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Study this vessel a few seconds. I’ve included fotos here and here. Scroll through in both links. How would you describe Barents Sea, in contrast to other tugs?


By way of comparison, see Barents Sea juxtaposed with Rowan M. McAllister, launched in 1981, five years after Barents Sea. Also, see the crewman on the afterdeck of Barents in both pix above.


A friend–you know who you are–calls Barents Sea sexy, an apt description since the design is exciting in its difference.


Barents–previously known as Pete and Mr. Pete–used to wear McAllister colors. She’s large: 135 LOA, 40 beam, and 15 draft; almost 6500 horsepower. Unlike most East Coast tugs, she sports a raised foc’sle bow. Wonder how long she’ll be around the the sixth boro and the Northeast.

Added link here but scroll about 3/4 thru:  Someone suggested calling it the Chukchi Sea since it worked up there once.

The January 11 2008 New York Times had an interesting article about a tiny cargo on a gigantic ship.


A 75-pound cargo valued at $10 million triggered action by the fast gray boat in the foreground. Can you guess what it is? Clue: It ain’t sludge.


Read the Times article here. The above is not the cargo ship in question, but can you imagine searching for 75 pound of cargo on such a gargantuan vessel? Or searching at night?

Unrelated addendum from autounleashed and related to Port Elizabeth, NJ car wrecks on the high seas here.


Alliteration drives content on some blogs like fish on fridays, mermaids on mondays, tritons or trolls on tuesdays . . . . But I’m not committing to sirens: it could be scales, sea monsters, … In fact, in doing this post, I learned anew what sirens really are. Not at all synonymous with mermaids, these beings, which Ulysses plugged his ears for, live in the air, bird women as well as make-make of the birdman cult. Scroll through this link.


I’m not sure of the function this bowsprit serves except to keep the anchors well away from the bow of this steamer, but I love the Lady’s wings. She’s a siren. And here’s a Kafka quote on sirens: “Now the Sirens have a still more fatal weapon than their song, namely their silence. And though admittedly such a thing never happened, it is still conceivable that someone might possibly have escaped from their singing; but from their silence certainly never.”


So’s this one, possibly a swan, whose feathers stolen, choses to look for the culprit from the facade of a building in a city nearby. I wonder why birdfolk–sirens and otherwise– appear in folklore of so many peoples.


Which brings me to puffins. Where might puffin folk reside? How about a puffin figurehead? In earlier posts here and here, nothing’s approximated puffins, yet.


All fotos by Will Van Dorp

PS: Check out Day-Tripper’s “The Peking and the Star.”

Your responses prompt another post about Peking. Be sure to see the slide show at link at the end of this post, which features a barque with similar lines but older.


Concentration etches the face of the tug captain.


Attention holds the deckhand ready at the h-bitt.


Excitement shows in riding crew.


Designated line handler awaits commands.


Crew at stern use monkeyfist to get dockline onto the pier so that . . .


pier crew can get line onto the bollard.


Wouldn’t it be grand to be able to do this each year? Thanks to Mage, I learned about Star of India ex-Euterpe. Check out this inspiring slide show. San Diego, bravo.

For more of a clip of Peking under sail in 1929, see this clip thanks to Sea Fever’s Peter Mello.

Links to two other flying P’s here and here. And another.

Last four fotos here credited to Elizabeth.

What was it like to cruise across the bay on Peking? I’m grateful to South Street Seaport for inviting me on as riding crew so that I could offer an answer.


The crewman on this tug (Elizabeth McAllister) certainly understood how momentous Peking’s jaunt across the harbor was. To him and anyone else who took fotos from land or air or other vessels, I’d love see them. Maybe Flickr? I’ll post more on Peking 5 and maybe even 6.


I’d wager it’s only once a decade or less that anyone sees the Bayonne Bridge through shrouds like these, By the way, the Bayonne would have to raise for Peking’s masts to pass under through.


Her sheer size is apparent by the size of the two crew way forward to port. Imagine shouting a command to them on a calm day . . . a stormy day under sail. Some stats on Peking from Irv Johnson’s film: number of crew in 1929–70. Number of sails she used–32. Anyone can name them? Weight of each of the 3 lower sails–1 ton dry; significantly more when wet. Distance round trip between Germany and Chile–22, 000 miles and time elapsed over half year.


What thrilled me most was that Peking was alive again. I felt her pulse steady and heard some deep breaths.


I could lie and say the Staten Island ferry company ran all their boats to accommodate the throngs wanting to see Peking alive and on the move. It’s not a lie that anyone lucky enough to steam past Peking on Tuesday won’t forget it soon. Helicopters, airships, UFOs even crowded the sky just out of view in these shots.  The Statue turned her head to watch us pass and then smiled ever so briefly.


The bell in lower right side of the foto chimed with all the church bells in New York as . . .


Peking’s points her bowsprit (or jibboom?) up the East River following assist tug Elizabeth McAllister.  Peking’s masts would beg the East River bridges to raise their roadbeds too.

