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Along this stretch of  . . . bird habitat, Meow man has signed in . . .


and an official boat might just be verifying the authenticity.


Meanwhile, I’m just over two miles off the center of the VZ Narrows bridge . . . doing some of my own verifying.  Those round objects . . . half a dozen of them  . . . are they . . .


. . . could they be . .  see that one splash . . .


harbor seals?    This one seems to negotiate for that rock with . . .  a ruddy turnstone . . . ?


See the press release here for the NYC Audubon tours here.


Read here about the seal scientists who were on board yesterday also.


What is that canoe-shaped object in the upper left side of this photo?


Anyhow, forget about the cold and book a seal and bird tour  . . . on only a few Sunday trips left.


Thanks to bowsprite who suggested this as a birthday present.  I may go out and take this trip again to get the photo I missed of a squadron of long-tailed ducks  circling our boat.



We stayed on the west side of Swinburne Island (it should be renamed Seal Island.) as MOL Endowment arrived with a delivery along the east side.


All photos by Will Van Dorp.  Nearly three years ago I reported on a seal I interviewed on Fire Island.

Somehow . . . don’t ask me how . ..  meow man seems to have “signed” what used to be a white ceramic mug that usually occupies my desk.  How DID he deliver that?  . . . !@#@!!

Uh . . . what’s this?


It’s Buddy, living breathing braying hoof-beglittered mascot of Debora Miller.  If you’ve never been to the New York’s race, there’s a best mascot category.  In the past there’ve been  . . . dogs, hermit crabs, even a chicken . . . but Buddy redefines the contest.


With the threat of rain, someone made a wise decision and advanced the start of the race.  Here Resolute, Catherine Miller, Tasman Sea, and Red Hook move toward the starting line . . . feted by now-retired 1931 fireboat John J. Harvey.


Foto thanks to William Hyman . . . the line up.


And at 10:29:30 . . . they’re off . . . with 1930 wooden tug W. O. Decker taking an early and easy lead!!


45 seconds later . . . W. O. Decker has dropped back.


Here’s they are 15 seconds later.


John J. Harvey is not a tug, but to see the speed out of this octogenarian . . . was humbling.   An engineer toiling away in the engine room later told me all four engines were driving propulsion.



The red tug–Resolute–went on to win, although I don’t yet have the official times.  I could have written them down, but I was far too busy applauding and taking fotos.


And here’s the crowd at the finish line.


Part B tomorrow.  Thanks to William Hyman for foto 4.  All others by Will Van Dorp.

Many thanks to Glen Miller of Miller’s Launch for my ride this year.

Unrelated and almost forgot:  Here’s a query from Jeff S, a frequent commenter on this blog:  he saw a “very weather beaten wooden sailing vessel (hull) at the Jersey end of the Goethels Bridge, about 65-70 foot long , two deck cabins and a bowsprit.”  It was parked in the oversize lot waiting to cross the Bridge when traffic gets light.  Anyone have an idea what this may be?


The last post in this series–24–was quite obscure.    And this one . . . could be called ex-government boats.

The foto below comes thanks to Scott Craven, who caught the vessel upbound on the Hudson near the Bear Mountain Bridge.  At first I thought it was a re-purposed 65′ WYTL.  With a bit of research, however, I learned it’s the retired Massport Marine 1, Howard W. Fitzpatrick (scroll through to the 8th foto).  Note the traces of removed signage along her port side.  She’s now replaced by American United.   Again, scroll though, and you’ll see the folks on Windermere posted a foto of American United high and dry at the Canadian shipyard here.  Click here for more info on Massport.   Fitzpatrick launched in 1971 from a now inactive shipyard in southern Illinois, just north of St. Louis.   So does anyone know where Fitzpatrick is headed?  Great Lakes?  the Mississippi system?  Maybe a reader upriver can report?


On a rainy day back in mid-April, Gary Kane caught this display on the East River, just south of Roosevelt Island.


It was the John D. McKean, a retired FDNY fireboat.  McKean was Camden, NJ built about 60 years ago.  Anyone know what her future may be?


All this talk of retired fireboats and mention of Gary Kane give me an opportunity to suggest you buy the documentary produced by Gary Kane and myself called Graves of Arthur Kill.  One of the major voices/story tellers in that documentary is a retired FDNY engineer.

Thanks to Scott Craven and Gary Kane for use of these fotos.

Here was a similar foggy day in the sixth boro a few months back.  AIS showed me this vessel with an auspicious name, and I figured it’d just magically turn clear if I went outside to watch.  Frogma found fog more glorious than I did.


Wrong!!   This is what fog looked like out there this morning.  That’s Charles D. McAllister headed out to meet a huge orange containership.  Somewhere off Charles D.‘s stern is the shiny new Curtis Reinauer . . . but obscured.  What fog sounds like, though, is not captured here . . .  low pitched blasts, penetrating yet not loud.


Up on the KVK  . . . this vessel that I’d seen in port a month ago  was at the dock, begging to be redubbed Foggy Venture.


