You are currently browsing the monthly archive for December 2009.

Bonne annee from Savannah, but look who’s working:  crews of Maersk Jenaz and tugboat Bulldog.

Except this bridge officer, maybe.

Transfighter heads out in the setting sun to meet 2010 at sea.

Diane Moran travels upriver for an assist.

Another shot of Diane Moran with Cape Charles farther back and Peacemaker to the right.

And a final shot for now . . . Cape Henlopen upriver as well.

More soon.  Happy New Year whether you’re at work or play.  Ooops!  In honor of Conrad‘s steam whistles tonight, which I’ll miss, check out Susie

King Taylor‘s whistles as well as

the calliope on Georgia Queen.

Party at least a little tonight (in the blinking of an eye if that’s all the time you can afford).  Happy 2010.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp.

Here was the first post in this series.  Some months back I wondered what this vessel was;  only by the time it had sailed a thousand miles southward did I realize it was a dredger, B. E. Lindholm.  If only I had gone around the barge here at the east end of Caddell’s . . .  .   But I was in a hurry that morning.   Kenny Wilder took these fantastic dredge fotos for which I am grateful.  All my hopper dredger fotos are too far away to demystify the bottom vacuuming business.   More Lindholm fotos can be found here.

Great Lakes Dredge & Dock has a hopper dredger in the harbor right now, but my shots are

always too far off.  This trailing suction hopper dredger is called Padre Island.

Here’s a GLDD clamshell submerged and probing the topography of the bottom of the bay,


and re-submerged.

Here’s a hydraulic excavator.  The equipment is mammoth.

Deeper, deeper, the task seems herculean and somewhat futile at the same time, except it’s not.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp.

To see how the huge dredger Leiv Eiriksson is put together, click here.

Dredging . . . besides being essential work of the harbor, it reminds me of how my consciousness works:  each morning, whatever the hour, when I wake up, my perception is affected by whatever topography of my memory is then exposed.  It may be peaks or valleys or even human-created highs and lows.  Stuff resolved or not but accepted last week or last year needs to be dealt with again and again.  Not that I’m a slow learner, just new perspective brings new doubts, refreshed hopes.  Unsettling, pun intended.  I suppose this makes a post about dredging an apt end-of/beginning-of  year post.

Related to dredging is dealing with the nagging stuff that comes up in many of our consciousnesses as relates to getting along with people.  A type of post I’m thinking to add is an advice column.  Being on Georgia backroads now with only a quite blank laptop,  I have no sixth boro fotos to illustrate, but here’s a an example, which–@!%&*#@–sounds so much like Shakespeare that I’ll just modify this synopsis of Midsummer Night’s Dream. . . except this writing happens to be  midwinter.

Sample advice seeker whom I’ll call “December dredgerist”  —-

Dear Tugster, My crewmate Mori (married to a lubber Elfin Princess . . . aka EP) feels profoundly attracted to Tori (a lubber), and Tori feels deeply attracted to  Luis. EP loves Mori but also–being elfin–has strong attractions and liaisons with a plethora of  fairies, sprites, nymphs, mermaids, and sirens, and other magical creatures of the forests, islands, tidepools, hills… all of which is fine with Mori, who understands elfins and their openness about Mori and Tori.  There is neither pressure to change anything nor complications that exist, but (I’m writing for Mori) Mori wants to know if you could dig into your experience to help Mori either attract Tori or deal with her lack of attractedness to him without turning into an ass.  Many thanks… December dredgerist.

Henry Fuseli Titania and Bottom circa 1790
My response:  Dear Decemberist:  Tell Mori that change is the only constant, and since I have no control over the elves, sprites, and other magical creatures that make  stuff happen in your/my lives, just  . . . do what you’re doing–be sweet or salty or neutral according to your custom and … ride out the hurricanes, calms, ebbs, surges.  May your anchor hold tight in spring tides as in lows.  Dress warmly, and always wear a life jacket.

