in the direction of the Ben Franklin Bridge.  In the foreground left is the faux sternwheel of Philadelphia Belle.

Gulf Service heads in the same direction from over near the big guns of battleship New Jersey.

That transplant …  It launched from Philadephia in 1902 to work out of New York, which it did until 1939.  See the fourth profile below. 

Petrel is an Allied staple on the Delaware.

Jupiter (ex-Socony #14) currently is operated and maintained by a volunteer group called Philadelphia Ship Preservation Guild.  The tip of boom and yellow-green-white vessel belong to Gazela, the Guild’s other vessel, previously written about here and here (See fotos 7, 8 and 9).   

All fotos by Will Van Dorp.

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My job . . . Summer 2014

Graves of Arthur Kill

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

Seth Tane American Painting

My other blogs

My Babylonian Captivity

Reflections of an American hostage in Iraq, 20 years later.

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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