Wolf River headed out as Chesapeake Coast pushed barge Chesapeake in.


R/V Seawolf passes by Sarasota on her way out as well.


Ellen McAllister joins Charles D. in assisting Rumanian-built Rio Madeira into a berth.   On a clear day, this would look quite different.


FDNY M8 cruises out to the Narrows and back.  Off the bow of M8, it’s Marie J. Turecamo assisting


Linda Moran over to Sarasota, where


Julia has just made a personnel call.


Cormorant throws wings up . . .when’s this going to clear?


Unrelated . . . but while I was studying AIS over coffee this morning, I saw that Ouro do Brasil was heading up Delaware Bay.  Now that’s a vessel with a paint scheme I’d love to see.  Anyone pass along fotos?


All fotos by Will Van Dorp, who still has more Mississippi watershed fotos to share.

Small craft to come, but first . . . the missing foto from yesterday’s post . . . how DID the heaving line get through the eye aka “closed chock”?  Hope this foto helps;  I do believe I see the monkeyfist flying upward from the crewman at the rail;  crew on the upper level passed it to the crewman forward of the chock?

It’s been over two years since I’ve used this title. Small craft  come in many shapes,

are operated by professional mariners,

respond to emergencies with versatility,

and shuttle specialists between shore and much larger craft.

This one I first thought was transporting booms but now I think had some festive mission, given what appears to be a sizable bouquet over the engine compartment.

They operate for many agencies,

commercial entities,

government services, and

and law enforcement groups.

They work in diverse

weather, all

year round.

Enjoy a few more:

All fotos by Will Van Dorp, who apologizes for not knowing who operates some of these small craft.

Of course, every day is water day in the sixth boro of the city of NY, and it’s great that MWA and other sponsors have chosen for five years now to recognize that fact . . . on a big “get out on the water” day . . . because who OWNS the port . . . ultimately WE do, you and I, as citizens of this country.  Many organizations manage it, enforce regulations in it, and fund educational activities about it . . . but WE own it, the port, the water . . .  and support it with our taxes and our votes.

Enjoy this set of twelve fotos taken over roughly a 12-hour period yesterday.   At daybreak, Pegasus and Urger were still rafted up on Pier 25.  This foto shows two boats whose combined longevity adds up to over 215 years!!

Resolute was northbound over by the Murchison-designed Hoboken terminal . . . which means a larger vessel needing assistance MAY shortly be headed for sea.  Here’s another Murchison-designed mass transit building in what today seems an unlikely location.

North River itself works tirelessly as part of the effort to keep sixth boro waters clean.

Urger poses in front the the Statue.  Lady Liberty was a mere 18-year-old when Urger (then C. J. Doornbos) first splashed into the waters of a Lake Michigan bay.

Launch 5 races downriver.

Indy 7 shuttles folk around as Soummam 937,  the first Algerian warship ever to visit the sixth boro leaves for sea.

Little Lady II and a sailboat negotiate passage.

Laura K and Margaret Moran escort in container vessel Arsos (check its recent itinerary at the bottom of that linked page) and weave their way to the Red Hook container port through a gauntlet of smaller vessels, including Manhattan.

Catherine C. Miller moves a small equipment barge back to base.

Fire Fighter II hurries north on the Buttermilk Channel to respond to an alarm.

A flotilla (or bobbering or paddling or badelynge) of kayaks crosses the Buttermilk.

Pioneer tacks toward the north tip of Governors Island, leaving Castle William to starboard.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp on Bastille-sur-l’eau Day.

Related:  I was overjoyed to read the NYTimes this morning and find this article about a vessel calling at Port Newark!!  Bravo.  Back a little over a week ago I was miffed about this article . . . about the port in Trondheim, which could just as well have been written about skilled workers anywhere in the sixth boro.

Also, I’m passing along a request from the Urger crew:  if anyone sees a foto of Urger crew in any local print publications, please tell me so that I can look for a clipping to pass along to them.  Thanks much . . . .

Unrelated:  From today’s NYTimes Book Review section, an essay by Douglas Brinkley and Johnny Depp on Woodie Guthrie, who would have turned 100 yesterday.

By the way, from Mitch’s Newtown Pentacle, can anyone identify the tug in this post?  I can’t .

Today was the fifth NYC City of Water Day, and today offered a demonstration of the blessing of water.

At 1610, someone on the NYWaterways vessel, where I was narrating a tour,  noticed smoke coming from Pier 17, lots of it.

By 1611, Shark, owned by NY Water Taxi & Circle Line downtown,  appeared to be first

responder, albeit with a low water volume relative to what was needed.

Flames grew inside the pier by 1611.

Here’s 1612.  There seem to be quite a number of people not that far from the flames.

By 1612, Bravest had arrived on the scene.

as flames grew.

1613, she begins to maneuver into position and

directs her monitors on the fire.

Bravo to the Bravest.  Bravo Marine Company 6 . . .

All fotos by Will Van Dorp.   Here’s an early evening update from the NYTimes.

