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Let’s make this Fonda–current location of Urger— to Marcy, beginning of one of the highest sections of the Canal.

Approaching E-13 westbound, there’s a row of yellow painted bollards . . . starting from lower left here.

Each of those yellow bollards is on a sunken concrete barge. More sunken concrete barges can be seen at E-09.

We encountered lots of traffic . . .

including Dolphin, a

Canadian beaut.

Other traffic included Lil Diamond II and

Roman Holiday. 

At Marcy, Governor Roosevelt and

Erie were in the water, as were two buoy boats not shown.

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Hats off to Glenn Raymo for figuring out where to be to catch this tow at first light.

I know it’s fruitless to wonder whether any archive has photos of any previous trip Ward’s Island made on the Hudson.  The only other trip it’s made may have been northbound in the late 1930s.

Hats off to the crews who can do this safely. With the rounded bottom propped up by welded on support beams,

she looks like an animal once living.

Dimensions of the hull are 115’6″ x 38′  x  14′.

 

It’s a job and it’s a melancholy sight too., knowing the next stop on this express route is the bottom of the ocean off Fire Island.

Many thanks to Glenn for catching this.  Previous “canal reef express” posts can be found here.

DeWitt Clinton was built in the 1920s, delivered before the crash. She came out of a shipyard in East Boothbay, I’m told, but I can find no record of this.   Here she was in Lockport in early October 2014.

Here is a view from the wheelhouse, and

another from a slightly different vantage point. That’s tug Urger (1901) on the wall up ahead.

Fast forward to this year, here’s one of the latest additions to the Canal tug fleet, and

here’s the view from the wheelhouse.  And yes . . . again, that’s tug Urger on the wall ahead. this time in Fonda NY, where she may or may not be today.

How about some more pics of Dewitt Clinton, all from October 2014.

Here she rounds a bend on the western Canal.

And since we’ve seen Urger from Dewitt, how about ending with Dewitt as seen from Urger.

Photos 4 and 5 by Jake van Reenen;  the others by Will Van Dorp.

 

What is that? asked one gentleman standing at beside a lock.  The geese took no chances and scurried as it approached.

From this angle, its ferry origins are quite evident.  Scroll to compare with SS Columbia and SS Astoria.

This is the bow of Ward’s Island;  she’s departing the way she arrived around 1937 but stern first, leaving under duress.

Here the tow departs E-12 for Amsterdam.

That’s E-11 in the distance, and from this vantage point, I see

the hull as a sounding board for an as-yet invented instrument.   I believe that before she goes to the reef, her crane and wheelhouse will be once again mounted.  For show.

From one of her former crew, here’s what a working Ward’s Island looked like late in a season, replacing summer buoys with winter buoys.

The next batch I took near E-10, a lock allowing photos from the sunny side.

As you can see, she was certainly rotund.

 

To close out this post,  . . . to that gentleman who couldn’t identify the blue rotund hulk, I’d say  this reefing plan is obliterating some NYS history that could be repurposed.  Eradicating context destroys a dimension of the Canal. What do you think?

For more about the photo below by Jon Crispin,  click here.

The photo above by Jon Crispin.  All others by Will Van Dorp.

It occurs to me that someone might want to start a website using the slogan above.

Click here for previous canal reef express posts.  For Urger posts responding to and with the same urgency, click here.

 

Here are the previous posts in this series.  And here are the posts I’ve done earlier on the 1929 Ward’s Island, whose builder’s plate photo I took in October 2016.  I was told it was removed some time ago and is in a safe place.  Here was my first post on “Ward’s.”

As a baseline photo of the double-ender ferry entered a second life in 1937 as a derrick boat or “crane ship,” I offer this shot I took in Lyons in March 2018.  That’s snow in the foreground.

In one of her most notable roles, she assisted in the clean up near lock E-12 after the Thruway bridge collapsed into Schoharie Creek, an event I recall vividly because I traversed that bridge just the day before.

Note the bow prop.  I wonder if at one time it had a rudder, as

you see in this photo of the stern prop.

The rest of these photos come from Bob Stopper.  Notice the glass has been removed from the wheelhouse, but the flag still flies.

Little by little, its crane abilities are removed and placed alongside the dry dock.

 

Pulling the shafts proved complicated,

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but eventually the once crane ship looks more like a curvaceous barge.

Who knows whether these props will be reefed along with the ship . . . .?

 

A tug is expected to arrive in  Lyons imminently to move this vessel from central–almost western New York–to tidewater, then down the Hudson, and out to the designated reefing ground.

And in other news from Lyons, here’s who showed up late Tuesday afternoon . . . with some new signage on the stack and engine cover.  Compare with here from a month ago . . .

