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Like some farmers I know who use their tractors for decades, careful with maintenance, it seems vessels like John B. Caddell have remarkable longevity.  If I drove a 67-year-old Chrysler on my commute, I’d spur some bewildered looks, strange comments in the coffee room.  Yet John B. and sibs never do.


Here’s John B. Caddell taken last summer, at work.


This is my belated (actually I march to a different drummer) entry to Tillerman‘s November “group-writing project.”  Besides some must-haves to invite for dinner like Herman Melville, Joseph Conrad, Jan deHartog, and Jules Verne . . . imagine the banter there . . . how about inviting the 1941 master of John B. along with


crew from the same era of Mary Whalen, W. O. Decker, Pegasus . . . all of whom must have been intimately acquainted with Newtown Creek, where John B. was loading/offloading (?) when I took this last fall.


Oh, the stories they could tell.  And at dinner, I’d suggest we visit their old vessels, still afloat,  as dessert.  I’d love to eavesdrop on their reactions to John B.‘s pilot house equipment today v. their circa 1941 essentials.


And how might they react to the rules and precautions of fuel transfer now compared with then


and global energy and economic politics and


water quality and waterfront jobs and sixth boro resource utilization and . . . .

From what I can tell, John B. is a fit survivor, one that I’d like to know better.

Here are the basics:  come by land or water to a party for Mary Whalen‘s 70th year next Saturday December 6 from 11 til 5.  You can RSVP here.  I’ll be there.  Two of these three fotos are recycled from earlier Whalen posts this year.  Whalen came off the ways in 1938 at the Mathis yard in Camden, New Jersey.   What do you know about 1938?  Here Whalen dances up the East River with Taurus.


In 1938, a 450-ton meteorite landed in Chicora, PA, and Butler, PA began manufacture of several models of the American Bantam, whose models promised 60 mph at 60 miles per gallon!  Roosevelt was still struggling to make the New Deal work; LaGuardia was mayor of the six boros of NYC.  King Ghazi reigned over Iraq and Chevron discovered commercially-viable oil deposits in King Abdul Aziz’s Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, petroleum Whalen might later transport.  Below, Whalen dances with June K.


Prohibition had ended only five years before.  US population was 130 million.  Pete Seeger dropped out of Harvard to begin his folk singing career.  Unemployment rate was a staggering 19%, and the Fair Labor Standards Act established a first minimum wage . . . a quarter an hour.  Orson Welles terrified folks in the area with the fictitious “War of the Worlds,” and really terrifying and portentious events called Kristallnacht happened in Germany.  Also, more than 10 years before hurricanes had names, the “great hurricane” of 1938 dragged its eye ashore on Long Island with wind speeds above 100 mph, killing 688 people.  Speeds  atop the Empire State Building registered 120 mph.


Inventions of 1938 included Biro’s ballpoint, Carlson’s xerox machine, Nescafe’s freeze-dried coffee (my favorite), DuPont’s Teflon, Sandoz’ LSD, and strobe lighting.  Sikorsky was a year away from his first helicopter.  Betty Davis won an Oscar for Jezebel, Pearl Buck won the Nobel for Literature.  Judy Garland was cast as Dorothy. Howard Hughes flew a Lockheed 14 “around” the world in three days and nineteen hours using Brooklyn’s Bennett Field as start/finish point and making three stops in the USSR, one in Fairbanks, and one in Minneapolis.  Babe Ruth worked his last season for the Brooklyn Dodgers, and the Yankees won their 10th World Series.  Queen Mary and Normandie exchanged the trans-Atlantic crossing speed record at approximately 30 knots average.  The foto of John B. Caddell below, taken earlier this week, shows a 67- year-old handsome vessel  still at work.


Jakobson’s Shipyard relocated to Oyster Bay in 1938, leaving Brooklyn.  So what was happening in Red Hook?  What other notable sixth boro events were happening?  I’d love to hear.

More Caddell tomorrow.

Fred is one of many fine folks I’d never have met if I hadn’t started this blog.  And this weekend, I learned that Fred’s inspired some friends from one of my other networks, who read this article, to lust for their own pleasure tug.  I took this foto from Rhinecliff last spring;  Fred’s at the helm.


Fred took this foto of tug44 a few weeks ago, just before haul-out.  By now the drain plug has been pulled on his part of the canal.


Now how do you suppose he manages to fit this powerplant into his American Tug?


Uh . . . well, actually this is the 16-cylinder diesel of Cornell.

If you’ve never visited Fred’s site, check it out.

I’d never heard that word before today on a radio show.  But here’s evidence that it exists, although I know some folks bad-mouth wikipedia.  So . .  if you hear the Creedence Clearwater line as “there’s a bathroom on the right” instead of “… a bad moon on the rise…”  or misconstrue some explicit words in “Louie Lou-eye,” then you understand a mondegreen.  So while nursing a thermos of coffee over along KVK today, I thought I heard reference on VHF  to an inbound container vessel called “Emirati.”


And then it came around the bend, a black hull delivering trinkets and essentials for Black Friday,  escorted by Gramma Lee T Moran,  with Solomon Sea as opposing traffic.


and then I heard traffic on the radio again referring to the vessel as “ham… (long hesitation)   berry, ”


Hamberry?  It’s starting to sound like a parody of a Thanksgiving menu.    “Have a slice of hamberry pie with that borrel, auntie johanna?”


It’s spelled out clearly right there from left to right and then from right to left.  Hammurabi.


Mr. Lawmaker, the original “eye-for-an-eye” guy.  In his ancient code book, I’ll bet there’s a a stiff consequence for mangling his name.  No mondegreens when you’re talking about Mr Ham Berry.  Or was that Danbury?

