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No . . . it’s not a disease or a euphemism for profanity.  It’s many places, one of which is marked by this lighthouse in Oswego.  All these photos were taken since Tuesday in Oswego, a place I previously wrote about here last year after watching a drill that involved swimming from and to a helicopter.


See the light to the right here along the horizon, a light younger than Urger.


Last year’s drills involving drones have already made their way into kids’ murals!


The mouth is the port of entry for Metalcraft Marine vessels making their way into various US ports.



Some vessels I was free to watch enter the port, but others



went by and I couldn’t follow until later, when they were really


behind and beyond


reach.  The tug here is Everlast.  If you were at the canal mouth this morning–or any other time–and caught a close-up, side view of Everlast pinned or–even better–light, kindly send along some photos.


All photos this week by Will Van Dorp, whose access to wifi is still a challenge.


In my favorite field guide to birds, there’s a section devoted to “exotics,” species you may observe in the Northeast but which are not indigenous to this region;  some of these birds got here as stowaways and others are pets escaped or released into the wild.   As I think about “tugster:  the project,”  I imagine an exotic category as well.  There is tjalk Livet here and here (scroll through).   Also, there is Golden Re’al here.

And what this has to do with the card below will become evident.  First, notice the vessel name Marine Trader, the second word “bumboat” in the subtitle, and name of the president, father to the author.


Click the photo below and scroll through to see info on the man in the 1921 Chevy AND his connection to the vessel below.


Which leads me to this exotic.


The port of registry painted on the stern AND the landmarks in the background will locate these photos.





That bell is from neither New York nor Duluth.



But the helm seems vintage late 1930s.



The repurposed interior is warm and light. Click here to compare the current art studio interior with what it used to be in Duluth.


Many thanks to Herb for a tour of his unique vessel.   Part of me felt I’d stumbled back in time and encountered John Noble as in here and here.

Here was RRT15.

All the fotos in this post come from my sister, who is currently making her way south along the Jersey shore heading into retirement aka Bahamas for Christmas.  In mid-August, they departed Muskegon, near where they took this foto of Samuel de Champlain in June 2011.   SDC was built in 1976 and is loa 142.’


She passed Demolen–older sister of Ellen McAllister- several times, once on August 26, 2013.


She took the next three fotos on August 28, 2013.  Mike Donlon is 53′ and christened in Philly in 1999.


J-Krab, 25′ built in 2010.


Wilfred M. Cohen is a 1948 Newport News-built railroad tug now flying the Canadian flag.   Click here to see lots of fotos of her on tugboathunter.   Also, here’s a great Great Lakes search site.


The next day in the vicinity of Detroit, she ran into this huge unit.  ITB Presque Isle, launched 1972, loa 148′ with a 31′ draft . . . uses 14,840 hp to move a 978′ barge by the same name.


Here’s St Mary’s Cement II pushed by Sea Eagle II, 1979 launched at Modern Marine Power although also Candian-flagged, I think.


That’s the Detroit skyline in the distance.


On September 6, she passed Invincible, 94′ loa and 1979-built in Fort George, FL.


She also passed this unidentified unit.  Anyone help?


Last one for now, on September 16, already in the western end of the Erie Canal, she ran into this vessel.  Guess her age?


Dahlke was built in Ferrysburg, MI in 1903!!   That puts her only two years younger than Urger, built there as well.  Here’s quite the Ferrysburg historic vessel page.


Ah . . . the Great Lakes . . .  Anyone interested in a summer project to cruise from the sixth boro to Duluth and back and forth to catch more of these eclectic vessels?

And if you’re interested in following my sister, click here.

Since noon it’s been raining, but the sunrise brought this sequence:  CSAV Romeral outbound for Baltimore and one of the most beautiful work vessels of the sixth boro inbound.  Also, that’s Vane’s Magothy in the distance.  And for outatowners, way in the distance is Coney Island, home of the mermaid parade on the summer solstice.


Pilot No. 1 New York first splashed into the waters in May 1972.


She’s 180 feet loa,  gorgeous, and “related” to a good dozen varied regulars in the sixth boro.


Here she passes between  European Spirit and Fort Wadsworth light.    Given that New York comes off a Great Lakes shipyard


in the tiny town of Marinette, Wisconsin . . .


she shares that Green Bay/Lake Michigan place of origin with


Vane’s Brandywine and three Staten Island Ferry vessels (Spirit of America, Marchi, Molinari).  See tugster posts features the following Marinette constructions.  Katherine Walker, Apache, Jennifer Miller, and Ellen McAllister.  Here’s Marinette’s current website.   Here’s Strong, another Marinette product I never expect to see, but clearly a forerunner of the Brandywine type tug.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp, who would love to see contemporary fotos of the vessels built in Wisconsin that made their way  into the navies of Vietnam, Ethiopia, Indonesia, and the Philippines.

Here’s my post-Sandy New York Pilot No. 1 foto.

Here was 5.

Yesterday before noon I saw rain, sun, and then rain again.  Afternoon was the same.  The foto below of Norwegian Star I took at 16:06.


16:21 . . . a rainbow spanned from Red Hook Brooklyn to Newtown Creek Queens, although I couldn’t see the Queens’ leg.

