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Oops, I pushed the wrong button, so let me finish this now.

This Thames rhymes with “games,” Thames, not the other one.

This shot encompasses the most eclectic set of vessels ever gathered in an acre of water.

Here it’s framed even closer:  two schooners, a fiberglass center console runabout, a fast catamaran ferry, and the yellow thing.

It’s a Canada-built Vector 25 hovercraft running ferry service–more like Uberwater service–out of the New London and around the Sounds.

And here are the passengers of the hour

boarding and

heading out of the mouth of the Thames past Avery Point Light. 

All photos by Will Van Dorp.

Click here for info on Mystic Whaler and here for info on Columbia.

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Port Weller is the north terminus of the Welland Canal, and as such, sees either a pilot boarding or debarking, which was the case here. Mrs C has an equally attractive fleet mate at Port Colbourne, the southern terminus. The vessel in the background left will appear in an upcoming post.

Some 80 miles to the east Kimberly Anne (1965) was docked in Rochester’s Charlotte port.

Walking along the beach there, I saw this historical sign of tug Oneida and schooner H. M. Ballou, at different times both owned by a George W. Ruggles.

Fifty or so miles to the NE we enter the Oswego River to find the busiest (IMHO) unit on the lakes:  in the past few years I’ve seen Wilf Seymour and Alouette Spirit at least 6 times between Lake Huron and Quebec City.   Here’s more info on Alouette’s aluminum operations, at one time and possibly now the largest aluminum producer in the Americas.

 

Click here for more info on Novelis, the client here in Oswego.

 

Anyone tell me the weight of one of these ingots?

Moving from contemporary to retrospective, the Phoenix dock was hosting schooner Lois McClure and tug Churchill as we passed.

For more close-ups, check out tug44’s take. 

Click here for a complete history of the replica schooner Lois McClure.

All photos by Will Van Dorp, who hopes you all enjoy the last day of summer 2017 today.

 

Tomorrow I head back out on my longest gallivant yet, even before I process what could be from the previous jaunt.  But I have a list I’ll work on when energy and wifi coincide.  But not to worry if I’m silent for a day or a week or three.

Part of me would be happy to stay in the boros;  if you’re near the sixth boro with a camera, keep your eyes open for  Ariadne,  the perfect name for a cable-laying vessel.

In the past month, I passed under more than a hundred bridges, and over a bunch also.  On July 22, we passed beneath the TZ Bridge, one space to the east from the main channel because of ongoing work to complete the last span.

Just to reiterate the record, the old bridge opened in December 1955.

 

That gap will be filled with these, then still also 100 miles away.

On July 23 we passed under these next two bridges, the Smith (1928) … the southernmost freight rail bridge since 1974.  Here’s who the Smith memorializes.

Beyond the rail bridge is the Castleton Bridge (1959), the connector between the Thruway and the MassPike. “Castleton” is a village of fewer than 2000 people.

I call this the Albany Swivel, but the more accurate name is the Livingston Avenue Bridge, opened

in 1902!  You’d think it abandoned, but if you’ve ever traveled on Amtrak through Albany, you’ve been on it.

I don’t know the actual name or alphanumeric designation for this one, but its carries all the freight/passenger trains through the Mohawk Valley.

A blurry photo I know, but it shows an Amtrak train crossing just east of lock E-19 in Frankfort NY, once world renowned home of Carlotta the lady aeronaut and the Meyers Balloon Farm.

All photos, sentiments, and any errors by Will Van Dorp, and more bridges to come as wifi and inspiration provide.

 

Here’s a new look in ship-assist boats.  Can you tell what else is unconventional?

More on the design later in the post.

This is a classic design in freshwater tugs.  And this particular boat you’ve seen in a number of posts on this blog in 2016, if you’re a faithful reader.  It’s in these.

I’ve never seen Grouper‘s hull out of the water–and I hope to some day–but I’m imagining it’s fairly similar.

It’s GL tug Nebraska, 1929 launched, still working in Toledo, and in the yard only for preventative maintenance.   Over in the distance, that’s Maine, nearing the century mark and likely to be scrapped soon. Here’s an entire page with links devoted to GL tugs ….

