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. . .it turns out Horace Greeley might not be the author, and John B. L. Soule, who may have been, had some harsh ideas about people.

I use it as explanation for something new I’m doing.  Today I head over toward the pushpin to the right . . . Narragansett Bay, where I board a small passenger ship that has hired me as onboard lecturer.  By July 12, we expect to be in Chicago via the route indicated.  I am thrilled!  The red dots are overnight stops, and the greenish ones are daytime stops for such tasks as lowering and raising the wheelhouse.


Here was Grande Mariner along the west side of Manhattan back in May 2016,


and here are two shots of her sister vessel farther upstate taken in 2013 and 2014.


The challenge I’m giving myself is to post each day of the westward journey, using photos from that day.  Note that these ships with telescoping wheelhouse are truly Eriemax, designed to carry 100 souls along inland waterways on weeks-long voyages.  My job is to present lectures every other day on topics ranging from wars along these waterways to 19th century canal fever to the storied and obscure cast of characters who lived along the waterways (e.g.., Seeger, Fulton, Rockefeller, Freed, Stanton, Tecumseh, Brock, Hanks) . . .    to –of course–the variety of shipping working there.


In a way, it’s a 21st century version of the D & C route for which there’s the poster below.


If you don’t hear from me for a few days, just know I’m hoping to be somewhere along that route.

Part of the way up in the Chesapeake watershed, Roaring Bull works daily for the better part of the year.   Take a ride on it.  from Harrisburg I-81, it’s a mere 30 miles north.  From West Milton I-80, 40 miles south.


Baltimore . . . 100 miles, Philly 130, NYC 200, and Pittsburgh 225;  and


and it’s lost in time.


It’s a must-see, and inspected by the USCG.


Unlike double ended ferries, this one has the best bow and stern thrusters.




with a name that conjures up this taurus pining for love. 


And yes, it’s in a part of the Susquehanna River valley where there are lots of horses pulling buggies.





All photos by Will Van Dorp.  For sights and sounds of the ferry under way, click here and here.

Here are the previous ones.

One of the joys of driving is the serendipity–even if guided . . . thanks, GT–of noticing the entirely unexpected, like the device below.  Any ideas?  If GT hadn’t mentioned this, I probably would not have thought twice about this weathered industrial object.  And it’s for sale.  For the right price, it can be on your boat.


A clue is that the device above is located geographically between the tin building below and Boston, where this road trip ends.   The tin building is Gallery 53 on Rocky Neck.  I’m guessing it once had a seafood related purpose.


A bit down the coast is Salem.  The brick building with cupola in the distance is the old Custom House, where Nathaniel Hawthorne once worked.


I had forgotten that this replica is Hudson River built. There was a trade with China already 200 years ago.




I’ll have to come back to the North Shore when all these vessels–Adventure, Friendship, and Fame–are sailing.




Continuing southward . . . we arrive in East Boston, and Jake.


Here’s another device on a rooftop.  Fiat Topolino?


If you know the area, you’ll guess I’ve been heading south on 1A, and now I’ve parked and am walking over the McArdelle Bridge.  Anyone know anything about that red vessel that looks a bit like Augie?


My tour of Luna recently is what lured me to this area around Chelsea Creek.  Here’s Luna resplendent.


Anyone know the story of JW Powell?


And the red and the white sailing vessels farthest from the camera here?


Over yonder is Aegean Sea, formerly of the seas of the sixth boro.


This bullnose will likely never again see the water.


And here we are at the end of this stretch of road . . . it’s Roxbury High Fort aka the Cochituate Standpipe.


So here we are . . . it’s a whistle from the SS United States!  Are there any developments in her refurbishing?  For some interior shots of her I took two years ago, click here.   Here are some other photos taken on the SS United States.

As to the particulars on the whistle, here’s what I learned this morning from SW:  “The whistle from the United States is a Leslie Tyfon, size 300DVE-5.  [Click on that link to hear one of these.]  It was purchased in 1986 by my uncle at auction I believe through Marine Technologies  Brokerage Corp. out of N.Y.   We have a letter of authenticity and it is currently for sale to the best offer.  Last recorded offer was $10,000.00.  We feel it is much more valuable.  It was on of three steam whistles from the forward stack of the ocean liner.  My uncle purchased the large forward whistle.  Thanks for your curiosity.”


