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Last sunset of 2010 in Charleston, SC, sees YM Seattle headed for sea in the distance and

pilot boat Fort Moultrie (another Gladding Hearn vessel of the … no surprise … Charleston class) waiting for the next job.

Happy New Year!

Interstates feel like rivers, all be they hard and inefficient compared with watery ones. Approaching this truck, nothing seemed unusual until

We got alongside. Live fish!

On all those East Coast trucks, I’ve never seen a “dead fish” sign.

Fotos taken near the Virginia/Tennessee border by Will Van Dorp. Anyone know the name of the truck line? I was too absorbed taking the fotos to register the
name.  Here’s a “how-to” publication from Kentucky State University’s Aquaculture Research Center.    I still wish I’d caught the name of the shipper.

It’s that time of year.  The blog will resurface at the mouth of the Cooper/Ashley watershed, I hope, just before 2011.  As final post from the sixth boro for 2010, then, here is a motley set of fotos and disjointed thoughts.

Collaboration . . . I love it.  This foto of Golden Elpis comes from John Watson.  Given my imagination-driven eyes, I read the ship name as Golden Elips and thought “elips . . . give ekisses, not wet urgent ones.”  In 2011, I want more real passionate kisses and fewer ekisses.  About this ship, I saw it in New Haven recently and read the name as Golden Elvis.  I really need to get my eyes checked, maybe patented.

APL Jade is another John Watson foto.  The city here looks as atmospheric as it did back in fotos from back in the days of coal-fired steam.

Here’s my tree this year, located in Newport, Narragansett Bay.  A Tree of Life is the best kind.

You heard it here:  one of the things I adore about this city is that it finds itself among those places where you hear and see other languages daily, unidentifiable ones.  MSC Mandraki sent me here.

To go somewhere and see a retired politician’s name on a research boat like this . . . all pols should be so lucky.

Endeavor . . .  yah!

Fishing vessel Janet.  Eye candy is enough for me.

More marine eyecandy called Dominique, launched 1937.  “Eyecandy” actually is a crass word for beauty.  May 2011 bring beauty into all our lives.

Clingstone House . . .  staying there with a dozen like-minded friends . . . that’s something to organize in 2011.

Probe forward.  I suppose some things I’ll encounter in 2011 will push back hard, and I’ll deal with those.  Others . . . will bring unexpected pleasures and treasures.  I wish you all the same.  Before parting, a story.

Call it one of my 1001 stories . . . actually, it’s not a story but an email I got recently from someone I’ll call “Joe.”  I’ve “tinkered” with identifying info in the letter, lest the company in question object.

<<<I’ve been a fan of your web site for a long time.  So when I saw a guy sitting on the rocks of the KVK  near [a certain location], Sunday, October 3rd,  I said to “my captain,” “See that guy over there shooting pictures, I’ll bet that’s the Tugster.”

The captain said, “Where,.. what are you pointing at?  That looks like a bunch of Richmond Terrace winos sitting under that tree.”

“No sir, not the mooks sitting under the trees, the guy crouched up like a seagull on those rocks shooting pictures of the dredge, I’ll bet ya that’s the Tugster.”

“What the hell is a Tugster, is that something like a hernia?”

“No Cap, the Tugster is an aficionado of all that is New York Harbor”.

“What kind of fish did you say he was fishing for, a fish-ah-what? What the hell kind of fish is that?”

“No Cap, He chronicles New York Harbor in photographs and posts them on his web page. Hey, I’ll keep an eye on his site and see if we show up in any of the photo’s.”

Now it was the Captains turn to give me the fish eye, as if, I might be looking at, “other less prurient pages,” on the Internet. “Yeah sure, let me know what turns up.”

Today I went to your site. Imagine the joy when I discovered that, yes the bearded individual crouched on the rocks like a kid with bad diarrhea, truly was the Tugster.  Wow, in a city of Ten Million people! Who could imagine?

Naturally, I’ve emailed your web page link of flattering photo’s to all of the [company X] folks.  This is particularly great because the guys working on the [vessel in question] are from [a faraway state outside the Northeast], haven’t been home for awhile and can share the pics with their families. Nice.

If you are interested, perhaps I can bribe, blackmail and use threats and innuendo and scurrilous gossip to arrange for you to visit the [vessel in question, again].  No guarantees, but I can ask the big shots that run the show, if you’re interested.

Thanks again for a great web site.>>>

Wow!  Thanks.  I could NEVER hope for a better gift.

I’m headed inland for a spell and a gallivant, and hope–as I said earlier–to emerge about 750 miles south of the sixth boro.

Bonne annee!