You’ve seen this design before:  Cheraw is a YTB of the vintage of tugs like the sixth boro’s Ellen McAllister, but in the livery of the USACE.  I don’t know if USACE operates any other ex-YTBs among their very large fleet.

And in closing this post, here’s Seahound, 1941 built in the US and since 1957 working in Canada.  Since these shots show her at a dock in Windsor and pushing a barge marked . .  .

ferry service, I’m left wondering if Seahound shuttles vehicles between here and Detroit.  Anyone help?  And I know better than to take any names literally, but given her location, she might better be called Straithound?

So to get back to the top two photos . . . that’s Cleveland, the prototype for a new series of  harbor assist tugs built in Cleveland using a Damen design.  And what you may have noticed is the absence of a stack.  Engines exhaust through the stern.  Much more in this article from Professional Mariner here.   Here’s more from the Damen site.  Here are other links showing the environment where GL tugs operate while assisting cargo vessels in Cleveland.

All photos, sentiments, and any inadvertent errors by Will Van Dorp, who’s grateful to Great Lakes Shipyard for the tour.

 

Not far from E. M. Cotter, the SS Columbia crew prepares for the next stage in the journey.  2015 and before had the project here, (with a clip of the actual arrival in Buffalo here) and last year I saw her from the Buffalo River here.

Last month, I had the good fortune of a tour through all the decks,

from starboard just inside the ramp looking forward,

from near the stern looking forward,

a gaze up the starboard passageway from the emergency steering,

a glance back,

a peek up the port passageway,

a coup d’oeil  back at the companionway into the engine room, where

the engine rods wait to dance again and

push the indicators as the

steam pressures.

A different companionway leads up to the main deck and then

another brings us to the ball room,

with a closer-up of the bar.

Ultimately all the way up where the once and future pilot will

guide her on delightful voyages as

her stack funnels exhausted power heavenward.

If you do FB, here’s their page.  If not, here’s the .org page.  Here’s some info on the crew.

Many thanks to the crew for the tour.

Somewhat related:  If you don’t see the clip of fireboat E. M. Cotter breaking ice on the Buffalo River yesterday in the comments, here’s a great clip, and it can lead you to many others.

Also, if you’re in Buffalo, be sure to check out the Buffalo Harbor Museum. 

 

The channels –here negotiated by Pride–run close to shore along the southern side of Mackinac Island,

necessitating careful monitoring of navaids, here is Buckthorn.

Near the strait that forms the somewhat undefined boundary between Huron and Michigan,  we meet Sharon M I pushing Huron Spirit, the barge and not the pilot boat by the same name.

The massive bridge spanning the strait here is about 10 miles to the east.  Click here to find out where the Mack Bridge ranks among the longest suspension bridges in the world as of now.

Note the blue color the water.  Here’s how the colors of the Great Lakes look from satellite images.  Earlier this year a Sea Grant scientist told me the new issue on the Lakes, especially the upper ones is oligotrophism related to zebra and quagga mussels.  Erie, however,  tends toward the hypereutrophic with especially serious algae blooms this summer.

Until I’ve a better system for night photos on the dark Lake, I’ll dispense with photos like the one below.

The Budweiser mural on the silos in Manitowoc today is just a mural, artwork, since the silos are now owned by Briess.  No beer–except home brew– is made in this part of this town.  As to the current owners, here’s the Briess Malt & Ingredients site, resident peregrine and all.

SS Badger can withstand anything the Lake can throw at her, but crossing in extreme weather might make for uncomfortable and dangerous conditions for the passengers, as was the case within 24 hours of my taking this photo.

Here’s a fluvial centric map of Chicago.  We docked just south of the area marked 4 here, but I decided to scout out Bubbly Creek, near 1.

Here’s a photo of Bubbly Creek from a century back, along with an explanation of the name.

My actual destination on Bubbly Creek was the Chicago Maritime Museum.  Check them out. If I’d have been there a little later, I could have gone to the presentation on Cap Streeter, a synopsis of which is here.

