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Just before 0700, Medi Osaka rounded the bend, low in the water as a galleon from the Andean mines.  Only two hours before, under darkness, Medi Osaka‘s soon-to-be berth was still occupied by Global Success, which had just completed discharging its payload of road salt, at least the part of the load gong to Atlantic Salt.

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Many media reports notwithstanding, there is road salt around.  Not all suppliers have been out.

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This clam shell has been steadily emptying out holds.

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Granted the salt has been leaving almost as quickly as it has arrived, but

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count the trucks . . .  a dozen and a half waiting  here . .  and more.

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For JS and others who know the place, yes, I’m atop the salt pile looking down on Leidy’s .  .  . not far from Sailor’s Snug Harbor.

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The trucks are there loading salt from Global Success even before Medi Osaka docks.

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There’s 36 feet of water here and then some.

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Note the crew watch the vessel inch up to the docking barge.

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The next post will show the linemen ferrying the lines to shore crews running them up to the bollards.

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Meanwhile, temperatures were almost to 50 F by the time I left here.

The link here may show the first glimpse I had of Balder.  Let me share my getting better acquainted, but first . . . the foto below I took 13 months ago.  Note the different colors of salt, reflecting

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different provenances, as explained in Ian Frazier’s New Yorker article below.  Buy a copy to get the rest of the story.

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Without this vessel, all of us who drive the roads or walks the sidewalks and streets within the metropolis surrounding the sixth boro would be at greater risk of slipping and crashing.  Framed that way, Balder could not be better named.   Here’s what Kimberly Turecamo looks like from Balder‘s bridge.

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On the far side of the channel, that’s Dace.

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Here’s what has come forth from Balder‘s belly, a bit of the Atacama Desert on the KVK.   Huge tractors load the trucks that come to a highway department near you today.

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This 246′ arm, reaching nearly to Richmond Terrace, offloads at the relatively slow rate of 8oo tons per hour.

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And here’s the hold just emptied, one hold of five.  Notice the ladders and the tracks at the base of the hold.

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Click here to see the unloading machinery in action.

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Navel, perhaps?

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Here’s what gets even the last pound making up the nearly 50,000-ton payload onto the salt dock.

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All fotos by Will Van Dorp.  Thanks to Brian DeForest of Atlantic Salt and the Balder crew for the tour.

It’s appropriate that this was Salt 6.  You’ll understand as you go through this post and the next one.

Just like it’s appropriate that this Cat is prowling.

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Wonder what’s the relationship between this dark shape arriving and safe driving and even on safe walking on streets in the lit-up Manhattan in the distance?

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Balder is in port with almost 50,000 tons of crystals from the deserts of Chile aka road . . .

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. . .  salt.

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She drifts in silently and crews make her fast.

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Can you imagine doing this in a February or any other cold month sixth boro?

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Well  . . . it happens

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again and again, ship after ship, with utmost concern for safety.

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Balder (2002) features a self-unloading system.

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Once all lines are secured along with customs check and other paperwork,  partial crew change .  . .

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While some of the city sleeps, Balder’s arm stretches forth and the Cats get to work.

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All fotos by Will Van Dorp, who is very appreciative for Atlantic Salt terminal manager Brian DeForest’s permission to  be in the yard.

 

Two words juxtaposed in this headline from May 1914 NYTimes  are not ones I expect to see . ..  “Roosevelt” and “tug.”  Click on the image and (I hope) you’ll get the rest of the article.

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Below is Aidan, the Booth Line steamer which returned the former President from Belem, near the mouth of the Amazon.

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On October 4, 1913, Roosevelt boarded the vessel belowS. S. Van Dyck--for Brazil.  Departure was from Brooklyn

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Pier 8, to the left below.   Click the foto to see the source.

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What’s driving this post is Candice Millard’s 2005 The River of Doubt:  Theodore Roosevelt’s Darkest Journey, which I just finished reading.  Learning about the namesake–Candido Rondon– for the vessel in foto 8 here while in Brazil last summer prompted me to finally read this book.  Ever know that the ex-US President was stalked by invisible cannibals as he and Rondon led a joint Brazilian/American group down a 400-mile uncharted tributary of the Amazon, now referred to as Rio Roosevelt  (pronounced Hio Hosevelt).

Well-worth the read!

