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James William was slinging along a slew of barges.

Galveston (I think) was coming in the other morning with Chemical Transporter.  Usually Freeport pushes Chemical Transporter, so maybe I’m just misremembering.

With the slash of safety yellow across the barge bow, I was initially confused…

until the green with red trim told me it was definitely . . . Pinuccia

Two Vane 3000s separated by five years of work . . .  team up on getting the barge gently into her berth.

Paul Andrew Brian Nicholas gets watched very closely by the Lady of the sixth boro.

And, Matthew Tibbetts exits the east end of the Kills.

All photos, WVD, who is finally back in the sixth boro . . . for a bit.  I will be doing a lot of inland/coastal traveling the next few months.  All photos of workboats wherever you are are greatly appreciated.

 

First,  the numbers, as Kai Ryssdal would say on NPR’s Marketplace show.  The numbers I’m referring to are the bids on Grouper yesterday. 

At 0600 yesterday, high bid was $150. That lasted until just after noon. By 1300, high bid was $420. More than 60 bids (out of a total of 104) were tendered in the last hour, some fractions of a second apart. Winning bid was $3100. At this point, I know nothing about the winning bidder or that person’s intention.

This will be a summer of many days away from the sixth boro, so I’m very happy when you send in photos. Great Lakes mariner retired (GLMR) sent in a few. Below is a cool pic, in the snow, of John B, for sale for some time now.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here is a skeletal and unidentified fish tug.

Truckertim has sent a few along;  Little Toot has got to be one of the more common names for a small tugboat.  And it fits.

I like the color scheme.

I’d love to know the breadth here.

From Lewis Cobb, here’s one I’ve not seen in the sixth boro . . . Sea Coast, 60′ x 24′ and it has spent 41 years in Dann Marine colors.

 

Miss Judy, 59′ x 23′, works for a dredging company south of Norfolk, I believe.

A fantastic shot of Joker, here with her colors mimicked in the sunset, but who wore those colors better . . . why, Joker, of course. The 79′ x 25′ Joker used to work in the sixth boro–and out of it–as Taurus.

From Jake Van Reenen, up on the New York portion of the Saint Lawrence River, it’s Ruth Lucille, who’s gone into fresh water of the Great Lakes out of Milwaukee after working in salt water as Ocean Endeavor.

If you’ve never visited Clayton, you’re missing something.  It’s a place I could move to.

And let’s end here with tugboat Hudson.  I took this photo on July 3, 2017.  I’m not answering the following question today. Where is Vane’s Hudson today?

Many thanks to all of you who’ve sent photos in.

Let’s end this post with a number Kai Ryssdal might be interested in :  $11,200.

That’s today’s cost of moving a 40-foot shipping container from Shanghai to New York.

 

Happy 120 years old, Urger!  I urge you  to read the note at the bottom of this post.

And . . . .Oops!  I read the timer wrong. Bidding for Grouper, in Lyons NY,  ends about six hours from now. 

Lyons is a county seat, but it’s possible to take a photo of lock E-27, right in the town,  such that it appears to be rural.  A row of buildings to the right separates the canal here from a major street, Water Street;  to the left, there’s a strip mall along NY-31.

Lyons is the home of Muralmania, and it shows;  this was one of two murals just west of lock E-27.  The next lock, E-28A, is about a mile away.

Just before getting to lock E-28A, you see the section workshop buildings.

That’s Route 31 paralleling the canal.

At the top of the lock chamber, you have a great view over into the Lyons Dry dock.  Whatever is in the dry dock during the navigation season is surplus, in need of repair, or beyond repair.  Grouper is there, its rusty stack with its yellow ring visible in the foreground.

Staged and waiting for deployment are a set of tugboats, dredges, and a quarters barge aka “floating lodging,” like the one being auctioned off with bidding ending late this afternoon.  To repeat, I’d misreported closing of bidding in an earlier post, but today it ends.

We negotiate another low rail bridge before coming up to lock E-28B, about 4 miles to the west of E-28A.

 

In the port of Newark, I catch up to Sweet Love, a small trawler I caught at the Narrows last August.  The lovely storefronts in the village disappeared thanks to the misguided efforts in the 1960s called “urban renewal.”

West of Newark at Wide Waters is the hamlet of Port Gibson, Ontario County’s only port along the Erie Canal.  During the 19th-century iteration of the canal, this was a port.

