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This foto in no way conveys the intensity of this moment:  that car crept down Iberville Street at dusk blasting out a shock wave of engine roar that rivaled the scream of  747 engines.

Here too the noise of beaded necklace flinging Shiners on Tchoupitoulas Street.

The shadow of Christ emerges on this end of St. Louis Cathedral as night falls.

Tugster dips his toe in the Mississippi near where Capt. John hugs the wharf just northeast of JacksonSquare.

This statue is called Old Man River, and I’m intrigued though

these words (by Robert Schoen?) leave me as mystified as the sculpture.

Traffic at the intersection of St. Ann’s and Chartres includes this mule (?)  and a texting swamp man.

Down by the river, bowsprite begins to weigh her appreciation for 1937 ferry Louis B. Porterie, one of the free ferries operated by

LA DOTD, the second “D” being development.  Here’s a better foto of the ferry, which whirls and spins between the French Quarter and the neighborhood intriguingly-named Algiers.

I looked in vain for formerly-sixth boro Glen Cove but did find a Kirby tug,  Miss Susan.

More of this type of traffic tomorrow.   All fotos by either bowsprite or tugster.

I’m deep in the “fog of travel,” a phrase I learned from David Hindin.  So only the facts, here:

Crescent’s Alabama.

Marquette’s Blake Denton and Ingram Barge’s David G. Sehrt, sporting her triple stacks.

Silver Fox motivated (I think) by Todd G.

BW Havis, as seen from Algiers.

Bisso’s Capt. Bud Bisso.

Greg Turecamo.

Ralph E. Bouchard.

Anna Victoria pushing heavy against the current painted with silt from a dozen of so Midwest farm states extending all the way to Montana,.

Traffic moves all day and night, just like the bon temps in Nola.

Coral Mermaid.

Chandlery boat Brandi.

And . . . just the facts . . . some legendary aquatic creature doing the nola hula for a sea-bound MSC Nederland.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp.  More soon.

If you didn’t see it yesterday, check out bowsprite’s nola.

Muddy water fast and wide separates St. Louis Cathedral from

boats bringing fresh air seekers like this waterblogger on the Algiers ferry named Louis Porteriere.

In mid-bend, the Creole Ferry and Natchez (the 9th) dance in the current.  And  . . . yes, they did dance although this foto makes them look like blind jousters.

Tugboat New Orleans assists Power Steel make

a rotation in the current while

Blessed Trinity fights her way up river.

Capt. Jimmy T. Moran, developed for the Panama Canal but never used there,  heads downriver for an assist while

while the master plays the calliope.

It would be easy to stay here longer, but . . .

Many more Louisiana fotos to come though.

Can you identify this general area?    I just arrived here, but all last night I was dreaming about the Canal.  Should medical attention be sought?

Some quick final shots:  Fortunato.

Stellanova here and

at the lighthouse below Miraflores.


American Patriot, 

Buzzard Bay escorted by

Panama XIV, 

and with this type of cargo . . .

it’s National Geographic’s Sea Lion.

A final observation:  Panama was dusty, generated by all the urgent excavation, blasting, and construction.  I felt an excitement.  Dozens of large trucks like this tranported rearranged earth along the ridge between the old and new canals at Miraflores . . . day and night.  Notice the spotlights.  I’m guessing a return trip in a few years to see the results is a must.

And if Panama seemed dusty, this place–and maybe it was the window or the mix of clouds . . . this place seemed oily.

More to come.

This sign speaks volumes about differing national style, I believe.  In the US, hyperbole would scream out danger;  here a benign-looking reptile is announced as “possibly present.”

I made arrangements for a boat ride on the Canal with the Other company, and they cancelled on me.  I could have had this!!!  And on a historic vessel once used by Al Capone and John Wayne.  Separately.  Gotta research this.

Talofa happened past, headed for the Caribbean.  Be friends on Facebook.   She’s 97′ loa, started in 1928.

