You are currently browsing the monthly archive for April 2011.
i.e., which details are minor, periphery, fringe . . . all depend on perspective, which
Happy end of April. I’m off in search of a may pole or something. Back soon.
Just a quick update: I’ve heard from 11 people–some on email–willing to put up some money. I intended this as pledging a la Public Radio/Television. I had imagined that once a sizeable amount of money was pledged and a goal for the money was agreed upon, we could collect the money. May Day–the seasonal one–arrives soon. The dire one I hope never arrives. To fuel the discussion, I’m putting up fotos never before (I think) never posted here. Like Peking,
I’m offering to give away a Benjamin Franklin, or a half dozen. And I’ll do it before May Day!! See the end of the post.
The foto below–never posted here before–comes from 2005 and shows “the schooners,” a handsome Pioneer (1885) and elegant Lettie G. Howard (1893), 244 years of sailing between them. On a personal note, I logged in over 600 hours as a volunteer on these two boats as well as on W. O. Decker between 2004–2006. That means winter maintenance as well as summer sailing.
Such nautical treasures are these vessels (left to right: Marion M, Wavertree, W. O. Decker, and Peking) and so many fine folks, volunteers as well as professional crew, did I meet during this time . . that
When word on the street says Museum administration is looking to “send its working ships to ports elsewhere for long-term storage” and otherwise declining comment on the crumbling state of affairs, I hope to hear that these same administrators abdicate their positions. These vessels are no white elephants. These are no “floating paperweights.”
During my years as an active volunteer, I knew this place could be much more than a red barn with seven masts sticking up above it.
Conditions of giving away my Benjamins: current Museum president Mary Pelzer resign effective immediately and a committee focused on the vessels be installed forthwith. And, I’d like 1000 people (former volunteers, boat fans, former professional crew members, just plain fans of these vessels, or friends and friends of friends of any of the above) to pledge at least a Benjamin each to be deposited with a trustworthy and maricentric steward by May 1, 2011. This could be the “seaport spring.” Let’s not let this go to May Day.
See the selection below from yesterday’s New York Post. Here’s info on a “Save our Ships” meeting for April 28. All fotos above by Will Van Dorp.
“Abandoning ships: City’s old vessels lost in fog of debt, neglect,” New York Post, April 25. “Rotting wood covers their decks, their masts are flaked with rust, and their hulls are corroding.
New York’s last tall ships — once-proud symbols of the Big Apple’s rise to greatness — are in a shameful state of disrepair as the museum that’s supposed to care for them sinks in a Bermuda Triangle of debt and bad management. Seaport Museum New York has closed its landside galleries and is looking to send its working ships to ports elsewhere for long-term storage.
The museum’s stationary ships — Peking, one of the biggest sailing ships ever built, Wavertree, a three-masted cargo ship, and Ambrose, a lightship that a century ago guided sailors into New York harbor — face an unknown fate. ‘Those ships, which are emblematic of our heritage on the waterfront, are almost being left to rot,’ said Roland Lewis, president of the Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance, a coalition of nonprofit groups. . . . The museum declined comment, except to say it is ‘exploring various options’ to maintain its vessels.”
When I got to the wreck Easter morning, as you know, I spotted a seal. In the fog and from a distance, I first imagined it another creature–one more typically associated with Easter but for some reason with a flattened tail and sleeping on the beach. I gave it wide berth, but when it turned
and looked up, I noticed it was either a deformed bunny sans ears OR NOT an Easter bunny but rather a seal that seemed to has a sense of boat survey work, the clue being that it was reading Colvin’s Steel Boat Building, Vol. 1.
Having with me a silkie speaker of Halichoerus grypus aka hooked-nosed sea pig, I thought I’d ask a few questions via translation. After dispensing with initial interview protocols, I learned that ᐅᒡᖪᒃ , as this young male gray calls himself, witnessed Le Papillon arrive on the beach and was calculating odds of it rolling off the beach in like but reverse manner. ᐅᒡᖪᒃ demonstrated as he spoke, and
after astounding me with jargon like panting, racking, hogging, sagging, and hogging some more, he grew quiet, pensively stroking his juvenile whiskers. “Sooner . . . would have been better than now, but, in my not-so-humble seal opinion, it needs a strong vessel . . . of several hundred orca-power at least (must be how seals calculate terrific torque) to wrestle the pinky free of this entombing sand and
I turned back once while leaving; ᐅᒡᖪᒃ must have felt bad. My translator told me she heard him mutter something about “I can’t believe I said that. I need to learn a bit of tact with these terrestrials.” Then, he said something about heading for South Street Seaport next . . . . hmmmmm!
Type Kristin Poling into the search window here, and you’ll find lots of references to the 1934 vessel, which still works as hard as ever. One of my favorites is here. The foto below shows her under load, looking ever so slightly likea vessel from 120 years before her . . . if you lop off the paddle wheels. To read how Clermont intersected my ife, click here. By the way, whatever became of the project to build a replica of Clermont a few years back?
Foto by will Van Dorp.
Day 24, midmorning . . . fog reduced visibility to half mile or less along the beach and tower, and given my dose of Christian upbringing, I hoped I would tell a resurrection story, but alas, as I got close,
More seriously, the seal is believed to be a juvenile male gray seal, about four months old, healthy though tired, which would–if left unmolested–return to its watery realm.
Yes, I took these fotos with a zoom and avoided interfering with a marine mammal.
All fotos by Will Van Dorp on Easter, 2011. Click here to see how saltaire38 ties this seal to a Fire Island tradition.
Government Boats 14 was here, from over a year ago. A subtitle here might be navy vessels future and army vessels present. Like this vessel below, sent along by Rod Smith of Narragansett Bay Shipping, where you can savor more shots of the same vessel. Can you identify it? Does “FSF 1” stand for “frighteningly sci-fi 1,” which this truly is? More below.
Now onto army vessels. Oxymoron? Nope, Enjoy these two, contributed by Joe Herbert: LT-2085 Anzio (US Army tug built in 1955) , and
For a frighteningly sci-fi US ARMY vessel prototype built in Australia, click here.
Here’s a full-vessel shot of cement-gray FSF 1 aka Sea Fighter passing Fort Adams in Narragansett Bay.
Any errors in the above info can be blamed on Will Van Dorp, aka tugster.
Fred Trooster sent me these fotos a few weeks back from the province of Holland, in the land of windmills. Not to push the “maricentric” idea too selectively, but this is truly a unique celebration of green on blue, produce on a canal system, small scale short sea shipping . . . if you will. These fotos are from the “varend corso westland,” where varend . . . is related to the English word faring as in seafaring. Enjoy.
I’d love to see some of these parades.
Happy Earth Day. By the way, what % of the total US energy diet comes from solar and wind at this moment? Answer below.
Unrelated: mini-offering vessels float on Ganges-in-Queens.
Answer: a miniscule 1.7%. Read the story here.
Related: 37 “ridiculous” types of things removed from NJ beaches . . . .
For a walking lunch, the crescent along the Elizabethport side of Arthur Kill ‘s northeast end tip satifies. It’s no picnic, but many worse places come to mind.
Yesterday I arrived, sandwich in hand, at 1:07, to catch Evening Tide headed for Newark Bay following
All fotos yesterday by Will Van Dorp. Now I mentioned the “crescent” earlier because this “park” where I walked was once a shipyard. Crescent Shipyard made submarines; fotos here. It went by other names before and after, but of them all, now there is no trace. Seems a shame.