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In some light, what looks orange turns to pure gold. Magical light turns an oil products tanker into a metaphor. Arthur Kill here shows its potential to make beauty.



Nothing exceeds the alchemy of a November sunset. Why gild the lily?  Timing and perspective make so much difference, and not just for oil ships in a commercialized waterway, but just with everything.  Carpe diem, ship as cherry blossom, fleeting beauty.


Not enormous not new but already, Sakura Express travels with a reputation as a life saver, as attested by the crew of Almeisan, victims of a rogue wave. See Amver.

Be well, golden ship.

Photos, WVD.

Back in September I caught this tug on its way to the races. I wondered where it lived.



Finally I put it together with this shot I took last February, although back then it had no orange band on forestarboard bulwark.


Same vessel, though. Anyone know the name/function of the structure extending upward from the stem?



Long Splice, what it sounds like here.

Photos, WVD.

… or make that ‘tries, as in gantries. They grow in Brooklyn and elsewhere ships get loaded, offloaded, and serviced. They exude sculptural magic.



They tango,



doe-see-doe,  twirl in synch or opposition, form shifting alliances,



all on trains’ feet.



Verging on extinction,


they demand our notice.

That celebrated but transitory spruce that does a six-week stand in Manhattan gets attention with its magic, but how about a glance at these that’ve been rooted here for decades. The Manhattan tradition stems (pun intended) from a construction site act; maybe these could spawn a tradition in Brooklyn–and everywhere else this species grows. And the difference between the tree in Rockefeller Center and these above: Manhattan v. Brooklyn?  sugar and salt? youthful and adult? innocence and experience, delicate and strong?

Photos, WVD.

as in “integrated tug-barge,” as distinguished from “articulated tug-barge,” now in greater favor. Here’s the tug portion of ITB Philadelphia uncoupled in GMD drydock from its intimate partner barge. Yes, that’s a tug.



For a sense of scale, watch the self-propelled crane aka “man basket” at floor of dry dock.



Yes, there is a dock worker in the man basket.



For a company diagram of this vessel to see tug integrated with its barge, click here.Top down view fascinates me.



ITB Philadelphia has an LOA of almost 700 feet, with the intergrated barge!

More on this vessel later.

Photos, WVD.

309 posts ago the debut post introduced you to Alice, a bulker. One of the shots showed her from head on, highlighting the bulbous bow. Here’s another bulker Gypsum Baron, bow thruster just aft the bulbous bow getting service. Without the grate and prop, that launch could navigate right through.


Here in dry dock, yard workers maintain Gypsum Baron or its sibling Gypsum King. Notice the worker along port and two on scaffold near prop shaft.



Maybe I should call this requiem for a bulker, as this vessel has delivered its last gypsum up the Hudson to Stony Point and been crewed off to points east, maybe a beach in India, for . . . well, I won’t say it. Foto below shows Gypsum Baron loading on a windy day.



How many homes and businesses have wallboard dividing spaces made from gypsum delivered by this vessel and siblings? One of these siblings, A. V. Kastner, below and currently a regular through New York harbor, appeared in my blog, and



prompted a much appreciated email from coyote des neiges (snow coyote), to whom I owe these spectacular fotos. Merci!

Check out coyote’s site here. Canard a vapeur . . . literally, steam duck. Enjoy the fotos and learn some French. More of coyote’s tales and fotos soon.

This just in: see this link for the Dec, 3 2007 New Yorker magazine’s coverage of Tuesday’s atmospheric and most unusual book launch. See my post “launch site” under recents posts and H2O’s info about this. And come on down to the Navy Yard. Posts from there soon.


or heeze for tugster new year . . . maybe it’ll get added to all the others here on wikipedia. Since I’ve no fotos of my favorite sea grapes (ctenophores), I’ll blow some underwater fireworks,



find a clear space to offer you a virtual glass to fill



from whatever my net hauls up . . . along with all the treasures of the past year,



happy new year from the sixth boro!!

