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Here’s a history-packed and very detailed photo.  In the foreground you see James K. Averill and Amsterdam.  In the next row back, that’s Urger behind Averill and a boat I can’t identify [name board just to the right of Averill’s stack shows a name that ends in –le No 1 ] behind Amsterdam. Also, in the foreground, there’s good detail of the ratchet and chain system to open the bottom-dumping doors of the scow.

Averill, 50′ x 14′ x 4.5′, was a wooden-hulled tug built in 1912.  It worked for a D. G. Roberts of Champlain NY until 1925.  Champlain is a town on the NY/QC border.  Her original power may have been a 200 hp coal-burning 1905 Skinner & Arnold steam engine. and a Murphy Donnely Co. boiler.  She was repowered and given new superstructure in 1930, but I don’t know what the new power or the previous superstructure were.  Notations on her info card says her coal storage capacity was seven tons and she burned on average a half ton of coal per eight-hour day. 

This dry dock photo shows a “cutaway” of her frames and stringers.

Initially, I looked at this photo and assumed Averill had experienced a catastrophic fire, but with her all-wood structure, a fire would likely not have gone out before entirely consuming the vessel.

Another look at Averill, here off the stern of Tender #3, 

says to me that this was the dismantling of Averill, which happened some time after October 1960.

 

All photos used thanks to the Canal Society of New York.  The top photo above appears in Enterprising Waters, by Brad Utter.

 

 

I believe Albert Gayer took these photos at lock E-14.  This unit was transiting westbound and has just entered, as the lower gates are still open.

 

Note the long “reins” running from the spotlight all the way back to the wheelhouse.  I’ll be corrected if wrong, but I suspect these allowed someone in the wheelhouse to swivel the light to illuminate what was needed during night passage:  buoys, other vessels, debris in the water, etc. 

J. Raymond Russell was built at Liberty Dry Dock (where is that?) in Brooklyn in 1939.  For the next quarter century and until 1963, it was a Russell Brothers Towing vessel

The Russells began their business in the sixth boro in 1844, finally selling to McAllister Towing in 1962.  More on Russell Brothers Towing here, and if you want 150-some pages of their history, check out Hilary Russell’s book here.

All photos, Albert Gayer.

The most frequent Russell Brothers boat on this blog is the wooden tug W. O. Decker, ex-Russell 1 from 1930 until 1947.

 

See the man on the pier using his cell phone to get a photo?  I wonder what he imagined he was looking at, other than a group on the water on a spectacular December day.  Did he know he was witnessing the culmination of an odyssey?

The Columbia, Snake, Clark Fork, Missouri, Mississippi, [to saltwater] Mobile, Tombigbee, Tenn-Tom Waterway, Tennessee, Ohio, Kentucky, Kanawha, Allegheny, Chadakoin, Lake Chautauqua, Lake Erie, Erie Canal, Seneca, Oneida, Mohawk, Hudson . . .  [I may have left one out].  What do they have in common?

Neal Moore‘s paddled them stringing together a path on his 675-day canoe trip along his 7500-mile route of inland rivers from saltwater Astoria OR to the saltwater Statue of Liberty, an extreme form of social distancing during the time of Covid.   Photos of the last several miles follow.  

Note that the other paddlers traveled to the sixth boro of NYC to join him for the last few miles,

just as they–“river angels”– had during different segments of the 22-month trip.  Some elites of paddling enjoyed the sixth boro yesterday.

From Pier 84 Manhattan to the Statue and back, they rode the ebb.

 

Why, you might be wondering?  Moore, a self-described expatriate who wanted to explore the United States in the reverse order of the historical east-to-west “settlement” route, sought out to meet people, find our commonalities, our united strength.  Some might call that direction “the wrong way.”

After one circumnavigation of Liberty Island following his paddling up and down all those watersheds, the journey was done.  After unpacking his Old Town canoe, he scrambled

with assistance onto the Media Boat, triumphantly but humbly.

 

He stepped over onto a larger vessel in the NYMB fleet, for interviews and a trip back to terra firma,

22rivers’ goal completed, for now.

All photos, WVD, thanks to New York Media Boat conveyance.  I have many, many more photos.

For Ben McGrath’s New Yorker piece on Neal Moore, click here.  Also, check out Ben’s book Riverman.  Let me add two more references:  another McGrath article and a book Mississippi Solo here.

Of course, Neal’s whole epic can be traced at his site, 22Rivers.

I first learned of 22Rivers from Bob Stopper, who met Neal in Lyons NY two months ago, and I and posted about it here (scroll).

More links as follows:

Norm Miller, Missouri River guide

John Ruskey, lower Mississippi River system guide who was on the Hudson yesterday.  He’s also the founder of Quapaw Canoe Company.

