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Way back when, I had some fun abridging “__ Express” names, generating Glex and Sex.   While out at the KVK, then, I thought I’d seen Dublin Express aka Dex before, so I’d take some photos, of the box ship and

the two escort tugs.

And I wondered about the unusual pyramidal arrangement of containers on the stern.

I hadn’t known that Gary Haszko, credited for the next two photos,  was taking photos almost simultaneously from Elizabethport, and aware of something else.

Here the two tugs assist in pinning Dex to the pierced in Howland Hook.  He also knew something else I was unaware of, ie, containers tumbling overboard during a rough ocean transit may have damaged the hull and led to oil spilling into the Kills.  For more on this spill, click here.

After a concerted investigation and clean up effort, USCG cleared the ship to depart. 

Many thanks to Gary for use of the last two photos above;  all others by Will Van Dorp.


In recent years, the villains have included developers and politicians.  Let’s see if you can guess who got pilloried in 2010.  I give no clues, although I will show dirty pictures.

Eeeew!  Sullied skin and scales;  sticky besmirching gunk!

A polluted sea on the sidewalk,

such beauty begrimed,

a beached fowl befilthed by a fouling foam,

a pestiferous plague on pickup and passengers,  and

all drawing out righteous indignation.

Face it . . . many of us  are traumatized  . . .  and what can we do?

In the Gulf of Mexico and many other places our consumption has brewed a cruddy, nasty, soiled, nasty, stinky concoction that

chokes when brought to the mouth.

The sea . .. and the land and the shoreline are

yours and ours.  But how do we claim what is ours?

What must we all do to save beauty from beastliness?

Click here to see Rick (old salt’s) post with a great clip of the becrowning of Laurie Anderson and Lou Reed.  Here’s Lou Reed’s “coney island baby.”  From frogma, musica!

All fotos by Will Van Dorp.

Some related pieces:  a Frank Rich essay from Sunday’s NYTimes that I like, oil spills we don’t hear about,  a cautionary tale from Nigeria where oil has issued forth since 1958, info and pix about the momentous 1969 oil spill off Santa Barbara, and an article about life of the crew of vessel known as OCS-G 32306 integral to efforts at end this nightmare.

So who was the villain here?

My gratitude to all the performers for their theatre of grief.

More on the iPatch later.  For now, can you identify this foto from the bridge of a self-described flagship?  Clues lurk.  I had a tour aboard this morning from G, a biology teacher (among other things) from Brazil.  Notice the glass container below the gauge mounted on the window pillar.

The flag is Tibet, and the globe . . . a gift from the Dalai Lama.

The hull of this repurposed ex-Scottish Fisheries Protection Vessel (FPV) Westra is painted black.  Dimensions are 196′ x 36′ x 14′, capable of 16.5 kts, layover in the sixth boro until Saturday on a voyage that has seen such stops as Pitcairn Island and the Galapagos.

It’s Steve Irwin, flagship of

Sea Shepherd, what Raffi Khatchadourian‘s November 2007 New Yorker article called “Neptune’s Navy.”

Tours run daily from 10 until 3.  Fundraiser Friday night . . . details here.  Here’s the letter of support from the Dalai Lama.  Izod logo just happens to be at the end of the pier, but –hey–maybe they’re supporters too.

Click here for a report on the loss of a portion of the Sea Shepherd fleet–Ady Gil— on January 7, 2010.  A Sea Shepherd hero is Henry Morgan, privateer, who fought fire with fire, or piracy with piracy.

All fotos, Will Van Dorp.

For an update on Captain Bethune of Ady Gil, now called a political prisoner of the Japanese, click here.

iPatch . . .  just a thought, a name I hereby coin.  This is my vision of a new miracle product by the folks who brought us iMac, iPod, iPhone, and iPad . . .  the iPatch . . . a hightech gadget–a panacea, if you will–that will restore balance between the species, mutual respect among the peoples of the earth, rid the seas of pirates and plastic patches,  . . .  what else . . ..

Disclosure:  Not owning a TV, I’ve never seen an episode of Whale Wars, although I have seen its parody on YouTube.

Uhhh . . . Johnny Depp’s pirate ship?