All photos taken by Will Van Dorp.

Many thanks to GT for the heads up and to Steve for the info on whistle.

Visiting Gloucester for me is always restorative.  Here are a few more photos I took Saturday and Sunday of




Full Moon, 


and Adventure.  That’s a great sequence of names!


Last fall she was sailing with some food cargo here.  And if I had an editor, that editor would be unhappy, because yesterday I suggested I’d seen Adventure in Boothbay last October.  Mea culpa  . . . I saw Ernestina!  Click here for a fairly active blog with updates on the work on Ernestina.


Lady Jane and


Ardelle .  .  . have fishing origins.  Ardelle is of course the older design but a much newer boat, and I DID see her in Boothbay, off the stern of Ernrstina.


Ardelle touched the water in summer of 2011.  See some of her history here.




When I took these photos of other pinky schooners in Essex in November 2009, Ardelle existed (maybe) only in plans.





I’m not sure where Maine and Essex are today–maybe right here–but as much as I enjoy seeing hulls out of the water, I’d rather see them afloat and underway.

All photos by Will Van Dorp, who has photos of yet another pinky tomorrow.

For more traditional vessels of Gloucester, see Paul’s post here.

Way too many years ago I made a trip back to Gloucester, as posted about here.  So I went back this weekend, had long talks with a few people, but of course that means I didn’t see all the people I would have liked to.  And although putting up these photos seems like walking on a concrete slab before it’s set, here I go, premature or not.

It’s the old 1952 Blue Ocean alongside some newer yachts.  This is the transition in Gloucester.


Here’s looking south toward Rocky Neck.  From left, it’s lobster boat Blivy Fish, Fort Point, and Disch’s old Dredge No. 200.   Click here for a post I did in 2009 showing the No. 200 in the KVK.  After the company owner died, the Disch equipment was auctioned off to the four winds.  One of Disch’s small tugs is on the Lake Erie now.  Fort Point used to be Patrick J. Hunt.


Waiting to go back in soon are Irish Piper and UB88, whose story you can find here on the GMG site.  More on GMG a little later.


F. H. Lane used to paint this scene.  Near the left, you see Our Lady of the Good Voyage, but lower,  more left I see a pinky stern and some interesting vessels made to the prominent dock.  Adventure‘s returned from Boothbay, where I saw both the black-hulled schooner and the pinky here.  More on these tomorrow.


Here’s the reciprocal shot, showing the bow of Adventure, which has a 90th year gala coming up in less than a month,  and a closer-up of the old motor life boat.  Anyone tell anything about her?  I know someone who probably can. Here’s another set of rebuilds.


This mystery life boat looks quite original.


Here’s Wanderbird with a schooner tied alongside.  Unicorn?  If so, did she ever sell?  Is Wanderbird for sale?  Also there, Lisa Ann III and Full Moon.  Overkill‘s in there too.


This beauty aint telling, nothing.


Here’s some info on Ardelle.


And here’s the home base for many things in Gloucester, including lobsters and community.  Cheers, Joey C. and GMG . . . Good Morning Gloucester.


All photos by Will Van Dorp.

Back in 1987, I took a leave from work (nearby in Newburyport) one morning to see a large Soviet factory ship that had finally been granted permission for shore leave in Gloucester after working offshore for months.  Here’s an article about that time.  Does anyone have photos to share of that?  I recall the chill I got seeing the hammer and sickle on the stack as she was tied up behind Gortons. I didn’t carry a camera much back then.

Traffic backed up.  But in Schiedam it’s because of a drawbridge that’s up to allow a self-propelled barge to back out.  More on that later.  That windmill?  It’s at the Nolet distillery, a Ketel One facility that makes many spirits besides vodka.


Here’s the 1962 motorvrachtschip, Sentinela,


squeezing through the lock and


returning to the main waterway after delivering one of two loads of sand per day to the glass-making plant just up the creek from Ketel One.


But Hercules is the reason I’m here today.  The big steam vessel event is only a month and some away, so it’s painting and refurbishing time to prepare her.  For a larger set of photos of the preparations, including the mounting of a new mast created out of an old spar by Fred Trooster, click here.


Here is a set of photos I took of Hercules two years ago at the steam festival.




The barge being towed here is loaded upside and down below with smaller steam engine applications.




