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So how many lighthouses do you suppose there are in New York, the state? This list gives over 75, and right off I know one that is missing. Can you identify the lighthouse below? Answer follows, but I’d really like to know the name of this bulk carrier that was entering the Narrows around noon last Sunday, 1/28. Help? It reminds me a little of–you guessed it–Alice, who by the way seems to be headed back north. westb.jpg

If you guessed, West Bank Light, you were correct. It’s about 3.5 nautical miles outside the Narrows. How about this next one?
It’s Old Orchard Light. Notice the Bridge and the Empire State Building to the left and the HSBC Bank in Brooklyn off to the right. For both of these lights and many more in many states, the list above gives some interesting history.

The image below makes “hermetically sealed” come to my mind. A hospitable captain says, “it makes a barge look sweet.” But it is functional. Fully loaded, Heroic Ace can carry over 4000 automobiles. And offload in less than 12 hours. I’m interested if anyone can confirm this and describe what it’s like to drive cars off such a vessel. Longshoreman or friends of? I saw this around 10am and around 8 pm a very similar vessel was outbound through the Narrows.


Sister ships–all with the “last name” Ace–have such first names as Utopia, Splendid, Progress, Prominent, Paradise, Euphony, and Freedom. All those listed are less than five years old. Can anyone speak to the evolution of the design of these vessels sometimes called “pure” (as in “dedicated”) car/truck carriers?


No pun intended with the word “listed,” but a similarly sized (18000+ dwt) slightly older cousin named Cougar Ace (built 1993 according to World Shipping Register) capsized off Alaska last summer. Read the story here. Very interesting photos at BYM Gallery and

When I learned of the Cougar Ace mishap last summer, I assumed the hold was a mess afterward; what surprised me in my research is that this was not the case. Only 41 cars of the 4700 onboard broke loose. Follow the efforts that led to re-righting the ship here.

Unrelated, check these posts from gowanus lounge: besides this on the sugar factory, scroll down on the right side for “another perspective…” and “underneath a 613-ton…” Fablog!! But Red Hook is changing fast.

Note: Check out gowanus lounge update first.

Now imagine a charming pinkie schooner and its hospitable master, a maritime educator, and two bloggers (but of course they each have multiple other identities). Now mix them with the sixth borough and a uniquely seasonal January day. Give them a destination, and here’s the result:

Add in an ebb tide. Raise all the sail including the fisherman, and pass an ATB (articulated tug barge) whose crew admire as we ride the ebb and wind outbound.
Throw in a flurry of traffic including some tankers, a car carrier, a container ship of course, some small fishing boats. And tell the helmsman, albehe a slacker with hand in pocket, to tack across shipping lanes.

Alternate she on the tiller periodically as we race across Raritan Bay, leaving West Bank light and a pilot boat in the looming.

Daylight wanes as we approach ultima Staten Islandus. Loons ululate a greeting (or something) as we sail into the approaches of Tottenville.

Destination reached. Temperature’s dropping. Must be time for some glog.


All photos by Will Van Dorp, except the one of me.


Ok… I’ll admit it: I’m spending too much time indoors looking at photos from last summer. Winter without snow is getting to me. Alice has abandoned us for the Gulf. Any idea when she’ll be back through here?

I miss being on the Hackensack and seeing the egrets feed in the tidal flats over by Snake Hill.



I miss boat projects like the tug Buffalo (sans name boards) between tug Waterford and the bulkhead. Any updates on engine restoration?


Call this a pair of colored plumes on Flag Day last June. The East River ran red and blue. Anyone know what they use to dye the water?



And this pair of cranes over by the threatened graving dock in Red Hook, I miss seeing them from the water. Will they be there in summer 2007?



All photos by Will Van Dorp.

With the image below, you might think the title should be “Figurehead” and a number… 3, I believe. Except this is a Pioneer crew member experimenting with a new technique for bow watch. It wouldn’t be called standing watch.

