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If anyone out there needs to be convinced of the beauty of the Hudson Valley less than 100 miles north of the big city, take a glance at this foto by Tim Hetrick showing tanker Icdas 11 escorted by a paparazzi savvy eagle.

The foto below shows sloop Clearwater in mid-June arriving at the music festival that shares the same name.

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A minute or so earlier . . . Clearwater rounded the bend following Woody Guthrie toward the shallows.

But if anyone has notions of operating a wooden vessel, it’s important to consider the regular maintenance.  Here was a post from about three years ago about work on Clearwater.  Currently way upriver this

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is happening again.  All the following fotos now come thanks to Paul Strubeck.  In mid-December, Clearwater was downrigged and hauled out near Albany at Scarano Boat Building and

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gently placed onto Black Diamond, with tug Cornell nearby.

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Securing the big sloop for travel takes care and time, more time than there is light at the winter solstice end of the year.

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But when all’s fast, the trip to where the winter maintenance crew can begin.

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Click here for an article about Clearwater‘s winter home in the shadow of the Hudson River Maritime Museum.

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Many thanks to Paul for sending these along.  It looks like I need to find time to get up to the Rondout.  The first two fotos in the post are mine.

For reasons you’ll find at the end of this post, I’ve held these fotos in reserve since last June.   Any ideas what’s going on with   . . .  an apparently empty 70-year-old covered barge floating in the river with a bridge in the distance and some fibers in lower left corner.

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Well, some crew are aboard, Joe and Paul on radio, as the transition to alongside towing is initiated.  That’s Rhinecliff, NY in the background here.

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It’s a demonstration of skills day for certification purposes.   That’s my friend Brian taking fotos, and Matt Perricone, owner of tugboat Cornell making up the tow once that free-floating barge is alongside.  Here’s the official Cornell site.

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To document the day, we shoot from a variety of locations and

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angles.  This angle I call “elbows in water.”

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And this is how to “make up on the nose.”

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Designted examiner Sam Zapadinsky of Diamond Marine Services looks on as light boat is maneuvered to a dock in confined river space.

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With the barge on the nose of Cornell, it’s time to head back inot the Creek.

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All fotos by Will Van Dorp last June.  Here’s the rest of the story . . . and note the byline.

Unrelated:  Here’s a foto of a scene I missed:  Allie B towing dredge Columbia southbound on the Hudson recently.  The link tells some interesting previous lives of the dredger.

Three vessels at the roundup this year appeared there for the first time .  . well sort of.   The red one, aka Augie, was in fact there for the first time.  The other . . . on the left, Frances, has been there before but with very different appearance.

Here’s a closeup of Augie, who first made a show here and here.

The surprise newcomer at the roundup this year was Wendy B, but with a bit of search, I’ve found this blog about here journey from Toronto to DC seven years ago, by the previous owners.

Click here for the specs at the time of her last sale.  Talking with the owners, I learned she was delayed in the sixth boro–on her recent northward passage–by the 4th of July 2012  fireworks.  Does anyone recall seeing her in town?  Here are my fotos of the spectacular illuminations that day.

Here’s Augie, nestled up to Cornell, in current colors.

When I saw Frances this weekend, I first assumed I was looking at Margot, currently working on Lake Ontario.

Here’s how Frances looked two years ago.

I’m enthusiastic to see Frances (1957) covered in new paint that just exudes vitality.  Soon she’ll be working like Margot, her one-year-younger sister.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp.

Unrelated but thanks to Barbara for sending this link along:  South Street Seaport in the news.

Here are a, b, c, and d from two years ago.  As I write this, the Roundup has not yet finished.  What’s left is the fireworks extraordinaire, the grand finale.  But the Roundup begins with a parade up from Albany northward.  On the west side of the river is I-787, and by parading along the Interstate at homeward rush hour Friday night, like a circus parade promenading past the farms, mills and markets of yore, this curious group of vessels is designed to convince weekend-planning commuters to hang out at the Waterford waterfront parts of Saturday and Sunday.

