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Here’s the post I did the day my season on the Urger ended.   The boat seriously needs a reboot now, a rewind, since it will NOT been operating season of 2017.  None of the photos here have been posted before, and there’s a surprise at the end of this post, stemming from a conversation last night  I am grateful for. Here’s Urger approaches the guard gate at the top of E-6 on the last day of the 2014 season.

Here the morning of that last run, she’s docked above E-11.  May she not grow into the bank the way that fence has been consumed by the tree.

The entire four-person crew fits into this shot at E-14.

As the sun clears the horizon, Urger‘s out and running east, here under the onramp to the Thruway below E-17.

A few seconds earlier, she exited E-17.  Note the 17 at the top of the lock frame.

Bathed in the warm October sunrise, Urger waits for the guillotine door to raise before exiting the chamber.

Here’s the boat on the wall in Little Falls in midsummer 2014.

A month or so back while it was still winter, I returned to E-17, and there was ice on the wall and in the chamber, and I put my camera away quickly so that my hands could return to the pockets where I’d stuffed chemical heat packs.

This would have been the 25th season for the 1901-built Urger as an ambassador/educational vessel. This role for her was created –as I understand it– through a private/public  partnership fronted by Schuyler Meyer.  Here’s some more of the story of the boat and the program, which was initially operated by SCOW, State Council on Waterways, which appears to have had its last event in 2009.

At the start of this post, I mentioned a surprise.  Last night (finally) I uploaded to YouTube here a half dozen short recordings I made of of Urger underway, with closeups of her Atlas-Imperial engine.  Crank up the sound and enjoy them.  Please share widely.  The program and the boat  are too precious to be permanently lost.  Here is a post I did when Urger last visited NYC’s sixth boro.

All photos and opinion entirely by Will Van Dorp.  Thanks, MB, for the conversation.

 

On a weekend with the theme of rebirth and such, how can Grouper not come up.  She certainly needs someone with a clear vision to hold a steady hand on the tiller…

I took these photos about two months ago, and winter looked like it’d hold everything in place forever then,

 

Here she was hibernating on the Great Lakes several decades ago …

 

But go back even farther . . . she had an illustrious past working with classic vessels . . .

that she outlived.  Click here for a 9-minute video that starts on SS South American’s last day of service in October 1967.

 

What a smart boat!  Triage catches up with everything eventually, but for for the 1912 boat originally called Gary, it’s not time yet, I hope.

Thanks to Harley R for the vintage photos.  There are more to come.

Unlike the sixth boro waters, freshwater New York changes state.  As illustration, here is a color photo I took yesterday, and

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below is roughly the same view (looking down from E-5 in the Flight) taken in late September 2016, almost five months ago.   What’s departing lock 4 was reported here.

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But I digress.  Here’s what tenders look like in February.

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And the long-suffering Chancellor, after the pool level has been lowered.

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Floating and working, it’s the art deco tug Syracuse.   She has been working since December 1933!

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And can you identify the vessel in the foreground?

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Indeed, it’s the 1912-launched Grouper sustaining yet another season in Niflheim.

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All photos taken by Will Van Dorp this week except the first one.

A news story I read this morning prompts this continuing of the critters series.  I link to the story at the end of this post.  All the following photos I’ve taken since September, and filed away until I feel there’s a story.   Let’s start here in a New Jersey marsh creek,

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go to the North Fork,

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the KVK,

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more of the KVK,

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still more there,

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and finally to the freshwater in the Erie Canal.

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So here’s the story about a laker captain and his floating forests  . . . .  Click here for more info on part of Pittsburgh Steamship Division fleet.

All critter photos by Will Van Dorp.

If Margot were a fish, I guess you’d classify her as catadromous, sort of.  And no tug that I’ve followed has switched between salt (where she was launched) and fresh (where she frequents as a working niche) water as often as Margot does.   Last week she was sixth boro bound and exiting the low side of lock 9.  Here’s a post I did almost two years ago about some very unusual bollards at the top side of lock 9.   But I digress.   Recognize the cargo on the barge?

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It’s a different barge, but those are two more fancy Canadian shoes–size 110-tons– for the legs of the NY Wheel, that repeat of what George Ferris built for the big Chicago fair in 1893.  And George Ferris . . . where did he get his inspiration to build such a wheel?  Well, it’s a Troy and Hudson Valley concept from the start, from Henry Burden and his industry.   Here’s a post I did in 2010 related to the dock Mr. Burden built upriver for his metal export.

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The lower Mohawk has a stark beauty this time of year, so different from its beauty in other seasons.

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I wonder why so many components of the NYWheel are sourced outside the US.  I guess I know, and it’s NOT my intention to make this a political post, and there’s no Jones Act for shore shoe/leg structures.

Bravo to the crew of Margot.

All photos by Will Van Dorp.

 

. . . aka the leap between the seasons.  Call this photo, taken on Saturday dusk, the last moments of autumnal daylight.

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I was here waiting as a slight November blush lingered in the central NY trees, hoping this

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vessel, Sojourn, would pass before daylight faded and before those storm clouds caught up.