Or with the image below, you might think the title should be “Still More Sail 2.” But this is a training sail on Pioneer.

Or then again, you might think the photo below of two similarly clad deckhands practicing casting a line over the H-bitt of Decker belongs with Pairs and a number.


This might be More Convergence again… painting the bowsprit of Wavertree. But again it’s crew, maintenance crew this time learning to work aloft by working the least aloft, fighting the never-sleeping rust.
But actually, all these crew members are volunteers at South Street Seaport, and these are the second lives of these folks. If you are interested in having this as a second life, check out this information. By the way, no experience needed; they train. And it’s a fantastic way to meet interesting folks. The City has thousands of opportunities to volunteer and provide a priceless service. Two more are on the Gowanus and on the Hackensack.  Do I want a crew?  Sure, to march in the Mermaid Parade this summer.

All photos by Will Van Dorp.

Those Janus heads the other day startled me because they were so utterly divergent. The year is well on its way, the old has fallen away, and in looking over photos from last summer, I’ve been noticing partners, pairs in synch. Auspicious signs for the year ahead, I hope?



Kayakers, swimmers, terrapins, stripers, sea jellies… see them above headed up the East River? See some of them? Actually, I’ve seen terrapin swimming around under the piers more often than I’ve seen swimmers in the East River.


I don’t know what type of sailboat this is, but they’ve equal belly in their sails as they race toward Ellis Island and the next tack. Below a pair of McAllister tugs bring Eagle upriver. Interesting info and photos of the Eagle can be found at that link.


Below are a pair of Norwegian Cruise LinesNorwegian Dawn and Norwegian Jewel— plus one leaving Jersey City’s Goldman Sachs to starboard and outbound. Actually a third smaller NCL ship follows them. A guess that makes triplets, and I’m getting drifting. That may be a good omen.


All photos by Will Van Dorp.

More ships pass. Like strangers on the sidewalk or cars on the highway. Significant differences could make all the difference, especially in the approach.


Certain contacts are to be avoided.


And then they pass with possibly only a glance, a wave of the arm, forgotten.


Still others, stay locked in struggle or maybe engagement and might even escalate.


All photos by Will Van Dorp.

Refresh your memory about other specialty ships here? Now any idea what this one does? It’s currently operating off Jones Beach, or about 20 miles east and a little south of the Narrows.

Does it help if I tell you it’s Giulio Verne? Another clue is that Giulio Verne‘s ancestor is Great Eastern. Here is a spectrum of ships designed for the same purpose. As to what it’s doing, I can’t say. Anyone know?

Photo by Will Van Dorp.

Thanks to Tillerman for this exquisitely beautiful combination of surfing and sailing; check the story at Proper Course. I haven’t seen a sail on the harbor in months. Maybe one or another has been there and I missed it. I do miss seeing sailing craft though. So here’s some from last summer to compensate. Rosemary Ruth!


Shearwater, below, heading up toward the Buttermilk Channel, started life in Maine. Check here for a fantastic update on the disappearance of the Red Hook sugar mill, just aft the mainmast of Shearwater.


About 30 years senior, Richard Robbins, below, started life in South Jersey.



Then there are mystery craft like this one with its tug sidekick passing the Winter Garden,



Or this one with hull painted to resemble gun ports. Anyone identify these?


All photos by Will Van Dorp.

… in my usual blogging topic: a dear friend says it’s “blog for choice” day and wonders what I think about that.


Let me use a picture. I’m guessing no one working aboard a ship likes the prospect of entering that orange lifeboat, but it’s there to offer a safe choice in an emergency. I recall the time before 1973 in this country when women sometimes died because they didn’t have a safe, legal choice. I also know of women in other countries who died because they didn’t have the choice that now exists in this country. I’m not thrilled about the choice–I doubt anyone is–but I wouldn’t want the alternative.

Photo and sentiments by Will Van Dorp.

Blog for Choice Day - January 22, 2007

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January 2007