On July 3, 1776, John Adams wrote this to his wife Abigail:  “The day will be most memorable in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival…It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade…bonfires and illuminations (fireworks) from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forevermore.”

I wonder if Abigail believed him.

Last night around 1900 hr, Brendan Turecamo (above) and Catherine Turecamo pushed their Macy’s loads upriver.  I think two other Macy’s barges  were pushed by Kimberly Turecamo and Jennifer Turecamo.

If I didn’t know better, I’d think that the Macy’s 34th Street megastore had embarked on short sea shipping of goods.   Do you know that as a teenager, R. H. Macy  worked on a Nantucket whaling ship, Emily Morgan, during which time he got a tattoo, which is the star that still today in the company logo.

A motley crew of spectators ventured into the river for the show,

a very motley crew indeed.

Other tugs took some time off as well . . . Maurania III here, and Quantico Creek and the other Pegasus over on the other side of the river.  Maybe others too.

The two Harley tugsHMS Liberty and St Andrews–hung out with 1907-built Pegasus at the sanitation pier.

It appears here that a contingent of the  NYC Air Force is escorting in Hornblower Infinity.  As it said, it APPEARS that way.    Anyone I know working there?

343 summons the safety spirits.

Lots of spectators wait on a contingent of NYC’s passenger/dinnerboat fleet.

Darkness falls. Tension builds as thunderstorms do their own illumination to the north and the south.

Around 2130 h . . . opening salvo.

These fotos do not capture that percussive blasts and echoes off the sanitation pier . . . so use your imagination.

Too bad John and Abigail and all the other signers weren’t here.

Well, maybe they were.

I did hear some creaking and squeaking on the pier.



all the time.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp.

AND Pegasus and you have something else to celebrate.  Remember the Partners in Preservation voting lots of you all did back in May?  Pegasus and Lehigh Valley 79 ended in 14th place, and I thought that meant they got no money.  Au contraire, they DID get a hefty sum . ..  $140,000 to split!   . . .to be used for preservation, and on a 1907-built vessel, there’s a lot of preservation to be done.  So thanks much for voting.  If you want to see Pegasus close-up, come down to Pier 25 west side of Manhattan . . .

I watched from the southwesternmost corner of Manhattan, near Pier A.

The sky made drama and Statue was nearly obscured.

Incoming container vessel MSC Charleston had to briefly delay its cargo delivery to allow this entourage to pass.

On the shore, loud and excited schoolkids–hundreds it seemed –got to watch the procession.  Who knows what impact it will make on them . . .  more on this at the end of the post.

I’ve never seen so many helmets on  a tug as were on Shelby today.

Time to get Enterprise up river, and

time for Little Lady to get passengers back to New Jersey.

The crane on Weeks 533 looks like it could lift the Statue

if need be.


and Elizabeth have fewer crew.  I wonder how much I’d have to donate to be a sponsor.

It’s time for Miriam Moran to get

a non-helmeted crew up there too.

All fotos of the starship and the star ships by Will Van Dorp.

Ray Bradbury, age 91, died today.  He had a profound impact on me.  And on why he started writing, here’s what’s reported:

“Throughout his life, Bradbury liked to recount the story of meeting a carnival magician, Mr. Electrico, in 1932. At the end of his performance Electrico reached out to the twelve-year-old Bradbury, touched the boy with his sword, and commanded, Live forever! Bradbury later said, I decided that was the greatest idea I had ever heard. I started writing every day. I never stopped.”

I’m grateful he got to meet Mr. Electrico.

The first 11 fotos here come compliments of bowsprite, who was so eager to get fotos of Ambrose‘ return that she admits to running out to the East River to get these shots  …  in her pyjamas …!   Now THAT would have been a sight to see.  As evidenced by her posts here and here, she IS a devotee of lightships.

I leave most of the narrative here to her fotos, which begin here are a parade processed past the heliport along the East River.

Keep in mind that Ambrose in not moving under its own power, but

traveling on the hip of Charles D. McAllister, whom I foto’d from seagull perspective recently.

Ambrose clearly demonstrates some power here versus this hecilopter.

That’s Brooklyn Heights in

the distance.

Now pay a modicum of attention to the vessel way out beyond the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges.

For a resplendent Ambrose, it’s homecoming!  I hope you can come to the welcome back ceremony on the pier next Monday evening, March 12.

Again, note the ship in the way background.

A radiant Ambrose gives new meaning to the term “lightship.”

Docklines are tossed . . . she’s home!

Et voila!  Guess who’s back in town . . . Ms. O, Alice . . . my first love!

More seriously, I’ve written about a crypto-lightship in town here and here after being tipped off by Jeff S.

The final foto above comes thanks to Mike Cohen . . . who snapped it from Brooklyn Heights.

So here’s a matter to speculate about:  Ambrose‘ return attracted some of the mainstream media.  Is it possible that these media are starting to pay more attention to folks’ attention paid to water and harbor and sixth boro events?

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