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F . . . fantastic or fabulous . . . as in it might exist but if I hadn’t seen it or read it in a reliable source, I’d think it of the realm of fantasies  and fantasms, i.e., incredible stuff.

Take Fractor, maybe aka GLDD’s Drill Boat No. 8, which has hidden on my header “logo” from Day 1 of this blog. Tug beside it is Melvin E. Lemmerhirt.  I admit  this is a poor quality foto, but what’s interesting is that “drill” here means creating a hole into which dynamite charges are set and then detonated for gross overburden removal, said charges having previously resided on the boat.   Safety redundancy has undoubtedly been built into drill boats, but 80 years ago  drill boat J. B. King exploded in the St. Lawrence with deadly effect.   More great GLDD vessel fotos here, including how cutter suction dredge vessels manage to move across oceans to new jobs.  If you know how to arrange a visit to the GLDD yard, please email me.

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While on topic of fantastic dredge vessels, I caught this approaching the Narrows yesterday.  And what is it?  Mining equipment, I learned;  sand mining happens in various channels leading into the sixth boro.  Sand mining, as I understand it, entails keeping channels clear as well as collecting a resource to sell to the construction trade, i.e., sand.  I have more fotos of this unit including the tug, appropriately named  Sandmaster, but I haven’t found much info about it.  In the foto, notice the outline of the West Bank Lighthouse off Sandmaster‘s port, and a ghostly shape of tanker Altius, off starboard, or maybe it is.  Sand mining . . . the term reminds me of that scene in the first Star Wars movie, surface on the planet Tatooine, which was and then was no more.

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More dredging fantasms  . . . I believe these disassembled parts once made up the cutter head featured here and then rendered in Bowsprite’s water color here.

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Just as the cutter head looks as toothy as the toothiest of lophiiforms, so the roofless walls of Bannerman’s Castle with masonry-studded crenelation appear as fantastically hyper-architecture expected only  in video games.

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Thanks to Jed for the foto below.  Suppose you spotted a house traveling upriver, like here off Croton Point.  I’d study it through the binoculars, then probably rub my eyes, check that I count exactly 10 fingers on my hands, then look back in the direction of the house to see if it was still there.  By the way, anyone know the tug?  Jed got no VHF response or identification.

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Now suppose your first-ever view of a tanker were from this angle.  Then someone asked you to draw Eagle Baltimore.  Wouldn’t you draw it as a roundish tub with very little freeboard?  I’d never imagine it to be over 800 feet long.

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And finally, this foto comes thanks to Bowsprite also . . . if you saw a sky like this in a movie, wouldn’t you just assume the color and texture fake, special effects?  But fantastic as  it may appear, what you see here is what we sixth boro denizens saw just a few weeks ago.

aaafcloudThe worst fantasms, though, are ones where you think someone exists, some feelings are felt, some history has happened . . . and no one, none, nothing is, and maybe never did.  I can’t even show a foto of those, the ones that rattle me most.

All fotos unless otherwise attributed by Will Van Dorp.  Cameras provide evidence  that eyes did or didn’t see; remember to double-click on a foto to double its size.

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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.

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Seth Tane American Painting

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