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Question:  PT 109, where is it today and what was its life span?  Answer below.

At my last count, Kingston, NY was home to four World War II PT boats.  In milder weather than today, PT 728 travels the river with passengers;  the occasion for  this foto, taken in November 2009, was the arrival in the sixth boro of USS NewYork.  PT 728 was built in Annapolis, but others were built in New Orleans and in the sixth boro’s own Bayonne, NJ.

A few days ago I stumbled onto video 1 of 3 of ELCO manufacturing in Bayonne.  Enjoy it here. More manufacturing here.   This clip shows a group of PT boats heading up the Hudson and traversing locks in the Erie and Welland Canals;  great short brief glimpses of locking and of at least one 1945 tug, passenger vessel, and commercial shipping in the Welland Canal.    Finally, here’s a brief report on a New Orleans-built PT boat restoration project.

Thanks to Ken’s comment, I went in search of info on the most famous of PT boats, the 109, associated with the president who was sworn in exactly half century ago yesterday.  PT 109 was an ELCO, launched into Newark Bay on June 20, 1942 and fitted out at the Brooklyn Navy Yard.  Anyone have any fotos?

Answer:  1200′ below the surface in the Solomon Islands.  Its service life was barely one year, sinking on August 2, 1943.

Foto above by Will Van Dorp, who needs to get more PT boat fotos.

Need sunglasses for this drama on the Hudson?   “Random” means … spotted  in a plethora of places, like Elizabeth, passing the Hudson waterfront at dusk with a barged Weeks crane 532 in tow.  Note the Crow or Cheyenne in push gear with barge on the far left.

Paul T Moran at Gulf Marine Repair in Tampa.  Not to be insensitive to customary modes of dress, but–as east river pointed out– doesn’t this vaguely like a burka or abaya from the eyes down on the tug?

Justine McAllister pulling a light RTC 120 south of Catskill.

Atlantic Coast pushing Cement Transporter 5300 south of –you guessed it–Cementon, NY.

Meredith C. Reinauer pushing a loaded RTC 150 toward the Highlands.   By the way, if you’re looking for a fun read, try the novel by T. C. Boyle called World’s End . . . my current source of chuckles.

Sea Hawk in Brooklyn Navy Yard last June appearing tied up to sludge tanker North River.

Connecticut (1959?) crosses the Sound north to south.

That’s it for now.  Thanks to Deb DePeyster (who previous contributed to this) for the foto of Elizabeth,  and to east river for the foto of Paul T Moran.  All others by Will Van Dorp.

Quick post here.  Laura K Moran rousts Westerhaven off the dock.  Notice the docklines at the bow, starting to unlace like a shoe.

F. Dawson crosses the Buttermilk Channel.

Socrates gets some bottom scratching.  Uh . . .  if Socrates gets lavished with this sort of attention, who’s minding Sugar Express?

Why . . . Sugar‘s having a blast in the same shipyard–GMD–of course.  Click here for some earlier fotos from GMD.

And to conclude, here’s GMD from the water . . . with North River and Sea Hawk waiting outside the door.  By the way, does anyone know the specific role played by that (obsolete) horizontal antenna atop the building in the background right?

All fotos this week by Will Van Dorp.

Big event this week:  Wednesday, Oct 21 . . . Rust/River:   Jessica Dulong reads from My River Chronicles amid Pamela Talese’s painting, juxtaposed below with my fotos.  Here’s Pamela’s Matthew Tibbetts and


mine . . . in the 2008 Tugboat Race.


Her Marcus Hanna and my

The Marcus Hannah [30 x 24 inches]

Katherine Walker.  Hmmm . . . wonder if any other blogs have renderings of 175′ buoy tenders . .  or plan to?  Here maybe?


Pamela’s Baltic Sea low and dry  and

The Baltic Sea

and mine high and wet.


The subtitle for Pamela’s show is “Corrosion and Renewal.”  Will the corroded Freddy K

The Freddy K

be renewed . . .  or forbid the thought . . . will Freddy K ride out on


a barge like Crow is pulling here.  I know you can’t save them all, but


but . . . .

I can’t make Wednesday’s event, but Pamela will also be at the gallery all afternoon Friday, Oct 23, which is when I’ll drop by.


is the  name of Pamela Talese’s show (til end of October) at Atlantic Gallery at 135 W 29th Street Suite 601 in Manhattan.  Pamela and I share some large interests . . . like her take on Alice Oldendorff and


and mine.


Hers of Penobscot Bay, now


gearing up for ice-breaking duty, and mine.


Charleston, being painted in dry dock and


fotograffed in KVK.


Pamela has worked in cold weather and


and warm to


capture the ubiquitous


changes wrought by rust and paint . . . in paint.  Below, she travels to her “studio” via the paintcycle.


See her website here.  See her work at the Atlantic Gallery soon.

