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I hope no one reads this post as “kiss and tell” but I had the pleasure last night of gathering in the flesh with a small group of  sixth boro bloggers.  We all exist in multiple communities based on kin, work, geography, futures, and the list could go on; advances in telecommuniputing allow such new forms of gathering as “social networking,” which ushers in new dynamics of face-to-face gathering.  Few of us had met before last night, but we coalesced around our various modes of interacting with the river named for Henry.


Ear Inn seemed an apt location, as the west end of its foundation once marked the bank of our river, now at least 500 feet away.  Yes, our river.


Bloggers below include bowsprite, towmasters, sexinthepublicsquare, and frogma;


messing about in sailboats, peconic puffin Michael and peconic windsurfer Jeff;


A moveable bridge Brian and Karen  and a washed-out-not-washed-up tugster.


Other bloggers represented but (sorry, guys… did anyone get good fotos?) were summittoshore and controlgeek.

Although I know this analogy crumbles a bit, the gathering reminded me of a band, an orchestra like Hungry March Band:  a diverse lot all modulating the same air (and water) and creating something with beauty and meaning (at least to some of us) and interacting with each other in ways that provide communication and deeper understanding among us.


Our waterblogggergathering I hope serves as a prototype; soon we should gather again in a larger space.  I propose a picnic on a piece of the riverbank that would allow for us to commune both on the dry and in the wet, of course, of the six boro.

Waterbloggers unite . . . we have much to gain.

Here’s Michael’s take on the evening . . .  and Bonnie’s with a flickr link.

Images, WVD.

Atlantic Concert . . . bound for sea.


Same place different day, Atlantic Companion . . . bound for sea.


Is that a hole in the hull?


Companion has the same although it’s less corroded.


This ACL series of ships has an unusually boxy and large superstructure.


and identical safety orange slash across the visor.


For more ACL in tight quarters, check out this link.


Anyone have an idea of turn-around time for these ROROs in port?

And although I know the term “black ships” conjures up the wrong impressions, I can’t look at these ACL vessels and not think “black ships.”

Photos, WVD.

Boats on ships . .  that’s what tenders are, and tenders or lifeboats don’t beg for much attention until an emergency.   Last spring when I foto’d a cigarette boat high atop a container ship, I experienced a major appetite whetting.  Since then, I’m always scanning among the containers for something different, not rectangular.


By the way, some of my work happens just to the right (above) of the distant tower emerging from the stern of Marie Maersk.

What caught my attention on this deckload was just forward of the tug.


I feared this irregular shape would be invisible after the vessel rotated off Bergen Point.


But the February sunlight so illuminated the colors that


that their brilliance would have satisfied anyhow with


a glimmer of spring light and energy.  But as Marie Maersk passed my Killside “office” I


was neither completely satisfied nor


entirely frustrated by this view of


the telecommunications rack.  Anyone see enough clues here to identify the shrink-wrapped small ship on the ship?  Oh, that’s Ellen McAllister speeding past the bow.


I’m clueless. And I’ll admit I don’t know where Dragor is.  Intriguing name, Dragor.  It sounds almost like a location in a Tolkein fantasy.  Some vitals though:  built in Odense Steel Shipyard in Denmark in 1990, 964′ loa by 104.’  She cruises at 28 kts (32 mph).  And can any color exude more peaceful vibes than Maersk blue?

An example of blogging perk to me is learning what I did here just now about Dragor, an area of Denmark settled by Dutch farmers encouraged in by King Christian 2.  Hey . . . maybe that’s how the Danish tendril entered our family tree.


I’d love to hear if anyone hazards an ID of the mini-ship on the ship.

Photos, WVD.

The name reveals the cargo, so no mystery exists in that respect.


Asphalt is used in applications as diverse as  cattle spray to shingles to paint to–of course–roads.  See a complete list here, all part of our petroleum diet.  When will this feast on processed dino-era greens end?


