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People sometimes talk about re-inventing themselves, coming to forks or crossroads and then making decisions that change everything. We move from day to day performing repeated triage. Here’s a story of triage and rebirth some of you know; shame on me for discovering just now. My foto library begged my noticing her months ago. Here passes Dorothy Elizabeth westbound in KVK.



So I do some looking and I find this and especially this story of her rebirth as well as an account of the tug constellation of the harbor. Some of you say you don’t like to read links, but this is a must-read. to whet yer appetite, let me say this article is a saga: before Dorothy Elizabeth, she was Gotham, before that Christine Gellatly, before that the speedy Mobil 11, launched in 1951. She’s a labor of love, faith, and hope all named after a grandmother.
So I realize I too have other fotos of Dorothy Elizabeth, like westbound in East River in July 2007,



northbound in Tug Race parade to the start line September 2006,



and screaming southbound as the race begins . . . fleet off the start line to be certain.



Go Dorothy Elizabeth. I’ll see you in a whole new light next time.

All photos above by Will Van Dorp.

And talking transformations, here’s an incredible set of 48 pix of an airplane that became a boat; click here and scroll through.

Up in the Headwaters I wrote about in June, a friend named Clark builds “woods cruisers.” These assemblages of a decaying fleet of Toyotas (recovered thefts) allow him to move tools around a large tract of land in forest conservancy. A cruiser must meet two criteria: functionality and reliability . Harbors have counterparts to his cruisers, often repurposed, one-offs, unique and lavished with care to keep them functional and reliable. In the Harlem river, it’s Joseph P, a clean basic platform that can haul and push. I’ve no idea who owns Joseph P.



This unnamed workboat on the Arthur Kill passed with such throaty sounds that I’m convinced its small size masks substantial power. Anyone interpret the dayshape just forward the twin stacks?



The crowd on this boat passing Ellis Island puzzles me.



One of the strangest places for a workboat is here, hanging from the Manhattan Bridge all summer, puzzling especially when no one ever seems working in the scaffolding.



Last one for now, Julia, small but seaworthy and elegant. Call it a crew boat. This one’s for Clark, who’d just love to tinker.



Finally, an unrelated link, YouTube clips from Mr. Boat aka Menheer Boot. Stuff goes wrong.

Also, check bowiechick’s waterlogged helping of sand here.

All images by Will Van Dorp.

You know . . . like team mates, collaborators. Let’s start with the heaps and mounds of aggregate left where she docks.



Wait for a few days,



and what? another vessel sidles up to the Lehigh cement operation there,



Enter . . . Spar Three of Spar Shipping, and registered in Bergen, not some obscure tropical port. A young tugster visited this Norwegian port so many years ago… and wanted to live there!



Taken yesterday in the thunderstorm and almost worthless as port documentation, Alice and Spar Three commune before heading out to sea.

I know the city always has construction projects requiring cement, and I know Lehigh isn’t the only cement plant, but might we be in a boom construction period in Brooklyn and Manhattan?

Photos by Will Van Dorp.

Montigny, a fairly common place name in France and moniker of this 4-year-old crude tanker, recently offloaded in Bayonne. Larger in deadweight tons than the average in KVK, Montigny is classified as aframax, ie, larger than panamax and smaller than suezmax.


See page 4 in this link. Here’s one of four shipspotting fotos.

If Lisa Margonelli is accurate in projecting the US appetite for energy will triple by 2025, what size vessels and transporting from where might we expect? Can deepwater offshore terminals be far off the drawing boards?

Photo by Will Van Dorp.


What’s this red vessel?


>>a sibling of this recently drydocked vessel along Staten Island’s tug alley? YES!

>>the stage for an opera performance, Il Tabarro—Giacomo Puccini‘s steamy opera about adultery and murder on a barge in Paris? YES!

Actually I’m relaying a call for

Volunteers!Sundays, 1-6pm followed by BBQ. Please pass the word even if you can’t join.


Carolina, who says “We could use your help. It’s always fun around PortSide. Folks of all ages, skill and fitness levels welcome.


next chance: this Sun 7/29/07 1-6pm, followed by BBQ
please chip in at least two hours

We are installing PortSide’s offices aboard the tanker, so tasks include refinishing two metal desks, and moving file cabinets, bookcases, and boxes from pier to ship. If we get a lot of people, we’ll do some other work on the ship (moving stuff, putting chafing gear on docklines)

Wear clothes you can get dirty. Bring workgloves if you have them.

When n Where:

aboard the Mary Whalen. Enter gate for American Stevedoring/Brooklyn Marine Terminal at Hamilton Avenue and Van Brunt Street.

Due to port security regulations, you must RSVP so we can get a list of names to the Guard. RSVP to Bring a photo ID to show the guard at the gate. We’’ll pick you up at the gate if you don’’t have a car.


Please pass the word!”

More government vessels. Jamaica Bay is an aquatic weed harvester. I’ve seen these on freshwater lakes and rivers, but this was my first sighting transiting the East River. Anyone know where it operates? Jamaica Bay maybe?

S/V Moritz uses Reson Seabat systems to map the harbor bottom.

Hayward is a debris remover and dump truck.


Profile view of Hayward with its 84-foot crane that can lift a whale, a helicopter, a floataway container… you name it. But who was “Hayward” so honored?


Buoy tender Katherine Walker maintains channel markers. Her namesake is shown at this link.


All photos by Will Van Dorp.

Count the sand barges . . .




That’s how much 2400 hp can push.




Does it get better than on such a sweet midsummer’s eve?



The crewman below leaning on the h-bitt, does he wonder how lucky he is? Is his job as sweet as it seems to me?  A century ago flat-bottomed schooners would beach on an ebb, crew would set gangplanks to the sand and trot out wheelbarrows and shovels, fill the hold as possible before the next flood took them back off.  What’ll sand folk do a century from now?



All photos by Will Van Dorp.



Guess who got a raise last week?


Where’s the prop?


I’m sure we need a prop. Check this link for a wet and low foto of the 66-year-old tanker in use.

Photos by Will Van Dorp.

Westbound on the KVK the other evening, I enjoyed a sunset that complemented the colors of Carol, offloading in Bayonne.


Check out what she carries on the portside of her super structure just forward of the life boat.


I’ve never noticed a prop stored there before. Doesn’t it remind you of the fender storage on a Duesenberg and lots others?

So I’m just speculating. I’ve not noticed the tug below before this summer, and I could be wrong, but what do the colors remind you of?


It’s coming from Erie Basin . . . Jenny Anne.


Erie Basin also contains these cranes, vestige of the Todd Shipyard graving dock. Notice their color.


We all know the box store going up over there. Know what their colors are?


Might Ikea containers travel directly from whatever NYC container facility to the store? That at least would be interesting and take trucks off the road system.  But I’m just speculating.

All photos by Will Van Dorp.

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July 2007