Rio Indio passed.

As did Water Phoenix.

Maintenance gets done on the Canal between ships.

Chiquita Schweiz is one of about 14,000 transits annually.

This gate, like all 46 gates in the system, is original and  built in 1914, weighing 690 tons! Manufactured in Pittsburgh.  Gates for the new canal are being fabricated in Italy.

That IS a monkey’s fist on the heaving line on this electric mule aka locomotive.  Built by Kawasaki Heavy Industries.  Click here for other clients.   The Canal has a hundred of these, whose purpose it NOT to tow, only to keep the vessel centered by

means of these cables.  The largest vessels are escorted by eight of these $2 million mules.

If you need to imagine “panamax,” look at these fotos.   Where wall ends and hull begins is hard to tell.  Keeping a 105′ beam vessel from hitting the sides of a 106′ wide chamber . . . hence the mules.

Here’s another view of “panamax.”  Zim Beijing, a sixth boro regular,  today spent $497,000 and change just for the eight-hour transit.

Behind this ridge lies the work site of the expanded locks, where work

goes on round the clock.

Yesterday I caught what looked like a rushing clous of dust . . . a mystery until I heard the blast.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp, who gallivants on to another place early tomorrow.

A final thought:  Miroflores Locks Visitor Center stems from a realization by the government here that shipping attracts tourists.  If any of you have the ear of decision makers in New york, could you plant in their ear the possibility of creating a visitor center/observation deck along the KVK to accommodate tourists who wish to see and learn about the maritime activities of the greatest port on the East Coast . . . as those same politicians like to call it.  And it should be where the shipping traffic is densest and closest . . . along the KVK.  New York, IMHO, has surely neglected this.  If you want me to help pitch the idea, get in touch.


I hope someone is replicating what William B. Van Ingen did a century ago.  I’ve never heard of him before, but I like this sentiment of his related to the murals he did showing the construction of the Canal a century ago:  “[a]ny success the paintings may have had, came, I believe, from an endeavor to see with the eyes of the man in the ditch.”  Oh for what access he must have had.   Getting access I know takes time.  Hmmmm . . .

What I’ve seen so far, mariners transiting the Canal seem to love it . . . they wave and laugh and take fotos of local flora and fauna!

Especially fauna.  All us folks along the Canal must be fascinating, and I check around and no one has indecently

exposed themselves, so it must be the sheer joy of seeing

a crowd that draws out the inner performer

in a mariner.  This link for the Visitor Center provides lots of further links for Canal info.

For south-bound mariners, this is the end of the near-

encounter with crowds.

Some crews locking through, like that on D. P. McAuliffe (ex-Victoria, 1990, built in Houma, LA at Houma Fabricators),   have to work

But for many mariners, passing the locks must be the closest thing to shore leave they get.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp.

I had planned something different, and this foto is certainly NOT great, but . . . what it shows is River Wisdom  Qingdao, China-bound and Duncan Island Red Hook, Brooklyn, USA-bound.  They’re passing each other at sea level Pacific side just “south” of the Miraflores locks.

Here was River Wisdom about a half hour earlier.  Any idea what she paid for the transit?  Warning . . . I don’t know the answer, but I can come close.   Number of vessel transits annually?  Answer follows.

Any idea when Duncan Island will arrive at the dock in Red Hook?  Again, I don’t have the answer, but bear with me.

Farfan is the assist tug for River Wisdom  . . . as I write this.

I’ve forgotten the name of this yacht, but with that tall a mast and that many spreaders, it could be the

same one I’ve seen in New York and Newport . . . like here.  (Note:  The yacht is Tiara.  It rents for a mere $200k/week.)

Some answers or attempted ones:  PTCC Tortugas paid over $200,000 to transit the Canal.  In cash.  At least 48 hours in advance.  The alternative is 8000 miles around Cape horn and about two additional weeks .  .  .  .    Richard Halliburton swam the Canal in August 1928.  Took him 10 days.  Cost him 36 cents!