The Rensselaer side of the river (or maybe this is North Greenbush) looks fairly wild in places . . .  with vestiges of industry,

but Troy is proud of its present and

and past.

Once through the Federal lock,

The flotilla makes its way to Waterford.  more on that the next few days.

Amen .  . . thanks to the sponsors!!  And I enjoyed meeting so many new people.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp.

Posting every day and trying to maintain a “brand” entails a measure of risk taking that I’ve accepted.    Maybe this will be a new series, one that might even get up to SBS 80, like the Random Tugs series.  So, here’s a different version of a foto I used yesterday.  Doubleclick enlarges.  I think there’s something remarkable about this gunner, and that’s all I’ll say.  Agree?

The links in this series relate in no way to the fotos, but check this out . . . $20 million in silver and other metals–7700 bars of it–somewhere along the bottom of the sixth boro since 1903?  Is this serious?

A grainy documentary foto from the ever-perspicacious bowsprite:  Cornell pushes a barge with a yellow schoolbus around the boro, certainly a remarkable cargo.

Another remarkable story, which I heard some time ago but have not followed up on:  15,000 pieces of munitions fell from USS Bennington into the Narrows in 1954, before the VZ Bridge construction began.  Have they now been removed?

And from the clear-sighted John Watson, here’s a foto of Sgt. Matej Kocak arriving last Monday from Diego Garcia, a remarkable place I’ll probably never visit.

Equally remarkable is this reference to the island of Lokoko on a sign outside the Hurricane Club (SW corner of 26th and Park Avenue) in Manhattan.  By the coordinates, Lokoko must be out there, near Tahiti.  I love imagined histories as well as real fictions and everyday miracles.  I haven’t been inside.  I just stumbled upon this while waiting for a friend the other day.  Read reviews here.

Fotos as credited.

When I took this foto in 2006, I knew none of the folks depicted;  more about this foto at the end.

This Sunday in the sixth boro is the 19th annual tugboat race.  If you are free, come down to Pier 84.  Will Beth M. McAllister be there?  the young Pegasus?

Viking was partly there last year.  Might she race this year?

Might Tasman Sea clench her pins and sprint to the finish?

Will Bohemia lope ahead of the field?

Will Lee T Moran show just how misleading the “Gramma” part of her name is?

Will Socrates miraculously spring free from these lines and parade over the finish line first?

Will Brendan Turecamo and all these other occupied Moran vessels churn up the one-nautical-mile race course?

In previous years, the weekend following the tug race in the sixth boro, there was a tug roundup in Waterford, NY.  Bad news this year:  because of Irene’s reckless bluster and immoderate rain, the 2011 Waterford Tug Roundup  has been cancelled.  I will miss the puppytugs,

the pushoffs of fiberglass into steel,

the carefully matched performers,

the hometown favorites taking on the outatowners.    But I’m not going to miss

the hospitality of Waterford and its fine folks . . .  because I’m coming up anyhow.  See you on the 9th or 10th.

Thanks to Stray for sending along this link to fotos of Irene devastation upriver.  I feel sick.  Crow and Wire, #94, 119, and 181, were at the Roundup last year.  Black Knight, seen in a tugster post a week ago, shows up in #178.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp.

Hercules . . . (keel was laid in 1915)  has never visited the sixth boro and never will, but some rough water

she appears able to handle.  You saw Hercules on this blog a few months back burning some coal to set a towing record here.  Read the narrative here in the July portion of the log here.

The body of water in question here is between Zierikzee (marked with the red balloon with capital A) and Veere . . . on the island off to the southwest.  Also notice Rotterdam, Antwerpen, and Brugge on the map.

Speaking of Brugge, notice what they call this Brugge-registered vessel working on the Rhine?

Top two fotos used with permission from Kees (pronounced “case”) and Ingrid van Trigt;  bottom foto thanks to Patty Nolan‘s own Capt. David Williams.

