You are currently browsing the monthly archive for April 2009.

April ends with transitions, endings and beginnings, decisive moments.  May 1 is cross-quarter day aka Beltane, and a time for juleps, mead, or mint tea–or rainchecks for same.

And into the midst of all that excitement into my email popped the foto below, thanks to Kaya, who had surfed the Queen‘s wake last fall.   Kaya:  you made my day by sending a foto of the gray and green ships below passing along :  I know that gray one (Georgia S)  AND that green one, but I know the green one more.  To digress, from this angle, doesn’t the Hudson look like a minor water course?


Marlene‘d steamed away from me before,  for other missions and destinations,


after I’d witnessed her sidle up to handlers like a tame animal . . . not tame at all really but one with adequate self-assurance and strength to tolerate for a spell the appearance of being domesticated, the illusion of being led on a tether, giving herself if only for a short time in spite of her immense power relative to the handler.


Marlene Green she calls herself, and she gets around and through some straits.


And if anyone upriver sees Marlene headed back south, let me know ETA the sixth boro.  I’d like to get some good fotos of Marlene powering herself back out to sea.  Here be her sisters.

Of course there’s always the not-so-minor inconvenience of having to report for work the hours I–like most folks–have to.  And of course I’m grateful for my work, but all the passages, transitions, transits–just plain sixth boro traffic– I miss!!  Like BBC Konan a few weeks back.  Yes, the house is way up forward.  I’m endebted to Dan B for catching the shot below of  BBC Konan and sending it along.   See info on the entire BBC fleet here.    It turns out that Marlene gets chartered by BBC sometimes.


Ah, well . . . I know that if I lived along here, I’d never get work done, never have the chance to be decisive because I’d always be scanning for surprises moving in and out of the sixth boro.

Thanks again Kaya and Dan B.  Fotos 2, 3, and 4 by Will Van Dorp.

Vane Brothers Pocomoke pushes petroleum past Red Hook cranes,


Sister Susquehanna sleeps beside its DoubleSkin 52 with an unidentified Bouchard unit in the background,


McAllister Responder rushes  the #2 buoy,


Robert IV rumbles past the cliffs of lower Manhattan’s cliffs haze-shrouded as if July had already arrived,


Pocomoke pokes on to the northeast with its DoubleSkin 53?,


Hubert Bays hauls an unidentified scow past MOT as it exits KVK, and


… and you wanted a stern view of Susquehanna, right?


All fotos taken on a steamy Tuesday morning in April by Will Van Dorp.

Over two years ago, I wrote my UFOs and Pynchon post, the sixth most-viewed out of 768 posts!  Tangentially related, by now everyone has heard  of the 747 escorted by twin F-16s imprudently crisscrossing the sixth boro yesterday, and I don’t mean to minimize the scare experienced by those who panicked.  Even the Guardian had a story.  Had I left Pier 54 five minutes later for my rendez-vous, I would also have seen the fly-over, but I have this compulsion for punctuality.  Never did I expect to see my own squadron of UFOs this morning!!!  And yes, our Lady pointed it out . . . and with her left hand.  Notice the fotografic evidence that she literally shifted her burdens.  Might all these higher powers be lavishing attention on our waters to see what real estate is described as the “sixth boro?”  Maybe you’d venture a comment on wiki collaboration idea at the end of “People on the Boro 8.”


Well . . . here’s the rest of the story, taken from the hurricane deck of Marchi.


Twin fowls  escort Miriam Moran between the cliffs and Jersey City.


And rounding out this reflection on unidentified flying or floating objects, what IS that vessel in front of Red Hook just beyond Pati R Moran?  Answer follows.


It’s a DEP weed harvester featured here, and whose name to date escapes me.  Anyone know?

All fotos today by Will Van Dorp.  Lead foto had “retouch” help from Bernie Ente.

In cold weather, the illusion exists that the sixth boro is inhabited only by machines,  which can then be anthropomorphized, but still machines.  Not so in warm weather when folks everywhere move outside.  While waiting to get some fuel, Gramma Lee seemed to scout around and crew who could, lingered on deck and –maybe upon seeing a flash of silver in the depths–


even dangled a fish line over the side.


Some like this Maryland crewman washed the house


while others like the crewman at the upper helm of Davis Sea tweaked instruments.


