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Would you believe that Sanko Confidence has a green hull on fogless days?


If perception is everything, then Gdansk really has no superstructure.


Geography ends at Robbins Reef, and


K-Sea’s Labrador Sea, below, navigates the center of the known world here.


Some days my world feels this small and confining in spite of my attempts to see clearly; a wider vision eludes me. I’m uncertain that the clarity of other days ever happened. I feel befuddled, unsure of what I can’t see. Is Alice (fill in the blank with another name) still out there?

I know she is. I can see through the fog, but doubts surface, linger, disappear, resurface. Radio, radar, foghorn notwithstanding, the urge to throttle back is strong.  I know it’s all real, but maybe it’s not.  Maybe Sanko Confidence really has a fog-colored hull?

Kudos to Jim: the port traversed by Berge Everett is … Boston. Read Jim’s comment on the left sidebar.

In response to the first post about Lilac, says Dan . . . “A real steam engine is to a diesel as a pipe organ to an electric organ.” Hmm? Dan might have music technology biases.


The white pressure vessel behind the red ironmongery is the condenser, athwart the keel and just aft the two New York-built Sullivan engines.


Here’s aftmost underside of starboard engine looking outboard. To better see perspective on what this is, check this link. Scroll all the way through.


Dan continues, “[A steamer engine] breathes in the way that the body does, and we feel a deep connection with it, and a connection which I think is not just sentimental.” So that would make these nostrils.


Exhalation happens here through the yellow and black funnel, and unseen it spins its “legs” underneath.


Lilac remains in a coma, but one day, soon, she will rise, raise this arm,


and blink! Live steam! And those of little faith will see; long-suspended breathing will be heard.

Hmm? What about older technology makes it easier to anthropomorphize?

Wow! Some time has elapsed since Richard “reliefed” with this one in May. So the idea is to use readers’ fotos, credited of course, and make a contest of it. If you see something, help me blog about it.  Thanks to Ron for submitting this image.


So the contest here is . . . name the port. A tower in the background just beyond the pilothouse offers a hint.

The vessel is LNG carrier Berge Everett, 77,000 dwt, carrying a cold load of gas probably from Trinidad. Scroll through this for another foto of Berge Everett.

See this post from December for a more serious look at advertising on the water. I’m posting these two below just for fun . . .


Should there be a question mark on that facade . . . or maybe the activity proposed isn’t even so clear? In case, you’re wondering . . sure I wanna, discreetly.


This begs a direct object?

Actually those two words make up the only word on the facade of the old railroad docks on the Hoboken waterfront–Lackawanna. Hoboken used to be the eastern terminal of the Delaware, Lackawanna, and Western Railroad. Check out this map.


Above’s a foto from two years ago showing the entire facade.  Yes, that’s floating island.

My regrets for not having gotten closer, but the self-unloading bulker called Eastern Power is discharging its cargo into the barge owned by Express Marine. So what do you suppose the cargo might be?  Click here to see close up of this vessel and evidence that it’s a sibling of … Alice!!


Shipspotting provides this foto of Eastern Power. Until recently their archive had a foto of her loading in Sydney, Nova Scotia. Why is it that fotos disappear from Anyhow, what “grows” in Sydney? Coal. And here is a link to an Express Marine vessel at the coal-fired power plant in Jersey City.


Images here by Will Van Dorp.

I love to get out on the river in a human powered boat and reflect on what I have to be thankful for. For a few thought-provoking moments, click here for shots of the Ayeyarwady river. Contrast them with these shots recently taken in the sixth boro and only slightly farther afield.


The northern tip of Roosevelt Island, (see a 1903 clip of same light by Edison here.)


the northern tip of Governor‘s Island,


the Hudson highlands,


and just south of the Delaware Water Gap . . . Peace and justice.

Out by the Narrows yesterday, I saw this red vessel but couldn’t get close enough for an identification. Anyone know? My guess is dredge. That’s Fort Wadsworth in the background.


Here’s another shot. It headed toward Hoffman Island and then turned around. Unlike some of my past contests, this one is a real mystery. Drop me a comment if you know the name and specialty of this vessel.


Maersk Taiyo shows how to park 4000 cars simultaneously: slow, lower,


and let out scope. Lower New York Bay serves as parking lot for the beast with global habitat. Btw, “taiyo” means “sun” in Japanese, I believe.


Barge RTC 150 and Meredith C. Reinauer parks on the hook off the Upper West Side of Manhattan,


close-up of the upper pilothouse,


and a little farther south, barge Doubleskin 55 and Patapsco.


See the tower in the distance along the Harlem River? Really doesn’t matter what it is although I’ll tell you later.  By the way, that’s the Macombs Dam Bridge in the foreground.


Here’s a closer-up shot. Notice the crows (ravens?) flying about?


Actually the tower covers pipes . . .

What really delights me though is what the tower may have inspired:  Edgar Allen Poe‘s “Annabel Lee.”  To his sensitive mind, the tower suggested a castle;  the castle a king; the king with a kingdom and of course a daughter, whom he couldn’t have.

Unrequited love . . . sounds like Alice.

Too bad Poe didn’t draw;  I’d love to see his rendering of Annabel Lee.

I’ll never forget the first time I heard it, an almost imperceptible throbbing in the Congolese night like a slow heartbeat, a drum of some great diameter. At breakfast I learned the sounds meant a steamboat navigating up the Lulonga, tributary of the Congo. A week later when I heard it again, I got up and drove my motorcycle to the river village to see it dock, offload passengers and take on wood for the boilers. Up close the throb and hiss were disproportionate to the speed, the crude technology as surreal along the equatorial riverside as they would be in New York harbor, where–in fact–a steam engine waits to be coaxed back to life aboard Lilac, until 1971 a Coast Guard lighthouse/buoy tender operating on Delaware Bay.


Below is the top of the starboard engine. Notice all the levers.


Blogging about Lilac makes me aware of how little I know about steam engines. Lilac needs volunteers of all skill backgrounds. I took this foto of rods from the lower engine room deck. I need to return here and study this engine more.


Lilac was hull #426 at Pusey & Jones Corp. in Wilmington, Delaware. Fir, last of the class represented by Lilac, exists in the Pacific Northwest. See current story here. I’d love to hear more about Fir from you all up in the Northwest. Unlike Lilac, whose oil-burning triple expansion steam engines remain intact if in need of “overhaul,” Fir was “dieselized” in the 1950s.


Spare props are secured on the foredeck, aka the buoy deck.


Check out the color-coded levers used to control the steam-driven crane for hoisting buoys.


The crew, except the master or officers, slept in these racks in the forecastle below the buoy deck. Imagine their sleep and dreams as punctuated by the throbbing of the twin triple-expansion steam engines.

A story I heard way back when and would love to corroborate is that steam engines taken from vessels dieselized in the US were shipped to rivers like the Congo for a second life.

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October 2007
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