Even though she glowers at me whenever I say it, the six-eyed bowsprite IS perspicacious.  As she hops from cliff to cliff and down along the ledges near water level, she misses no detail.  She sent me these fotos to share.  What is the orange sheet dangling from the yellow frame suspended from the 532 crane?

Erosion control mats?

A Christo project?

A nutrient-rich bedding for oysters?

Part of a future underwater moving sidewalk?

A riverbed loom for a  seaweed weaving project?

An attempt to soak up sugarmud drifted down from Yonkers?

Habitat for sturgeon and plesiosaurs?

A diversion intended to lure bowsprite down from her  cliffs?

Preparations for next year’s Red Bull Air Races?

An attempt to recover aliens and their secrets from the wreck site of an OVNI?

Ichthyosaur survival training drill?

All fotos blamed on credited to bowsprite, whose narative goes like this:

“09h20 Virginia and Elizabeth go upriver to bring mats and crew to the crane Weeks 532.  The engines roar, smoke comes out, the spuds are dropped, the crane lifts the yellow loom-thing and splashes it into the drink.  A lunchtime crowd gathers, asking each other what’s going on.  They say ‘I think they’re dredging.’  Or ‘I don’t know.  Been here a few days.’  Or ‘What’s your guess?  They talk, they speculate.

Back on the barge, The loom comes up sans the orange mat.  Men with stepladders go around and weave on the next mat.  Spuds go up, engines roar, smoke again, winches drag in the white buoy, and the whole barge setup moves farther into the middle of the river.  Later another mat is laid down just a bit east of the last one.”

And the answer to Whatzit:  the truth is out there, or in here.

I chased the moon this morning, and lost.  By the time I got away from my high-horizoned, building-intensive lair, the solstice moon only recently eclipsed, had slipped beneath the New Jersey highlands, but in spite of the cold . . . . I was not disappointed.

First I caught the sixth-boro newby Crystal Cutler pushing

barge Patricia E. Poling into the Upper Bay.

Then MSC Mandraki headed past with

bulb exposed to the cold winds and

Gramma Lee T Moran protecting Mandraki‘s assets.

Freddy K Miller (ex-Fred K and ex-Stapleton Service)  headed west on a mission.

Rarely sixth-boro-seen Marion Moran sprayed past

in the stark but intense winter solstice colors.

As my fingers were losing all sense of feeling in the wind chill 19 degree sunlight, Freddie K and Susan Miller headed back east with Weeks 533, which has appeared here

powerlifting locomotives and Sully’s Airbus 320.

And before I crawled back into a warm place, I caught Sassafras pushing some fuel in Doubleskin 34 and

What!!?? . . .   a classroom on a fieldtrip?  checking out Minerva Rita.

Well, maybe this floating classroom is a figment of my imagination brought about by the cold.

Mermaids emerge on the summer solstice and draw the crazy out in me and some of my best friends.  I MUCH prefer THAT solstice, now only a half year away again.

All fotos here by Will Van Dorp.

Unrelated:  check out these fotos of the Crowley barge on towmasters.

Here’s a foto of a foto taken at Fort Wetherill.  I couldn’t make out the name of the vessel, but can you identify the objects on the dock in the foreground?  Answer follows.

Fort Wetherill serves as a great venue for shipwatching;  here’s another shot of Danalith bound for sea, and  

tailed by Northeast Pilot IV, which also

met Thalassa Desgagnes when she arrived.  Thalassa is an apt name for a vessel.

Here’s a close-up of Northeast Pilot IV, a product of Narragansett Bay’s own Gladding-Hearn.Here’s Northeast Pilot V, which I presume is

a newer boat.Also based in Newport is Tiger Shark,

WPB 87359, one of dozens in this 87′ class.

Hidden away here is the stern launch small boat.

Back to that first pic . . .  those are mines.

Does anyone know the name of that mine-laying vessel?

All fotos by Will Van Dorp.

Last time I posted a foto of WLV-612, the year 2009 had just begun and she was docked in North Cove in Lower Manhattan.   Now she’s on the Newport waterfront;  I’ve no idea the identity of the huge  sloop at Nantucket‘s stern.

Narragansett Bay is a ria (never heard that word before today) Pell Bridge (below)  between Newport and Conanicut Island, and  Jamestown-Verrazano Bridge (who knew?)   between the Island and North Kingston

Lobsterboat Shamrock here passes Rose Island, between Newport and Jamestown.  Rose Island Light is a B & B.

Here’s a view of calm waters below the cliff that runs in front of the “cottages” of notables like the Vanderbilts and Astors of the Gilded Age.