14,000 vessels transit the Canal annually.  52,000,000 gallons of fresh water per vessel do the work.  Good thing the rainy season is generous to the watershed.

For River Wisdom, New York PLUS 7 days put her here.  Balboa PLUS 30 days will put her in Qingdao.

Might Duncan Island arrive with her bananas and other tropical fruit at the dock in Red Hook around March 22?  (Just looked it up . . . they could be there already the 18th!!!.)

All fotos by Will Van Dorp, in the past two hours.

Quick post . . . more on the 1934 Panama-built  B/E Atlas III.  My guess about the B/E is that it’s Spanish for “barco d’educación” since it’s a training vessel.  Actually, check this site for dozens of “canal zone” era fotos and newer ones.

Let me focus on the Z-Tech tugs a bit.  Click here for more info on them.  Kamari . . . have seen it in New York’s sixth boro…  here assisted Atlantic-bound by Calovedora   on the stern as Dolega heads back south for the next job.  I’ve never seen a paint job like the one on the lighthouse.

Sub-sea construction oilfield services vessel Intrepid here geta assisted by Cacique on on bow and

Pecora on stern.

Vergaquas 1 assists Overseas Rosemar (I’ve seen her in New York’s sixth boro) on stern

and Dolega on bow.  Pilotboat heads back south.

Besides all the construction you see in the background, the foreground shows the Panama Canal Railway.  Originally I’d planned to take the passenger service up to Colon, but I decided to stay here and watch a day go by from relatively the same perspective, like hanging at my “offices” on the KVK.   Note in the background the vessel above the Miraflores lock waiting for traffic to flow Pacific-bound.

My hunch is that most of the day’s traffic on the railroad is containers on stacktrains like this, transferring containers from the Atlantic port of Manzanillo (MIT) to the Pacific port of Balboa.

Passenger service runs north early in the morning and south late in the afternoon.  Victims of SS Central America, their pockets and bags stuffed with California gold passes from the Pacific to the Atlantic on this railroad. One of my favorite books in Ship of Gold in the Deep Blue Sea.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp, who will soon head back out.

Day 1 . . . and I won’t call these “road fotos” since this was the arrival . .   the Pacific side from  . . . 10,000 feet?

It appears that from noon to 6 pm all traffic, like Senatore, went south to the Pacific.

Those are the container cranes of port of Balboa beyond Marianne Schulte.

What was this place like 99 years ago?

Note the electric locomotives assisting Atlantic Polaris and Nord Snow Queen.  The temperature outside is just shy of 90 F.

My first thought here was  . .  K-Sea?

I haven’t researched this, but I heard this ferry was built in Boston in 1912 . . .

Also, no research, but what is B/E . .  as in B/E Atlas III?

So this answers that . . . it’s V. B. Coiba, not a K-sea vessel after all.  She was towing a set of barges with pipe.

I caught Ever Dynamic rounding Bergen Point about a month ago.  . .  and Bow Summer has just come off the US East coast.  That tug is Verdaguas 1 it seems she assistsvessels entering the locks.  As nightfall approached, she cross from above Miraflores to below to turn the traffic to north and Atlantic bound . . . probably til midnight. And those locomotives, they do NOT pull vessels through;  they only keep them stable between sides of the canal, i.e., prevent collisions with the sides of the chamber.

Again, I’ve done no research, so I don’t know where this tug was built, when, …

And the crews . . . compared with their demeanor in the frozen and lonely KVK . . .

were quite jovial.

All fotos today by Will Van Dorp.

Good bye to this, and

hello to Blue.

and soon into the wild blue . . . as did USS Nipsic in 1870.  In January 1870, she left Brooklyn Navy Yard under command of  Thomas O. Selfridge Jr. . .  . to Limon Bay.


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March 2012
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