A description of people along the waterfront in the first chapter of Moby Dick omits a class; Melville mentions some  “posted like silent sentinels all around the town, stand thousands upon thousands of mortal men fixed in ocean reveries. Some leaning against the spiles; some seated upon the pier-heads; some looking over the bulwarks . . .”   To do the unthinkable of completing Melville, my annotation here:  “still others women as well as men devoted to the arts, brush in hand, gazing in turn at ship and then at canvas . .  or notebook, then searching with paints or inks or charcoal . . . ”  Go Pamela.  Go others!  I love it.    More waterfront art soon.

He:  (stretching after much needed nap) Oooo.  Let me quick recall that dream!  The meaning’s in vu.  [See end of post.]

Parrot: (from perch near bed) What?  Atchooo!

Knowing where to start in this story  . . . well, it eludes me.  It’s a story, like so many, of a journey on water, a physical undertaking some do daily in the context of work or play,  but others–wishing they might–do so  as often as possible, either aboard a vessel or  in a daydream.  A ship Flinterduin arrived on September 2.  The next day, after a dozen barges were offloaded, the ship edged forward, and the first gorgeous barges escaped into the sixth boro.  To contain them would have felt like herding cats (in current parlance);  actually a better phrase might be . . . like corralling gamesome goslings.  “Goslings” also works for me:  my mother, despite her frustrated artist’s spirit, used to draw ducks and geese to amuse me as a kid; the wings on her birds–I now understand–looked a lot like the leeboards she saw growing up along the Rhine!  Got it, Ma.


On September 14ish, after a rollicking departure party at Atlantic Basin, the fleet headed upriver.  Note the cutter proposing to serve as escort in the backgound. I had land duties that kept me from following this fleet on its upriver journey, but no easy feat would be escorting a frolicksome fleet of Dutch folk.

As an example of a carefree Dutch attitude:  my brother-in-lawish  Wil at Rockaway Beach last summer to swim.  After swimming, I said, “Wanna change?  Bathrooms are there” and pointed to enclosures 100 feet away.  Let me add that Wil is a responsible man, appropriately . . . a hydrologist.  With him and me were his wife and two teenage sons.  As he turned toward the horizon, dropped his trunks, and pulled on his pants, he said, “Thanks.  I’ll change right here.”  Yeah . . . why not, I thought, listening to him laugh.  As I said, unrestrained.  Free of silly protocols.  In the Netherlands, no one’d be wearing swim suits anyhow.


When the fleet reached Peekskill, Reiner Sjipkens entertained the crowds on shore, as he had previous in Red Hook Brooklyn.  Click on his name to hear the music.


And crowds visited the journeying flotilla.


On October 3, this bulk carrier headed past the Battery.  Interesting color scheme but otherwise non-descript.  Time for something.


By Monday morning, October 5, the ship was docked in Albany and some of the flotilla sidled up;  their blithe journey,


ended.  Time to load.  Time for Ingeladen, which means loaded, and if you want to see into the hold, click here.  And here.


It looks like stepping masts.  See you later . . .  Fugel Frij.


Windroos, leaves next.  Seeing these fotos makes me think of the Paul Simon song:  50 Ways to Leave . . .


Me too, hop on the bus, Gus?


Anyone identify the tug here or in the foto a couple up?  Answer below.


On Oct 7, headed past Hudson Light, Flinterborg of the nine masts passes bulk carrier Atlantic Arrow, close


enough to  . . . to . . . wave, even holler.


Three or so hours later, the Walkway came into view.


200 plus feet above the bow wave of the ship, Harold conversed and Tugster shot a


a video, below.  Hear the ship’s horn at :52, see bow watch wave at 1:15, and see bridge crew wave at 1:28.

Flinterborg, with its load of corralled and eternally youthful goslings, heads south for sea.  Note how many bonds are needed to strap the frolicksome fleet in by the homeward leg.


I have so many people to thank for putting together this post:   fotos in order . . . Will–first one,  Carolina Salguero-next 3, Christina Sun-next 1, Pat Van Alstyne-next 6, Paul Chevalier-next 2, and Dock Shuter-last 3.  Videoo by tugster.  Many others–Elizabeth, Harold, Jeff, Kaya, Chesley, Dan, Joe, Hetteke, Arjen, Jan, Margaret, Laura, Capt. Frank, Alex, Carter, and Bernie–helped out in behind-the-scenes ways.  I am so thankful.  Blame my tired brain if I’ve left you’re name out.

Meaning:  Unlike commutes or tourist trips, journeys sometimes fill the traveller and proxies with insights.  One insight aka “take-away” from the past 6 weeks or so for me is that blogging about the journey of these mariners has fostered the creation of a fantastic ad hoc community.  This isn’t a commercial venture, but as an alliance of folks based both on water and on land we can exert power and influence we don’t have individually.  Why power?  To call attention to what’s ignored, to disseminate info that languishes, to connect with like-minded folks we otherwise could not find common ground with.  To communicate about what mainstream media don’t.

Since the sixth boro (the waters surrounded by New York City and some New Jersey towns, and in turn surrounding all the coastal places on the planet) IS our common ground element, I hereby propose that :  we think of ourselves as–for want of a name “the sixth boro confederation,” a loose and adhoc and non-partisan alliance of people who either work on or identify as invested in the harmonious use of the waters and their margins for the great good of the greatest number of us.  No matter nationality, mariners both on the water and those currently ashore have always journeyed and disseminated goods, people, and ideas.    Viva the sixth boro confederation.  Let’s make things happen. Track Flinterborg here:  Behouden vaart, Flinterborg.