Lame, maybe?  Any  advice for either the advice giver or the advice seeker?  Much appreciated, and  Auspicious 2010!  Enjoy the midwinter’s full moon.  I’m starting to make my way down the Savannah watershed.

PS:  If your advice to me is to call off this column and terminate the personals-dredging, I’ll consider it.

Unrelated:  check out the mini-tug on Gypsy pirate wench! Fair winds to her as she joins Amistad!

Being on inland roads for now and rendered somewhat blank-in-the-head, I’m happy to finally use these relief crew fotos.  Call this a ship-tease or port-tease post.  Look them over closely and guess the location.  Answer and stories at the end of the post.  A sub and a trawler headed for sea . . . sounds vaguely like the start of a joke?

and  Zeus enters port . . . now that sounds like a mythological tale, fractured or otherwise.  So where?

SeaBart aka Uglyships sent me these.  He writes:  “The fishing boat & the submarine pic is made by my wife in  January 2006 in Den Helder, the official navy port of the Netherlands.  The fishing vessel is obvious:  every port in the Netherlands has it’s own fishing fleet, going out on Sunday evening/Monday morning coming back Friday or Saturday.”

And Zeus:  “has 2 main engines driving one propellor, bollard pull is 101 ton, and from what I heard although she has only one prop she is a very manoeuvrable ship. Finnish flag but she had a Dutch master until he retired a few years ago. On the picture she is just entering Den Helder. She is on the spotmarket and is mostly used for rig moves, when she isn’t chartered usually she is stand-by in Den Helder. I have no idea when the pic is taken because, as I said, she is coming & going.
Den Helder is besides navy-port also the most important offshore-port in the Netherlands. The big oil-companies have bundled their supply-vessels in a pool: the Southern North Sea pool (SNS-Pool), about 12-15 vessels all operating from Den Helder, which gives a tremendous amount of traffic to and from the port, almost too much. On a daily base you see 4 or 5 suppliers coming & going and a lot of shifting  going on in the port it self. If you have a berth, then it’s not for sure that you can keep it…….very annoying!”

Thanks, Bart.  Gelukkig nieuwjaar!   And I say that and a hearty thank you to all who read, in whatever language, patois, or register you say that.

While we’re on the topic of year’s-end, thanks to my referrers, the top 10 of whom for 2009 I list below for special thanks.  A glass of whatever exuberance-bubbles I certainly owe you; please collect.

10   Google Reader

9   WordPress







2   San Diego Union-Tribune, who picked up my  US Air Salvage post


And staying on stats a moment, my top 10 posts for the year are:

10   Mermaid Parade 2009

9   Ghosts

8   Figureheads

7   More Mermaid Parade 2009

6   NYC Tugboat Race 2009

5   Mardi Gras

4   NYC Tugboat Race

3   Pleasure Tugs 2

2   Weeks and Flight 1549 Re-Emerges

1   Equinox

Now I’m not saying these are my favorites or most-representative posts . . . just statistics.

For an example of one of my favorites, how about this:  magic in the mists by the Kill.

Here’s another Phillip T. Feeney post from the archives.

Now let’s start with a conventional looking 35-year-old tugboat repowered in 2001 with 4000 horsepower of EMDs.

Same Marjorie, house up, and

down and


and down and

here you can see one reason for this telescoping.

What I can’t tell you is how long it takes to ascend from fully down to peak.  20 seconds?

All fotos by Will Van Dorp, who will be on the road for the next few days and is currently too far from water for his own comfort;  this post was written just before getting kidnapped to assist the old elf, who keeps me “on assignment” in the highlands and piedmont. Maybe soon I’ll put up some highland fotos.

On an unrelated and serious note, it saddens me to hear of the accident aboard Turecamo Girls.  Here’s a foto I took of the boat some time back.

I speak no more than a dozen words of Japanese, but I believe Tsuru means crane.  So it’s a crane ship.  Fitting except

I realize that not all English uses of the word “crane” translate into the same Japanese word.  This 35-year-old ship (ex-Tsuru Arrow) is called a “grab unloader bulk carrier.”  Some loading is performed with a local barge-mounted crane with this grab bucket, and

the rest is managed by the ship’s own grab cranes.

