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Guess what this is?  I’ll call it T-time on Kraken.

Then this is T minus five minutes.  Note the orange mass just forward of the channel marker.

T minus five seconds!

Believe it or not . . . this is T PLUS five seconds.  So, there was a thud that resonated through the concrete barrier I braced myself behind on shore at least 600 feet away, and then the sound of spray seen in the first foto above.  But five seconds beyond . . . mist had dissipated and some gurgles formed in the water.

T plus fifteen seconds . . . the first bird arrives and the water turns muddy.

T plus a half minute, the gurgles have grown, appear grainy and muddy, and a yellowish mist forms.

One minute beyond . .  birds have heard the dinner bell . . . er . . . blast.

I wonder what the cormorant on lower right of center is thinking . . ..

Two minutes beyond . . .

And the zone reopens to traffic.  All fotos by Will Van Dorp, who has a blast every time he goes down to the water.  The last blast depicted on this blog–taken in Panama–was the final foto in this post from back in March.

Here was installment 2.  Look carefully at the first foto . . . from back four years ago.  An update follows, but  . . . first, a foto from Chris Williams and the Erie Canal, it’s Kalyan Offshore‘s 450 hp Lil Joe.

An equal number of hours driving north of the sixth boro gets you to the dredging of PCBs from the Hudson riverbed near Fort Edward.  A version of the story can be found here.    Scows move through the locks with a small tug at each end .  .  . like here Turning Point has the apparent bow and

Champlain the stern.

Here, below the lock, Washington moves a scow upriver.

And here’s what I was referring to at the top of this post:  the other day, much to my surprise, who emerged from the fog . . . . the indomitable Helen Parker.  Almost exactly a year ago (October 13) she capsized and sank near Pier 84.  The story is here, fourth one down.

Fair winds and smooth waters!

Was it my imagination, or did I see Rae appear on AIS the other day?  I’m keeping my eyes open for her.   Compared with these truckable tugs, she’s huge at 46′ loa.    And as for the term “truckable tugs,”  after the trek of Alwyn Vintcent, the definition of the category is greatly enlarged.

Yesterday’s post featured a dredge that vacuums diamonds off the seabed.  I’d thought this remained mostly still the stuff of Jules Verne, but here’s a fairly recent assessment from the Economist, a half-decade-old article from Der Spiegel, and a southern African treasure trove of several sorts.  Dredging in the sixth boro allows trade worth billions to proceed in orderly fashion and without  . . . groundings.  Here MSC Emma heads southbound out of Newark Bay and toward the Bayonne Bridge, KVK, and …  the Atlantic.  Notice the tallest building in NYC (as of today) about seven miles away in distant Manhattan across the peninsula of Bayonne.

For outatowners, check out the lower left of the AIS screen capture below; doubleclick enlarges.  See Elizabethport?  Move toward the right along the bottom . . . see Kraken?  The foto above was taken roughly where Maurania III appears.   Now move across Bayonne toward the upper right and you’ll see lower Manhattan, where 1WTC is located.  The sinuous body of water along the lower center of the image is the KVK, the west end of which is crossed by the Bayonne Bridge, which you’ve seen at the top of this blog since post #1.

Below is the backhoe dredge Capt. A. J. Fournier, represented by the lowermost left magenta diamond.  Elizabethport’s St. Patrick’s Church is in the background between Capt AJ’s spuds, which appear of different heights because one is implanted in a deeper portion of the channel than its mate.

Notice the red clay,

overflowing buckets of it, 105% full

buckets of it.  On the south side of the gantry cranes at Port Elizabeth near the Horizon Lines vessel, another

dredge is working.  Foto taken from F. J. Belesimo showing self-dumping scow looking west and

east, again toward Manhattan.

Finally, here crew inspects the swivel motors inside the cabin of F. J. Belesimo.  Notice the diameter of drums that control the clamshell bucket.

Again, many thanks to Frank Belesimo for this tour of Cashman’s  Newark Bay/Arthur Kill project.    Any errors are my own.

And all this dredging relates to all the digging down in Panama.