I’d love to hear your ideas.

Answer to question on tugs in Albany:  Kathleen Turecamo upper and Jennifer Turecamo lower.

Hard hat-wearing man in basket watching two heads,


divers beside a tugboat or


two of them, suspended by multiple lines.  Where is


this?  Irish Sea and Iona McAlister, or so they’re called for now.  Why does Iona sport only ONE “l” in McAlister?


They may emerge from this graving dock experience with new names, new colors, and who knows . . .


new shapes . . .


All fotos by Will Van Dorp.

If you’re a new reader, I use “sixth boro” as a way to recognize the city space that IMHO deserves recognition as its own unitary name;  without the water, justification for the concentrations in the other five boroughs of New York City would disappear.  Hence, all the city water and  . . . extensions thereof in all navigable directions I call the sixth boro.  Want to go to Fiji or  Philly or Fundy . . . follow the sixth boro.  I need someone to write a wikipedia entry for the sixth boro.

More Flinterduin offloading fotos here;  I’ve got many more if you’re interested.  Let’s follow Sydsulver, a steel Lemsteraak built in 2004.  Lemster is a location name, so this is an aak from Lemster, like a Brooklynaak.  For the record, most of the barges are either aaks or tjalks (pronounced “chaw lick”) .  Tjalks were originally used for cargo on inland waterways, and aaks  . . . for fishing on the Zuiderzee, now called the  IJsselmeer.  Double click on fotos to enlarge them.


Note the helmets all around.


I would not have predicted the number of traditional Dutch design “airships” appearing in this blog this year.  Captions follow.


How to lead a barge to water.


How to inculcate an interest in sailing among the next generation.


How smooth and polished to get a painted surface.  And how to maneuver in tight basins.


Splash.  That’s  Groenevecht lying to the right.


Carving detail and


closer up.


The most beautiful tiller ornament in the sixth boro and far beyond.


Held in the basin.  Brown sail is HZ108 Janus Kok, a wooden botter from 1934!  Botters are traditional fishing vessels also.  Design on the sail is the sponsor’s logo, “old amsterdam cheese.”  To the right along the wall is Windroos, a hoogaars built in 1925.  Now if you know that “hoog” means high . . . as in “up high,” then you can figure out the “ars.”  “Hoogars” vessels have a more upswept stern than aaks, botters, or tjalks.  More Windroos to come.


Painted ships in a painted basin.


Flinterduin shifted forward so that the offloaded barges could leave to make space for the rest.  Sydsulver leaves first.  Notice the decoration around the hawse.


Escape into the boro.  You can’t keep the Dutch pinned up long.  Everydayeastriver foto’d one of the explorers/escapees.


and posing.  That’s the Williamsburg Bridge and –of course–Empire State Building in the background.  By the way, on the bowsprit flies the Friesland provincial flag.


Again, many thanks to the fine folks at GMD and to Carter Craft for access.  The barges will cavort in the sixth boro and surroundings waters for the next month.  Some foto ops may happen at North Cove soon, home of Atlantic Yachting, new on my blogroll.

Another newcomer  on my blogroll is, an account of the barges’ month here by Arjen Wapenaar, captain of the Sterre, a tjalk built in 1887!!!  English site about Sterre here.  Amazingly, Sterre has been in New York harbor before:  some 20 plus years ago for the Statue of Liberty celebrations.  Scroll through that English-language link and you’ll see Sterre in the harbor with the Twin Towers in the background.  Does anyone have pictures to share of that event?  I hope Arjen posts lots of fotos so that non-Dutch readers can enjoy his sailing barge tales.

More Flinterduin AND the tug races this weekend.  Haven’t they cancelled the US Open because the sixth boro activities draw greater crowds?

All fotos here by Will Van Dorp.

Let’s follow one aak from Flinterduin to the East River.  GroeneVecht, built in 1999, hangs in the slings.


Notice the hull lines.  Dimensions are roughly 60′ by 20′.  Groene means green, and Vecht is the name of a river in Netherlands.


I am fixated on leeboards, you may have noticed before.


Once out of the slings,Groenevecht motoors into a basin for minor up rig and then a wait with


earlier barges offloaded.


Once the flag is secured to the rudder,


she motors past Flinterduin to savor the East River


Much more later.  All fotos by will Van Dorp.

Access thanks to Carter Craft and GMD Shipyard.  Thanks.

Remember to double click to see full size fotos.


With many thanks to . . .  welcome Flinterduin!  In the next few hours, her cargo will be offloaded, and the sixth boro will see sail and leeboards as it never has before.  Amusing though confusing was the counterclockwise victory lap of Governors Island Flinterduin indulged before heading under the southernmost East River bridges on her way to GMD.


More later, but here’s another look at her deckload.


Might there be an as-yet unannounced tugboat race entry down in the hold?  And the contest . . . not over yet.

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