This is just ONE reminder that seaport work goes on (like many other jobs) no matter that it’s Christmas or any other special day.  The global economy does not stop.

Is this really called a hydraulic orange peel grab?  It is descriptive, but I’m just curious how it’s referred to in local usage.

Mary Alice drops by, but the work

goes on.

Be it Christmas or New Year’s, how ever you may spend the day, somebody’s going to be out here working!

All fotos taken last week by Will Van Dorp, who sends them from the road in Atlanta.

Unrelated:  Just heard about the fire . . . at the old beached Feeney tug on KVK.

Almost two years ago I posted this.  Here’s a new installment.  Truth be told, though, a better title for this set of fotos would be head ornamentation.

Pioneer here shows a novel approach to jibboom installation:  grow one.  If this tree were alive and rooted somewhere in the chain locker, maybe in spring . . . you think?

Moshulu sports complex painted  scrollwork.

Most of Unicorn hid beneath blue tarp when I saw her in Gloucester, but the figurehead gave it all away.  What I did not realize at the time was that Unicorn began her life as a Dutch motor trawler.

Barkentine Gazela Primeiro began her life in Portugal and carried dory fishermen to the Grand Banks.

Lettie G. Howard has a modest eagle’s head and gilded sinuous incisions.

Flying Jib has even more modest and

functional incisions.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp, now in search of new head ornamentation.  Not for myself of course.

By the way, the Christmas morning activity that occupied me the last two years . . . it won’t be happening this year.  Merry Christmas anyhow, or –as my mother would say–prettige kerstfeest.

Which reminds me . . . if this were a warm holiday, I’d love to see a repeat of the muziekbootje, on their youtube here and in my fotos here.

Two figurehead posts from Rick at old salt blog:  an “indecent” figurehead story from Libya and a greeting.

Twas the eve of Christmas Eve, and straight through my many layers of clothes, the wind was howling, starting a process like anesthesia.  Escort came in unescorted or unescorting. . . no money or sport in that!  And no warmth at all did she offer me!

No hesitation or expectation in either party when she passed Zim Haifa or Nordstrength, only a sliver of bow visible.  Big as a vessel like Zim Haifa is, she has only about a third the capacity of the largest boxships now dashing across the oceans.  Witness MSC Danit.

MSC Levina raced in, and a portion of the crew seemed delighted enough to see New York by brilliant sunlight that they ignored the 20 degrees (-6 C) temperature with bone-numbing wind.

I love below freezing light.

Another container ship Maersk Wisconsin came in, and I hope these precariously perched parcels did NOT contain the new paintboxes purchased by a certain presently unplugged painter seeking solace in warmer climes.

Said container ship’s escutcheon contrasts nicely with the orange of E-Balt.

By this time, hypothermia had started to wreak havoc enough with my judgement that I considered this must be a hallucination.

Nope . . . not seeing figments yet.  It’s Jerry, pushing Mr. Upright.  Welcome home.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp.

NRT 3 ends with a shot and video of Grouper; given an important news bulletin, it’s fitting I start with Grouper in NRT 4.  The news . . . she’s got a NEW LEASE on survival.  As soon as she’s fit to travel west, she’s headed to a spot just north of Detroit.  Such news!  Updates will follow as her uncharted future allows.  I tinted the foto a bit yellow . . . as in sunny, a bright future taking her to her 100th!  Since 1912, identities she’s carried include the following:  Gary, Green Bay, Alaska, Oneida, Iroquois, all before Grouper.  Maybe a new name will follow too?  Thanks to Jon for 97 years of pedigree info in his comment a few days ago.

Thanks to Jed for this foto of Quenames, headed north here past Governor’s Island, bound for Boston, I suppose . . . with whatever that barge was designed to transport.  My last shot of Quenames was in late summer 2007!  Thanks much, Jed.