Click on the photo below to hear how silently she runs.




To keep her running, the owner Kees Boekweit needs to fabricate some of the parts himself.  He works as a steam engineer over at –you guessed it–Ketel One.   Click on the photo below to see a shorter video of her running on the North Sea.


Here are the fireboxes under the boiler.


Here is a cold firebox and


an empty coal pocket.




And one last glimpse of traffic on the main waterway here, Friday last Ovation of the Sea arrived in Rotterdam for the first time.  See eight minutes of edited tape here.  By the way, the KRVE boats are the line handlers.  Clearly, though, the tugs steal the show providing what I’ll call a “Dutch welcome,” to coin a phrase.



This is a 1959 vessel with a rich and varied career.  Click here for photos from a maritime festival last year, and  here (scroll) with info about her sojourn in the US.


Click on the photo below to hear her run.




Click here to watch a 20-minute video documenting her meeting a near-sister a few years back.  The sister has been converted into a private yacht. See them together here. The next two photos I took in NL in 2014.




That’s Fred Trooster and me in the photo below;  thanks Fred for the invitation to come aboard Elbe.


For some of Fred’s photos of the visit, click here.

Marginally related, I wonder when a similar pilot boat–Wega–will leave its custody in Rio here (and scroll).

Also, marginally related and in response to a question from sfdi1947, click here for interactive navigation charts (waterkaarten or vaarkaarten) for Dutch inland waters, fun to play with but likely not guaranteed for actual use.


Now let’s bounce back south of Leiden, west of Rotterdam . . . to Maassluis.  Notice all the gray color upper left side of the aerial below . . .  all greenhouses!  I have lots of fun looking at this part of NL by google map.


At the center of Maassluis  . . . you guessed it, there’s an island called Church Island,  because


at its center is a church, completed in 1639.


I believe the larger vessel here–seen next to the drawbridge above–is Jansje, built 1900. The smaller one . . . I don’t know.


Check out the wheel


I’m guessing this was a fish market . . .


as my attempt (help?) at translation here is “people who sail something well, God takes them with him.”  How far off am I?


Anyhow, that 1664 building is on Anchor Street and leads to the De Haas shipyard.


Harbor tug Maassluis was built right here by De Haas in 1949.


Below is a photo I took of her back in 2014 in Dordrecht.


Salvage vessel Bruinvisch first launched in 1937, and has returned to a pristine state by the efforts of many volunteers.  You can befriend her on FB at “Bergingsvaartuig Bruinvisch.”


Notice the white building off the stern of tug Hudson?  That is the National Dutch Towage Museum.  I wanted to visit but came at the wrong hour.  Oh well, next time, Kees.





The next three photos come from John van der Doe, who sent them a few months back.


Furie is a sea-going steam tug built in 1916.  You can see many photos of her on FB at “StichtingHollandsGlorie.”


And Hudson, 1939, currently without an engine, narrowly escaped being scrapped.  She spent a number of years in the 60s and 70s as a floating ice-making plant.


Many thanks to John for these last photos.  All others by Will Van Dorp, who has more Maassluis photos tomorrow.  One more for now, the day I was there, Furie was over in the De Haas yard.


And below is a print I found on board Hercules–this coming Sunday’s p0st–showing Furie in a dramatic sea.


I couldn’t get a photo, but as a monument in a traffic circle in Maassluis, there’s a huge beting aka H-bitt.  Here’s a photo . . . it may be the third one.

So let’s go inland a ways and look around.  I actually want to make the point that even in the smaller interior cities the water connection is strong.

See Amsterdam on the left? Slightly northeast all the way across the map, you see a city called Zwolle.  To drive from Amsterdam to Zwolle is about 60 miles.  And that “island” you see in between the two cities is actually reclaimed land, a polder that used to be the bottom on the Zuider Zee.  That particular polder is called Flevoland, but I digress.


Today’s post focuses on Zwolle, a city about the same size as Leiden.  Its name actually comes from the same word that in English is “swollen.” But more on that later.  Once again, notice the moat, i.e., water and therefore boats.


All kinds of boats, and incentives for tourist-attracting traditional boats lining the moat.


Enclosed by the moat was once a walled city.  Here’s a remnant of the wall;  notice the reddish-hulled vessel under the flags to the right.


