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Actually the key is making it possible for the helicopter to find you.  In some cases, assisting the task of arriving at your location makes the difference between life and death;  things don’t always go so well.  On a windy unsettled afternoon last week I happened to be there when


an obsessively circling C-130 over Oswego’s lighthouse demanded attention.  I wish I’d stumbled onto this scene the day they trained search & rescue with a Reaper drone.   Here’s another link about that drill.


As it was, the helicopter here working with the USCG puzzled me, and



having no VHF or binoculars, I couldn’t tell whether the debris on the jetty was just drifted remains of a Lake Ontario shoreline tree, but


someone had certainly swum to proximity of  rescuer.


In the half hour that followed at least a half dozen “winchings up” and “down” before


it returned to USCG Station Oswego.   Click here for their flickr page.   Click here for info on the blue-yellow structure to the lower left, NYS Derrick Boat 8, the last steam-powered barge (with dredge capabilities at one time) on the Erie Canal . . . maybe even in New York .  DB8 is also known as Lance Knapp, named for a salvage diver.



A half year ago I watched a helicopter rescue drill  here.

All fotos taken within an hour by Will Van Dorp.  Here was my previous swimming post.

PS:  Enjoy the additional fotos below from the Port of Oswego, showing schooner OMF Ontario,  LT-5, and fishtug Eleanor D, and Oswego West Pierhead Light.




. . . well it’s actually  on the Bay, San Juan Bay.  Coming upon this . . . I first thought an accident had occurred.


Note the two objects–helmeted heads–bobbing on the water in lower left.



Then a basket exits and lowers,


half a minute later it’s returning to the aircraft,


fifteen seconds later,


three minutes later,


and a minute later.


These vessels slowly left the scene.  My conclusion . . . a drill.


But I’m not sure.

All fotos in San Juan harbor by Will Van Dorp.

Fotos from Barbara at Rockaway Beach around 100th Street here.  Emergency message to folks on the boardwalk:  “Go inside, and no surfing.”

From Gary, East River looking toward the mouth of Newtown Creek and

toward the 59th Street Bridge.    No movement.

And finally, from L’amica dalla torre di orologio . . .  Hudson River . . . looking toward  the Statue of Liberty, who probably wishes she could hunker down behind her pedestal.   Geometrical structure to the left is the floating Battery Park City Ferry Terminal.   I’m not sure what contingencies exist for it during a surge, since it’s basically a hull.

Currently Captain of the Port has order vessels of a certain tonnage to leave the docks, as it’s safer for them to hang in the stream than stay affixed to a rigid structure.   So cruising in the North river now as sightseeing vessels,

Meagan Ann,

and the Sandy Hook pilot boats!

That’s the Erie Lackawanna Terminal Tower/Hoboken Terminal in the background.

USCG . . . off to respond to a recreational vessel that’s dragged its mooring?

And finally, back to Rockaway . .  as nightfalls.

Many thanks to Barbara, Gary, and L’amica for these fotos.  The worst is yet to come, I fear.  Stay inside and away from the tongues and talons of water that surge in.

And this just in . . . video from helicopter of USCG rescue of folks from HMS Bounty.

Small craft to come, but first . . . the missing foto from yesterday’s post . . . how DID the heaving line get through the eye aka “closed chock”?  Hope this foto helps;  I do believe I see the monkeyfist flying upward from the crewman at the rail;  crew on the upper level passed it to the crewman forward of the chock?

It’s been over two years since I’ve used this title. Small craft  come in many shapes,

are operated by professional mariners,

respond to emergencies with versatility,

and shuttle specialists between shore and much larger craft.

This one I first thought was transporting booms but now I think had some festive mission, given what appears to be a sizable bouquet over the engine compartment.

They operate for many agencies,

commercial entities,

government services, and

and law enforcement groups.

They work in diverse

weather, all

year round.

Enjoy a few more:

All fotos by Will Van Dorp, who apologizes for not knowing who operates some of these small craft.

Whatzit???  Answer follows.