Tom Hilton, Astoria-based Fisher Poet, whom I met last night.

And at the risk of leaving someone out, here’s a longtime favorite of mine, an account of a rowboat from Brooklyn to Eastport ME by way of New Orleans . . . Nathaniel Stone’s On the Water.

Who’d I leave out?

September 11, 2001 was one of those days that changed you. Without a doubt, no matter where you were or what you were doing, you remember that day. We are still in its aftermath.

It recast me too.  That morning I was at work in a Brooklyn three-floor building five miles from the Towers, across the East River. A friend called before 0900 to tell me to look out a west-facing window.  I watched for some seconds, black smoke pouring from near the top of one of the towers. Concluding it must have been an accident, maybe a small plane or a helicopter, I got back to work. Shortly after 0900, the friend called again, frantic, and told of reports that two hijacked planes had crashed into the towers; more hijacked planes were in the air, she said. I returned to the window, and now much more smoke, yellowish gray, blanketed both Towers. For me, the rest of the day was a blur, inconceivable sights in the distance across the river, swirling rumors of horrors.

We all have our take on that morning, even hundreds and thousands of miles from lower Manhattan. Mostly I don’t talk about 9/11 much, and I’ve not yet gone to the museum located there now, likely I’ll never go. I’ve mostly avoided reading about that day although I have read widely about the wars it spawned.

I made an exception when I was asked to review Jessica Dulong’s Saved at the Seawall, a re-issued version, paperback. In a preface added to this version, DuLong writes that “only after years of avoiding conversation about my time at Ground Zero did I finally make my peace with the human need for September 11 stories. Chronicling catastrophe necessarily creates a distance, a remove.”

She interviewed at least 75 people who were involved in the immediate aftermath, some on the island but many more at the seawall and farther out in the harbor, the sixth boro, on boats.  A list names all the boats that evacuated hundreds of thousands of people from lower Manhattan, but her book chronicles what occurred from the perspective of rescuer and rescued alike.

Flipping through pages as I write this review, I notice that 150 pages into the book, she’s recounting events not even two full hours after the first plane hit. The details are palpable, and told with skill.

In the epilogue, DuLong states that reflecting on rescuers that day has “reconstructed my faith in the human soul.” Their acts “struck me less about heroism and more about pragmatism, resourcefulness, and simple human decency. If you have the wherewithal, you step up.”  I’d see it as a variation on the international code, written and unwritten, that mariners have a duty to rescue those in distress at sea;  in this case, when the USCG issued a call to “all available boats,” mariners in the harbor responded and rescued people in distress on an island in distress.

I’m grateful Jessica DuLong interviewed the folks in this book, recorded their experience before memory could distort it, and then meticulously reconstructed that morning from dozens of perspectives. I was especially surprised to see a half dozen people I know interviewed in the book, people whom I’ve never heard talk about that day.

I highly recommend reading this book.  You can order it from the publisher here.

Previous book reviews can be seen here.

If you want the International Red Cross view on this, click here.

 

Here are the previous 61. 

A novel idea is floating in the East River, or was.

My spin on it is this.  Name three of your favorite “maritime” books, or works, to put into a maritime collection of books . . .  Don’t overthink it . . . they can be obvious or obscure or a combination of both.  They can be books for kids or adults.

And my three are:

The Lost Sea, Jan de Hartog.

We the Drowned, Carsten Jensen

Maqroll the Gaviero, Álvaro Mutis

Photos, WVD.  Thx, Nate Austin. 

Mary Turecamo, 4300 hp and waiting for a ship at the Narrows, could not look better.  She’s an almost 40-year-old product of Matton Shipyard.  In fact, she was their last product.

Christiana heads out as

Virginia, 1440 hp and launched in 1979,  comes in

from sea, out of the haze.

Christiana was launched in Marinette WI in 2007, a year after Brandywine and a few years after the Molinari class of Staten Island ferries.  She’s married to Double Skin 143, another Marinette vessel.

Barney Turecamo (1995 and 5100)  and  barge Georgia gets rotated by Marie J Turecamo (1968 and 2250). Yesterday I started a re-read of the 1956 book Tug Boat:  The Moran Story, and am finding it very satisfying.

Here’s a dense pack over at the east end of IMTT:  Josephine, Evelyn Cutler, and Cape Lookout:  (2018 and 4560), (1973 and 3900), and (2018 and 5000).

Crystal Cutler arrived here from the shipyard in 2010 and works with 1500 hp.

She’s pushing Patricia Poling

And finally, a light Hunting Creek, 2011 and 3000 hp.

All photos and any errors, WVD.

This photo of aframax BW Thalassa I took on Friday.  Note the green BW slash about a third of the shiplength back from the bow. 

