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I knew she’s been called C. J. Doornbos. I knew she worked as a fishing tug on Lake Michigan. I never imagined she was gussied up this way back in those days.

I posted the foto below a year and a half ago. Urger has been thoroughly reinvented, and yet looks –IMHO –to have been intended from inception to be a canal tug. Does it appear that the wheelhouse has migrated forward six feet or so?

BTW, the source of top foto is Inland Seas: Quarterly Journal of the Great Lakes Historical Society, Vol. 3, Summer 1997, No. 2.

Below, see Urger, second from left, almost lost among larger tugs at the 2007 Tugboat race. Diminutive in size, but immense in spirit?

Still more Urger… from the 2006 race. Anyone know her summer schedule? Did I hear two whistles from Urger to Hackensack?

More Hackensack soon.

Also, soon . . . like in two weeks, I return to the sixth boro. Til then, I’m up the Winooski and hope to get to the St Lawrence locks before coming back. Thanks for reading.

Unless otherwise obvious, photos . . . WVD.

Hmm . . . a 38′ ZFXO?

with all that speed cruising for mermaids?

Corps of Engineers vessel Hudson has nice lines, but I’m unable to locate much info about about its history or mission.

Cormorant is the DEP skimmer vessel, fishing for floatables. See p. 19 of this great overview of the City’s wastewater process.

It might be irreverent to say this, but COE’s Hayward seemed to use the flag as jib in order to turn on its axis. Tell me I saw that wrong.

Photos, WVD.

Although not all vessels on the harbor work there, all these fotos come compliments of Bernie Ente from the Working Harbor Committee. See the schedule for their fabulous summer 08 tours here. Well, the harbor doesn’t serve only for work. However, for

Coral Sea,

Buchanan 10,

the automated lighthouse “Kate” at Robbins Reef,

Doris Moran, with a ghostly Saint Michael’s Monastery Church on Union City ridge in the background,

and Socrates,

the sixth boro is the job site. Socrates, where did he come from? Uh, a Norfolker migrating up.

Now that clock in the background . . . well, the one that stood there until 1924 ended up in Jeffersonville, Indiana, facing across the Ohio River toward Louisville.

Such excitement I felt today when email came with these fotos by Shuli Hallack as attachments. At her site, she has a series on cargoes, which you can see on exhibit in Manhattan at Moti Hasson Gallery through June 29, so go soon. At the gallery the prints are poster size.

To do some of the work, Shuli traveled via the banana ship Charles Island from the sixth boro to Ecuador. At this site, see images of the hold. Any guesses on how many bananas make a shipfull? Let me see . . . 21,000 boxes @ N bananas per box . . . I’m sure someone will hazard a guess. The shot below shows a McAllister tug assisting an outbound Ever Diamond set up to negotiate the Bayonne Bridge.

Here’s another angle on that shift of Ever Diamond. I believe the shot looks toward Staten Island, but I can’t place the landmarks.

From this angle, Ever Diamond looks deceptively small.

Many thanks to Shuli Hallack for these fotos.

In the foto below, Odin is the smaller of two tugs. Groton, the green ITB catamaran tug with stern facing us, dwarfs it. Yes, that’s tug. If you missed my earlier posts, type ITB in the search window and you’ll find lots of fotos in three posts. According to USCG documentation, Groton is 127 loa, 90 beam, and 39 draft… make that “hull depth.”

Gulf Dawn, ex-Francis J built in 1966, hails from the Big Easy.

L. W. Caddell, loa 46, was outside the yard some time back.

Vera K, ex-Goose Creek built in 1967, had me thinking she was her much younger and previously-blogged-about sibling, June K.

This was my first glimpse of Robbins Reef, ex-Glenda D and Gerald S, loa 42 and built in 1953.

Unrelated: Thanks to my friend Peter Mello for calling my attention to a photographer named Shuli Hallak. Peter does a great blog called Sea Fever and a podcast called Messing Around in Ships, with John Konrad of gCaptain.

Photos, WVD.

John B. Caddell headed past Governor’s Island this drizzly morning for another load of oil and . . .

almost crossed paths with Mary Whalen, floating ambassador of Portside New York, getting shifted up to Pier 2 to host graduation ceremonies for New York Harbor School, a very special Brooklyn high school.

