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I hoped to ride Elbe to Maassluis, but due to my misread of the waterbus schedule, we were JUST too late . .  and watched from the quay.  For two short movies of Elbe leaving the dock, check my Facebook page.


You may recall previous posts here and here about these machines called “alligators” or warping tugs, flat bellied vessels used in timbering a century ago that could pull themselves across short stretches of land between bodies of water.    These photos were sent to me by Steven Smith who owns a camp near where the photos of wreckage in the second link above were taken.  The images that follow likely show that same tug in its prime.  Steve writes that in the early 1920s, the tug was “shipped on a flatbed railroad car to the RR station at Bemis, Maine, next to Mooselucmeguntic lake – it steamed over to Upper Dam, over the carry to Richardson Lake then to Middle Dam and then down the Carry road to its home on Pond in the River all under its own power .”  Notice the name Roebling on the spool of cable.  Alligator worked on the lakes from 1923 until about 1953.




In this close-up, notice the levers and U-joints employed to raise the props and shafts during land transits.


The next two photos below show while the Alligator was in transit from the Bemis RR station to Pond in the River:  two lakes and two transits on dry land to get to Pond in the River



Thanks much to Steve Smith for sending along these photos.  Credit for the top four photos goes to Brown Company Collection, Michael Spinelli, Jr. Center for University Archives and Special Collections, Herber H. Lamson library and Learning Commons, Plymouth State University, and that’s in Plymouth, NH.

And the timing . . . check out this story about the annual celebration of alligators  below NYC . .  maybe connecting the various parts of the sixth boro.

Taken over in Newark Bay . .  a shrink-wrapped airplane on a barge . .  foto compliments of the team over at Henry Marine.  I did this post in April 2013, but you should befriend them on Facebook at Tug Life at Henry Marine for a different take on working in the sixth boro.  Anyone know where this airplane has gone/is going?  Two of several previous posts with airplanes on barges are here and here.


Over in Tottenville, it’s Bertha and the Outerbridge beyond that.  Thanks to Ashley for this foto.  Previously, Ashley sent along this foto.


Up near the Thousand Islands and the Canadian border, it’s Bowditch, foto compliments of Bob Stopper.  Bowditch dates from 1954 and used to be called Hot Dog.  More of Bob’s fotos from upstate NY and other places soon.


Taken on Penobscot Bay, it’s Cangarda, thanks to Allan Seymour.  He and Sally do the Sally W blog.


The next two–showing fish tugs–were taken by my sister on Lake Huron in August.  Previously I did posts about fish tugs here, here, and here.   Here‘s another series on Nancy K.   See more L & R here.



And last but not least, taken off New London during its schooner fest, it’s Malabar II, a 91-year-old vessel of John Alden design.  Fotos of this timeless vessel come compliments of Rod Clingman.



Mant thanks to Rod, Allan, Bob, Maraki, and –last but not least–the crew at Henry Marine for permission to use these fotos.

Now some info on other people’s events:


Working Harbor Committee Circumnavigation of Staten Island

Bring Harvest dome to Gowanus

and last but certainly not least . . .  that’s a tugster foto below.  Click here for details.



Ten months ago I did this post of the 1905 ferry Binghamton.  Twenty months ago I did this one,  this  and this with many interior shots at that time.   The foto below dates from October 2011 just after Irene.


Here was Binghamton this morning, a work of disintegrative art, refusing to buckle in spite of Sandy.


North end October 2011 and


today, June 2013.


South end 2011 and


peeled back 2013.


Closer up as seen from the right bank 20 months ago and




See a Flickr foto of a NJ historical marker no longer memorializing the wreck, click here.  In its place, someone has had the good sense to inscribe the walls of the guardhouse with the 94-year-old words of a gallivanting Edna St Vincent Millay.


How will she fare in the next 10 months?



For a beautifully illustrated report on the life of the ferry prepared by Bill Lee, click here.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp.

Unrelated but cool story here about a 61-year-old immigrant to US circumnavigating in a 24′ sailboat!!

Two years ago, I learned about these tugs while north of the border here.   Many thanks to Paul Fehling for today’s fotos of alligator tug remains.  He took the fotos while canoeing recently in western Maine.    My reference book called Alligators of the North makes me believe these could be this could be what’s left of a 1923 warping tug called Alligator shipped from Simcoe Ontario to Portland Maine.

These ruins raise questions like . . .  are there fotos of Alligator intact and

how did it ship from Lake Erie to here?

When was it last operational?

It lies downstream from Umbagog Lake near the New Hampshire/Maine border, not far from the town of Errol, where I haven’t been in over 20 years.

Many thanks to Paul Fehling.

For some coastal Maine delights, click here for Sally W reports from Camden.