Lots of crew of Chemical Pioneer assisted in hauling up the towline from McAllister Girls

and this persistent blogger soon filled his foto card.

Which leads me to a new book I’d like to shout out:  On the Irish Waterfront:  the Crusader, the Movie, and the Soul of the Port of New York.   Here’s a link to the site.   The movie, of course, is “On the Waterfront. ” A very interesting interview with the author–James T. Fisher, a professor at Fordham University–is linked on the lower right (of the link above), and certainly is a worthwhile listen for a take on the people on the boro a little more than a half-century ago.

Unrelated:  Henry’s art and latest log entry are now up here.

Finally, please help me with a project:  I’d like to create a Wikipedia article for “sixth boro.”  In the spirit of “wiki-collaboration,”  kindly comment on/add to/parody as you like this beginning here, which is wikipedia-style serious:

The sixth boro is a designation for the waters that border  and separate the five boros of New York City:  Staten Island, Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, and the Bronx.  The sixth boro is generally referred to as New York Harbor.  The term “sixth boro” attempts to reconceptualize the space of New York City by stressing the oneness of the navigable waters of New York as a means to recognize that without the water context, the other five boros would never have evolved as they did.  This is NOT a chicken-or-egg type connundrum;  the water explains the metropolis, NOT the other way around.  “Sixth boro” is an essential term, unless “prime boro”  makes the situation even clearer. 



Ralph E. Bouchard and B. No. 230 move in the direction of Explorer of the Seas.  Not apparent from this foto . . . Explorer was at that moment reversing its way into the the Bayonne passenger terminal, backing into a parking spot if you will.


Compliments of Bernie Ente of Working Harbor Committee, Hoegh Africa moves seaward through the KVK, overtaken by  . . .  she who’s been alleged as my “crush-du-jour,” Emma Miller.  Well, Alice has spurned me for just so long,  that part of me that always seeks “my other half” has decided that 700′ loa bulk carriers like Alice might just not be my long-lost other half.  Maybe Emma is more my type.

To get serious, Bernie has some fantastic “hidden harbor tours” planned, including four sunset tours and –what I get most excited about– a circumnavigation of Staten Island.  Click here to reserve your spot(s) while they last.


Nathan E. Stewart emerges from behind New River, an American-built tanker from Avondale Industries, 1997.


Emma again?   Nope.  It’s her sister Sunny Williams passing Histria Tiger, Romanian, proving that not all blues are created equal.  I’m partial to the lube tanker’s blue.  To digress into thoughts of love, I’ve never had a crush on someone with an identical twin.  I wonder how that would work.  Here, I feel something for Emma different from Sunny.  Hmm?   Such strange wiring I must have in me.


Parting shot . . . stern of Chemical Pioneer, a very unusual ship to bear New York as its port of registry, escorted to sea by Rosemary McAllister, who arrived in the sixth boro almost a year ago.


All shots, except Bernie’s, taken today by  . . . Will Van Dorp.

Unrelated:  Henry’s logpage is up although the watercolors keep getting washed away by the stormy north Sea.

A heaving line draws a docking line upward . . . to some point above the crewman standing on deck of the vessel with  odd-blue hull and bluff bow like an aak or a dear friend’s icon.  The black background lacks much detail, maybe part of an immense monolith.  Enough clues?


It’s Emma Miller making fast to President Adams, one of APL’s 21-year-old C-10s.  Some interesting details about President Adams‘ battering at the hands of Typhoon Babs here.   If other adversity of the sort has tested the vessel’s mettle (and metal) throughout its history, I’d love to hear.


Can it be that almost a quarter of  Adams‘ 21-person crew gets docking duty with Emma?


Or do some non-crew board such a vessel during in-port routines?  I’d love to hear “takes” from folks having experience with this.


This bucket lowered and retrieved intrigues me . . . a variation on the basket lowered at the Seaway for what . . . a receipt?  cash or credit card to pay for lube products?  sample of Adams‘ galley delights?   And why not make off to the recessed bitts/dutch bollards embedded in the President?


All formalities completed, a hose is run, valves open, and lube


fluids transfer.


All fotos by Will Van Dorp, who wishes he’d been on scene five minutes earlier to watch Emma‘s approach.

Unrelated:  you know FedEx.  Now check VessEx.