Here was 9 in this series, mostly taken by my daughter last summer near the mouth of the Amazon.  And since the holidays allow me to finally get the narrated version from her, I’m adding a set.  She took all of these in Brasil, most in the Amapá state, with a trip over to the Pará state.  .  Yes, bowsprite . . . there’s a meia here too.

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Note the river tugs Merlim and Excalibur, and the small boat moving in

0aaaaowto touch up hull paint.

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Passenger vessels come in all shapes.

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Passengers find a place where they can hang on, or

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not.

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Cargo transfers happen under way.

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Sleeping quarters are air conditioned.

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International commerce

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is nearby.

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Tug and barge transport is common.

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More soon.

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Thanks Myriam.  Maybe I’ll be your assistant next summer.

For more workboats from this area, click here.  For a tug aka rebocador on a Brazilian beach, click here.

Here are segments 1–5.

New York City is one of those places where tens of thousands of restaurants serve food from every imaginable region on earth.  Scroll through the NYTimes restaurant list for a small sampling.   Ditto music venues with sounds of the world.

The vessel below caries a mundane product that also travels from an obscure region.  Guess?

It’s not oil, like the product Scotty Sky delivers.  Oil itself is quite exotic in that it arrives from geological eras in our planet’s unimaginable past.

er . . . make that Patrick Sky.  Sorry.

And Patrick Sky delivered nothng to our mystery vessel, named for a Norse god, Balder.   Either that, or the name derives from a landscape that more denuded now that before . . .  balder?  Actually the cargo comes from a place that nearly a century and a half ago saw a mineral-motivated War of the Pacific.    And the product is  . . .

salt.  New yorkers can pride themselves that their roads, come ice and snow, sport Peruvian salt.

Balder picked up this load in Ilo, Peru.   See her recent itinerary here.

So in a few weeks–maybe–when this salt ends up on streets and sidewalks, pick some unmelted granules up and smell it.

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You may catch hints of kiwicha and quinoa, and hearing strains of charanga, you might find your feet moving to the beat of a diablada.

And I know it’s all driven by economics, but of course, New York state has its own salt mines.  For Balder in drydock, click here.  For specs on its “self-unloading/reclaimer system,” click here.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp.

Dawn yesterday Rowan approaches the McAllister dock after a + 1500-mile tow of Patrice from Lake Ontario.   I suspect that even if you didn’t know Patrice‘ story,  you’d feel the pain.  In many places and times, white is/has been the color of mourning and

rebirth.  The colors and light here evoked thoughts of resurrection . . . as I stood in a little cove yesterday;  structures in the background are in Port Elizabeth.

I offer these fotos of Patrice  out of respect for the loss.

Meanwhile, the foto from yesterday shows unnamed vessels lying in the port of Ushuaia (end of the world, beginning of everything), over 6500 miles south of the sixth boro.   Latitude number for Ushuaia is 54 degrees south;  Copenhagen is 55 degrees north.

Distance from Ushuaia to Cape Horn is less than 100 miles.   Again, thanks to Ben Orlove who took this foto from Le Boreal.

Using what’s stowed in this vessel and the one from two days back–Black Seal–you’d have “fixins” for lots of

banana splits.  To ensure these tropical foods arrive in prime condition, stow those bananas properly on this reefer.  All manner of stowing advice comes your way from Stowmasters.

What impressed me, though, since I could observe it, was the quick tie up and turn around:  Albermarle Islandapproaches the dock at 8 a.m. with assistance from Brendan Turecamo and Margaret Moran, who

ease the vessel sideways.  Slowly and

steadily.  Crew on the ship and the dock make lines

fast.

By 8:20, it’s “all fast” and the tugs move to the next job.  Less than 10 hours later, Albermarle Island has headed out the Narrows bound for sea and Europe.

I’m left wondering about the story of these bananas in both the weeks before and after this docking.  Here’s a start.   Bowsprite drew a sister of Albermarle here, and I  wrote about the previous generation of reefer vessels in the sixth boro over three years ago here.  Anyone know what happened to the smaller “Ocean” class, and why the “Island” class calls at Red Hook rather than Howland Hook?

All fotos here by Will Van Dorp, who wrote about shipment of another commodity here.

This is called doing penance . . .  Torm Kristina . . .  I checked high and low for square-rigged masts . .  and found none.  Hmmm . . .  must be a motor vessel, not a ship at all.

