The smaller surprise was to see USCGC Beluga (WPB- 87325) traveling with speed from Sandy Hook into the Upper Bay. 

I don’t believe I’ve seen Beluga before, although she looks identical to the 70+ Protector class 87′ boats named for marine predators.  I didn’t realize that many marine predators existed, although once you start counting . . . they add up. More on parameters for replacing the WPBs here.

But what really surprised me was what Tony A mentioned about the blue/yellow vessel in the photo.  Of course, it’s R/VShearwater, the Alpine Ocean Seismic Survey boat that’s been creating a complex bathymetric picture of parts of the sixth boro.  I long thought she had an unusual design.  What I hadn’t known is

that she’s former USCG WSES-3.  WSES expands to “surface effects ships.”  Hull 1 of the WSES series, WSES-1, was built for the US Navy as 110BH, then modified and became USCGC Dorado, then back to the USN as SES-200 Sea Flyer, then IX-515.  That’s a lot of modification. More on that here (start near bottom of p 25) and here. For a photo of Shearwater, black hull and orange USCG stripe, click here.   For her Alpine tech specs, click here.

All photos, WVD, who enjoys learning from surprises.  Many thanks, Tony A.