 

More than half a year ago, Buffalo was auctioned off, and in my circles, no one knew what had become of her.  Some were speculating she had gone for scrap.  She lay against the wall in the dry dock all winter, but when spring came, she disappeared and some thought she had been scrapped.

It turns out she recently headed for Buffalo, and is currently making her way across the state of New York.  These photos from Jason LaDue show her westbound at Lock E28A in Lyons NY.

She ran on her own power at the RoundUp in 2012, but right now her power unit is this crew boat.

 

Here she passes through the center of Newark.  The weather now is so much more comfortable than a week ago.  Can you read the banner atop the deck house  . . .”bringing the Buffalo back to Buffalo.”  Yes!!

Here’s a closer up of the banner showing the Lardon Group web address, and

on the push boat, Union Concrete . . . .

Now on to the next town .  . Palmyra, and the next three photos were taken by Jim Hastings.

 

Tomorrow, I gather, the flotilla continues westbound.

And finally, two more from Jason LaDue.  As to the slogan on Waterford’s logo, I’d raise the point that just as Waterford is a gateway to the New York State Canal System, so is Buffalo, and so are Whitehall, Troy, and Oswego, for that matter. It just depends on your direction and coordinates of entrance.

As attractive as this shot is, my guess is that the boats have already moved west.

Many thanks to Jason and Jim for taking these photos.  I’ll be looking for Buffalo in Buffalo this August or September.

For many more photos of her taken some years back by Fred of tug44, click here.

 

Private planes can’t be fun for slow and prolonged travel, and RVs–unless I could drive something wild like these or a Fuller— leave me cold, but these yachts seem a popular way to see the world . . . at least one of the loops.   What I might enjoy more than a loop is a crossing, a la William Least-Heat Moon, with a smaller and more adaptable vessel.

I was not stalking the yacht below, but here I caught Ann Marie Rose entering the Upper Bay on June 8,

under the 9W bridge in Kingston on June 16, and then

on July 1 in Little Falls, NY.  Maybe I can find them on AIS.  She’s 48′ and registered in Virginia.  I’d say they travel at an appropriate pace, around 200 miles a month.

Copesetic is 46′ and registered in Chesapeake City, MD.  It’s maybe owned by someone with the last name Cope?  I’ve never been inside a catamaran motor yacht.

Ocean Star is truly from Ketchikan, AK and headed eastbound in the Erie Canal. From the West Coast they traveled by truck until they splashed into the Mississippi in Minnesota.

You can tell Scott Free (61′) is in the Canal by the fact that her radar dome and all that supports it is set on her nose, to make the low bridge.  I did a double take upon seeing her, imagining this was a boat inspired by Blount’s Grande vessels.

The natural beauty of the Canal envelopes these three cruisers as they

make their way west to share lock E-18.  The green boat in the middle appears to be a 42′ Kadey Krogen;  a friend has done two crossings of the Atlantic with his, and is now off California, after starting in Panama about a year ago.

I can’t tell you much about Sláinte, but she was pretty in the dawn light.

And this one . . . Boatel I  was headed to Toronto for the season.  It’s a floating accommodation, not to be confused with Botel, where I stayed back in 2014.  Scroll here to see my photo.

Anyone know where she spent the winter?   Maybe it’s “no tell motel.”

All photos by Will Van Dorp.

 

The last time we saw Jay Bee V, she was solo and reportedly beginning an epic.  That was nine days ago, and now Jay Bee V (JBV) has taken over this large white barge from larger river tugs and is heading west with a a flotilla that began over a month ago in Brooklyn.  Click here for specifics on this journey as well as sponsors, and there are many.

Arguably, the epic began in 1868, and I quote here from the link above:  “1868, the Brooklyn Flint Glass Company relocated to Corning, via the New York Waterways, and evolved into the company that is today known as Corning Incorporated. In celebration of the 150th anniversary of this pivotal journey, CMoG will launch GlassBarge—a 30’ x 80’ canal barge equipped with CMoG’s patented all-electric glassmaking equipment—in Brooklyn Bridge Park on May 17, 2018.”

What’s pushing the “glass barge?”

Here’s a top down view of JBV, and

the boats of Lake Champlain Maritime Museum.

Way in the distance, that’s the glass barge and beyond that, lock E-11.   Here from tug44 a few years back is more info on lock E-11.

If this photo illustrates nothing, it shows how JBV‘s  captain relies on understanding and communication from the watch stander on the barge.

 

Above and below, the flotilla passes Fonda, NY,

before locking up through E-13.