Same for MSC  Linzie.

Valcadore.  Nope.

Hilda Knutsen . . .  I thought she was promising, but no dice.

Stena Performance . . . sorry.    She too is a motor vessel.

Ever Develop . . . same negatory once again.

I guess I’ll have to make my way up to the East (non) River

to find a real ship.  And what a ship she is:  when Karl Kortum located her on the River Platte, 80 years old and converted into a scow for transporting dredge spoils, the locals refered to her as “el gran velero,” i.e., the great sailboat.  As a sailing ship, she once called in the New York harbor . . .  Erie Basin, to be exact . . .  in January 14  1895, arriving in exactly three months from Taltal, Chile. Yup, that was pre-Panamax of any sort.  She stayed in the sixth boro,  albeit the Bayonne side of it, until March 21, 1895, when she sailed for Calcutta . . .  making a passage of  just over four months. As to cargo, I’d wager nitrates to New York, and petroleum product (kerosene) to Calcutta.

All fotos here by Will Van Dorp.  The info on the ship Wavertree aka el gran velero comes from the fine book called The Wavertree, published by South Street Seaport in 1969, the year she arrived in NYC.

Does anyone have fotos on Wavertree‘s arival in NYC, similar to these for Peking?   Check out NYTimes article from January 12,  1969 and another from December 27,  1975.

No, here Peking gets escorted up the East River a mere 14 months ago, almost like a human nonagenarian, for a 97-year-old she was when my partner Elizabeth caught this portentous shot.  Portentious, maybe?  Even the tug name–McAllister Responder–sounds like an anonymous institutional care-giver, as in “Hi Peking.  I’m on-call as your responder today.  I hope you’re having a lovely day.”  No offense meant to Responder (ex-Empire State, ex-Exxon Empire State);  it’s just that here the name adds to the pathos of this scene.  But despite the leaden water, the monochromatic palette imposed by the threatening, dark sky,  a few spears of hope zapped through, for at this point, some thought she might receive more than a make-over;  she might be fully rebuilt with new structure as well as cosmetics, we hoped.

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Alas, 14 months later, to this passerby, Peking still languishes in a form of ship purgatory.

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Recently Joe sent me these fotos, taken at sea by his uncle Frank sometime in 1929-30.  It’s Peking mid-Atlantic:  a vital cog in an economic machine, working sail that sprinted the seas less-trafficked  today between Northern Europe and Southwestern South America, a “fast” one-way passage taking over two months.  Northbound to European industries, she carried nitrates, a vital raw material in producing fertilizer and explosives.

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A few years after these fotos, Peking came off the high seas into the confines of the River Medway to Shaftesbury Homes–aka the National Refuges for Destitute Children– and re-named Arethusa, appropriate maybe, since the original Arethusa was a shape-shifting nereid who transformed herself into a stream to avoid the advances of a suitor more powerful than she.  By the way, Shaftesbury Homes still exists, still performs a variation on its function to provide a practical education for young people otherwise destined to a purgatorial life of poverty.

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Here, 80 years ago, she still breathed vigor, flexed steel sinews, a titan of merchant sail as expeditious as steam power.  On that day 14 months ago, I put my ear to her deck, and for a few seconds I thought I heard raspy breaths, felt a flutter that could have become a pulse, but

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I now suspect I was mistaken.   Can I, might the armies of willing hands perform CPR on Peking and coax some vitality back?  Might transfusions help?

A hero of mine, Joseph Conrad wrote these lines in “The End of the Tether,” Chapter 6:  “A laid-up steamer was a dead thing and no mistake;  a sailing ship seems always ready to spring to life with the breath of the incorruptible heaven; but a steamer, thought Captain W, with her fires out, without the warm whiffs from below meeting you on her decks, without the hiss of steam, the clangs of iron in her breast–lies there as cold and still and pulseless as a corpse.”

Conrad might just have been wrong about sailing ships:  the last lines on Peking need still be written, and I cringe to think what these words may tell.  For now, we keep watch.

The artistic Bowsprite infuses the lines and colors of Peking with new energy here, as she starts a series on the moribund barque.

And if you try some Spanish, here’s naveganteglenan‘s post from Spain on Peking.

Many thanks to Joe for sharing these black-white family fotos.

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Graves of Arthur Kill

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