As it turns out, Asphalt Seminole has appeared on this blog before not quite a year ago.


A year ago, Miriam was part of a tug parade to celebrate the opening of an exhibit on tugboats at Snug Harbor.  She was also featured here in the countdown to the race in September 08.


Here’s a YouTube of Asphalt Seminole transiting Cape Cod Canal.


As it turns out, fellow-NY blogger Claude Scales did a post on Asphalt Seminole over two years ago.

All images by Will Van Dorp.

Research vessel Robert E. Hayes gets up on all three sometimes.  Technically, it’s called a liftboat.  I saw Hayes up on all three spuds last year on the Passaic just downstream from Newark.   Thanks to YouTube, you can see it too.


I took these shots last summer in the KVK.


Another liftboat Russell W. Peterson came ashore in a storm on Bethany Beach in Delaware.  See Peterson wallow in the surf here.


To see a much larger liftboat, check out Resolution on shipoftheday blog.  It’s a  spudded vessel designed and built specifically to install coastal wind turbines.

Photos, WVD.

OK . . . it’s time to fess up . . .  you may have imagined this a successful WATER blog, but the tugster post with the highest all-time hits was . . .  not a random tugs installment, not a salvage post, not a daily ship, not even a post with a respectably deep water.

No, the all-time most-frequently viewed (out of over 700 posts) bears the title “Equinox” and features a be-misted and ecstatic  parrot and a be-legged dancing mermaid.  Now don’t get me wrong . . . I have a powerful attraction to exuberant parrots and dancers, and this stern view of she with the frizzy hair and large hybiscus blossom attracts powerful attention . . .


but this is a WATER blog.  Truth be telled,  I’m not unhappy.  The parrot rules my roost, and someday I might even meet that mermaid or learn her name or sea.  Meanwhile, in the sixth boro, where the temperatures just don’t reach high upward enough to celebrate as warmer climes might allow this day, enjoy this foto for now. Or go over to Hawsepiper Pirate Paul and see what “very tasteful …pictures” he offers up.   Maybe I’ll put up an “Equinox Redux” post when spring arrives in less than a month.

Odds and ends:  Wednesday what a shot I missed in Staten Island driving southbound on 440 near the Bayonne Bridge approach;  in the northbound lane I spotted five (!) in a row USCG Defenders headed north . . .  on trailers of course.  What a shot .

And finally, indulge me here . . . rap does not provide the soundtrack to my life, but this weekend I stumbled onto the music of a Somali-born Canadian, birth name Kaynaan Warsame singing as K’naan, son of an immigrant who drove a New York City taxi, and scion of Somali poets and singers.  So conjure up the influences coursing through such a person from a soupy geography of anarchy we now associate with piracy, and then give a listen.  This may contain a kernel of truth;  rogues should be recognized wherever they are.  My ire was raised when a pristine lake I love in New Hampshire was once besmirched by a rogue night dumping of drums of chemical byproduct.

Meanwhile . . .  one more foto here. . .  a flip of a coin for parrot or dancer yields . . .


mermaid communications, of course.  Laissez les bon temps roullez.

Mary H. commands her own interest, but look beyond her to the other side of the bridge, where something immense approaches  Bergen Point.  Anyone have old pics of the now-gone Bergen Point Lighthouse?


All 960+ feet of APL Egypt taxis out of Newark Bay as


Rosemary stands by in case a nudge is needed to rotate Egypt in front of Shooter’s Island,


leaving Mariner’s Harbor in the background and


bound for sea


squeezing under the Bayonne Bridge, where


Rosemary‘s escort task’s nearly complete and the next client soon to beckon.


An unsettling feature of these behemoths made clear to me this snowy afternoon is not how noisy the engine is [it’s silent] , but rather how loud the swish of displaced water, as the bulbous bow froths as it plows a furrow through the Kill.


At a maximum speed of 25 knots, Egypt could no doubt outrun Rosemary.  Anyone know Rosemary‘s maximum speed?


