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Item #1: This is a cormorant song, not a swan song. See below.



Item #2: Thanks to Jarrett of, here are apt lines from Whitman, patron saint of the bay:

“Manhattan from the Bay”

June 25. [1800-something or other, lazy editor]—”RETURNED to New York last night. Out to-day on the waters for a sail in the wide bay, southeast of Staten island—a rough, tossing ride, and a free sight—the long stretch of Sandy Hook, the highlands of Navesink, and the many vessels outward and inward bound. … A moderate sea-breeze had set in; yet over the city, and the waters adjacent, was a thin haze, concealing nothing, only adding to the beauty. From my point of view, as I write amid the soft breeze, with a sea-temperature, surely nothing on earth of its kind can go beyond this show. To the left the North river with its far vista—nearer, three or four war-ships, anchor’d peacefully—the Jersey side, the banks of Weehawken, the Palisades, and the gradually receding blue, lost in the distance—to the right the East river—the mast-hemm’d shores—the grand obelisk-like towers of the bridge, one on either side, in haze, yet plainly defin’d, giant brothers twain, throwing free graceful interlinking loops high across the tumbled tumultuous current below—(the tide is just changing to its ebb)—the broad water-spread everywhere crowded—no, not crowded, but thick as stars in the sky—with all sorts and sizes of sail and steam vessels, plying ferry-boats, arriving and departing coasters, great ocean Dons, iron-black, modern, magnificent in size and power, fill’d with their incalculable value of human life and precious merchandise—with here and there, above all, those daring, careening things of grace and wonder, those white and shaded swift-darting fish-birds, (I wonder if shore or sea elsewhere can outvie them,) ever with their slanting spars, and fierce, pure, hawk-like beauty and motion—first-class New York sloop or schooner yachts, sailing, this fine day, the free sea in a good wind. And rising out of the midst, tall-topt, ship-hemm’d, modern, American, yet strangely oriental, V-shaped Manhattan, with its compact mass, its spires, its cloud-touching edifices group’d at the centre—the green of the trees, and all the white, brown and gray of the architecture well blended, as I see it, under a miracle of limpid sky, delicious light of heaven above, and June haze on the surface below.”


Thanks to Cheyenne, here’s a Whitman wannabe reading lines from the bard.

This year on Monday, May 28 @ 1 pm, another bard wannabe will attempt to channel Walt. Come sail Pioneer outa South Street, handle some lines, hear the wind in the rigging, and feel the power of poetry. In fact, come aboard with your own Whitman favorites, and try your own powers at conjuring up old Walt.

Item#1 reprise: Swansong cormorant song? I’m off oon in search of my personal anchors. My earliest anchor was a cement block tied off to a canoe thwart. It gave me stability and perspective suited to fishing. Hey . . . it worked.

So I leave for almost two weeks, making a beeline away from salt water and blogs as a way to regain some perspective.



From this perspective, this hardly looks to be the same bridge that serves as my logo, but Bayonne it surely is.



Or here . . . silhouetted behind the second bridge pylon from the left is Snake Hill aka Laurel Hill in Secaucus. Who woulda thunk?

Thanks for the past 10,000+ reads. Return in early June. A clue to one of my destinations: a place where this young tugster once excavated a mysterious anchor.



With a handy jetsam bucket, I dug around the anchor, examined it, foto’d it, and then let the next incoming tide rebury it unmarked, lost maybe for decades or forever.

If I excavate it again, it’ll be like getting re-acquainted with an old friend–some things changed, some never will.

And speaking of old friends, another destination is upstate New York, a place where I hope to watch the sun set over a body of water where the other side is invisible even on the clearest day. Sunshine=fotos.

Cormorants line up and spread wings where the wind can refresh and restore.

All photos of or by Will Van Dorp.

. . . what an idea, tea with Alice. Consider that an invite, my dearest.



Dedicated to Thomas Pynchon for his classic rocket limericks . . .

There was this belle bulker named Alice
Who enters New York heavy, then leaves in ballast.
As she follows that beaut bulbous bow
I am oercome with desire, and vow
Some day she’ll relish dry dock inside a my palace



A dark ship from the fleet of Oldendorff
Makes regular stops in Brooklyn’s navy yard wharf
Endless sea miles repeated she’ll travel
To discharge tons of crush-ed gravel
Must I-to win her affection-into a tanker morph?

So lay in, comrades. Don’t fail us. Your limerick could built the saga of Alice.

Al photos and silliness by Will Van Dorp.

Movies are fun, even pirate ones shot surreptitiously on replica ships, but who needs professionals and long-distance travel . . . alright, Libertalia has been my dream destination for decades. New York has always had its share of subjects of the jolly flags (wags?).



Characters like Sadie the Goat sailed here once, and today their great-granddaughters may drive tankers.

Or they may invite you for a pleasant Sunday sail (third Sunday of each month seems their routine) from Pier 17. Look for an authentic black ship and (would I lie?) bona fide descendants of . . . .


Ch’iao K’uo Füü Jëën?

prg.jpgJolie Rouge ?


Scroll all through here.

prw.jpgMargaret Jordan?


Learn more about pirates from Colin Woodward on Tuesday night, May 22, at South Street Seaport Melville Gallery.

Come June 20ish, bring down a son, niece, grandson. Bring your grandmother, neighbor or a random stranger to see the other side of the harbor.