Notice one of four NYC waterfalls, that lattice structure rising just beyond the white Governor’s Island ferry.

Just south of pier 2 the tow does a counterclockwise 180 degrees; watch the orientation of Taurus and Mary Whalen relative to Manhattan in the background.

Counterclockwise . . .

(Imagine this spin to tango music)

. . . and then once inside the piers



Fancy driving;

precision movements.

Once the bowspring line is on a bollard,

the spin ends. Soon all lines are made fast and gangplank deployed. Behold a spectacular graduation platform for Harbor School, currently a high school in Bushwick. Read a post I did about this school over a year ago.

Taurus backs away and does a repeat

clockwise turn and reports for . . .

the next assignment, another local shift or something longer. Meanwhile, the ambassador, is prepping for pomp and circumstance. Join me in extending congratulations to the high schoolers; I hope these seniors read this to get a sense of the “fancy driving” that set up the evening to honor them. And honored they should be.

To quote Portside’s press release: “In 2004, Bushwick High School’s graduation rate was 23%. It was then divided into three small schools, one of them being New York Harbor School, an Urban Assembly school. Working with the same population of low-income minorities, the Harbor School has achieved new levels of excellence: This year, they expect a graduation rate close to 80%. Almost all graduates have applied and been accepted to college. The 2008 class slogan is ‘Finally, out of the fish tank into the sea.'”

Photos, WVD.

While monitoring 11 on the VHF, I hear “(garble static garble)… to harbor traffic” and then a vessel appears, this guy at the helm, all part of this one-day mermaid invasion. His vessel?

No doubt this represents state-of-the-art amphibious mermaid special ops, with low fuel consumption. I need to add his figurehead to my collection.

As was true last year here, the mer-parade units on maneuvers came with a full range of reptilian allies,

propaganda in the mermaid realism style,


precision drill teams,

camouflage and dress uniforms,

trojan fish,

and trojan macaws,

even a specially-trained hippocampus contingent,

Believe you me, the best strategy was to lay down all defenses and join then. Spread your towel on the sand and offer hospitality. Greet them in their native languages, and give them free reign of the beach for as long as they want to stay.

Here’s a link to a flickr set I put up.

Update:  Check this link for the Queen Mermaid’s hunger strike.  Seriously.

Nothing limits the way a story can be told..  After all, it’s a story . . . So, in one version, it starts with a tug, not an ordinary one, not the usual set of cargoes. Signs of the extraordinary delivery show up in some beach fashions.

The ship is in, the once a year moment has arrived. Make way . . .

Dick‘s the harbinger. Read his op-ed piece here.

And the visitors come preaching

and beating the drum

and dancing

and more dancing

Solstice being roughly half way through the year and memaids being roughly half human

and half flexible

And a third half thirsty . . . Much more to come.

Photos, WVD.

Hmm . . . I thought . . . a McAllister tractor decked out in flags. I wonder who . . .

Rosemary? Anyone know when she arrived?

Wonder where she’s headed?

And next came the new Seas with a novel way of working too, two tugs and four sand scows.

In tandem, like horses on my grandpa’s 20th century farm, except somehow underwater this Seas team represents 4800 horses.

At a certain point, Caribbean took them alone and Aegean returned to base.

Let me see . . . a flagship and lots of sand . . . might they be going where Rev. Billy is going?

Photos, WVD.

Seasons transition like spring into summer, moons wane and wax, and fleets change hands and trigger renaming . . . sort of like Nieuw Amsterdam overwritten with New York or Spitzer signs hastily replaced by Paterson ones at state projects. The paint’s probably dried on most of these boats. The ex-Heidi rumored to become Siberian Sea had served the Queen M2.

Annabelle was here in April, and the great Emma . . . don’t know what’ll become of her.

To better grasp her size, see the four crewmen. Maybe make her Atlantic Sea.

Brandon possibly turns into Solomon Sea.

Brandon again . . .

Vivian transitions to Caribbean Sea, with Meredith C (not spelled Sea) Reinauer in the background.

and Francis becomes Aegean Sea.

I’ve read on a discussion board that only a few sea names remain, but NOAA would disagree even without straying into fiction. All fotos . . . Will Van Dorp unless otherwise attributed.

Unrelated . . . altho this  is an unfortunate transitioning story, check out Mage’s UrbanArchology blogpost here.

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June 2008