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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.

Take all the photos you like, but if you just sit on a dock by the bay watching the ships roll in and out, you’ll only know so much and nothing more.  If you suspected I was hinting at something in yesterday’s post, it was this review.

If you want to know more about working on a tugboat, you can get a job on a tugboat.  Of course, you’d have to survive the gauntlet of training, interview, application, physical, drug tests, etc.

Or you can pick up Tom Teague’s book, where among many other things he explains how he got hired for his first full-time tugboat job:  he got a telephone call from a tugboat captain the day before he was scheduled to meet with the US Navy recruiter.  The captain asked if he could start right away.  That night.  He did.  It was 1974.  The author was 20, and as he lets the reader know several times, he had good hair.

Teague describes how the towing business has changed in some significant ways since 1974.  Think about the photo below; “just having a beer” on a towing vessel today would trigger immediate firing.

Yet the same perils lurk whenever you work with powerful machines on the water in all kinds of weather.  A chapter entitled “Danger” illustrates the unforgiving environment of a workboat.  This chapter, framed by incidents involving unfortunate fellow crew and friends, makes the point that even knowledgeable, professional mariners might pay heavily for failing even for a second to pay attention.

By the way, if you’re a regular reader of tugster, do you recognize the tugboat on the cover?

You may have heard the aphorism “moments of terror interspersed by hours, days, etc. of boredom” in relation to a variety of fields.  It certainly applies to working on tugboats.  Boredom and dealing with it gets a whole chapter.  And Teague gets hilarious about creative attempts to alleviate boredom, without doing harm or damage.  Well, some coffee gets spilled, er… sacrificed.

Capt. Teague navigates story telling quite well, alternating, as he must have to aboard his boat, between abundant, straightforward explanation for a non-mariner reading the book and straying into the tales you’d expect of a mariner with many nautical miles under his keel.   He’s enlightening when recounting ordeals with weather and clarifying towing jargon.  Salty humor and fascinating characters abound when he catalogs nicknames–and their derivations–of fellow mariners he’s met over the decades.

Doing paperwork, I’m told, makes every captain’s eyes cross, but when Tom writes, not at all cryptically “Stay tuned for the next installment.  I’m still typing,” I suspect he’s going above and beyond the usual wheelhouse reports and confirmations.  There’s another book just over the horizon, and I for one am eagerly awaiting it.

Thomas Teague is still working in the wheelhouse as a tugboat captain after having started as a hawsepiper back in the 1970s.  With Tales from a Tugboat Captain, he seems to have gotten the call and jumped aboard writing about work with the likes of Studs Terkel and John McPhee.  There’s a whole genre here–Harberger’s Seized comes to mind as does Moynihan’s Voyage of the Rose City— waiting to be picked up and read on a cold winter’s day, or taken to the beach or on a cruise when the sun is hot.  And finally, I’m hoping that other mariners, upon completing their on-vessel reports, contribute to this genre.

Click here to order your copy of the book.  For additional photos and videos obviously not in the book, check out Captain Tom Teague on FB.  I’m told a book signing is planned for spring in Brooklyn and will post details about that when available.

See previous tugster reviews here.

Tangentially related, twelve years ago I posted this, which ends with a quote from Franz Kafka revealing how he imagined paperwork on boats.

And the boat on the cover, you may know it today as the “red” Cornell.

First, some context, and yes, today is that day.  I celebrate it without claiming to adhere to anything beginning with ashes.  This may be grasping at long shots, but I have not visited a location that celebrates this spring event in a long time.  I know . . . shame on me.  More on that later.

Anyone know the author here?  It’s a fat tome I’ve taken it from  . . . over 1600 pages, all from the king of fat tomes and rich language himself.

“We are off!”   It has not nearly the hook of a “Call me Ishmael.”  The short second paragraph, though, is a line that needs remembering.   As to location, Ravavai is contextualized with reference to Pitcairn, at place today with a grand total population of 50.   I’m not sure what the population was 150+ years ago when this was written.

Still in the first short chapter . . .  now that’s prescient .  . in the second paragraph here, describing the skipper!

By now, I hope you’ve concluded the author here has to be Melville, one of the top five authors of the sea and gallivants thereupon.  Anyone want to fill in the names of the other four?  I have my ideas.  Mardi is one of those fat books very few folks read.  I started last night, and hope to complete it.  You can start it here.

But in the spirit of mardi gras, here’s another story you may have missed . . . the houseboat Shameless, piloted down the Mississippi by a dying man, Kelly Phillips.  His first mate was Sapphire, recently honored among the float sponsored by the Mystic Krewe of Barkus.

Here’s more on the voyage of Shameless from Wisconsin to Venice LA, and all the great folks along the river who lent a hand.

And if you need some language yourself, click here for a fat Tuesday glossary.