Check Rob Ossian’s site to eclipse all pirate sites.

But stay away from waters to the north and east of Libertalia.

All photos by Will Van Dorp.

After an incomplete spectrum of blog color titles, here’s orange although I’m not satisfied with my pictures..



Container ship Atlantic Ocean and sisters are orange regulars, reefers, but . . .



Aegean Faith is orange and carries the most common fluid into the sixth boro, but I set out to shot something orange and Brazilian . . .




I loved the fluid style of’s Brazilian dancers on Fifth Avenue, but …



I’ve an additional obsession: Orange Wave, the juice tanker that delivers millions of gallons of orange fluid–my lifeblood– into New York. But I’ve discovered the vessels I’m looking for aren’t orange–but white!!! Click here and read the section called “Concentrate Story.”

Orange juice tankers, wine tankers . . . next floating milk tankers? Do they already exist? Coca-cola tankers? How about explosive champagne tankers?

All photos by will Van Dorp.

Thanks to Fred . . . (happy canaling soon) here are more shots of the erstwhile mystery ship less than five miles by air from the GW Bridge, true but misleading.



Thanks also to Dar, who located the unlocatable Evershed book, it’s a Groninger tjalk. How it got to the Hackensack, I’ve no clue. Wrong turn at the North Sea? Anyone know the owner?


Livet: a river town in eastern France? An apple brandy? Short for “live-aboard tjalk”? Names mislead; this is New Jersey, but “Zwartsluis” is a town in the eastern Netherlands province of OverIjssel. And it’s a barge town. If you’re adventuresome, see great fotos at this link, then navigate on left to “foto’s” and then “zwartsluis” and then the various “sleerbootdagen.” “Sleepboot” is Dutch for “Tugboat.”

See the rudder cable.


Cool anchor. So mystery remains . . . whose is it? Was it biglifted to New Jersey? More later I hope.

All photos by Will Van Dorp.

Our first boat had no name on its stern; it remained nameless because we had too many names. Now that it has gone the way of all wooden craft, we refer to it only by its manufacturer, which I will not write here. For your enjoyment, I’m revealing a few of my favorites. Please send yours.


Two of Escort‘s consorts are Consort and Guardian.


The “G” in “Big G” might possibly mean green, peagreen?


As Eastern Welder, by the hourglass shape hanging from the mast and the cable over the stern seems to be more about fishing than welding this particular morning, the name intrigues.

So, besides family names (Oldendorff, Moran, Reinauer), I like the “Seas” of K-Sea (I’ve never seen Sargasso Sea), but my favorites are the high energy names like Vertigo, Bolero, and Pic Saint Loup, a wine tanker. By the way, in French “loup” means “wolf.” Hmm. Today I just heard about Orange Wave coming into Port Newark. What color is what crests there?

So, send me your best ship names.

Oh, here… all photos, Will Van Dorp

Moving a drilling platform, an aluminium smelter to Iceland, a few tectonic plates, half a county . . . and the job is too big for you? Who you gonna call?


Da Zhong” Who ya gonna call? Da Zhong. Here’s the fleet. Wherever, whatever as long as it is big. They’ll lift. See p. 17 of Scheepvaartnieuws (Shipping News) for another Big Lift in Dubai.

All photos by Will Van Dorp.

…or maybe just snapshots. During a late afternoon 15-minute margarita down by Pier 17, who happened past but



my old friend John B. Caddell, star of several previous posts,



It had just passed SCI Kiran at Red Hook container port.



Of course NY Water Taxi is always passing, as is SeaStreak, hydroplaning–literally–in from Sandy Hook. Check the third paragraph of their “about…” page to learn of SeaStreak’s diverse international background.

Who didn’t happen past . . . no Alice, whales, sail. See this lithograph circa 1885 and info.

All photos by Will Van Dorp.

I’m recommending a book: Oil on the Brain. Lisa Margonelli, the author and someone ‘ve never met, has a piece in 5/13 online edition of the NYTimes, linked here and available only if you’re subscribed to the Times. Here’s a blogpost about Oil . . ..



Here Stapleton Service and barge named Energy 2201 transfers fuel in Newark. From Margonelli, a statistic: how much liability insurance is carried on a fuel barge?



Some fuel is transferred directly from tanker to barge for coastal or river transport. Stena Performance featured in this earlier post.



Here’s also a direct transfer from tanker Alpha Express to fuel barge. Here and here are some closeups of Alpha Express offloading in Boston.

The insurance statistic is about $1 billion. More from Margonelli: rank the following means of oil transport according to spillage from most to least (tug/barge, pipeline, truck) The most spillage . . . truck, and the least spillage . . . tug/barge. No spillage is acceptable, but hats off to the tugsters.

All photos by Will Van Dorp.

Sun Round is just a gratutious picture here for this link and another about stowaways. Quite the feat to survive in a container on a trip from China or South America. Here’s another. Can you imagine a ship held outside the Narrows because of monkeys?   Worse stories exist and they don’t involve felines or canines. Jonathan Raban, whose interests overlap many of mine, creates a humorous stowaway character in Waxwing.



Sun Round herself, gratuitous as the foto started out, has something in common with felines . . . multiple lives. She’s on a second life. See this link and scroll through: Sun Round is there in alphabetical.



All photos by Will Van Dorp.

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May 2007