Note what’s on the deck of USCGC Mackinaw WLLB-30, built in Wisconsin and homeported in Cheboygan, MI.   Foto thanks to Kyran Clune.

Now here’s my favorite local government boat, although

I’ve been unable to find any info about its age and place of

origin.  If I got a yacht, it would look like this.  Anyone help here on Hudson?

Maintenance o aids to navigation is needed wherever and whatever those aids be.  Note the Roncado crew on

the buoy.

Anyhow . . . here’s the bigger context on that top foto;  USCG 49405 seems to have more

buoys on her “to do list” than

her stern can accommodate.

This is NOT at all a government boat, but I snapped this a few weeks ago.  Upon further examination, I’m wondering about the barge and  . . . is that a portside offset upper house?

Last shot . .  again, no government boat is this, but exactly a year ago today, Papillon came ashore . . . prompting many hours of visitation of government employees . . . if not boats.  Here and here are two of my posts;  go back to the April 201 archives for many more.  Ironically, I have never been able to find out what became of the vessel.

Happy April!  Again thanks to Kyran for his Lake Michigan foto.  All others by Will Van Dorp.

January 1909.  New Jersey-built Ambrose LV-87 in second year on the job.  Photo by N. L. Stebbins.  Click on the next two fotos and you’ll get to their context.  Click here for many more Stebbins fotos.

January 1912, a mere 1202 months ago.  Ambrose at work with White Star Olympic passing in background. Olympic at this time was less than a year on the job and already suffered one collision.  Four months later, of course, her younger sister ship would begin its ill-fated maiden voyage to New York.

I recall seeing this foto before I moved to New York and imagined that “channel 87″ was the means to contact the vessel.  Oh well . . . live and learn, eh?

March 2012.  Ambrose in her 46th year post-decommissioning after having served the USCG (and precursors) 59 years.  Photo by Birk Thomas.  In lower right hand corner, that’s Atlantic Salt’s Richmond Terrace mountain.

St. Peter’s neo-Romanesque sanctuary has dominated the east end of the KVK for over a century.

Structure just forward of Ambrose here is Sono’s “postcards,” a 9/11 memorial.

This may be my last post for a while . . . am gallivanting south soon.

Many thanks to Birk for these fotos.

Related:  Click here for a Reginald Marsh mural of a black-hulled Ambrose.  Here are some crew shots from the late 1950s.

Unrelated:  Crossing the Darien isthmus right now is Ever Deluxe, which appeared just barely in this post from almost three years ago . .  and NYK Diana, a Howland Hook regular.

Friday afternoon I timed a foray on the harbor perfectly with respect to light.  Here’s a previous “golden hour” post, from over four years ago.   And although I’m not a literalist with much, the “hour” the other afternoon lasted less than 20 minutes.

16:24 . . .  guided by the new wind turbine, Hanjin Albany and two unidentified tugs catch the beginning of the gilded light. I’m not sure what Hanjin Albany carried in or intends to carry out.

16:25 . . .  in a different area of the Upper Bay, APL Turquoise and Charles D. McAllister (or is it McAllister Responder??) have not quite entered that enhancing light.

16:37 . . . same APL Turquoise and Charles D. (I’ll assume) are now fully adorned in gold.   Solomon Sea pushes a set of scows with golden sand.

Too short this light lasts;  in 30 minutes it’ll be winter night.

16:36 . . . Giulio Verne in a different part of the harbor bathe in lesser amounts of this light.

Solomon Sea‘s sand piles could not be more embellished.

But by 16:42 . . . the brilliance diminishes already unless

here, at 16:42 and beyond Staten Island’s shadow, Samuel I. Newhouse and RBM 45612, still linger in the golden light.

All fotos during this 18-minute interval, by Will Van Dorp.

Wow!  Almost 40 years ago, another 18-minute unit was significant.

The sixth boro must have such a reputation for  . . . beauty that cutters like Seneca come to admire it, especially in late afternoon setting sun.  1535 hrs.