Unrelated:  Note the new button . . . upper left.  Tug Pegasus (1907) and Waterfront Museum Barge aka Lehigh Valley 79 (1914)  have teamed up in a grant application for $$ for preservation work each vessel needs.  As a component of the decision-making about who gets the $$, Partners in Preservation have a “socialmedia-meter” running from now until May 21.  To help Pegasus and Lehigh Valley 79 register high on this “meter,” you can do two things from wherever on the planet you may be:  1)  befriend them on Facebook and get dozens of your friends to befriend them as well, and 2)   vote DAILY here.    DAILY!  Seems like a crazy way to run an election, but  . . . that’s social media and in this case, the cause is worthy.

Here’s the Facebook link.   For some background on Pegasus and its captain Pam Hepburn, watch this great video from almost 20 years ago.    And you must watch this. . .  a video made last week in which Pam and David explain their project . . . most compelling.

Ten weeks ago I did this post about Kraken–the best named vessel in the sixth boro.  That day, I sat on the west shore of Bayonne looking at Elizabeth.  But yesterday . . . with many thanks to Frank Belesimo, VP  of  Cashman Dredging, I got onto the water for a close-up tour of the Kraken and masterful description of how it works.   Here we approach the boat with our backs to Bayonne.  That’s St. Patrick’s Church to the right.  The red tug is Jay Michael (1980).

The orange /red tint to the water speaks of the red clay soil of the area as well as

the cords that conduct the blast signal into the charges placed below.

Three bore-platforms operate along a rail, drilling into the bottom and placing the charges.

In the background on the Elizabethport shore is the huge now-defunct Singer plant.

This is intense work.

Moving inside the house, notice Elizabeth Marine Terminal/Port Newark in the background, along with the peninsula of Bayonne and the cliffs of Manhattan beyond.   And on the line stretched betwen bore-platforms, those nodes at the end of each orange signal cord will

ultimately be clipped together so that when the time comes, a coordinated blast will occur down below, cracking up the

whatever hard bottom material needs to be taken away to reach the contracted depth.

More on this dredging project later.  All fotos by Will Van Dorp; getting the tour the same day the Shuttle flew over . . . I positive NASA wanted a close-up view of the project as well.

Thanks to Harold and eastriver for their recent comments on (I’d say) opposing points of view on change, on of the future of the sixth boro as a major port.  Work has proceeded apace for a future involving larger vessels.  The barely visible yellow vessel in the foreground is one instrument in that work.  Some specs and a company foto of her, drill boat Kraken, can be found at the bottom of this company site.     By her virtual invisibility, she reminds of USS Monitor.

Low profile does not translate to low power.  With her three towers, Kraken drills holes into bedrock, inserts dynamite, and then triggers the blast to loosen that rock so that shovels on other Cashman and DonJon vessels can remove it.

The structure on stilts here must be mission control, like the “tower” for mid-20th century air traffic controllers.  Work was happening Sunday despite the cold snap.

After a blast, as I said, shovels transfer loosened materials into scows towed by vessels like Atlantic Salvor  to “dump sites” offshore.  notice in the background another drill ship, Apache, which I wrote about here.   Atlantic Salvor here tows the scow underneath Bayonne Bridge, another controversial target of change in the sixth boro as a port. I wrote about this here and here back last November, on the days of the 80th anniversary of the dedication of the Bridge.

Two notes:  First, not all the dredging in the sixth boro relates to navigation.  Along the Passaic River in Newark NJ, a dredging project to remove Agent Orange -related contamination is underway.  See a video on this project here.

Second, way over the horizon, but just a week away by sea is another node of this change in the sixth boro . . . I mean the Panama Canal.    Note one of the dredge boats Samson in lower right of this screen capture of the Atlantic end of the Canal.   Samson is one of the vessels operated by DEME-Group Dredging International, a contractor working on enlarging the Panama Canal.   Another one of their vessels is Yuang Dong 007, a larger version of Kraken and Apache.  Note that the screen capture below is time-sensitive.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp, who’s beginning to feel a stronger gravitational pull from the Canal.

Unrelated:  in today’s NYTimes, check out this article on maritime whistleblowers.

And (thanks to a reminder from jpaul) these 1940s/50s fotos of NYC by Charles W. Cushman published in yesterday’s NYTimes.

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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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