A reader recently sent this picture of John B. Caddell. It’s steaming under the Bayonne Bridge, which, if you didn’t recognize it, is the classic bridge that graces the top of my blog page. Richard, thanks. Happy solstice! Carrying the equivalent of at least 30 large tanker trucks, coastal tankers like John B.  lessen highway congestion. A well-maintained old ship is a thing of beauty. caddel.jpg
Even though it’s not been cold yet, it is winter, and this vessel could be carrying home heating fuel, like a larger sister ship, 72 years old, that ran aground a month ago.

For me, the best thing about winter solstice is that I get to rest for a while and because the days in the north are now starting to get longer again, and we’re halfway back to summer. The best thing about summer solstice day in New York is the Mermaid Festival. The mural below caged by chainlink fence does not even begin to capture the wonder of that day. By the way, if you’ve never gone or if you’ve heard that it’s tacky… just go in 2007; summer solstice, like its winter sibling, comes around only once a year, an opportunity not to be missed. I’m planning to march there in 2007, so email me if you want to join the crew. Coney Island, thanks!


Come summer, all the beautiful sails will be back in the harbor haze, like Lettie G. Howard. Help me here. Elizabeth, thanks for this photo and the next.



That’s Pioneer eastbound with a yawl? to starboard and Adirondack westbound. Now count the sails on Pioneer. There’s one more than you usually see, the sixth one, the parallelogram-shaped one on the foremast. Name it?

It’s called a fisherman. I’m going out on a limb here, but I’d say it takes a minimum of eight crew to tack it, as it needs to be lowered and re-raised with each tack. The picture above–thanks, Annette– shows how a crew tries to cooperate in raising the fisherman.

Only 182 days left til summer solstice! Tonight, I’m lighting every candle in the house and planning the parade!

All photos by Will Van Dorp.