Closed fist . . . not a monkey’s fist . . . evokes many, many  things.  It could signal a stop, a hold, a dramatic pause in the music, but this fist happens to be the forward portion of the tiller on Clearwater, a vessel synonymous with music.  Just over exactly 40 years ago  Clearwater came off the ways in Maine named as a wish, the thing desired itself:  clear water, in the Hudson and elsewhere.   Just clear enough water to swim in, at least.  To drink . . . and the shellfish of which to eat . . .


Captain Nick welcomes passengers on board . . .  To me his stance suggests a conductor gathering the focus of the band.


Raising Clearwater‘s 3,000lb main sail requires  “Many hands make light work,” says Pete Seeger.


Like a nautical still life . . .  all lines taut . . . let the music  . . .


begin.  I once had a dream about living in a house that transformed itself into the sounding box of an immense piano.  All the lines involved in handling Clearwater sail–were they strings of an instrument–would charming music make.  How her hull would resonate.   Pick a key . . . sort of like  . .  jib and bowsprit point to Teller Point at the south end
of Croton Point Park.


Line flemish coiled like a treble clef?   I’ve never understood clefs yet admired their curves.


The Captain’s face focused on


the space to fill with music. Tack toward Hook Mountain, looking south from Haverstraw Bay.  Let the


music begin–Rich Hines and The Hillbilly Drifters.  Check out their schedule here.


Photo credit to Rene Arnessen.  Fotos #2 and 8 by Jeff Anzevino,  who provides the ideas for the post.  Jeff is second from left above.

Final shots below are mine.


I’ve never sailed Clearwater, though I’ve surely sailed near her enough. Here canal tug Governor Cleveland chugs between us.


I guess it’s high time I step aboard.

Mark your calendars for July 23 . . . at Barge 79 in Red Hook . . . Waterfront Museum hosts a talk by Clearwater captains on her 40 years.

By the way, Clearwater‘s maiden voyage from South Bristol, Maine, involved a stop at South Street Seaport.  Does anyone have fotos of her at the Pier there?  Any recollection of the cermony there?

I’ll entertain the thought that a better word than “commotion” describes my point here.  Maybe teamwork, collaboration, collective effort, community . . .”   When Nathan Stewart brought a light barge in on the hip the other blustery day,  Aegean Sea tagged along, part of a day’s work.


No pinning was involved here; really, it was more


about the smaller Aegean Sea reaching


the pivot


point and countering the wind.


The strategy seems straight forward and simple but with huge equipment and high stakes.


Today is the 39th Earth Day in the US, and this is all I’ll do in recognition.  I marched in one of the first “earth day” parades on April 22, 1970, but for anyone living in the US today, our relationship with the environment is immensely more complicated than I imagined it –can it be 39!!!– years ago.

Also, 730 afternoons and sunsets!!! ago schooner Anne left New York.  Bravo Reid . . . although for me . . . the watery places devoid of face to face human contact would  leave me intolerably, unbearable lonely.  He does have a shore crew, a real but also virtual community assisting him to his 1000 days at sea goal.


And finally, here’s my tribute to another person of superhuman ability to sustain the loneliness of solo sailing, Robin Knox Johnson.  Happy 40th anniversary of his feat, which happened with much less terrestrial support than is possible today in 2009.

All fotos here by Will Van Dorp.

Posting for the 300th time entitles me to some ecstatic indulgence, doesn’t it?



‘Nets gets my attention anytime…



Any color or design . . .



On or off the dragger . . .



Even lacey gillnets and float flags inspired by Christo. Lucky for me I’m not a fish. I’d rush in, and . . .



I’d become someone’s omega-3. Where has she been netting?

All kidding aside: this news and this about the offensive against humpbacks really disturbs me.  And–as conflicted as we are all sometimes–how do you call this scientific?

Photos, WVD.

was yesterday. I took these fotos before 7 am on that holiday.



Well, I was on my way to work, and not that anyone had the day off around here. Yet, I’m glad to read such a day exists, given how much of the stuff in our lives arrives from across the seas. The last few miles look like this.



Amy (stern) and Brothers McAllister move in. By the way, talking of the holiday of who to recognize, which nation provides 20% of the world’s merchant seafarers? Hint… it has less than 3% of the world’s population.




Amy‘s on the bitt.



Brothers push dockward.

