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or crepuscule . . . I love obscure words in general, but these words for twilight evoke strong feelings, as does this foto–compliments of Jed–of a Reinauer tug.


Last week I caught James Turecamo (farther) and Margaret Moran headed out of the Arthur Kill.


I’m guessing the two were headed elsewhere after completing a ship assist away to the south.  A vessel is just a machine; what makes it go is the people aboard, in this case one at the wheel and another coiling line on deck.  And what makes the crew move is discipline, love of the work, and maybe a  well-placed cup of coffee.


Send me your favorite obscure words, and I’ll try to weave them into upcoming posts.

Today at play in the KVK today between the snow flurries I met Danielle M Bouchard, 150′ loa and 10,000 hp . . . the largest of the Bouchard fleet and –I believe–the highest-horsepower tug churning up the sixth boro waters as of now.  Ernie G’s flickr foto shows the size of the “pin” relative to a human.  Also there were


Alexandra . . . 118′ loa and 4000 hp, the largest along with Thomas of the Weeks Marine fleet,


Java Sea at 110′ loa and 4800 hp,


Linda Moran,  who barely escaped the conflagration, at 116′ (although she doesn’t look it) and 5100 hp,


Atlantic Coast, 104′ and 3000 hp of Dann Marine Towing.


And there was more, but an empty thermos and howling wind spoke to me.

Unrelated  . . . crime pays.  Here’s a Reuters article on the practice of paying ransom to Somali pirates.  Now when people are taken hostage, governments generally say they won’t deal with terrorists, but with respect to shipping, a different script seems to exist.  This slide show from Yahoo puts interesting faces on the story.

The Second Barbary War almost 200 years ago ended with an agreement to stop paying such ransoms.

Note:  an unrelated “cursed” note appears at bottom of this post.

I incubated this post about North Brother Island while paging through the NY Times Style Magazine WinterTravel 2008. The inside front cover featured a Disney ad with the prominent words “The world is a magical place.”  Well, sometimes.  A few pages on, an ad for Sir Richard Branson’s “private” island beckoned as “Not just any island…”


The sixth boro has some surprisingly haunted islands, off limits to all but birds.  And of course . . . some of my best friends are birds, but how can a densely populated space like NYC not exorcise such islands as Hart Island and North Brother?  Foto above shows south side of North Brother.


Above is the abandoned ferry landing on the north side of North Brother.  The island identified with such horrors as the General Slocum fire and Typhoid Mary is relegated to oblivion, as if that alone can remove these blights from our memory.


Meanwhile, look at the abandonment of the buildings to nature.  Opacity has on-island fotos here.  Anyone know of stories of Second World War vets living there?  Anyone know of art spawned by the Slocum fire such as the Gericault’s “Raft of Medusa” painting?

Unrelated except in “cursedness,”  here’s today’s Manchester Guardian story about pirates hijacking Sirius Star 450 miles off the Kenyan coast.  Sirius Star is less than a year old.   Check out the links also.  An interesting detail–chilling really–is the fact that this Saudi tanker is described as three times the size of an American aircraft carrier!  That’s a lot of oil.

Details also at Eaglespeak and kennebec captain.

A few years back the technician at the doctor’s office where I’d had the tests for my Z-card told me the urine test results would be processed by the next morning in a government-sanctioned lab in the midwest.  I had to ask.  “Oh, Fedex,” she replied.  Since then, I can’t see a Fedex air freighter land or take off from Newark International without wondering how much urine (and other fluids) it’s urgently and expensively transporting.  ’nuff said?


Further, in this age of containerized cargo, it’s refreshing to see the transparency resulting from this antiquated and maybe inefficient means of transport.  I wonder who/what Reynolds’ ABC-1 (below) hauls for.


And Miller Girls, where’s that large blue electric motor now working?


Water transportation can be generally cheaper and faster between places of the banlks of the sixth boro.  And this brings me back to Dutch “parlevinker” boats I blogged about back in August.