Coastline Kidd moves one of the painting barges working on the Pell Bridge.  A year ago in the KVK I caught sibling Coastline Girls here.

Entering the Bay from the north around Castle Hill Light and accompanied by the pilotboat,  it’s

Thalassa Desgagnes, here passing Fort Wetherill.

Leaving the Bay and passing the same park, it’s 34-year-old general cargo vessel Danalith, here outbound for

the Republic of Cape Verde?

More Narragansett Bay soon.  Many thanks to Rod Smith (of and Birk Thomas (of tugboat for hospitality and info.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp.

Here along the edge of the Delaware,  inverted reflections of  Olympia and Moshulu  get transformed in this basin.  Suggestions of  past and future lurk  there too.

A broken edge, where anglers probe,  where finny things feed, and treasures may

await discovery . . .  along with other surprises, be they finny,  spiny, toothy, and slimy.

Trailing edge of continent or leading edge of ocean, or both, extend without clear definition, like the

undefinable edge of the moment, where commingling happens and life renews or metamorphoses.

What’s visible today wasn’t yesterday or won’t be tomorrow;  when new vistas appear, they surprise us with

unexpected edges of  propinquity.

Edge of darkness, chaos, or creation . . .

and then not, if

you brave the edge of dawn, of wonder, and find the way to your conveyance.  Some edges suffice for one environment, whereas

another more buffered suit another.

This single exposure . . . .  of bowsprite’s  not-for-navigation chart above my desk drew me into the edge of unreality thanks to the apparition of a curvedness of mermaids speaking to a diver.

Edge of another year . . . season.

A thought from Anne Morrow Lindberg about some of the edges above:  “The sea does not reward those who are too anxious, too greedy, or too impatient. One should lie empty, open, choiceless as a beach – waiting for a gift from the sea.”

A cold day’s sizzling thought from Molly M:  “I respect boundaries,” she said, “vigilantly. And I love to play right up to the edge of them, see how close I can get.” She smiled, slyly, like one who could never drown.  Edges. Places where one thing stops being itself and becomes something else. Places where one thing washes over another and changes it. Edges, where you can fall over, tumble in, be washed away.  Hard edges that cut. Soft edges that overlap and enfold. Permeable boundaries that let me flow into you and let you flow into me. Impenetrable borders that keep us apart.”

Unrelated:  If you haven’t been keeping up with Issuma, click here for some recent snowy fotos.

Guest fotographer #1 here is John Watson.  He caught this foto of Orange Sun with my favorite cargo last week, less than an hour before I stopped by the Kills; Laura K provides the assist.  Some previous orange juice vessels have appeared here and here.    And here’s my first, Orange Star.

John has been shooting sixth boro ships much longer than I have, and I look

forward to more collaboration with him soon.  Above bulker is Tai Bai Hai . . . and below is GencoSuccess.

Richard Wonder sent along the fotos of YM Efficiency from the Bayonne Bridge last week.  Here he takes a turn at

MOL Paramount, getting a turn around Bergen Point with

assist from Responder and Ellen, who’ve

appeared here countless times.  That’s Port Elizabeth in the background.  Click here for a foto of MOL Paramount mounted high and dry in a floating drydock.

John and Richard . . . thanks much.

Check out this eBay ad for Q. A. Gillmore, a 1913 tug with functioning steam engine power.  I’m NOT going to bid although I might be interested in partnering.  The clock is ticking.

It sounds like the green stuff some bunnies and humans like to nibble on.  It can be organic when it relates to crystals, but not much more.  No, EO’s Yeoman Brook is not a snow-making operation at Staten Island’s most frequented ski slope.  And yes, that four-bladed clover is the most organic shape here besides the white dunes.

Here’s a veritable lattice garden.  That’s drill vessel Apache approaching, an unidentified Moran tug over by the bridge.  No, that’s probably not a moveable bridge (Sorry, Brian) or a removable bridge.  In silly conversation recently, a friend and I concluded we preferred removable  britches  to removable bridges.

Railings galore and flat plating.

Racks and railings and vessels and arms . . .  straight lines encasing a very few curves.  What you’re looking at here is a Reinauer barge foreground with a chemical tanker beside the hose rack.

More of same on CSCL Sydney.  Note the focus on the face of the man in the middle window.

Parting shot for now . . . Emily Cheramie, Apache, Yeoman Brook.  Other shapes soon, more organic ones . . .  less lattice and more . . . tomato.

A silly post with fotos by Will Van Dorp.

Click here and scroll through for a several years old article about drillship Apache in New York harbor.

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Seth Tane American Painting

Read my Iraq Hostage memoir online.

My Babylonian Captivity

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


December 2010