Special thanks to frogma for posted some great 6th boro sponge shots today!! Kinda reminds me of the first time I snorkeled in Folly Cove (near Gloucester, MA) and spotted gorgeous pink anemones on a ledge about 10 feet down.

All photos, WVD.

In two days tugster begins year 2 of blogging. Hence, some retrospection these days. Stories I missed include the biggest, I mean biggest! tanker to enter NY harbor possibly ever, a VLCC aka Malaccamax named Centennial Jewel ex Courtenay Bay 300,000 dwt! This compares with an average tanker dwt of under 70,000 in NY harbor. And, you might ask, where was tugster?



Uh . . . on a bridge over the Mississippi with his eye focused on a big snapping turtle drifting closer to a clueless duckling, maybe? Friends told me about the VLCC, but well, I missed it. And then there was Proteus. Not the seagod or any of the other meanings. But where was I, you might ask?



Uh, at the beach watching boa constrictors where they oughtn’t be. This boa’s eyes transfixed me, and I couldn’t break away, I confess.

Anyhow, while we’re on big unusual things, beasties and such, here’s another monster I missed. Before–long before–I was born, believe it or not . . . a whale shark was caught off Fire Island, August 9, 1935. Damn! I missed that one too. Check this out. A better picture hangs in White Caps in Islip. Don’t click on the link at the end of this sentence if you wish to avoid seeing more–this time from National Geographic–about the Japanese humpback hunt. It’s disturbing.

I missed many more stories, too. So I’m hoping in year 2, tugster evolves into more cameras and eyes. Email me: I’d love the collaboration and multiple PsOV.

Speaking of other points of view, click here for Peter Mello’s coverage of the sinking off Antarctica.

Eight years ago during Thanksgiving week, I lost my job: the 197-year-old firm (I’ll keep it that vague) north of Boston announced then that doors would close forever the following May 31. I’m thankful this loss led me to New York, place of unusual cultural richness, especially in the sixth borough. To mention a few, 30 years of Barge Music,



two years ago a tugboat Rachel Marie towing an island tailed by a gate, Opera on a tanker, and now H20 Arts presents a book launch for Gabriel Cohen‘s The Graving Dock


near the graving dock, and in the delightfully named “tailshaft + valve room” (x marks the spot “reading shed) above in the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

Never heard of this yard? Have your heard of the USS Missouri? Have you heard of Alice? She and mates discharge megatons of Canadian aggregates to use in launches of all manner of buildings.

Photos, WVD.

As a means to start happygiving, check out these “whimsical units of measurement”



On the table today, wine from the net, thanks to she who calls herself the wine pirate.



Thanks for the walk on the marsh . . .



Really, most of all, thanks for reading the blog and commenting. I can’t begin to list the fantastic folk I’ve met since starting this blog. It’s been very happygiving. In 4 days tugster: a waterblog celebrates one year since its launch. Blow those horns!!

Photos, WVD.

Thanks to the tillerman, this post, long enough gestated, gets published. Over two months ago I posted about wheels, and if you look at the last foto in that post of Cornell‘s wheel sans projecting spokes, you’ll understand what modifications are made to protect the helmsman’s face/teeth during quick maneuvers associated with docking assists.



Scroll thru to nautical etymologies here to “tiller” to see the crossbow connection. Sorry, not alphabetical. While looking there, is there a difference in usage today between scow and barge?



Most assuredly the helmsman on Rosemary Ruth is handling a tiller. Read the saga of Orbitlog here.



Note the tiller/rudderpost connection here. Scroll down for the rest of the vessel.



Here’s the front section driven by that tiller/prop farther above. No mast? Why the low freeboard? Come back tomorrow. The two fotos immediately above were taken in southern Long Island.

Btw, happy thanksgiving. And thanks for reading the blog.

Photos, WVD.

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Seth Tane American Painting

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My Babylonian Captivity

Reflections of an American hostage in Iraq, 20 years later.


November 2007