The bridge here has just been refurbished.

From there, the canal narrows as we head west.  The rain started falling as well. 

 

 

We had miles and locks to go, but we called the trip “over” when we got to the Port of Palmyra, because of a breach in a spillway ahead. 

All photos, WVD.

Sign the card here to celebrate Urger‘s 120 years.  Its future too is threatened.

I’ll return to the Erie Canal tomorrow, but for now . . . the clock is ticking louder.

In exactly 24 hours, Grouper will thaw out;  a new owner, the person with the highest bid, will be acclaimed.  I’ve been following the fate of this boat in Wayne County for so many years that I can’t look away as we get to this milestone.  So have a lot of people who live nearby, or live farther away and have been intrigued about it since it arrived.  Many others know it from its various places of work in the Upper Great Lakes, having some family connection going back many decades.

The big question is . . . Will it be scrapped or reimagined as a vessel of some sort.  Reimagining has been a theme of NYS canal efforts in recent years, right?

Here’s one of my first photos of the boat, literally frozen in place, a great metaphor for its years of being frozen in time, showing remarkable resilience to the ravages of rust.  In all this time of neglect and in the absence of bilge pumps, it has not sunk, has not gone down to a muddy grave where the catfish and gobies lurk.

Friends have devoted countless hours reimagining Grouper.

Lee Rust sent along these diagrams highlighting the hull similarities, the 1912 tugboat and

a late 19th century sail/steam half model.

Lee writes:  “Maybe we’ve been misunderstanding the possibilities of Grouper by getting [ourselves] stuck on the old tug story. Here’s what she really is. Subtract Kahlenberg, add ballast, masts & sails. Maybe an auxiliary electric motor to turn the propeller. Voila! Clean and green and good for another 100 years. Piece of cake! Only [a day] left to decide to take that plunge. Here’s [an aerial] view of the hull model revealing the significant difference in beam [and bow design] from Grouper, but the profiles are almost identical. This even shows where the masts would go.

 

A simpler approach might be to remove 15 tons of Kahlenberg and replace with 7 tons of batteries and an electric propulsion system. This might be enough to decrease draft by the 3 feet needed to maneuver in the current Canal. Compare the waterline on the model to that of Grouper.  Image below shows ship model by my friend Rob Napier.

Looking back at this hypothetical lift diagram I made [above],  aside from the difference in beam, the antique hull model could be that of any ‘City’ class Great Lakes tug. (You can pick out the ‘City’ class tugs here.]  The ‘lifted’ waterline on Grouper is awfully close to that of the model. I suppose this hull form was pretty normal back at the end of the 19th century and the tugboat designers of the time just went with what they knew and hoped the vessels wouldn’t sink when they threw in all that coal and machinery.

OK, I know… daydreaming again. Must be time for my nap.”

Thanks,  Lee.  As I said before, lots of people have been looking at these “excessed canal vessels” for a long time now, and tomorrow, in the heat of summer, Grouper will thaw out.  May the highest bidder win and show exuberance in reimagining canal technology.

 

Related:  This NYTimes article from this past week which examines sail designs on cargo vessels is worth a look.

 

 

Here I get to prove once again that you can never step into the same river twice, or you can never see the same stretch of canal the same way twice.  Click here to see what I did with previous set of photos.

The photo below was taken from the NE corner of the triangular island I’ll now call Midway Junction (the CS and Erie Canals meet here), Midway Triangle, or (my contribution) Tadadaho Island,  if you want to learn about this indigenous spiritual leader, click here.

Two miles west from Tadadaho Island, we approach Lock E-25 in

May’s Point NY.  Click here to see the location of the lock relative to the NYS Thruway.

What would you expect to see when the lock is in a National Wildlife Refuge?

A small boat could cross here and enter Tschache (“shockey”) Pool. 

There’s a campground and marina here.

Lots of these and other wildlife are here.  Someone on the boat saw a coyote on the south bank.

The Clyde River intersects the Erie Canal several times.  Follow the channel markers. 

About six miles farther, lock E-26 appears.

See that rusty bridge a quarter mile beyond the lock?

It’s the E-93 West Shore RR bridge;  see both outside and inside here. It’s the bane of any boat that exceeds 15′ on this stretch of the Canal.

But we made it through. 

Along long portions of the Erie Canal the railroad follows along the bank.  Chances are quite strong that these containers not long ago were at sea, transferred onto railcars in the sixth boro.