And I might construe this as an old bulker named Nassau, registered in Nassau Paradise, came to the sixth boro for

the same reason as WMEC-906.

1605 hrs . . .  I was out for that reason myself, to see Linda Moran eastbound, or

Pati R. Moran westbound at 1630.  I tried unsuccessfully to run to get closer for a better shot.

1644 . . . Laura K. heads northbound for a job.

1645 . .  Ellen S. Bouchard heads westbound past Barney Turecamo.

Parting shot of Ellen . .  a few seconds later.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp.

If you have a chance to get to Pier 25 in Lower Manhattan, you should see Carolina Salguero‘s Maritime 9/11 exhibit on steamer Lilac.  Click here for info.

Also, check out this very moving 12-minute video called Boatlift, an effort to evacuate Lower Manhattan 10 years ago using the fastest, safest route out.  In the past week, New York harbor aka the sixth boro has seen a large vessel as

well as these small ones, RIBs.   They seem to be everywhere, but

maybe it’s just a few flying hither and yon

actively intercepting

anyone in the wrong place.  That’s QM2 leaving town after being escorted across the Upper Bay last week.

Try intruding on a safety zone and

these folks will intercept you in the most

convincing and

intimidating fashion.

No matter the time and weather . . . and

the sixth boro’s seen enough weather of late to take on Mississippi mud colors…

these patrol vessels zoom around.

along with RBMs (in the distance) and vessels

of other agencies like NYPD.

I’m not posting tomorrow.  I’m going off to a meditative place.  The closing foto today comes thanks to Capt. Justin Zizes.  Thanks, Justin.

A parting thought . .  I think it’s possible that folks who have never lived in NYC might have a hard time understanding New Yorkers.  I’m just a transplant here, but I understand the sentiments described in this NYTimes article by N. R. Kleinfield.

All fotos except the last one by Will Van Dorp.

We’ll get to Eagle, but first . . . I encountered this sight as I lined up today’s shots.  What IS that and where?

Anyhow, I heard Eagle‘s initial “under way” around 11:30.

John Watson monitored from his POV . .  .

I envied her leaving Manhattan’s oven temperatures and hazy light*.  I believe this ends Eagle‘s summer 2011 patrol marking her 75th anniversary.  She started the summer

in Waterford  a month ahead of the tall ships festival there, covered so ably by Capt. Boucher on Nautical Log.

A murder of crows gathered at Fort Wadsworth Lighthouse to pay respects.

I’m still looking for fotos and testimonials about Eagle‘s first trip inbound here in 1946 almost two decades before the Verrazano stood here, when Fort Lafayette languished  where the Brooklynside Tower now stands.

Which brings us back to the goats:  they are civil servants, federal employees . . .  low-budget custodians of crumbling federal infrastructure, New York’s answer to the chickens of Key West or the horses of Vieques.

Who knew?   Certainly not me . .  although they’ve been here awhile, as evidenced by this video.  I’d interpreted signs to “do not feed or pet the goats” as humor.  I’m already thinking now of a sign “do not feed or pet the Congress folks.”  Fill in the blanks with your own verbs for possible prohibitions.

Happy birthday Eagle!  A personal note . . . while taking these fotos I spoke with a passerby who wondered why the USCG maintains an antiquated sailing vessel for officer training.  My answer drew from conversations with a dear friend’s father two decades back who sailed on her in the 1950s . . . he said “The academy seeks not to train technologists but leaders.   Leadership training is what happens on cutter barque Eagle.”  What think you?

Thanks to John for foto #3;  all others by Will Van Dorp, who had to check . . . yes USCG vessel docs show three commercial vessels with goat in the name:  Goat Roper (Alaska) and SeaGoat and SeaGoat III (Louisiana).  Imagine the possibilities for figureheads . .  .

*For a whole different climate, check out Issuma’s view for 8/8 here.

Two tidbits from today’s NYTimes:

What we are learning from the “high n dry” USS Monitor

(thanks to eastriver) . . .  folks on the sixth boro’s low seas



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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.

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More Photos

Seth Tane American Painting

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

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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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