Very general backstory:  NYK Rigel (965′ x 105′ and 4800 teu) entered service in Spring 2009.  See fotos of engine. Named for a star in Orion’s foot in Western conceptualization but equally fascinating cultural significance (رجل الجبار,参宿七,Yerrerdet-kurrk)  among star-watchers of other cultures and our own.

I first saw NYK Rigel on my way to work Thursday.  The foto above taken around 7 am;  I then turned around and took the foto below (That’s Irish Sea pushing DBL 103 with Ross Sea as assist;  MSC Carla [I believe] headed for sea in the way background.)  looking in the general direction of the sun.

Two minutes later, Irish Sea passes, disturbing the calm reflections.  NYK Rigel had arrived in port around dusk Wednesday, having left Shanghai about a month earlier.

By the time I return to my vantage point on Howland Hook around 3 pm for break, tons has happened (literally), the chaplain’s red van of the Seafarers & International House has just left, and Gramma Lee T. Moran drops off the pilot.  This can mean only one thing.

Catherine Turecamo is the other half of the backing-down team.

When the “all clear” sounds, Gramma Lee T. muscles the stern away from the dock, azimuth thrusters sending water

racing in the opposite


I realize how lucky I am to spend my break time here today, seeing this

departure with the cliffs of Manhattan in the way background.  Backing down (or out) is a must here since Rigel is too long to turn around until just off Bergen Point, where she did in fact spin counterclockwise on her way out to sea.

Catherine works the bow as

needed.  It’s just another day’s

work for some;  the best place to take a break for me.

And as I drove along the Belt Parkway headed home five hours later, NYK Rigel was headed outbound (for Norfolk, I think)  just south of the Verrazano Bridge.  I decided not to stop for fotos.  End of my infinitesimally short story.   Some other perspectives I’d love to hear relate to the pilot, the tug crews, the chaplain, NYK Rigel‘s crew,  pilot boat crew, the families of all those folks . . .   along the esplanade.

Hope you enjoy the fotos ( by Will Van Dorp) as much as I enjoyed my two stops yesterday.  Work went well too.

About a year ago, I also documented a “backing down” here.

Oh . . . yes I know Alice was in town, but she’s playing so hard to get that I feel discouraged.