You are currently browsing the monthly archive for January 2009.

Kudos to Harold E. Tartell for correctly identifying the “mystery tug” in RT 32 as  Harry McNeal.  I took the foto below at Howland’s Hook May 2008.   (McNeal …Louisiana 1965.)


Here are more.  Weeks’ Virginia, who positioned in the plane-receiving barge about two weeks ago, Ocean   (Virginia …Louisiana 1979, ex-Bayou Babe or “By you, b’abe” )


Peter F. Gellatly raced southbound in the Arthur Kill just yesterday, a new vessel to my eyes,  (Peter F. …Louisiana 2008)


Hornbeck’s Brooklyn Service–another new vessel for me– headed north on Thursday,  (Brooklyn …Louisiana 1975, ex-Peggy Sheridan),


Dann Ocean Towing’s Allie B has done a lot of work in the boro this winter,  (Allie B …built Louisiana 1977, ex-Express Explorer)


Henry Marine Service Dorothy J headed westbound in the KVK a week or so ago, (Dorothy J …Louisiana 1982, ex Angela M)


as did Mary H,   (Mary H …Louisiana 1981)


as well as Sea Bear,   (Sea Bear …Illinois!  1990, ex-Bay Star)


and a far-off shot of Baltic Sea, 11:09 am the other day, upbound North River.  (Baltic …of course, Louisiana 1973, ex-S/R Albany and ex-Tahchee).  Anyone upriver have fotos of Baltic breaking ice upriver?


Please check out the history blog bowsprite and I collaborate on to mark the 400th anniversary of  Henry Hudson’s memorable trip through our boro.  Primary and secondary sources coupled with imagination’s license generate Henry’s Obsession.  A new post about a January 1609 non-random web of characters in Amsterdam has gone up today.

Photos, WVD.

Ursa Major has Ursa Minor.  Xena had Gabrielle.  Batman had Robin.


Batman had Robin, yup.  Don Quixote, Sancho Panza.  Ishmael, Queequeg.   Nantucket, Relief.  Simon, Garfunkel.  The Lone Ranger, Tonto . . . or Lone Rango, Tantra . . .  oh no, that’s different; that’s someone else’s blog.


So, our five boros DEP has a new vessel, Red Hook.  But everywhere Red Hook goes, James Turecamo is sure to go.


Red Hook comes to ply the sixth boro from a yard in Texas, of all places.  But it seems that James Turecamo has been charged with Red Hook’s orientation.


Let me quote from the DEP site here (if you want the entire context):  “The Red Hook sludge vessel was built over a three-year period in Brownsville, Texas by Keppel AmFELS. Once completed, it took seven days to make its way to New York City, arriving on November 19, 2008.  The vessel has recently completed post-delivery dry-dock inspections and adjustments at the Brooklyn Navy Yard and is ready for service. Each six-person crew consists of a captain, chief engineer, assistant engineer, mate and two mariners. Crews work a 40-hour week divided into 14, 13, and 13 hour shifts. The Red Hook is slightly over 350 feet long, about 53 feet wide, with a depth of slightly over 21 feet. It has eight storage tanks with 150,000 cubic foot capacity equivalent to 1.2 million gallons.  The Red Hook weighs over 2,098 long tons and is designed to travel at 12.75 knots or approximately 15 miles per hour. On a typical week, each vessel makes 14 round trips and visits eight wastewater treatment plants.”


It seems a close even if unlikely relationship has formed.  Does anyone recall the moose courting the Hereford cow in Vermont?  And Red Hook, as they say about boats, sweet.   James . . . a cool new sidekick you’ve adopted.   But seriously, why this pairing?  And has Owl’s Head submitted to the scrapper’s knife?

All fotos by Will Van Dorp.

Eileen McAllister and McAllister Responder pass Bel Taylor.


Labrador Sea eastbound past MOT and upriver for some ice-breaking noise.


Laura K Moran trails London Express,  headed for Newark Bay.


The red tanker Northern Bell (I thought only “southern bells” existed) get passed by a white mystery tug, the indomitable Clyde, and Moran’s Cape Cod.  Anyone know the white tug just ahead of the “truckable” Clyde?


More sixth boro tugs, randomly aggregated, soon.  I need to catch up.