Egypt shrinks  Caddell into plaything proportions.


Totally unrelated, here’s a pre-Mardi Gras tribute to a New York dancer who went by “Little Egypt.”

All images, Will Van Dorp.

or I could call this “mother ship” but that’s come to mean something different.  I could wait to post this on mothers’ day, but … I believe that every day is mothers’ day, fathers’ day, etc.  So who do you suppose calls herself “mother of all keepers?”

These top three fotos showing the vessel exiting Cape Cod Canal eastbound and into quite the chop were sent by Tom from Boston.  More from Tom soon.


WLM 551 Ida Lewis, based in Newport, Rhode Island, is a Keeper-class 175′ coastal buoy tender.   And who was this mother of all keepers, Ida Lewis?  Read a poem about her here.


A brave woman, that’s who, one who’d row through the spindrift like that below.  Ida lived on Lime Rock in Narragansett Bay for 59 years, moving there at age 12 when


her father became keeper.  He was replaced by his wife, and then Ida, short for Idawalley Zorada, who became keeper at age 37.  She remained keeper, living mostly alone, until her death at age 69!   Read about Ida here.  Below, in a foto I took May 2008, Ida Lewis is moored nose to stern with cruiser CG55 Leyte Gulf.


Around the same time, Ida Lewis and WPB 1345 Staten Island met just outside the Narrows, which brings me to

aaaailwsartistic Bowsprite, who did this watercolor of WPB 1345, and in time will tease many more projects from her brushes.

Photos by Tom and WVD.

Yes, you saw this foto in yesterday’s Truman post.  The orange tug is Vera K, stemming until the container ship passed, and then


it rotated to port with


barges of salt for the Atlantic Salt Company ,


salt that on the next icy day could end up on local highways.


If you think the crane looks like the one you saw in past weeks lifting an airplane and some locomotives, it’s not THE crane although it is a Weeks machine,


Weeks 529.  See it at work here.


And as soon as Vera K.’s barges were light, another set came in.    The salt came from a bulk carrier anchored over near Bay Ridge, but I couldn’t get over there for a foto.  Anyone know the origin of the salt?


All images by Will Van Dorp.

Where might one locate a lifeboat called President Truman?  In Missouri?


Mais non!  One starboard and one port midships on the APL President Truman, of course, who just happened to pass by as I gallivanted along my favorite waterway.


Notice the crewmen near the bow, the one wearing dark blue and pointing toward Manhattan, where he never made it during this too-short 18 hours or so turn-around in Port Liz.  I wonder about these crew and what their thoughts are of this and other ports they cruise in and back out of on their unnatural schedules.  What are the joys, pains, and community of the global mariner?


The topmost white number on the stern is marked as 13 meters 60.  A dear friend suggested I do more stern fotos.  Hmm!?


More on the orange tug pushing the barge and passing alongside President Truman‘s portside tomorrow.  And after that, more APL.


For now a final thought related to a word I’ve learned through researching my other blog Henry’s Obssesion.  The “Henry” is the one for whom the major sixth boro river is named.  That word is “retourschip,” meaning a large treasure ship that brought the goods to the metropolis from the colony, goods in the VOC’s case being spice.  Here’s some info on “retourschepen” albeit on a numismatic site.  So, my final thought is that these containership are the retourschepen of our society, our key to getting cheap and not-so-cheap goods from abroad.  And yet, large as they are, they enter and leave the port with no fanfare, no ceremony.  No revelry and story-swapping really happens with crew who’ve sailed from the other side of the globe, and all ports are quite similar both in their equipment and their being off-limits. There might be good reasons for all that, but what’s lost is the excitement of our stuff coming in and the prospect of meeting folks with very different experience and unique perspectives to share.

OK, ’nuff said.  But drop by  our Henry site.  Bowsprite and I would like some feedback on our creative non-fiction/illustration project.

Photos, WVD.

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February 2009