Happy Thanksgiving where ever you might be.  I might do some blog “cold turkey” a day or so.

Unrelated:  Check out a new blog on my blogroll:  piratebook.

Funrelated passed along from Mage:  Is it Stan, Buy Me ?  It doesn’t matter… just dance.

So Alice came back, just for me.  How thrilled I felt last Saturday to see her  back in the sand piles over by the Navy Yard.  Since November 26, 2006 Alice O has circled the globe and stopped or approached every continent except Antarctica.  And I have


posted 629 times (counting this one) on this blog, added over 2500 fotos, registered just over 129,300 hits, met (virtually and in the flesh) many fantastic ones of you from every continent except Antarctica, had loads of fun, avoided getting arrested, and made billions of sixth-boro piasters.   Wealthy as I am, no terrestrial financial institution honors those piasters!

Seriously, this is my second birthday post, and Alice, unrequiting as she sometimes chooses to be, came back for it.  My spirit feels her touch albeit distant;  I now know she cares.

Thanks to you all for the encouragement.  I’ve considered stopping or cutting back frequently, but  . . .

Just an idea to toss out:  at some point in the next months, I’d like to host a sixth boro party, stave off the winter cold, and gather good energies into critical mass to see if jointly more documenting of the boro might be desirable.  Drop me your thoughts.

Hey . . . if Alice gets friendly, this party could be a love feast co-sponsored by Alice and me sailing off to “frolick in the autumn mist in a land called Honah Lee.”  Guess that makes Alice my “puff.”

“restless” in Dutch.  And restless perfectly describes the efforts of a committed set of folks who have been turning this


“woodpile” into


a replica of Adriaen Block’s Onrust using some 17th century shipbuilding techniques as taught by Dutch naval archeologist Gerald de Weerdt.  Even the Rocking the Boat folks have joined in, constructing the tender.


Volunteers transform the woodpile into exhibits like this mast-building model for the Onrust exhibit at the New York National Boat Show, as well as


the actual windlass and


the “commodore fid” used in creating the standing rigging and processes with esoteric names like worming, parceling, and serving.  Wanna learn how . . . watch this training video.


Vision and sweat . . . or frozen fingers on a day like last Saturday . . .


materializes a dream and creates a community.


Come talk with the Onrust folks at the New York National Boat Show, Javits Center starting December 13.  The sailmaker from the Netherlands will be working there.  And Onrust is eager to meet her rendezvous at the Battery late next summer.

Onrust, great name thanks to Adriaan Block, describing a vessel that wants resurrection, more communities that crave building, personal futures that desire incarnation.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp.  By the way, type “restless” into the search window to see how the vessel appeared last January.

Stapleton Service (ex-New Haven, 1966) assists at dawn. She was in the distance in the “Crazy Patterns” post.


Labrador Sea (ex-Sea Bull built 2002) passing Tauranga Star, possibly offloading bananas from Ecuador,


Robert IV (1971) southbound on Arthur Kill past the wheels of the Howland Hook cranes.


Janice Ann Reinauer (1966) pushes oil eastbound as the setting sun illuminates Bayonne cranes, 


And Harry McNeal (1965) pushing  a construction barge eastbound.


Back to work for me tomorrow.

Snippets of song lyrics emerge from the unconscious sometimes to “explain” what’s happening.  Like yesterday before going to work.  Calm waters . . .


as a light barge and escorts approach and


I conclude it’s a Dann and a Hornbeck and


Ripples disturb the smooth liquid


and then patterns get more erratic and I


guess the morning calm has these distortions oscillating outward for a spell,


the same way things evolve at work or loves or deals or even in dreams.  And the words of Bob Dylan “It’s all over now, baby blue” bubble to the surface after decades of immersion.

Rumor:  Alice sat at a dock in Brooklyn this morning as if she’d never been away around the world . . . any confirmation of that sighting?

Jed captured these shots of Half Moon several leagues south of Albany.  Might it be what Henry’s welcome party saw 399 years ago?


A closer-up shows a little of the polychrome that had been designed as ostentatious, to show the discretionary wealth of the VOC.


The fierce leeuw figurehead sets the fall foliage ablaze.


Half Moon–the name and logo–speaks of the anti-Spanish “commercial” alliances the Dutch formed.  One Dutchman Jan Jansen, slightly later than Hudson,  in fact turned pirate, sailing with the Moors to prey on the Spanish.


If you’re wondering what the window under the moon and stars leads to . . .


it’s a magical cabin.


Check out the latest on henrysobsession . . . now that we have a glitch out.  Channeling the man through 400 years is as tough as  . . . some other research projects threatening to drown me.

All fotos unless attributed otherwise by Will Van Dorp.

Left to right, it’s Linda Moran, Danielle M Bouchard, unidentified K-Sea, and Ruby M.   And plenty of room remained for others


like Amy C. McAllister, Ruby M (again), and Ghetty Bottiglieri, of Torre del Greco.


Then Coral Queen took advantage of the narrow channel to overtake Maersk Donegal, ex-Santa Priscilla.


Finally another shot of the massive Danielle M passing also respectably huge Christian Reinauer.  Anyone know the air draft on Danielle?


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Graves of Arthur Kill

Click to order your copy of Graves of Arthur Kill, by Gary Kane and Will Van Dorp. 3Fish Productions.

Seth Tane American Painting

Read my Iraq Hostage memoir online.

My Babylonian Captivity

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

Tale of Two Marlins

Blue Marlin spent 600+ hours loading tugs and barges in NYC Sixth Boro. Click on image for presentation made to NY Ship Lore and Model Club, July 25, 2011.


November 2008
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