Below is looking through the arch which is visible on the left side of the photo above.  The tower in the wall holds . . . what else, an Italian restaurant.  A throwback to the Romans who managed to get behind enemy lines back in in “barbarian” times?   That’s a joke.


Let’s jump across the moat and see this from the outside.  That boat is called “de verhalenboot,” which translates as “the story boat.”  Here’s a googletranslated version of their site.  They have a matching tender.


Here, notice the “story boat” in the center?  To the left is the “pannenkoeken boot,”  i.e., a restaurant boat noted for its pancakes.  I posted about them in Amsterdam two years ago here.


I.e., lots of specialized vessels, starting with freight carrier repurposed as houseboats,







as well as modern houseboats fitted onto barges.


Note the grand piano to the left of this gray/white vessel?


There’s the piano again to the extreme right.  It’s landside of Thor, cultuurschip.  Here’s the googletranslated version of their webpage; their 2016 season just started.  This is Zwolle’s version of the sixth boro’s barge music, here and here. To orient you, that’s the “story boat” just beyond the vessel to Thor‘s stern.


So there’s pancakes, stories, music . . . and a pink “love you long time” craft that for 13 euros, gets you a guide, a drink, snacks, and a ride around the moat.


Here’s more of their flotilla and their translated page.  Dutch and English are not that different:  translate this as “cook boat.”


And as you travel around the moat, you see lots of old buildings like this one, lots here with


names in painted (?) terra-cotta.


In the center of town, there’s the “keep,” technically, Sassenpoort.


Of course, my nose is really for workboats, Harm and Harm 2, small tankers for the local Shell distributor.


Here, you see the sail maker’s shop, also selling “water sports articles” and built into the old city wall.  And here’s my holy grail . . . the 1942 small tug named Kees.   Kees is a very common name for males in Dutch.




As is true for over-the-road trucks in the US, many Dutch vessels carry owner info on a placard forward of the wheelhouse.


A similar but more primitive looking vessel here is Ceuvel.  Other than that this boat was likely built in an area of Amsterdam called Ceuvel, I know nothing.


Let’s end here today with a shot of her from the stern.


More photos tomorrow from another small city in NL, this region of water as seen here and here.

All photos by Will Van Dorp, who’d love to hear from the owners of any of these vessels and/or see building plans.


It goes without saying that the waterways here are busy and complex, as seen from this AIS grab below, showing traffic at this moment between Brussels (bottom) and Amsterdam, and between Dusseldorf and the North Sea about midway the narrowing into the English Channel to the southwest.  All the photos in today’s post–as have many here–were taken just west of Rotterdam.


Here Smit’s Union 11 heads east past the Mammoet headquarters.


Below is water tanker DWS 14 delivering “drink water” in the greater Rotterdam port.

Even more interesting is the 10-storey cylindrical building in the background, on the land’s edge in Schiedam.  It’s called De Bolder, aka the Bollard, the biggest bollard I’ve ever seen.   The building, Mammoet’s offices in Schiedam, was entirely built and furnished elsewhere in greater Rotterdam port (Zwijndrecht) and then transported into its location by water!!  Now that’s making a statement about a company’s mission.


Here in the same waterway recently, the Montrose Alpha platform gets a final fitting out before it heads out to the North Sea.  The platform was also built in Zwijndrecht and moved to this point in the delta by at least four En Avant tugs.


A 1959 training vessel Delftshaven passes by.


Across the way, new build pipe layer Sapura Rubi  is getting fitted out before joining the fleet in Brasil.


Meanwhile at the Damen Shiprepair yard in Schiedam, work is always going on, with Foresight and Patron up on the floating dry docks,  and Seven Waves and Mona Swan docked.




Seven Oceans –astern of Skandi Açu–has since departed for the north of Norway.  Both are pipe laying support vessels.  Here is the entire DOF fleet.  The 479′ Skandi Açu, crewed by up to 120 people and capable of laying pipe down to almost 10,000 feet,  was christened last week and celebrated by Huisman, VARD, DOF Subsea, and Technip.


My dinghy awaits.  See ya.


The first four photos come from Freek Wamandai via my friend Fred Trooster, who also took the last one.  The ones in between are by Will Van Dorp.

For more Skandi and Subsea vessels, click here.


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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.

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Tale of Two Marlins

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October 2016
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