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A friend who knows engines and mechanical systems much better than I do once looked into my toolbox and laughed, declaring he could see my farm origins in the scarcity of tools I had there. A farmer values versatility with the basics. He had four specialized sets of socket wrenches to my one, and that was only the start. The harbor certainly values its specialized tools. For example, it has has MV Driftmaster, one of the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers craft. Any idea on function?


It’ a skimmer. With a bow shaped like a gaping mouth, it travels around the harbor netting any floating debris that could otherwise puncture a hull, destroy a propeller, or drift out the Narrows to add up on your favorite beach. Debris? Logs, pilings, trees, tires, the list goes on. Once last summer I saw a wooden beam at least 20 feet long with vicious jagged metal brackets that bobbed skyward only once every five seconds.



A sister Corps of Engineers vessel is Hayward. With its crane, it has fished even larger debris out of the water. According to this article, landings include helicopters, automobiles, and even whales that have been snared on the the bulbous bows of fast-moving ships, like Alice, trapped there until the ship slowed down near a port.



Here Hayward is westbound on KVK pushing a barge loaded with debris from the harbor; notice the derelict boats and lots of wood. Some weeks back I declared my admiration for versatility, in reference to Urger, and I stand by that. However, where would we be without specialists too. More speciality craft later.

All photos by Will Van Dorp.

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January 2007