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Winter solstice is one date I pay attention to, and yesterday demanded an undivided portion of it.  I was out on the sixth and primordial boro at sunrise, although when it rose, a gauzy film of stratus filtered the light.  I tinkered with the image a bit to enhance the cosmic eeriness.

Along the Brooklyn shore a classic barque and one of the latest of a classic line awaited.

Notice two tugboats and a lighthouse below?  One tug is shifting a fuel barge, and the other is shifting refuse boxes.

Start of winter or start of summer, the sixth boro is always a busy place.  Notice the fishing boat in this image, along with all the rest?

For some reason, these E-2C aircraft flew the North River up and then down and out over the Lower Bay.

Dutch Girl, a winter regular along with Eastern Welder, was hard at work.

Ava M. crossed the Bay from one job to the next.  Things are always happening on the water.

And all that’s glorious, but less than a quarter mile from the North River, not all seems to be happening well, and that needs to be acknowledged.

All photos, WVD.


See my previous Queens posts here and  here for the 2008 three-vessel event,  and here and here for first arrivals of QV and QM2.  Last night, the newest Queen vessel departed the sixth boro for the first time escorted by QV and QM2.  Tomorrow’s post will feature some daylight shots of all three, including MS Queen Elizabeth.

The following few shots capture brief moments of the festivities last night.  Lined up here from farthest to nearest are QM2, QV, and QE.  Fireworks finale

was complete

by 7:30.

Most moving for me transpired an hour before as QM2 departed Brooklyn and came upriver to meet the two newer vessels as they headed south from the Manhattan passenger terminal.  Her horn, low pitched and determined, sounded a call like that of a bovine calling its calf to steady its legs and follow.

As QM2 rotated between the Battery and the Morris Canal, Laura K Moran stood by, but

I couldn’t tell if contact actually happened.

Margaret Moran (I think) also stood by, although I didn’t notice her until

after the rotation.

343 spouted water.

As I said, by 7:30 the three vessels began to cruise toward the Narrows.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp, who is grateful to Lee and Jordan for hosting an extraordinary meeting of the Ship Lore, featuring no lesser an authority on ship design than Rick Old Salt as speaker.

More Queens tomorrow.

Like the other five boros, the sixth boro is trafficked by creations large and small.  Two diverse large vessels are Cunard’s QM2 and MSRC’s New Jersey Responder, a key player in the case of any oil spill in the New York area.   The 210′ vessel, in spite of all its systems, might be dwarfed by the crisis.  Fifteen of these Oil Spill Responder Vessels are positioned around the US.  Check out “moondogofmaine” ‘s posting on these vessels compared with the European counterparts. 

Here Bohemia and Patuxent are dwarfed by a container vessel, wheras only

only moments later, something comes westbound on the KVK to magnify the Vane tug into something of the Gulliver-class.

I didn’t catch the name of the small gold tug before it disappeared behind a light Bouchard barge.

A final word on scale:  all are important.  For example, consider the power of a snowball v. the power of an avalanche.  Easy . . . the more powerful is the snowball if that triggers the avalanche.  Without the snowball, no avalanche would occur.

All fotos yesterday by Will Van Dorp.

Thanks to Kaya for the Iphone foto below.  Kaya intrigued me by stating he wished to ride the lady’s wake, literally.  Given her top end of 34 knots, her final wave–wherever that may form–could be formidable.  I hope the soon-to-appear QE3 designers improve her speed rather than her make-up.

Compliments of Ron, at balloonist level,  see QE2 process southward as

QM2 creeps into place as QE2‘s maid.

Compliments of bowsprite, QM2 shows herself no slouch, a truly flashy maid, pirouetting on her axis at the confluence of Morris Canal and the North and East Rivers where

she holds station allowing the Dann Ocean Towing boat to push some cement through.

The cement salute is a unique feature of this ceremony, maybe the crosscurrents of the tow compound the challenge of surfing QE2s wake.

Anyone identify the gray hull in foreground shooting water?

Moran tugs escort the elegant lady past QM2.

Dubai lies over the horizon for QE2.  Honestly, given the lines and speed, I hope the inertia of the Palm

Jumeirah agree with her in her second life.  Dubai is located on the west lower end of the Omani Horn that juts northward in the Gulf.  By the way, in the background  from L to R, Verrazano, the heights of Staten Island, and Lady Liberty on ex-Bedloe‘s Island.  It’s remarkable how narrow QE2‘s waist seems at several miles distance.

QE2 herself has surfed a remarkable wave created by Hurricane Luis back in 1995.

See Newyorkology‘s take here with video.

Here’s QV. Guess the location.



Here QV heads into the sunset, blending in as a silhouette between the lighthouse and the island. So, the clue: it’s QV headed into the sunset. Where is the lighthouse?


Was it only two and a half weeks ago she left the sixth boro. Check the webcam to learn her current location. Again, where in the world was QV when this foto was taken? Credit and answer soon.

I don’t generally pay much homage to passenger shipping in the sixth boro, but QMs pivoting 180 degrees between the Colgate clock and the Battery left me speechless; from my vantage point, I saw a “north” bound vessel rotate “anticlockwise” and then “park” facing the Statue of Liberty. Oh, to have seen it from the air! A ship assist tug just stood by, feeling obsolete in the age of azipods and triple bow thrusters?

The hulls all wear Cunard blue, but that’s where uniformity ends. Lots of fotos follow.


QE bow and bridge. Tiny and relatively few portholes made for a “dark” ship last night compared with the glass cathedral look of the two newer Cunard vessels.


QM bow and bridge


QV bow and bridge. I couldn’t get a starboard shot.


QE bow. By the way, notice the rust. More on that later.


QM bow. A litte grainy, but . . . you remember what happened when that submarine tried to approach last summer.


QV bow.


About that rust . . . in the harsh January sun it couldn’t hide. I’ll revisit Cunard in a few days.

Some numbers, all QE, then QM, then QV

Speed: 33 knots- 30- 23. Might the next Queen crawl at 15 knots?

Gross tons: 70,000- 148, 000- 90,000

Waterline beam: 32 meters- 41- 32.

Height: 52 meters- 72- 62.

Length: 293 meters- 345- 294

A blog that’s been following the Queens for a spell has great comparative info here between QE2 and QV, like which is faster? With that link above, be sure to scroll through the posts. Also, check out QE2‘s last go-round itinerary. My fotos taken in the rain from the Battery follow:



Notice the much-shrunk Statue in between above.  In the first two fotos, order is QM2 forward, QV after.



Joe Sharkey includes an interesting statistic in his Dec 16 2007 New York Times article: number of people doing cruises annually has increased three fold since 1990!



Final shot: QM2 with one of many patrol boats in foreground and fireboat aft. Note: The QE2 hung quite far back and from my terrestrial angle, I couldn’t get all three in one frame. More on them–daytime shots–later.

Photos, WVD.

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