What was it like? Okay . . . I’ll stop the exaggeration, but I heard Peking singing. Woo woo! She was singing sailing songs in German, Spanish, British, American, even Dutch ones that she learned from tug Utrecht who towed her over her in 1975. And she smiled.

Onrust means restless. And restless it no doubt is while taking shape within this transparent cocoon. Although this replica building site is over 100 miles upriver (on the Mohawk), Adrien Block and crew built the original during the winter 393 years ago in Manhattan to replace Tyger, which burnt (remnants are buried just north of the former north tower of the WTC). I’m speculating the original Onrust was constructed near there.


This metal model, like the one on the weather vane above, approximates Onrust’s completed appearance.


Stem and frames as of early January 2008 (seen from port and


from inside) include wood from a 400-year-old oak donated for the project.  Look carefully at the top inside of the stem;  more on that carving later.


View of Onrust from aft. Onrust’s importance in US history is that it was the first decked sailing vessel built by Europeans on the west side of the Atlantic.


More on this project later, but check out WoodenBoat‘s article on p. 14 of the Jan/Feb 2008 issue.

For now, check out this article. Even better, donate a skin plank, futtock, or (my favorite) part of a leeboard!

All images by Will Van Dorp.

Excuse the dried water droplet!@#@. Workers at far end of the floating drydock show the scale; two days ago, Peking occupied this space.


McAllister Responder appears just before noon.


Before 1 pm Peking has left KVK for the Battery.


I’m thrilled to experience Peking moving as the ship she is. Here’s a great time to watch the 9 -minute YouTube clip of Peking 79 years ago pushing through a storm on the English Channel. Great statistics on Peking in this clip. Thanks to Peter Mello of Sea Fever and the podcast Messing About in Ships for putting up a link to this Irving Johnson footage.


Toward the Battery . . .


we leave the Statue astern . . .


while Elizabeth captures a view from Pier 17.


Elizabeth McAllister serves as assist tug


as Responder finesses Peking back into the slip beside . . . a McAllister of another era.  It’s now a little past 2 pm.  Come see at South Street Seaport.   More on Peking later.

I don’t generally pay much homage to passenger shipping in the sixth boro, but QMs pivoting 180 degrees between the Colgate clock and the Battery left me speechless; from my vantage point, I saw a “north” bound vessel rotate “anticlockwise” and then “park” facing the Statue of Liberty. Oh, to have seen it from the air! A ship assist tug just stood by, feeling obsolete in the age of azipods and triple bow thrusters?

The hulls all wear Cunard blue, but that’s where uniformity ends. Lots of fotos follow.


QE bow and bridge. Tiny and relatively few portholes made for a “dark” ship last night compared with the glass cathedral look of the two newer Cunard vessels.


QM bow and bridge


QV bow and bridge. I couldn’t get a starboard shot.


QE bow. By the way, notice the rust. More on that later.


QM bow. A litte grainy, but . . . you remember what happened when that submarine tried to approach last summer.


QV bow.


About that rust . . . in the harsh January sun it couldn’t hide. I’ll revisit Cunard in a few days.

Some numbers, all QE, then QM, then QV

Speed: 33 knots- 30- 23. Might the next Queen crawl at 15 knots?

Gross tons: 70,000- 148, 000- 90,000

Waterline beam: 32 meters- 41- 32.

Height: 52 meters- 72- 62.

Length: 293 meters- 345- 294

A blog that’s been following the Queens for a spell has great comparative info here between QE2 and QV, like which is faster? With that link above, be sure to scroll through the posts. Also, check out QE2’s last go-round itinerary. My fotos taken in the rain from the Battery follow:


Notice the much-shrunk Statue in between above.  In the first two fotos, order is QM2 forward, QV after.


Joe Sharkey includes an interesting statistic in his Dec 16 2007 New York Times article: number of people doing cruises annually has increased three fold since 1990!


Final shot: QM2 with one of many patrol boats in foreground and fireboat aft. Note: The QE2 hung quite far back and from my terrestrial angle, I couldn’t get all three in one frame. More on them–daytime shots–later.

This is a test. This is only a test that responds to Neversealand and Horsesmouth and others who are responsible for regular “today’s mermaids” and “fish on fridays,” whether these be AMF sunfish or real scaly ones.


The sign above graces the front porch of an antique shop not far from the Champlain Canal. I took the foto on my return from the Winooski last week.

So, do I join Neversealand, Horsesmouth, and others with my variation or not? If I do this this, my sense says the foto needs be taken by me or relief crew of representations on/in anything but human flesh (although tattoos like these from Samoa could be nice). No corporate logos like the Starbucks image are allowed. Instead, we look for one-off drawings/carvings/paintings, and best-yet: figureheads. Coats-of-arms are fine, and classical references–women or men–fit the billet.

My questions: start this series at all? For alliterative purposes, would I keep it in mind for Saturdays or for Sundays, ie, “scales on saturdays”? Call it “scales” or “sirens” or alternate? I like that both have other directions to pull in.

Let me know what you think, please.

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