Nope . . . it’s not the Charles D.  It’s Responder, featured a dozen times here before, initially in 2007.  So what happened to the reel and boom that was her trademark?   I’ve no clue.

Taft Beach . . . and her crew worked through Thanksgiving, through the powerful gusts and ebbs of Saturday night’s storm, and will do so more on Christmas Day . . .  as the dredging must go forward . . . er downward!  Greetings and hats off to all who work through whatever holidays transpire.

While we’re on Norfolk tugs, here’s another, shot on the Delaware.  I’ve never seen Lucky D up in the sixth boro.

And while we’re on the Delaware, here’s a sibling of Heron, Falcon, and Sea Raven.  I’ve not noticed Petrel in New York harbor.

I mentioned Charles D earlier.

To round these out, a quite random choice although I love her lines, it’s Christine M.

All fotos in the past month by Will Van Dorp.

Today shows on most calendars as the winter solstice, and that makes me smile.  In my neck of the woods … er … cove in the boro, it’s just another workday.  But at many times in as many places, it’s been a BIG day.  For me, the  winter solstice conveys more hope.  So here’s a question . . .  do you prefer the winter solstice or

the summer?  Summer solstygians or

winter ones?  It fits that these red-thirsty ones hang out at a LIGHT ship in the dark season.  Unrelated, see some great lightship fotos from Oyster Bay at the end of this post.

Summer solsisters ashore from the sea or

or wintry ones who

just can’t satisfy their thirst?

Hope I gave you enough data for making up your mind.  My position is . . . yin and yang;  one means nothing without the other.  Meanwhile,

happy solstice!  From today, daylight starts lengthening again.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp.

As promised, a lightship Nantucket gets ready to move from Long Island to Salem, MA.  See great fotos here and here.

Technically this is a post about the effects of weather;  I couldn’t document the wind-driven snow because it happened in darkness.  Maybe you witnessed it; I took the coward’s way out and crawled into bed early.  I trudged out early to record these effects like the wreath on Liberty IV having more frosting than two days back; in fact the after deck

has the same covering as Bedloe’s Island in the distance.  Exactly two months ago already I tramped in snow upstate.

Wherever Morgan Reinauer’s headed from seemed to offer a glazing.

A crewman on Pegasus (the younger not the ancient) demonstrates why a snow shovel is standard equipment.

Wavertree sprouts some fangs around her stern.

Austin Reinauer heads eastbound past the crushed stone piles deposited by Alice and her sisters or cousins.

W. O. Decker nestles among other snow-covered historical vessels.  The black hull foreground left is Peking, former schoolship Arethusa (the second?).

Amy C. McAllister looked somewhat hoary this morning, and

Marjorie B. McAllister, house up, moves this barge into a snow-sweeping wind for the first time since last night.

Ancient Helen, it piled up on her.

And the final shot for now . . . I believe it’s Emma Foss (a really outa-towner)  pulling an interesting but unidentifiable barge;  the tow was too far past when I noticed.  Had I stayed along the East River a bit longer, I would have gotten a close-up.  Anyone have an idea?  ((Thanks to Stan Willhight, the answer follows.  Much obliged, Stan))

All fotos by Will Van Dorp today.

Answer to the mystery tow above, Emma Foss is towing barge Columbia Boston, the fifth Cianbro module for a Motiva crude refinery in Port Arthur, Texas.  Watch a video showing tow departure from the Cianbro dock on the Penobscot here.  Interesting close-ups, interactions with the USCG Bridle,  and perfect illustration for Bowsprite’s boat time post on a three-watch system.  FYI, the tow left the sixth boro aka exited the Narrows around 1300 Sunday headed south.

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 1,567 other subscribers
If looking for specific "word" in archives, search here.
Questions, comments, photos? Email Tugster

Documentary "Graves of Arthur Kill" is AVAILABLE again here.Click here to buy now!

Seth Tane American Painting

Read my Iraq Hostage memoir online.

My Babylonian Captivity

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


December 2009