Finally, tugster made the front page of the Wall Street Journal, and . . . no ATF, FBI, IRS, EPIRB . . . no handcuffs, no raincoat covering my face, no sex or financial scandal, no announcement of  an imminent run for office.  Running FROM office to pick up a copy of the paper sounds like a much better idea.  Lots of thoughts there from Cornell‘s Capt Matt Perricone there too.  See “Old Salt” Rick’s post on the article AND the upcoming 19th annual Great North River Tug Race here;  watch the video and you’ll see some of Rick’s and my footage from a previous race.

Unrelated:  This weekend tugster has dispatched me on assignment/hazardous duty at the Pageant of Steam.

But first . . . Blue Marlin has sailed!!  I went upriver Sunday midmorning, and soon thereafter, she headed for sea.  Actually for Bonny Town, ETA July 4, 2011.  Click here to see what this Niger River delta town looks like, and then you’ll know why they’re buying tugs–like ex-Curtis Reinauer below–and barges.  The link explains the unusual house configuration.  If anyone got fotos of Blue Marlin exiting the Narrows or  wishes to shares fotos of the journey, please get in touch.

Click here for history, economics,  and controversies related to the Niger delta.   The Niger River, 14th in the world in length, flows through unlikely places such as Timbuktu–high on my “gallivant list”–and drains 10 nations.  Name them?

 Yesterday I volunteered on Pegasus for the Riverdale Riverfest.  In fact, Robert Apuzzo just sent this foto; I’m the tall guy in faded blue on the “upper deck” in the gap between the stack and the house.  I volunteer because it’s fun and important.  As “safety officer,” I help ensure no one gets hurt, and since I like to talk, I answer questions.  I’ve noticed people like to see the boats but also their own communities FROM the river.    Ensuring “guest safety” is vital and sometimes difficult;  a tugboat has industrial-strength hazards . . . it moves and steel is hard and forgiving, yet it is a fascinating opportunity:  throbbing noise and vibration, power of invisible prop and rudder and versatile line, huge engine, …

Believe it or not, Riverdale IS in the Bronx!  Therefore, this water too is the sixth boro of NYC.  By the way, in the background are the Palisades on the Jersey side.

Cornell was there also, here coexisting with human-powered vessels (HPVs).   I love to kayak myself, but I suspect people in some HPVs underestimate commercial vessel speed and over-estimate their own visibility.

Spud barge Black Diamond served as a makeshift dock, serviceable but labor-intensive but the popularity of festivals like this illustrates the value of serviceable commercial docks in many more Hudsonsonian towns and cities.  Imagine not only entertainment but also food coming ashore from boats for several reasons including reducing highway congestion.   Vessels in Riverdale included also Mystic Whaler (1967 reproduction of a coastal cargo schooner) and fireboat  John J. Harvey.  Of course, the distinctive red barge is the itinerant  Waterfront Museum, aka 1914-built Lehigh Valley 79.

These festivals showcase the skill of  maritime professionals and, though fun, are stressful and laborious.

Just north of Riverdale is Yonkers.  This foto of Yonkers as a storm chased us upriver in 2010 shows two frequently inquired about buildings on the this part of the Hudson:  the Yonkers Power Station and the “Blue Cube,” which has had lives as diverse as a test lab for PhelpsDodge and a movie studio.

Yesterday a young peregrine (?) feasted on a fish high atop the Power Station.

Traffic headed up and down the Hudson is diverse:  trawler Manitou from Ludington, MI,

MV Universal Amsterdam with a load of sugar,  escorted here north from the George Washington Bridge by Mary Turecamo and Margaret Moran,

trawler Muddy Waters from Miami Beach, FL,

Thomas Witte towing a tall load of scrap metal for export,  and much

much more.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp, except the one thanks to Robert Apuzzo.

Imagine a tugboat with a bowsprit, at least some of the time?  See the link at the end.