Here’s a photo from Saturday, 24 hours later, after rain and fog have moved in.  Note the green BW slash on the tanker beyond the Evergreen ship?

Ever Focus appears to have a maximum load aboard as she speeds toward Colon PA.  A bit beyond Ambrose, AIS showed her at 19.2 kts, 22 mph.

See the Manhattan skyline?  Not much.  A few outlines appears along the shore of Manhattan, but nothing more shows.  The new Janice Ann Reinauer is among the tug/barge units anchored there.

Bruce A. heads for a job,

as do Miriam and Helen.

CL Christina was inbound for Claremont, but again, fog obscured the bright shiny detail.  Of course, the scrap loaded in Claremont has no bright shiny detail either.

All photos, WVD, who finds the fog frustrating even though it was around 50 degrees F, but this is how the harbor looks sometimes.

Unrelated:  I just finished Shadow Divers, an account of the discovery of a U-boat wreck 60 miles off Point Pleasant.  It’s a compelling read.  It turns out there’s a counter-narrative also, Shadow Divers Exposed by Gary Gentile. 

See the name on this black-hulled yacht?  Note the simple upper helm?

Check again as we pass.  I took these two photos back in July 2016, making that the Mt. Hope Bridge and beyond that, the Brayton Point cooling towers, now gone.  Pilar?  Maybe you’ve heard of it in relation to Hemingway and currently in Cuba.

Pilar was hull #576 from Wheeler Yacht Company, launched in 1934 and taken to Key West, not a water delivery until Miami.  April 5, 1934 was the day Hemingway himself went to Coney Island to order his new boat, a 38′ Wheeler Playmate.  That day is described well in this post.  If you want to read hundreds more pages about the boat and Hemingway, read this tome by Paul Hendrickson.  I read the 700-page book, hoping to learn more about Coney Island, but besides that, I learned the minutiae of all of Hemingway’s trips on the boat, which he last saw in 1960, when he was advised to leave Cuba and not long before his death.  Pilar is still in Cuba, one of two Wheeler boats there.  More on that at the end of this post.

The “Pilar” shown here was launched in 1933 as Elhanor, hull #527 and five feet shorter than Hemingway’s boat, a 38-footer that cost him just under $7500 in 1934.

Besides yachts, Wheeler on Coney Island Creek built vessels for the US Army, Navy, and Coast Guard.  They built over 200 patrol boats for the USCG, like the one below.  Click on the photo for more info. One is being restored in Seattle.   Howard Wheeler opened his shipyard on Coney Island Creek in 1910, but by 1950, this facility and another in Queens, were gone. 

Here’s the general location.

It’s a tidal waterway adjacent to the water portion of Gravesend  Bay.  I rowed up in and its many wrecks some years ago here and here. If you’ve never seen the yellow submarine aka Quester, here are photos. 

Let have a look at the Wheeler Shipyard then and now. The b/w photos are all from  Mystic Seaport, Rosenfeld Collection. That’s the Cropsey Avenue drawbridge open with a yacht coming through from the shipyard, looking from SW to NE.  For a closer up look at the photo below, click on the photo.

Beyond that bridge, this was the exterior of the shipyard in January 1944;  around a shipyard that builds wooden boats and ships, you’d expect to find lots of lumber.

And inside, you’d expect scenes of curved, clamped, and glued wood.

Here’s a photo I took of Cropsey Avenue Bridge, looking SE to NW, because it’s the shot I could get. Just off the left side of the photo is the Starbucks.   From my location, I then shot SW to NE

to where the buildings of the shipyard would have been.  Absolutely nothing of the yard remains.  To the left is a parking lot and supermarket;  to the right is a furniture store.

More info on Wheeler Coney Island can be found here. The other Wheeler boat in Cuba is Granma, the vessel that in 1956 took Fidel Castro and his fellows from Mexico to Cuba.  The captain of the vessel then was Norberto Collado Abreu, who had received US Congressional recognition for his service with the Cuban Navy in WW2. For a long read on the boat and Capt. Abreu, click here.

All photos othjerwise uncredited, WVD, who visted Hemingway’s Key West house here almost a decade ago.

And if you’re interested in buying a replica of the Wheeler 38, you can.  See here. More on the original Coney Island boat here.

A similar post on a marine service business (MSB) I did here not quite two months ago.

On the 2020 calendar, the top right photo shows a shore fisherman, a small fishing boat, a tug, and a tanker.    The 2013 and 49,999 dwt tanker, Elandra Sea, as of this morning is in the Java Sea, likely almost as far from the sixth boro as you can get.  The tug escorting her in is Capt. Brian A. McAllister.   It turns out that was the only photo I took of that vessel, because of the fisherman, small boat, and industrial vessels and setting.