Unrelated:  Just as fellow-bloggers and I keep an “eye,” a curious and fascinated eye, on the sixth boro and other places, Richard Clark–fellow former resident of New Hampshire–keeps his eye on a bay in Nova Scotia that produces something that just might be present in my residence and your s. . . sheet rock or wallboard transported by the likes of A. V. Kastner. See his blog here.

Photos, WVD.

Vessels from left to right in front of the container ship President Truman include:  small tanker Captain Log, tugs Amy C McAllister, and McAllister Brothers.


I called Captain Log a “mere pup” here almost two years ago. Below, Captain Log meets Patrick Sky in the KVK in December 2008.  Who is the captain named “Log” memorialized by this tanker?


Ron Rice caught this shot in early November.

aaalog2Loaded to capacity, Captain Log leaves the Arthur Kill as the sun rises in this September shot.


Eastbound and



aaaclall around the boro, tirelessly. (If you don’t count the one hanging off port bow.

For a profile of a Captain Log captain,  see Ben Gibberd’s fine book New York Waters.

All fotos, except Ron’s, by Will Van Dorp.

… a sandbagger, or oysterbagger, or waterbagger; plaything for summertime practitioners of Phillipe Petit physics.  Fotos compliments of Richard Dorfman, circa 2002.  If you know him, you’ll recognize him crewing this sandbagger, a vessel type once almost as common as geese in New York Bay;  certainly more common than puffins here.

Note the bowsprit length is about 2/3s the length of the hull.     If I read the documentation correctly, the bowsprit projects 12′ and the boom extends up to 8′ aft of the stern; i.e., actual loa is more than double the vessel waterline loa of 18.’  The mast  tops at 28.’  Initally, the shallow draft hull design allowed sandbaggers to get to the oyster beds; then the tremendous sail area got the bagged oysters quickly to market to fetch the highest price.  Ballast then was bags filled with oysters.


To paraphrase Richard, no sand filled the bags in Puffin for this race, but water. Water bags are easier to toss, don’t sink when you capsize, hurt less when your shipmate tosses one on your foot, etc.  “Switlik makes water bags for the Bull and the Bear and they lent us some of their old bags.  We had at least 10 bags.”


Quoting more Richard, “This was 2002. The shots of us racing were taken by Capt. Steve Cobb, captain of Wavertree in July 2000. The other photos show details of the boat just before she was towed to DeRouville’s boatshop in NJ for a refit, and the in-water shots were taken at the marina nearby where we rigged her and did a shakedown.”


Anyone know of sandbagger races near the sixth boro or anywhere else?  Looks like beamy fun.


Coincidentally, I saw Puffin in a now-closed (at least it was when last I saw it) Freeport maritime education center seven or eight years ago.  Anyone know if Puffin‘s been afloat more recently?  Thanks to Richard for all these pics.

Here’s an informative historical page on these “things of small body and great wings” along the Hudson.  Last time I looked a puffin in the eye, I saw great body and whirring wings.  Maybe this vessel would be better called mollymawk.


I wrote about this ship a little over a year ago (scroll about half way through).  This time, a cold day last week,  I recognized her immediately and


got closer ups.  A Saugerties lighthouse keeper recorded the same vessel passing some time back.


Only a cold winter shot catches the white smudges around its bow and hatches.  By the way, inside under the hatches lie tons of the white material from the Minas Basin of Nova Scotia that becomes sheetrock, plaster board.  Some blogger’s eyes monitor Kastner and other gypsum carriers well here.


Ice, of course, cold water sprays up and coats an even colder hull.  You may recall fotos of hatches encased in ice on Kastner‘s sister vessel Gypsum Baron,  posted here.


Here’s a closer up of Kastner‘s “unloader,” aka slewing boom.


Which brings me to uninvited thoughts of cold water, ice such as that broken up farther north along the Hudson, and people who see solidifying waters as places to test human endurance.  Warm-blooded Bowsprite writes about some of these swimmers, New York residents, here.  Rachel writes about it here.

On swimmers and blogs about the water:   get the Beatles,  a wild swimmer in Amsterdam, and something about a submarine here at the incomparable Peter Mello’s Sea Fever.

Photos, WVD.

<<Note:  I have to blast “tugster’s” horn.   Check the comments to the left by “john brown” and tugster.  >>

This foto dates from September 2008, filed away but begging for use.  Katherine Walker–the woman–did “lighthouse keeping”  NOT to be confused with “light housekeeping” at the Robbins Reef light for 33 years!   That qualifies her for


the title on the arm above.  And for getting this Coast Guard cutter named in her honor.