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She eased into the lock.  Some of you, I know, can guess this lock by the structure far left.

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And here at sunrise was a new season.  Winter isn’t just coming anymore.  It came in the night. By the way, thanks to Xtian’s comment here, I understand the significance of the registration numbers.

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Here the converted freighter eases into Lock 17, the highest lift lock in the Erie Canal system.

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Watch the descent.

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The gentleman below built this barge 53 years ago in Belgium, then used it to transport cargoes, including animal feed, through all the canals in the low countries, and in this case that included France and Germany too.  He’s riding along on the trip, his first visit to the United States.  Imagine the joy, being reunited with your handicraft in this way after a half century and halfway around the world!  His daughter, Maja, who was literally born on this barge and who as a kid jumped from hatch cover to hatch cover while the vessel–loaded to the coamings–was underway, is accompanying him.

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When the water level is lowered by almost 41′, the counterweight (almost) effortlessly raises the guillotine-style door.

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Click here to see photos I took of Urger from the same vantage point two years ago.

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And in the snow falling at a faster rate by the hour, Sojourn journeys eastward toward the Hudson.

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And from the road I took back to the sixth boro, here’s what has already accumulated east of the Hudson . . .

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All photos taken in the past 24 hours by Will Van Dorp.

For many other posts I’ve done about Dutch canal barges, click here.

 

Here are the previous posts in this series.

What’s unique about these photos is the season, the gray of November and absence of colors in the trees set off by the vibrant paint on Erie,

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the two Governors shown together here so that you can see the difference in paint scheme–Cleveland and

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Roosevelt, which different even

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in nameboard.

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Waterford, I’d guess, got too close to a dredge pumping operation.

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All photos by Will Van Dorp.

You may remember the Sojourn story here, about a Belgian freight barge that the original owner and builder sold, lost track of, and then rediscovered in upstate New York?  Here was how she arrived in upstate NY.

Well, after two years of work, she’s under way–just ahead of winter storm Argos.  These photos were taken yesterday (Thursday) by Bob Stopper up in Lyons, NY.  Below, Sojourn is easing not Lock 28A,

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heading for Lock 27, and

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and out of the canal before it closes, draw-down takes place, and ice invades.

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Calling all eastern Erie Canal watchers and Hudson River photographers, here’s Bob’s short background to the vessel:

“First arrived in Lyons on November 12, 2013 . The boat was built in 1963 and originally used as a coal and materials barge. It was used for over 40 years by the same family, but eventually because of family illness, the barge was sold. The barge was purchased by Paula Meehan, founder of Redken Cosmetics, renamed the Sojourn, and converted in 2006  to a Hotel Barge and used for high style cruises in France. Ms Redken shipped the barge via freighter to America with the intention of cruising American waters, especially the Erie Canal. Unfortunately, Ms Redkin died in 2014, and the barge returned to the Lyons Dydock on October 15, 2014. It sat  in the Lyons Drydock and began to deteriorate  until purchased by a young hi-tech  internet entrepreneur from the state of Washington. The newly renovated barge, 126′ x 18′,  left Lyons on November 17 headed for its new home in the NYC Harbor.”

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All photos by Bob Stopper.

You may recall that my connection with Lyons is that it’s the county seat of the county where I grew up.  It’s also the county where Grouper languishes, about to freeze into another canal winter.

 

What happens if you build a pilot boat in Massachusetts to be used on the Great Lakes?  It needs to get to its place of use.

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Thanks to the NY Media Boat, I got these photos this week as the Huron Spirit hurried through

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the sixth boro.   North of the watery boro, I was invited to ride through the Erie Canal  before it closes on November 20.

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Above is the wall above lock 16 and below, it’s the approach to lock 19, where you have to first duck under the triple-track rail bridge.

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The photo below, taken at lock 21, was Wednesday afternoon.  By now, the newest Gladding Hearn pilot boat has exited the Canal and is making its way up the Great Lakes chain.

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All photos by Will Van Dorp, who wrote this story on the Lakes Pilots.

I have many more Gmelin photos, but as an indication that I still inhabit the present-day sixth boro, I’ll show some sign of life for a few days.

For outatowners, Gowanus Creek (now Canal) is one of the most polluted waterways in the US, which is no secret to locals.  By the way, Gowanus rhymes with “you want us” with a silent “t.”

I took this photo this week just upstream of the 9th Street Bridge.  In fact, when a man swam down the Canal last year, he wore some serious hazmat protection, as the Media Boat shows here.

What I was not aware of is how much effort is going into addressing the accumulated pollution of more than a century.

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This barge holds several excavators at work in the Fourth Street Turning Basin, one of the dead ends in the Canal.

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As needed, the barge is moved by this small tug/pushboat that might be called 1337E.

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Besides black goop that I might photograph next time, wood and other detritus is being plucked from the bottom.

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Gowanus, there’s hope.  I’ll be back.

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Click here and here for some posts I did when I last visited the Canal . . . in 2011 and 2013.

As to connections between the Gowanus area of Brooklyn and the Erie Canal, click here.  For a photo of the Gowanus Bay New York State Canal Freight Terminal, click here and scroll to p. 22.

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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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