Again, follow the channel markers.

Right around that bend is the village of Lyons, county seat of Wayne County NY.  The small boat Cayuga ahead of the captain’s view is a “drive it yourself” rental from Erie Canal Adventures.

All photos, WVD.

What I said about the futility of trying to step into the same river, you have a “three-fer” here: here is my post on my canal bike ride from October 2020.

 

Taken from the east end of Van Cleef Lake, we’ve now traveled less than 10 miles from Seneca Lakes/Stivers Marina.

C/S lock 2/3 is a double lock:  you descend in lock 3 only to find that the lower gate of 3 is the upper gate of 2.  In the photo below, we’ve exited the lower gate of 2 and looking back at the closed lower gate of 3. 

Technically, the C/S Canal here follows the created path of the Seneca River.  A dike along the left side here keeps the river separate from the Montezuma Swamp, allowing navigation of a vessel as large as Colonial Belle. 

Cottages along the right side are mere inches above the surface of the water.

At the 3.5-mile mark, the right side opens:  that 39-mile lake, averaging less than 2-miles wide and at deepest point 435′ deep, will get you to Ithaca.  But Ithaca remains for another trip another day far in the future, as C. P. Cavafy would recommend….

In 1800 a wooden bridge traveled from the point of land to the left, and crossed 5412′ to the opposite side, to the distant right.  It lasted until 1808, when the winter destroyed it.  Two subsequent toll bridges replaced it.

We turn north into C/S 1, aka the “mud lock” because of the water there.

A few miles north of the lock, we approach the I-90 NYS Thruway Bridge.

Less than a half mile we arrive at a triangular island, carved off the NW corner of Kipps Island,  that is the approximate midpoint between Tonawanda and Waterford. 

The darker water here

comes from the Montezuma Swamp and Clyde river;  to the right is the water that comes from Lakes Cayuga and Seneca.

Here’s a satellite view of the triangular island. In the next post, we’ll turn to the west, to the left here and toward Lock E-25.

All photos, except the satellite view, WVD.

Postscript:  In the satellite view above, upper right corner, one the “Richmond aqueduct ruins” mark, below is one of my photos of it, although we’ll heading to the left, aka west.  Getting back to the last three lines of Cavafy, referred to above and slightly modified:  “And if you find her [in poor condition], Ithaca has not deceived you.  Wise as you have become, with so much experience, you must already have understood what Ithaca means.”

Unrelated;  As of this writing Friday morning, Grouper high bid is $150, Chancellor is $310, QB tugster clubhouse is $520, and bridge erection boat is $890.

 

Since I’m again on a gallivant-away from home, outside, and looking for scenes and boats and trucks to photograph-the next four days will be posts of this one-day trip.  Below is my ride that day.   It was an 8-hour ride the length of the Cayuga/Seneca Canal and then about 25 miles of the Erie Canal, and nine locks.  Stating point was technically Waterloo NY and ending was Palmyra.  In all we dropped over 100′ from Seneca Lake to the junction with the Erie, and then heading west, we rose about the same distance to the east side of Palmyra.

Below is my conveyance.

In the enclosed passenger cabin, this builder’s plate is proudly displayed.  Since June 1961, this boat has worked on both US east and west coast;  in fact, when the current owners bought this boat about 25 years ago, it was working in San Francisco and they decided to take the 60′ boat back to the East coast and onto the Erie Canal on its own bottom!!  It did have a pilot house at that time.  For photos of Colonial Belle‘s engine and more, click here on this report from tug44.

Before we go on this leg 1 of 4 reports, other 1961 products of the Blount shipyard include Las Cruces in Panama, Michael Cosgrove in the sixth boro, and Kasai, probably sunk somewhere in the DRC. Another 1961 sister vessel Martha Washington worked many years in Boston, and may be out of service.  Any info?

The photo below was taken at the dock at Stivers Marina in Waterloo.  Beyond the research vessel William Scandling ahead of the sail boats, Seneca Lake stretches slightly more than 35 miles southward to Watkins Glen.  Four miles or less wide, it’s more than 600′ deep.   A team plans to survey more of the lake bottom this summer.

From Stivers, we did a 180 degree turn and headed for the Erie Canal, putting us immediately under the first of many low bridges.