Bow color and house design . . .  the vessel approaching surely carried the “last” name Williams,  I thought


Rolf or Sunny.


But when it veered off, the name there puzzled me . . . one I never before seen, which made me wonder whether the Williamses had been moved along, but


a little hunting turned up info that Emma joins a busy family.


Emma, welcome (belated) to the sixth boro.

of which, of course, there are already many both inside our very selves and all around.  But guess the name of the tug and barge below and


its location.  A clue, other than familiar color scheme, is the fact that the fotos were taken this week, third week of April 2009, and I can attest that foliage in the sixth boro does not currently look that lush.  So what and where?  Answer below.


The fotos below,  taken this week in our home waters, present a mystery of another kind.  Each winter and early spring brings small fishing boats into New York harbor aka the sixth boro.  What are they fishing?


This is a bonafide question.  I don’t know.  Everyone I ask claims ignorance.  I’m about at my wits end.  What


sixth boro life do these boats harvest?  Who would imagine


commercial fishing happens right between Manhattan and Hoboken?

And the mystery tug in K-Sea colors:  Nakoa (shown here in pre-K-Sea colors?) and barge Rigel taken in the Carquinez Strait near Benicia, California.  Barents Sea works out there now too.

Sixth boro fishing boats taken by Dan B.  More of Dan’s fotos soon.

Nakoa taken by Easan Katir.  Easan, a portfolio manager explains how the foto op happened:  “I was in Benicia to have lunch with a client.  We sat upstairs and enjoyed the view.    I was going through their portfolio.   I got to K-Sea (KSP), and told them about this wonderful company which pays high dividends.    I saw the tugboat outside the window, and said “and by the way, there is one of your K-Sea tugs right there.”   They were pleasantly surprised, as was I.  This kind of coincidence has never happened in my 27-year career.   So, serendipity.”

Great story.

Thanks, Dan and Easan.

But no . . . not unlikely at all.  Without boring you about the meaningful pairs I enjoy in my life, the caldron we call the universe runs over (excuse my poetic tangent there . . . like a sneeze) with them: the moon has a sun, every satisfied shark interacts with a remora (or two), a green parrot once dominated a pirate, a nautical pussy ran off with a seafaring owl, Senor Quixote consorted with both Senor Panza & Rocinante, Ishmael and Queeqeq shared a mattress in a place called New Bedford, rum mixes well with coke, my belly harbors friendly acidophilus,  . . .  and Lucia (121′ loa x 38′ @ 7000+ hp)  needs June K (78′ x 26′ @ 2700 hp).


I’d like to see barge Caribbean light some time because heavy leaden as here, the bow resembles a ship.


Side by side they pass, and


on this afternoon, June K looks more fulfilled than ever.


If I judged from my life, I’d say unlikely pairings are usually the strongest.

Unrelated:  lest we get thinking ourselves too high-minded and clean-handed, check out Jim Dwyer’s Times article with an interesting history lesson this morning on New York’s choosing at times of dubious leadership to use piracy as a “development” tool.

I’ll entertain the thought that a better word than “commotion” describes my point here.  Maybe teamwork, collaboration, collective effort, community . . .”   When Nathan Stewart brought a light barge in on the hip the other blustery day,  Aegean Sea tagged along, part of a day’s work.


No pinning was involved here; really, it was more


about the smaller Aegean Sea reaching


the pivot


point and countering the wind.


The strategy seems straight forward and simple but with huge equipment and high stakes.


Today is the 39th Earth Day in the US, and this is all I’ll do in recognition.  I marched in one of the first “earth day” parades on April 22, 1970, but for anyone living in the US today, our relationship with the environment is immensely more complicated than I imagined it –can it be 39!!!– years ago.

Also, 730 afternoons and sunsets!!! ago schooner Anne left New York.  Bravo Reid . . . although for me . . . the watery places devoid of face to face human contact would  leave me intolerably, unbearable lonely.  He does have a shore crew, a real but also virtual community assisting him to his 1000 days at sea goal.


And finally, here’s my tribute to another person of superhuman ability to sustain the loneliness of solo sailing, Robin Knox Johnson.  Happy 40th anniversary of his feat, which happened with much less terrestrial support than is possible today in 2009.

All fotos here by Will Van Dorp.

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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.


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