First from Robert Apuzzo . . .  Crow (1963) in the East River, and

Susan Miller (1981, ex-Uncle Ned) in the Bronx River.  Speaking of the Bronx River, here’s its namesake tug and some info on doings in the Bronx River this summer.  By the way, you saw Bronx nearly lost in the lush bow pudding of Cornell here last September… scroll through a bit.

From John Watson, the newer (Feb 2011) and bigger (630′) orange juice tanker Orange Stararrives escorted by Laura K. Moran.

Same shot, bigger context.

A distant sound like a train whistle Saturday morning . . .  that was the aforementioned Cornell.

A school of Vane boats (l. to r. Elk River, Pataspsco, and Quantico Creek)  get their stern-parts bathed by the oracle waters Gowanus Canal.

Eagle Service, fairly fresh off the Great Lakes, heads into KVK about a week ago.

Like Eagle Service, Greenland Sea was originally built as a Bollinger-built Candies boat.  . .  Grant Candies (November 1996) and  Doc Candies (December 1990).

Another Hornbeck boat, Freedom Service (1983) heads into the Buttermilk from the East River.

Buchanan 12 (1972) heads into the East River.    See her light here.

Thanks to Robert and John for sharing their fotos.

Unrelated:  Here are some fotos from the Seattle Maritime Festival, tug race and more, from yesterday.  Wish I’d been able to go.   Here and here are some Seattle water fotos I took last summer.  For updates on Coot, the tug in W. O. Decker colors, click here. Scrolling through you’ll also find some great tugboat names as well as the hull–high and dry–of a supertug under construction.

Also unrelated but  . .  a two-minute video honoring WW2 vets.  Watch it all, please.

Anna Frater is the bowspritted tugboat;  click here to see it.    It’s not the first such tug to appear here:  check out this tugantine from 2008.

I owe Paul Strubeck for these fotos;  he endured the 2 a.m. cold at Crum Elbow to get them.  Kristin Poling you’ve seen here many times before.

I manipulated the fotos, squeezing out some of the darkness, enhancing the little light in the original.  The stem bitt in the lower right belongs to tug Cornell, attempting to get Kristin Poling unstuck from the ice.  What does this look like to you . . . other than the obvious ship stuck in chunk ice?

I get competing thoughts and associations:  like a submarine scene from a Jules Vernesque sci-fi movie, or

a vessel trapped in polar ice.  No disrespect for the family or vessel name . . . but “poling” could be a verb referring to exploration of the top and bottom parts of the planet . . . as in “Peary left the sixth boro in the summer of ’08 aboard Roosevelt, headed north to go poling. . . .”   My eyes could easily be convinced that the venerable Kristin P here is “poling.”

Imagine this stretch of the river six months forward or backwards.  A deck in that location could be an idyllic spot to stretch out, enjoy summer heat, watch stars, and think of love or whatever you wish; a fit swimmer could slip into the water and drift or make for shore.  However,

in January like this, the Hudson seems as inhospitable as the poles.  Frederick Cook, Peary’s physician in the 1891-2 “north poling” expedition and later a challenger to Peary’s claim to have reached the North Pole first, said this about being in the frozen north:  “We were the only pulsating creatures in a dead world of ice.”   I can imagine the crews of Kristin Poling and Cornell thinking that . . .  at least they and the reliable engines in the vessels.

Cook was a founder member of NYC’s Explorers Club.

Again, many thanks to Paul Strubeck for the fotos, which you may have seen in different format on Paul’s facebook page.

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Graves of Arthur Kill

Click on image below to order your copy of Graves of Arthur Kill, by Gary Kane and Will Van Dorp. 3Fish Productions.

Seth Tane American Painting

Read my Iraq Hostage memoir online.

My Babylonian Captivity

Reflections of an American hostage in Iraq, 20 years later.

Tale of Two Marlins

Blue Marlin spent 600+ hours loading tugs and barges in NYC Sixth Boro. Click on image for presentation made to NY Ship Lore and Model Club, July 25, 2011.

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