Once docked, though, I wanted to explore the southern shore water’s edge around to the east, to Indiana.  That’s the Chicago skyline below, and

here, is more of the picture I wanted, the Burn’s Harbor steel making site, part of the manufacturing infrastructure for which much of the Lakes’ traffic exists.

Quite a nice beach, actually.

All photos and sentiments and any inadvertent errors by Will Van Dorp, who will soon return to this area and suspend new blog posts until  reliable wifi is available.

After a seiche sped us from Buffalo to Cleveland through the night, morning found us under the Cleveland Memorial Shoreline Bridge, down where the Cuyahoga flows.  Cuyahoga, to most non-Clevelanders of my generation, connotes a many times burning river of the past.

Here’s a reference to that time on a sign inside the Greater Cleveland Aquarium.  I never visited Cleveland in the 1960s or ’70s, and without these opportunities to visit now, I’d have imagined it a possible setting for a Philip K. Dickesque dystopia.  As a caveat, let me say upfront that  I’ve not lived in Cleveland, so this post is based on impressions gleaned from reading and quick visits like this one.  But

this has to be the most unexpected postscript to any predictions made in 1972.

Believe it or not, this working Iowa is 102 years young.

All these photos–except the one directly above which I took on July 4, 2016–were taken in a few-hour period of time in late July 2017.

Restoration indeed, and with the collaboration of Cuyahoga River Restoration, cuyahoga arts & culture, and  ArcelorMittal.

Yet commerce goes on. It does not have to be “either-or-or.” A 634′ Buffalo weaves through what must be a captain’s nightmare to get to the steel plant under the corkscrew path of the Cuyahoga.

 

Simultaneously, a 630′ Manitowoc exits the Old River after having taken on a full load of road salt for Milwaukee from the Cargill Salt mines extending far under Lake Erie.

For both watch standers, this has to be an ordeal of concentration.

 

 

And a waterway already juggling commercial vessels and recreationalists, trains are another factor;  all small vessels lined up as one train after another cross this bridge move expeditiously once the lift rises.

 

My early 1970s self would never have imagined 2017 Cuyahoga’s mouth, although

accidents sometimes happen.

Still, I believe the effort is worth it.

All photos and sentiments by a gallivanting Will Van Dorp.

 

GWA is “going west again,” and here we start at about 130′ above sea level.  We’ve just passed the road sign included in a post here in 2006. Ahead of us is lock E-2, the beginning of the flight of five, located in the town of Waterford.

Above E-3, my former vessel waits, along with Chancellor. Those two boats alone have a combined total life of 196 years between them.   In the foreground is the business end of a cutter suction dredge.

Recreation boats come from everywhere.

Beyond the guard gate atop E-6 is Grand Erie, who also came from away, the Ohio River in her case.

Locals know how to enjoy the 200-year-old waterway.

Below E-11, we get a green light in the early morning drizzle.

Squeezing a 183′ x 39′ vessel through the locks involves a skilled crew and vigilant lock master.

Drivers on the Thruway at this point are 42 miles from Albany, 190 from NYC.

At E-15, still in the drizzle, a Florida boat —Sharon Ann–waits as we lock through.

Above E-16, the 90-year-old Governor Cleveland attends dredge pipes, maintenance dredging being ongoing.  Yes, the canal needs maintenance, and so does the Thruway, any street, RR tracks and infrastructure, my car, my body . . . .

A boxer takes its human for a run . . .

More guard gates–width is 55′–to squeeze through.

Lords of the air watch all along the waterway.

At E-17 we share a lock with Tender #5.

Since we tie off above E-18, Lil Diamond II has to maneuver around.

An SPS lands a crew on the bank for preventative maintenance … keeping dead trees from falling into the water and jamming lock gates.

More recreational boats from far-off ports.

More maintenance above E-19, this time with dragon dredge and the electric tender . .  . #4.

Reinforcement of the canal walls is a canal priority this year.

 

I always imagine the mythical Utica lies beyond the berm marked by the open tower. Central NY was once included in the “military tract,” land distributed to Revolutionary War veterans.