Perspicacious bowsprite snapped this vessel of a Canadian patrol vessel headed upriver a few days back.  It’s Glace Bay, named for that place up in Nova Scotia.    Question:  did anyone catch the number of the sister vessel that accompanied 701 in?  Is that James Turecamo pushing scrap paper south?


At dawn on Thursday I caught Hansa Sonderburg over at Howland Hook as the sun illuminated forward surfaces of house, hatch covers, and deck crane.  Although the superstructure looks minimal, it


carries passengers.  Anyone ever travel on her?  I’d love to hear a report.  Below is same vessel a few drizzly hours later.


Finally here are some interesting sites I’ve newly discovered:

Check out Jane’s blogalogue and Brian’s Moveable Bridge.   I’m also including a link to water photos that Jane forwarded.  Thanks.

It’s hard to believe Caspian Sea‘s never appeared on this blog before, but


each day plays out something new, each minute, each second even,


so imagine this post like an arc of a zoopraxiscope or


or Duchamps’  “Nude Descending”,


or just Caspian Sea (ex-Sea Tiger, ex-New Castle, ex-Jonathan T) steaming by me as I take a break on a drizzly day in Elizabeth and


and revive my urgency as my life ticks


on by . . .  stuff to do better, secrets to offload, fears to float test, people to get to know more completely.  Caspian . . . glad to meet you.  Times flies, sunrises launch, calendar pages flip, hours blur, seconds pulse  … I pant and still get behind.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp.

These fotos document an interval of two hours–albeit edited–along KVK last Friday.  Davis Sea westbound,


Brendan Turecamo eastbound past a Bouchard and a Reinauer in the background,


Taurus westbound,


Falcon eastbound,


Marie J. Turecamo (farther) and Turecamo Girls westbound,


Megan McAllister westbound with Labrador Sea in distance.


What a revitalizing way to spend a few hours at week’s end, recuperating from the fury of a work week.  If I could bottle that energy and sell it, I could luxuriate as CEO of a snake oil company!  All fotos by Will Van Dorp.

Note:  Type “random tugs” into the search window to see all the previous tugs randomly.  Quotes aren’t needed.

Helen Parker gallivanted around the KVK a few weeks back and allows some closer looks of profile,

push knees and gear.

I wonder about power.

Over in Erie Basin, here’s Bridge Builder 24, with a quite different attitude than Helen.

Finally, bowsprite caught Clyde headed east in KVK last week.


I must admit that the first time I heard reference to Clyde on the radio, I prepared myself to see something massively Scottish.  In her class, she’s no doubt mighty if not so massive.

With the pilot still aboard this ship bound for sea, his egress awaited.

I must learn more about the lot of pilots, but the crewman here retracted this pilot’s ladder

This one still hangs almost to the waterline.

See the crewman under the upper house of Mary Alice?  Well . . .

here he is closer up studying his handiwork, having just set down his brush and paint.  Rust never sleeps.

In this foto sent by Ron Rice, notice the ladder to the riverbed leaning against the stern of George Burrows, a conveyance for a hardhat diver to get to his job assembling the Lower Manhattan ferry terminal.  Does this terminal have an official name?


All other fotos by Will Van Dorp.

Unrelated, yesterday was the 33rd anniversary of the loss of  Edmund Fitzgerald. Peter Mello and Cheryl called my attention to the sad date.

Also unrelated, see fotos of QE2 passing the northwest corner of Spain bound for Dubai on Amiga Atlantica‘s great blog.

Thank a vet, and


another and another.  Top foto is the USS Cole in the Chesapeake.


Intrepid headed north last month, and squadron of choppers last weekend.


Cole foto, compliments of Jed.  Thanks.

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Graves of Arthur Kill

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Seth Tane American Painting

Read my Iraq Hostage memoir online.

My Babylonian Captivity

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


November 2008
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