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Call this the March 1 version. Even cold fanatics feel starved for more sunlight, blossoming perfumes, bright colors, and shorts. Iron Wolf below has that lean, post-winter hungry look.



And Mostank needs some bright color, or does the 1950-launched tanker seem so forlorn because of the monochromatic background? By the way, that’s the west tower of the Verrazano Narrows Bridge beyond the ridgeline of Staten Island.



Imagine Jay Bee V with bright paint and a tanned crew.



Spring happens in March. For me, sooner is better.

This link on the history of tugboats as depicted on postage stamps cheered me up a little.

Photos, WVD.

IVS Kwaito, from out south . . . any guesses where? Don’t be misled by the Panamanian flag of convenience.


She entered the Narrows this afternoon bucking bone-chilling wind from the northwest probably to load scrap that we so copiously generate . . . from our scrap mines, scrap farms, maybe spawned in our scrap streams.



Both origin and derivation of her name surprise me. But surprises keep us alive.



Kwaito is a South African ship, named for a music genre originated in Soweto and other townships. According to wikipedia, the word kwaito “is derived from the Afrikaans word Kwaai, meaning ‘angry’. (To me . . . that sounds like a Dutch adjective, too, for hot-tempered.) This Afrikaans word is derived from the Isicamtho, South African township slang, word amakwaitosi, meaning ‘gangster’. Arthur Mafokate, one of the founding fathers of kwaito describes the relationship between kwaito and ‘gangster’ being because it is ‘all about the ghetto music.'” Hear some here; read about it here.

Oh . . . surprise: happy leap day. Last summer’s northern frog wanted you to know that.



All fotos by Will Van Dorp.

Birds just know things, like February geese gather north of the Narrows or



pintails flock to Newark Bay or



buffleheads assemble in Arthur Kill or



pigeons puff up and perch in Jacob Riis Park or even


“some kind of” sandpipers forage along Gravesend Bay or



in summer egrets meditate above the Chinese Scholar’s Garden at Snug Harbor, but



although there’s a tugboat art exhibit at the Noble Maritime collection starting this Sunday afternoon, nowhere have I found a press release!! Be along Richmond Terrace this Sunday at 2 pm for a tug parade in honor of the opening. But why no information about the exhibit online?

UPDATE: Here’s a link to that tugboat exhibit.  And a time-forward link to the parade the birds foretold.

Photos, WVD.

I had some business cards made up some time back. Guess what image I put there. Alice? No, she’s over in the Pacific now southwest of Revillagigedo Islands, and I’m intrigued. But enough of Alice, and on to EM



Ellen McAllister, also shown here escorting Sun Round outbound.



seen here yesterday on the south end of Newark Bay …



though transformed a lot after the 2006 rebuild. Can this 2006 shot be the same vessel?



A month or so back EM, in the midst of the activities, was preparing to move President Polk out of Howland Hook.

Schottel, manufacturer of EM‘s z-drive, has stunning fotos of dozens of diverse vessels similarly equipped here.

I’ve never counted the number of seas on our planet, but it’s more than seven.  K-Sea has more than double that traditional number.  Here’s Norwegian Sea, named for that portion of the Atlantic the Icelanders might call the Icelandic Sea Norwegian Sea used to go by the names Portsmouth and Leoparde Grande.  Might this be the same vessel sans upper wheelhouse?




Through the February snow, Treasure Coast moves fuel up the Hudson.




Here’s K-Sea’s Nathan E. Stewart showing the aft control house.  Here’s the same vessel under previous owners.




More on aft controls soon.

Photos, WVD.

Cape Brasilia, offloading in the Upper Bay the other day, convinced me I’d seen her before, but



I hadn’t. Below is her older sister by two years although identical in size, Cape Bruny.



And another shot of Cape Bruny, a UPT vessel launched in 2004.



Mediocre foto below but fantastic link. Check out the Hellespont “life at sea” videos on the left navigation bar. Anyone identify the red-roofed tower on the ridge to the right?


Here’s a shot of the entire vessel.  Any idea where Hellespont is?



All images by Will Van Dorp.

Gowanus Lounge reports that we have a date for the climax daylight event of the year. June 21!! It seems like a long way away …



to this nereid, one of six in Rockefeller Center’s Channel Gardens, and her fanciful shark mount.



Sculptor Rene Chambellan never imagined his fountainheads so buried, and even with melt, it’s still dark season.



Each of the fountainheads carries a name;



this one is Will. The triton shown here last May (fourth down) is Alertness. Good qualities to get us safely from these dark months to the solstice 119 days from now.

Speaking of fanciful sharks . . . I just stumbled onto shark house and other instances of what architect Javier Senosiain calls organic architecture. Cool! Thanks Peter!

Photos, WVD.

(continued from earlier)

The journey should be at least as interesting as the arrival, and Portside‘s  Mary Whalen does not get out much these days anyhow, so clear destination notwithstanding, she has to turn a bit, do a molinete, glance southward; wistfully looking back toward the Kills, she feels a frisson of seafaring from a glimpse, ever so faint, of the curve of the Bayonne Bridge starboard just off the tip of Governor’s Island. Time for a calecita?

Oops, time to coil the dockline, too.



When she’s satisfied, Whalen and partner spin back in the direction toward her appointment. From left to right: South Street Seaport, the Empire State Building in the distance, the Chrysler Building, and then the Brooklyn Bridge and the Manhattan Bridge . . .



and the Statue off the stern of the tug



and the band marches in place



til the Whalen finds her new berth and makes fast. From here, what marvels lie ahead? See the tour boats lined up already! Mary A. Whalen,



you move me. And your potential . . . the best lies ahead.

Photos, WVD.

I’ve never noticed a spare one mounted as this one.



The one submerged with nine meters of vessel in the cold February water seems to be adequate to the task of propulsion, given the foam.



“Screw this New York weather,”might be the sentiment of crewmen coiling line unneeded for the next thousands of sea miles. “Screw this” in whatever language they speak, that is. By the way, anyone help out with “screw this” in Tagalog? Bengali? Bulgarian? Hindi? Serbo-Croatian? Greek? Norwegian?



Pacific Turquoise is part of the Tanker Pacific fleet.


Photos, WVD.

At the appointed hour, a tug sidles up and the deckhand handily lassos the midships bitt on Whalen‘s port side. Step one in “making the tow” is about to happen.



In minutes Mary Whalen and Nathan E. Stewart are ready to tango . . .



with these two connections and one on the stern.


When the order is given, dock lines are cast off and the band strikes up with some march music. Hungry March . . . maybe like the month we’re about to enter?



Whalen‘s Fairbanks-Morse diesel is still dormant but, after drumsticks exit the boots, adequate energy emanates from the percussion and winds as they jam with Nathan E. Stewart‘s twin Cummins, and soon musical spirit and 3200 horsepower move the watermelon red tanker onto the dance floor . . . or at least into the Buttermilk Channel



and then it’s Brooklyn Bridge-bound on the Buttermilk . . .



(to be continued)

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February 2008