Answer to the 20%–less than 3% question…. here.

Happy M-day.

Tis holiday season: September 30 is Estuary Access Day. Support your local estuary. Also, it’s Chile Pepper fiesta. Hug and savor your favorite chile pepper.

Photos, Will Van Dorp.

I finally got up there, where the ironclad Monitor was built, where Exxon spilled 1.5 times the amount of oil spilled they did in Prince William Sound, where ghosts of the Mespeatches remain.



Juxtaposing nature and industry hasn’t privileged the Creek, although rehabilitation efforts of the NTC Alliance deserve great applause. Note in the Alliance link the first foto shows Cheyenne.



An old tanker friend greeted me there.



More blogging on the Creek to follow.  See Miss Heather’s perspective here.

Meanwhile, check out the Oct 2007 issue of Harper’s page 59 ff. for another “creek” in my life: “The River is a Road: Searching for Peace in Congo.” It’s a “must-read” for river life. I did this trip over three decades ago and have never forgotten.

Photos, Will Van Dorp.

Recently Gabriella wrote this lovely piece on her blog, whose complete title is “surviving the suburban life.” I pass along her eloquence about growing or buying local here.




Notice the five white reefer containers near the top; they have compressor machinery at one end. They might contain imported blueberries, tomatoes, flowers; maybe imported apples for the big apple.



Stuff imported and more. I’m not preaching, and…




I’ll buy and use some of the stuff, but




what is the future? While driving in rural Alberta last week, I saw a dozen or so containers at the end of a hay field. As an old farm hand I checked what agricultural stuff would travel in the containers: outbound alfalfa hay.

The mosaic of primer color containers has become like a bar code imprinted everywhere in our environment, the contemporary ever-shifting logo on the waterways, rails, and highway; around factories and behind shopping emporiums; even in the hayfields near the continental divide.

I suppose this has roots in the 19th century when Hudson River ice packed in sawdust went to the tropics and coastal guano and of course many other raw tropical commodities–some of the same as the ones today–travel up to our latitudes.

Photos by Will Van Dorp.

Several times I’ve used the title “from the line locker” for days too many ideas wanted to crowd themselves into the blog at once. To keep things new, let me now call this “trawl blog,” as in what a trawl net hauled up from a few minutes at the bottom of the harbor might yield, e.g., mussels, a puffer fish, a “white fish,” bits of seaweed, a Spanish dollar, a sea horse or two, etc. Well, some of those, and not that I’m a fan of trawling. So let’s unpack the cod end of my foto net.



Truckable tug Jayne Davis, above, pushes a barge with a clamshell back to the Brooklyn bank.



Buchanan 10 strings a bevy of barges on the hawser.



East River regular, aka diamondback terrapin, goes under cover. And no! this submerged terrapin has no affiliation, national security or otherwise, with a replica of a “turtle submarine” catching some Red Hook attention today. See going coastal’s story here for a great foto of the “turtle.”  Here’s a flickr foto set.



Migratory mourning dove rests on a bobstay above a safety net and oblivious to the cartoonish blue figure behind it.



Castle William, erstwhile military installation on Governor’s Island, serves as shade for nature painters.



And what vessel is this whose deck will serve as stage for an opera in . . . only a month!! Volunteers aka vollies are needed to get this space shipshape… er, ready for Il Tabarro. Email Carolina at PortsideNewYork if you can put in a few fun fantastic hours this coming Sunday afternoon or any Sunday afternoons this month. I’ll be there.

The heat has taxed my brain and the only commonality these fotos have is the cameras of Will Van Dorp. Sorry if this really rambling string culminates like a “Burma Shave” series. Anyone recall those? I hate billboards generally, but Burma Shave had a good gimmick.

Postscript: Let’s do a group gallery for the US Labor Day happening in about a month. If you’re so inclined, email me a foto depicting anyone laboring on the water anywhere. (Medium quality jpegs 500 pixels on their longest side preferred; include a brief description of the labor, laborer, or labored upon; also, tell me how to phrase the foto credit. This post might exemplify the foto subject material. It’d be great if you could get a “you gotta know somebody” type foto such as these on Fred’s blog.)

Just an idea to promote blogging; lurking is acceptable too.

All photos by Will Van Dorp.

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March 2023