What I was really there for that morning was the mothership of Sandy Hook Pilots, New York No. 1, the current one as the new one is being created.  It seemed to be an event happening on the after deck. Surprisingly, I believe I’ve never posted this shot until now.

Upper left on the June 2020 page is Helen Laraway; seconds before I took the photo chosen for the calendar, she passed this this container ship E. R. Montecito, escorted in by  James D.

The 2004 and 7544teu container ship is currently in the Malacca Strait, heading for Durban SA, and carries a new name. . . GSL Grania.  I cherish info like this, reinforcing the fact that the sixth boro is but a tiny place on a planet of countless coastlines.

Assisting her in were James D, JRT, and Margaret.

The lower photo on the calendar was taken in the Mohawk Valley, lock E-13, easily accessed via the westbound lanes of the NYS Thruway.  Grande Caribe was Chicago bound.  For more info on E-13, click here.

As she departed the lock, she passed one of the newest tugboats on the Erie Canal, Port Jackson, named for the part of Amsterdam NY  on the south side of the river.    It turns out that the family of the namesake of Port Jackson moved west and distinguished himself.   The barge attached to Port Jackson no doubt has an identified; I wish I knew it and its history, given the riveted hull.

The next shot after the one on the calendar shows the 183′ x 40′ Grande Caribe shrinking as it juxtaposes with the ridge that makes up the Noses.   Grande Caribe is currently in Warren RI, as Blount Small Ships Adventures has decided that in the wake of COVID, it’s better to use 2020 to plan for 2021.   So, neither of the Grande vessels will be transiting the canal this year.  Given the virus, I’ve planed some gallivants, but as is true for everyone, much of that is on hold.  I’m free to gallivant now, but my sense of responsibility says I stay put and see this all as opportunity to craft a different path.

All photos, WVD, who is working his way through his library again.  Last week it was Pieces of the Frame and Uncommon Carriers.  I’m currently re-reading The Night Inspector, historical novel by Frederick Busch, on the exploits in post-Civil War New York featuring a mask-wearing disfigured wounded vet who worked as a sniper in the Civil War, and his friend M, who is none other than Herman Melville, the washed up writer who currently works in the harbor as a night inspector, aka a deputy inspector of Customs who would row out to any ships arriving inport in the dark hours and waiting until morning to clear customs. Here‘s another review.

I’ve also discovered the many videos of Tim B at Sea on youtube.  Interesting stuff . . .  answers to questions you’ve not even considered yet in some cases.

I copied this photo from what has been a very influential book  for me, Portrait of a Port: Boston 1852–1914, compiled and annotated by W. H. Bunting.  More on that later.    I hope Mr. Bunting sees this post as a hat tip to his works, especially this book and Steamers, Schooners, Cutters, Sloops:  The Marine Photographs of N. L. Stebbins; A Day’s Work.

Bunting writes: “late 19th century Boston was a city of immigrants and contained some of the most crowded and unhealthy neighborhoods in the country.  Hot summer weather was the special curse of the slums, and during July and August the mortality rate for Boston’s children under age 5 was commonly three times the rate for the rest of the year. The Boston Floating Hospital,supported by private charity, was opened in 1894 for the purpose of providing sick children under age 6 with medical care, good food, cool breezes, and a change of scenery.  Mothers accompanied by their other (healthy) children were welcome to join the daily cruises.”

Further he writes:  “The first hospital vessel was the ex-steamer Clifford, which had to be towed about the harbor.  The hospital steamer pictured here was new in 1906 and was fully air-conditioned.  It accommodated 100 permanent patients and 150 daily patients in six wards, and contained an operating room and a laboratory specializing in milk research.”

At least 12 more things about this floating hospital can be found here.

I believe this hospital ship burned in 1927 and was not replaced.

I discovered this book and the works of Bunting first in a public library in Newburyport MA when I was living in the far northeastern part of Massachusetts.  Since then, I’ve bought and given away two copies of the book.  The first line of the preface is  “This is a book of photographs.”  He goes on to elaborate why the book is not a “photographic history of the port of Boston” in those years, or “a photographic maritime history of the port”.    Rather, he says, it “does draw together a visual maritime portrait of the port, as composed by photographers and their clients.”   Bunting draws mostly on the work of photographers Albert S. Southworth, Josiah T. Hawes, and especially, Nathaniel L. Stebbins.   In a very modest way, that too has been the goal of the tugster blog.

Click here for over 6000 photos by Stebbins.

The sixth boro had an earlier floating hospital, called  Emma Abbott, opened in 1875, and named for an opera singer who donated money for the ship.

More vessels, charted by or built for The Floating Hospital organization, can be seen here.

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