 

Private planes can’t be fun for slow and prolonged travel, and RVs–unless I could drive something wild like these or a Fuller— leave me cold, but these yachts seem a popular way to see the world . . . at least one of the loops.   What I might enjoy more than a loop is a crossing, a la William Least-Heat Moon, with a smaller and more adaptable vessel.

I was not stalking the yacht below, but here I caught Ann Marie Rose entering the Upper Bay on June 8,

under the 9W bridge in Kingston on June 16, and then

on July 1 in Little Falls, NY.  Maybe I can find them on AIS.  She’s 48′ and registered in Virginia.  I’d say they travel at an appropriate pace, around 200 miles a month.

Copesetic is 46′ and registered in Chesapeake City, MD.  It’s maybe owned by someone with the last name Cope?  I’ve never been inside a catamaran motor yacht.

Ocean Star is truly from Ketchikan, AK and headed eastbound in the Erie Canal. From the West Coast they traveled by truck until they splashed into the Mississippi in Minnesota.

You can tell Scott Free (61′) is in the Canal by the fact that her radar dome and all that supports it is set on her nose, to make the low bridge.  I did a double take upon seeing her, imagining this was a boat inspired by Blount’s Grande vessels.

The natural beauty of the Canal envelopes these three cruisers as they

make their way west to share lock E-18.  The green boat in the middle appears to be a 42′ Kadey Krogen;  a friend has done two crossings of the Atlantic with his, and is now off California, after starting in Panama about a year ago.

I can’t tell you much about Sláinte, but she was pretty in the dawn light.

And this one . . . Boatel I  was headed to Toronto for the season.  It’s a floating accommodation, not to be confused with Botel, where I stayed back in 2014.  Scroll here to see my photo.

Anyone know where she spent the winter?   Maybe it’s “no tell motel.”

All photos by Will Van Dorp.

 

It’s Cornell, westbound under the Bayonne Bridge.  Now that’s a sight not often seen.  Cornell (1949) occupies a niche likely quite unexpected, as documented here.  In this post (scroll), you see Cornell in 1978!  Hear her inimitable whistles (wait for it) here.

Ivory Coast has truly an unusual name, but I’d never call her Côte d’Ivoire.  That’s been her name now for 20 years;  previously she was Crusader for over 30 years.

Nicole Leigh Reinauer is the first (of three? ) Atlantic II class tug.

Her dimensions and design are similar if not identical to Lincoln Sea, but Nicole has CAT engines instead of EMDs.   This class of ATB is the product of Bob Hill, whose boyhood home in Troy NY  gave him a front row seat to an earlier generation of tugs and barges.

Looking very similar to Nicole Leigh Reinauer, it’s the newest ATB in the boro . . .  Bert Reinauer, photo thanks to Lisa Kolibabek.  Bert,  almost two decades newer, has the same dimensions as Nicole Leigh, but with GEs generating 8400 hp, versus CATs at 7200.

Viking has operated out of the sixth boro since 1992.  Before that, she spent 20 years in the fleet of Nolty J. Theriot, whose rise and fall is documented in Woody Falgoux’s excellent book, Rise of the Cajun Mariners.

For various Viking appearances on tugster over the years, click here.  Note her distinctive Bludworth bow.

Discovery Coast spent a lot of time in the sixth boro a few years ago, but these days she’s rarely here.  Here’s her first appearance in this blog, in 2012.

And the newest ship assist tug in the boro is Capt. Brian A. McAllister.  Here’s a Professional Mariner story about the tug.

The photo of Bert Reinauer thanks to Lisa Kolibabek.  All other photos here in the past week by Will Van Dorp.

 

“one of the toughest ports in the world, sharing that distinction with Shanghai and Calcutta . . .”  I believe that’s “tough” as quantified in black eyes, missing teeth, and blood spat out onto the gravel.  I wonder who had the breadth of experience to render this judgement.  Why would such ports as Rio, Murmansk, and Oswego not be included . . . or others?

Besides that, those few sentences render a great description of mechanization.

Mississagi is wintering over here in Ashtabula. She’s appeared on this blog a half dozen times . . . working.   I’m coming home is Norfolk Southern’s mantra.

I believe this archway is a coal conveyor belt.

That’s all you get of GL tug Rhode Island.  Mississagi (1943) is only a year younger than Alpena.  But Rhode Island dates from 1930.   The white tug in front of it is Nancy Anne. based in Cheboygan, MI.

A bit farther east in Ashtabula, Calumet winters over.  Previous posts including Calumet can be found here.

and off its stern, it’s the upper portion of tug Olive L. Moore (hull launched in 1928) and barge Menominee.  I caught them on Lake Huron in August 2017.

If you wanted to start reading that historical marker from side one, here it is, then if you want, you can go back to the beginning and read that in proper context.  If you want the short history of Ashtabula, click here for a review of a good book.  If you want the juicy details or at least the gritty ones, buy Carl E. Feather’s Ashtabula Harbor:  A History of the world’s Greatest Iron Ore Receiving Port.  My copy is on order.

All photos by Will Van Dorp.

 

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