 

The glass barge flotilla had given its 8th set of shows (by my count)  in Amsterdam the day before.  To understand the impact of these shows, think canal-traveling circus of the 19th century.  Here they were heading for a set of shows in Canajoharie.  

 

More to come.  Again, if you have not checked out this link for their schedule–the water portion of which ends in Watkins Glen on September 16, click here.   Below is a vase I witnessed a glassblower make in less than 15 minutes!

All photos by Will Van Dorp, who reiterates that I take all the photos credited to me on this blog;  any photos taken by anyone else–collaboration I encourage–I attribute accordingly.

More photos of the Great Race soon.

 

 

. . . illustrating what will be lost if present course is maintained.   If you don’t know what’s likely to happen imminently, Urger is NOT to be reefed.  But, it’ll be beached at Thruway Lock 13 “living history” exit, with holes “punched” in the hull and that beaching will cost –I’m told–over $3 million.

Why should you care?

First,  listen to this engine, as I recorded it four years ago on a calm day above Amsterdam NY.  Click the thumbnail below left for the sound from inside the engine room and . . . right, from outside.  It’s like the steady panting of a racing horse.  Click here for a list of remaining Atlas-Imperial engines, although I don’t know how out-of-date this info may be.

  

Here’s that same engine as seen from below, starboard looking aft, and

here, the camera is looking aft along the port side.

Here’s the view port side looking down.

For whatever value it has, Urger is

one of about two dozen NY vessels on the National Register of Historic Places, has been on that list since November 29, 2001.    Click here for what that means in terms of significantly changing the historic floating structure.

Urger was built by Johnston Brothers Shipyard in Ferrysburg, Michigan, in 1901, originally as H. J. Dornbos, a fish tug.  My point . . . if she’s been around this long and is in this good shape, that’s prime reason to keep her that way.

Urger faced significant change before, back in the late 1980s, ending Canal maintenance duty in October 1987.  Then, Schuyler Meyer (1918–1997) stepped forward with a proposal to save her by making her the “ambassador vessel” of the NYS Canals that she did become.  During those ambassador years, scores of thousands of folks–especially school kids–saw her, walked on her, learned from her about NYS.  Read the whole article below if you have time, but signifiant info is concentrated in the rightmost column.   Look at the image he’s holding in the photo.

Urger is a flagship of NYS history, having made public appearances all over the confluent waterways of the state from Lockport (I don’t have photos of her in Buffalo) to

the famous culvert east of Medina to

Oswego, shown here at Lock O-8 with tug Syracuse to

the Upper Bay of New York City, and all the great little towns in between.   I lack the photos myself, but I know she’s been to the southernmost point of the Finger Lakes and upper reaches of Lake Champlain from this video clip.

So what can be done . . .  especially since, given the imminence of converting Urger to a “static display,” time is so short?

First, share this post with anyone you know who might care about Urger.  Seek out your loud, articulate, reasonable, and well-known advocates who know [connected] people and can speak out in the meetings, press, and blogs.  It’s summer, so key political and agency leaders might not be reading their mail, forwarding it to folks with less decision-making power.  Congressman Paul Tonko would like to hear from you. State legislators might be contacted in their home districts, where you can even walk into their local offices.   Talk to your local mayors, business leaders, and union officials.  I was born upstate but haven’t lived there since the 1960s.

Educators, especially in Canal corridor towns,  have benefitted from the Urger program over the past quarter century.  They might choose to exercise power through NYSUT rather than as individuals if anyone in to better get the attention of government.

Finally, if the choice were between spending no money to beach Urger vs. spending money to keep it afloat and active, that would lend support to the idea of beaching her.  BUT, significant money (in the seven digits) will be spent to beach her at Lock 13 Thruway exit.

Thanks for your attention.  All the color photos here were taken by Will Van Dorp, except the one below, taken by Chris Kenyon in Port Gibson in 2014.

Personal disclosure:  I worked as deckhand on Urger during the 2014 season, on a leave-of-absence from my other life.  I spent about 100 nights and days aboard her between June 6 and October 30, i.e., about 2/3 of the time between those dates.  Some of the hundreds of references to the boat on this blog can be found here.

I hope you agree with me that NYS gains more by keeping her afloat and active than by beaching her.  Pass it on, if you agree.

 

Following on the photos from April 29 and May 19, here is finale for Tender 6 and Reliable of Utica.  As of this posting, they are 2.5 nautical miles off Shinnecock and 80′ down, precisely placed and not sunk.  My guess is that soon this section of this chart will be updated.

Here is the last daylight for

Tender 6.

Here’s the final journey

 

for Reliable

of Utica.

Thanks for use of these photos to a generous gentleman. More photos can be seen here.

 

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