Above lock E-20, we are at the high point of this portion of the Erie Canal,

and Rome was the original high point/ portage in the Mohawk portion of the waterways that pre-date Europeans settlement of North america.

We are now 456′ above sea level, where we’ll pick up the journey tomorrow.

All photos by and any errors attributable to Will Van Dorp.

 

I took these photos over a two-day period in late July, traveling the entire 130 miles of the Hudson from the Battery to Troy while on the trip from Narragansett Bay to the “source” of the Chicago River.  RV Shearwater here surveys the river/bay;  that’s Willy Wall on the horizon left, so the Battery is behind us.

The Tappan Zee nears completion:  the gap on the left side is all that needs to be bridged.  The Left Coast Lifter will then become the “left coast lowerer,” I assume.

Infrastructure materials come out of the ground here in Haverstraw,

Viking passes below Osborn Castle,

summer play happens in the Hudson,

Buchanan 12 pushes more raw materials for infrastructure,

a tribe paddles over to Bannerman’s,

a truck lifts three vessels in imitation of Combi-Dock III,

Vane’s Delaware pushes DoubleSkin 50 upriver,

Spring Sunshine offloads aggregates at Caymans, where

a 400-ton 12-story structure awaits (then) its float down to NJ [more on that soon],

yacht named Summer heads south for Key West,

raw materials that once rolled on roads await the trip back to the blast furnace,

a horde does sun salutations on shore,

the American goddess Columbia trumpets at the top of a needing-to-be-updated soldiers/sailors monument in Troy,

 

and an oracle wearing a sea creature hat and using an old-school device taps out verbiage suggesting I’m headed for Ithaca and not Chicago, although I’m pleased with that too.

All photos and observations by Will Van Dorp, who is grateful to the oracle.

Somewhat related:  Click here for a CNN Travel clip called “Liquid City” and starts out with the sentence “most people think NYC has five boros, but there’s really a sixth one;  it’s the largest one and it connects all the others.”  I heard it while waiting at the airport in Indianapolis the other day and was stunned.  Do you suppose Justin Davidson reads tugster?

For blog posts written by folks going first northbound and then southbound on a LNV tug, click here and here.

 

GWA stands “go[ing] west again,”  the next set of posts all attempting to catch myself and maybe you up, if you’re following along, with random and I hope interesting photos from the past almost three weeks.  I realize that catching up is impossible, and in this case while I had vacated the sixth boro, big stuff happened.

A word that comes to mind is protean– named for Proteus.  Type “define: protean” into google and you’ll appreciate why it’s difficult to catch up.  But here goes.

Within a half hour of departing Warren RI, we pass Naema and

Lionheart.  Do check the links.  Either would be worthy of a post in itself.

And still north of the Rte 138 bridge, we see NOAA R/V Henry B Bigelow.

On the cusp of Block Island Sound, we encounter inbound Atlantic Pioneer, where you’d expect her returning from a run. Here’s a post I did almost exactly two years ago when Atlantic Pioneer components still needed to be combined at the shipyard.

A bit further, it’s Carol Jean and Islander, both Block Island bound, although one will arrive much before the other.

By now, we’re into Long Island Sound and being overtaken by darkness.  That’s Atlantic Navigator II as a speck heading toward us.

This dawn photo found us within NYC and approaching the East river.  It’s Fort Totten, designed for the entire US by Robert E Lee.  Here could be a dilemma:  there’s no debate that I know of of striking his name from the credits for this fort.

We pass HuntsPoint Produce Market,

the floating pool,

Marty C–a Weeks tug I’ve never seen,

the “north end” of Roosevelt Island with the Blackwell Island Light,

Gabby L Miller pushing past Cornell Tech‘s yet-to-be used buildings,

the Brooklyn Navy yard with Asphalt Sailor and –I believe– the old Great Point,

swimmers in the water doing a Manhattan circumnatation,

and–let’s end it here for today–a yacht  named  Vava II.  Here’s info on her owner.

Protean  . . . day 1?  It’s not even over, and I think so.

Lots more to come.

 

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