This does not look like a highway scene, yet

it IS the stretch of Route 10 that will get you the best fuel economy and can accommodate quite oversized loads

whether they come from Manitowoc or Chengxi or

anywhere else, Badger can move backward

driven from here or

forward . . .

to get you there.  It has for a long time, and we hope will continue that role.

This last foto from the Badger onboard museum. All others by Will Van Dorp, who will continue along Route 10 today.  More Badger soon.  Click here to learn more about the imminent threat to the ferry.

A salmon-fishing dog in a kayak being paddled by a human and tailed by a Coast Guard RIB . . . that’s intriguing, but the 50 or so folks with me at the end of the jetty were not there to greet the pooch.  We were there to see the badger,

this Badger.

Badger entered service about the same year I did and

now she’s threatened, at least in her current state of being a coal-fired steam-powered ferry.  For part of the year she shuttles between Ludington, MI and Manitowoc, WI . . . as she has for 60 years, but

like I said, this might be it.  That’s reason enough to

take a ride, which I’m about to do.  More soon from the 60-miles one-way trip between the two Lake Michigan ports.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp.

In Utah a few weeks ago, I saw a deer, recently dead . . . judging by the redness of some remaining tissue, but scavengers like ravens and coyotes had mostly picked clean its intact ribcage, which itself would soon be hauled away in sections by the larger beasts.  Binghamton, the 1905 ferry, is dead.

Riverwater ravens and coyotes have been picking her clean but ever so slowly. I took the next three fotos last October, 2011.

Here’s a post I did with interior shots, including this

elegant staircase leading up to the bar.

Fast forward 10 months:  Sally Seymour took these fotos late last week as they traveled downriver in the rain.

The river has been scavenging, but

ever so slowly, as if to say . . . I know some of this beauty could be saved but  it

just “aint gonna happen.”

If one option is letting the vessel disintegrate and travel downriver piecemeal, then I hope a huge machine gets in here and devours it in a day BUT invites me in to take fotos of each bite.

But oh . . .  that bar!!

Fotos 5, 6, and 7 by Sally Seymour.  All others by Will Van Dorp.  And thanks to Walter Stevens for sending this background article along . .  published early December 2011.

Narrative by Pamela Syndercombe, sent to me as email, abridged by me.  It’s winter in South Africa.

“I set off in my bakkie  (small pickup) to watch the progress up the Rooi Hooghter Pass, which one climbs to enter Villiersdorp.   The vintage tractors trundled slowly along to gather just outside the village to escort Alwyn Vintcent (AV).  They appeared out  of the cold early morning mist like pictures from the past.

By 9 o’clock the sun was starting to  burn through  but it was still cold. Then the ALE truck with the pole for height measuring came past.  Police sirens screamed and blue lights flashed  before the procession appeared around the first bend.  The more intrepid of the vintage cars were there too…shining and more highly polished than the day they came out of the box!  The sun shone as it only can on a winter’s day in the Cape amongst the mountains.   AV soon appeared, one truck in front and one pushing from behind…and of course braking on the down hills. The tug looked simply enormous at this point.  She passed me at the really quite sharp corner where the view was splendid  across the deep donga (cutaway caused by erosion).  I wiped my eyes blew my nose and joined the queue of vehicles  back on the road to Villiersdorp.

All along the road there were little groups of farm workers, their wives and children  waving  and cheering. Pruning work on the orchards and vineyards came to a stop.  The big Dutch Reform Church was ringing its bells and my tears came again.  Andy (Andy Selfe, who wrote the narrative in the link that follows.) balanced precariously on a water tower outside the village gave me a wave and later confessed that he  had been crying so hard he could hardly see to use his camera.  Slowly slowly though the village, the main road lined with watchers….smiles from ear to ear everywhere.   Even those who came  to grumble still came to watch. All the tractors and vintage cars were leading the old lady.  Then home for me  to blow my nose again and reflect on the persistence of a few men….which gave me more understanding of and admiration for the character of the farmers in this area.”

Here are fotos and Andy’s account, with great details like abnormal load exits, hugging speed cops, campfire under the tug at night, getting barked at by baboons, and self-described “bunch of crazy farmers” … with references to laager (circle-the-wagons camp), lay-by (rest area) , and hooters (horns). . .  .  Here’s a glossary.    Click here for the AV main site with lots of links and video.

Congratulations to Andy and the Tractor club and all the crews.  Thanks to Pamela for sharing her reaction.     Here and here are previous posts I’ve done on AV.   Here was “Relief Crew #14.”

Alwyn Vintcent has moved over the mountains from Cape Town.  Credit here goes to Villiersdorp blog, where you can find many many more fotos.  Credit also goes to some amazing farmers with a dream and then grit to make it real.  I’m just putting up three fotos of the arrival, because they move me.

Here’s a post I did six weeks ago about Alwyn Vintcent.

Again, thanks to Villiersdorp Events for these fotos.

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My job . . . Summer AND Fall 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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