Really, there are lots of overhead obstacles that could not be negotiated with a wheelhouse. Note the bimini folder forward and the captain rising back up.

This is a typical scene along the top end of the Cayuga-Seneca Canal, although more trees are being cleared, including some for this summer’s idea . . . glamping.

The distance from Seneca Lake to lock C/S-4

is 5.02 miles.

As we head to Seneca Falls, we pass the Ludovico Sculpture Trail. The conception goes back over 20 years when a person of artistic interests moved from Buffalo to Seneca Falls, and installed two sculptures on her front yard, irritating some neighbors.

This one celebrates Gould Pumps, founded by Seabury S. Gould in Seneca Falls in 1848!!

The former Seneca Falls Knitting Mills, which made countless pairs of white socks, is now the Women’s National Hall of Fame.   When I first saw the building, it was windowless and derelict.

All photos, WVD.   In the next mile . . . tomorrow’s post, we’ll travel across Van Cleef Lake to C/S locks 3 and 2.

Summer haze and location compromise these photos, but in the interest of documenting specialty vessels that enter the sixth boro, I present to you . . .

Geoquip Saentis, a recently overhauled 2005 geotechnical drill vessel.  She was in the boro last year as well here.

She’s been working in a tight clutch with her fleet mate Geoquip Seehorn and Dina Polaris in one of the wind farm parcels.  

I believe Geoquip is a Swiss company;  no surprise then that this vessel is named Saentis, an 8200′ peak in northeastern Switzerland.  Seehorn is a peak in the Alps of similar height. 

 

All photos, such as they are, WVD.

 

Elli, built in 2010 and with 113k capacity, gets an assist out of the berth from Ellen McAllister.

Kimberly and Brendan assist STI Finchley,  2014 and 38k, out of a dock, and 

and Ginga Cougar, 2005 and 26k, heads into that same dock.

See the blurry name above, and somewhat blurry below?

I’d seen it before in the boro as King David and then King Dorian

 

 

Khawr AlAdid is a crude tanker, 2006 and 106k.

 

When I saw Maersk Navigator on AIS, I’d expected a box ship. 

It’s a tanker, 2016 andn 46k.

Seabreeze is 2007 and 54k.

 

Persepolis, a classical name for a world heritage site,

was launched in 2018 and 74k.

Front Clipper is huge for the harbor, 157k and built in 2017.

And closing it out . . .  all rise for The Judge, an asphalt tanker, 2016 and 37k.

All photos, WVD.

Here’s a tanker with a great name I stumbled upon while looking through the November 2016 archives.  St Aqua . . . i’ll expand that St to “saint,” who we sometimes need  . . .

 

I suppose if you are bidding, you might not like this post.  As of this posting and with one week left for the auction, the high bid on 1912 74′ x 19′ x 12′ draft Grouper is $145.  Period.  That’s not $145k;  it’s as much money as you might be carrying in your wallet right now.  

These two photos by Jason LaDue and Troy Wilke date from 1989, a long time ago in boat years.  Also, I realize that whoever has the winning bid next week either cuts it up and sells steel when it’s high, or begins a process that’ll cost more than $145k several times to move it out of the Canal and then restore it.

High bid right now for the Bushey 1938 76′ x 21′ Chancellor is $310.  I took the photo below in September 2010.  Since then, it sank briefly once in September 2017.  If you want to see Chancellor pushing other boats around back in September 2010, click here;  all the footage is great, but Chancellor comes in at 1:40.

High bid for the 1942 Quarters Barge, aka “houseboat sans propulsion” is $210;  the one for sale is 63′ x 21′, has six bunk rooms, and a huge kitchen that can serve 20. 

A good friend asked if I was bidding in hopes of creating a “tugster clubhouse . . .”  Well, it’s an idea and with the bicentennial of the canal approaching, it would be a great way to see the waterways of upstate NY.  You could experiment towing it with 1000 kayaks, or get a tugboat, maybe one of those for sale to move it around the state.  As much as I like the idea, nope . . . it won’t be me.  I don’t think the photo of a Quarters Barge #14 below is the same vessel.  I took this photo in Little Falls NY in 2017.

The highest bid for the 1972 Higgins USACE Bridge Erection boat is $800;  the one auctioned off is 27′ x 8′ and is twin screw.  The vessel below is a smaller version and dates from 1952. 

May the highest bidder win and  . . live happily ever after.

All photos, WVD.

 

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