Here she heads from the East (so-called) River toward


the Buttermilk Channel.


And Katherine Walker makes me think of other keepers.  Here’s an unsual shot of a lighthouse I took in North Carolina a month ago.  I like the mailbox out front. And sometimes being very lazy,


uh,  effiicient (cough, cough), here’s some info in the pic below.  If anyone has fotos of unusual lighthouses –or unsuusal fotos of lighthouse– and is willing to share, I’d be happy to post with some info . . . as long as there’s water on the shot.

aaalh2The events of a week ago in New York harbor really demonstrate how quickly people switch out of their routines to instantaneously become their brothers’ (and sisters’) keepers.  I love that about the human spirit; it ennobles us.

But in the interest of fun, how about some musing on other keepers:   bar keeper, inn keeper, zoo keepers, bee keeper, goal keeper, record keeper, score keeper, River keeper, Promise keeper, bookkeeper, fish or friends said to be keepers, keepers of grudges, trapper keeper . . .

and to cheat, I googled it then.  But you can do that yourself if you wish.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp.

Unrelated:  I added “old salt” on my blogroll.  And check out 12Bridge’s Flickr photostream here;  it includes hundreds of photos including ones of tug Cornell ice breaking.

… and random thoughts.  A ship with a name that recalls  inauguration anchored in the sixth boro Wednesday.  It seems that Faithful‘s sibling ships mostly end in -less.  Imagine the possible confusion given that siblings are Timeless, Priceless, Endless, etc.  “Yes, my dear, I just signed on to sail Faithless.”


All fotos taken by Will Van Dorp since January 20.


Snow’s not falling, but the temperature has


stayed wintry.  Ice coats Caspian Sea passing Opal Express, whose name flustered me from a distance when I read the second letter as “r” instead of “p.”  “Oral Express calling traffic.”  Possible confusion of names there too, like the “Ham Berry” v. Hammurabi of some months back.


New tugs (to me at least)


have arrived.   See her launch here!


TGI . . . getting toward spring.  Fifty degrees when I left work today.

Photos, WVD.

After watching the inauguration at Trinity Church,  I walked with a friend along the River.  Gelberman, an 85′ debris collection vessel operated by the US Army Corps of Engineers, crunched her way along an ice flow near North Cove.  Now a question:  anyone know where “Mereczowszczyzna” is and how it relates to this post?  (I cannot pronounce the mystery location.)


Gelberman chronological vitals:   built at Dravo SteelShip in Arkansas in 1980.  Later, that shipyard, now closed, was purchased by J. B. Hunt.  ?!?!  The stuff on the internet boggles my mind.  Below is Gelberman southbound in the Arthur Kill last Friday, the day I took the other snowy fotos.


March 2008 I caught Gelberman in  dry dock, getting a new


wheel.  Who was Gelberman?  Answer below.


He was Chief of the Operations Division of the US Army Corps of Engineers, NY District, a civil engineer, a graduate of Vanderbilt University.  Deceased 1973.

Thanks to Lemming for identifying a foto from almost a year ago as USACE survey vessel  Dobrin; a search for more info on Dobrin led me to this USACE design center site.

Oh, Mereczowszczyzna is the birthplace of Tadeusz Kościuszko, honored by statues and place names in West Point and many other places, arguably founder of the US Army Corps of Engineers.

Speaking of debris, here’s what a 1000 tons of lumber washing overboard looks like.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp.

Not all situations can be simplified.  And not all fotos can have sharp lines.   Check out the atmospheric possibilities serendipity dropped on me last week.  Not that much snow fell, but I stood out by Howland Hook when it fell at greatest intensity.  Enjoy the snow parade, starting with Dean Reinauer, then


Bruce A. McAllister once,


Franklin Reinauer,


Bruce A. a second time, held back by the descending Arthur Kill railroad bridge announced by SHE of the –er . . . interesting . . . voice,


and the classic lines of Moran’s Cape Cod.


You can locate other fotos, clear ones, of these vessels using the search box upper left.  For now some vitals:  Dean 1979  78′ loa and 10′ draft, Bruce A. 1974  111′   12′, Franklin 1984   81′  12′, and Cape Cod 1967  102′  13′

Associations:  snow day  +      snow job  –        For other expressions using “snow” including dream interpretation and “spice the snow,” check this dictionary link.

Photos, WVD.

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January 2009