16:35, and by this time I was again getting rained on.


16:44 and here comes the main act . . .

a rainbow spanning from Battery Park to

midtown, although I couldn’t fit it all on a single shot from the middle of the River.

then 17:26.  Is that a sundog over Jersey City?  Snow soon?

An hour later I was watching the moonrise but got no fotos.  Check these out in the vicinity of the Mackinac Bridge here.  And while AIS to try to identify the Wagenborg vessel in Ken’s post,  I noticed someone off Sarnia who’d been in Bayonne only two weeks ago!  Kongo Star!  Check her itinerary here.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp.

Late last week I alluded to an imminent gallivant.  I imagined it’d be like this (truck’s not mine and I didn’t steal it), being transported away from all

thought of the sixth boro as I explored the bountiful  interior on the first day of fall.

So down this valley about 300 miles upstate we traveled to see what would be around the next bend, and

the next.

Look at the terrain on this foto, left side.  Notice anything?  I’ll come back to it.

Who would imagine this is New York state?

And then the birds caught my attention:

buzzards and

and hawks of some sort.

Bird play was interrupted by the rumble of a train, and I’d imagined the bridge in the foto above was derelict!  It was long.

Here’s the cropped version of the foto above I asked you to look at.  Notice the horizontal break in the trees?  I didn’t get to that side, but once there was a

canal there, the Genesee River Canal.  Click here to see the same ridge from more or less the same vantage point about 150 years ago.  And the tugs looked like this.

And that bridge . .  here’s what it took to build its predecessor.

The beauty of the Genesee River convinced me to follow it up toward Lake Ontario.  Here’s High Falls in Rochester . . . and another train crossing it, this one with containers ultimately bound for  . . . China via the sixth boro, which

these reminders won’t let me escape, and that’s not a bad thing.

And this business has operated here since Prohibition.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp, who’s pictured in the gratuitous foto of the 1959 Chevy Apache pickup.

Seeing and riding SS Badger is a goal that’s been acomplished, a pilgrimage made.  And I will return to more fotos of Badger soon, but along the road we looked for nirvana, too.  Nirvana, Michigan . . .  it’s a place name on my road atlas, and unsuccessfully I looked for a post office and a zip code.  Alas!    But journeys are comprised of what unexpected places you find and take time to savor.   Here are some of what can be discovered between Manitowoc (home of Sputnikfest!!) and Port Huron (home of Thomas Edison Depot Museum).

SS Badger runs on coal, transformed by an engineroom crew of 20 into torque on the twin cast steel  166″ diameter propellers.

Tourism . . . largely derived from the vessel on the welcome sign . . . buoys this town of less than 10,000.

Turn any direction, almost, and you’ll see the importance of the SS Badger and

things Michiganite in this town.

Halfway across this section of the state a billboard brought us to this bakery/coffeeshop, which appeared caught in a timewarp.  Here’s the history, and here’s

a portrait of the nine guys who saved this business.  And check out the paraphernalia!!

Now I’ve known the boatnerd website for a long time, but I hadn’t gathered this .  . . world headquarters set within Great Lakes Maritime Center.  The sixth boro needs something like this . . . maybe this will be my retirement project??  It will need a benefactor or many . . . like Dr. James C. Acheson.  More on this renaissance of land once used for scrap.

I plan to do a whole post about this place, for now, let me share an artpiece inside that resonated with me.  Read the name on the stickie note.  I’ve already befriended a lot of nuts along the fringes of the sixth boro.   And they’ve enriched my life.

I love the weathervane on the pilot station and

the exotic small boats passing by, like PonTiki and

this Sea Skiff and

this 42′ vessel–same age as Badger–named for this island,Lime Island.

Are the Great Lakes great?  Greater than great, but there are too many great places for me to discover before I cease these gallivants.  All fotos here by Will Van Dorp.

Sign the “save Badger” petition here.  I have.  Here’s the other side.  Here’s an article about the other Lake ferry . .  . the one out of Muskegon.

This does not look like a highway scene, yet

it IS the stretch of Route 10 that will get you the best fuel economy and can accommodate quite oversized loads

whether they come from Manitowoc or Chengxi or

anywhere else, Badger can move backward

driven from here or

forward . . .

to get you there.  It has for a long time, and we hope will continue that role.

This last foto from the Badger onboard museum. All others by Will Van Dorp, who will continue along Route 10 today.  More Badger soon.  Click here to learn more about the imminent threat to the ferry.

A salmon-fishing dog in a kayak being paddled by a human and tailed by a Coast Guard RIB . . . that’s intriguing, but the 50 or so folks with me at the end of the jetty were not there to greet the pooch.  We were there to see the badger,

this Badger.

Badger entered service about the same year I did and

now she’s threatened, at least in her current state of being a coal-fired steam-powered ferry.  For part of the year she shuttles between Ludington, MI and Manitowoc, WI . . . as she has for 60 years, but

like I said, this might be it.  That’s reason enough to

take a ride, which I’m about to do.  More soon from the 60-miles one-way trip between the two Lake Michigan ports.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp.

Click on the image below and you’ll see how I posted it just over five years ago.  So what do the big blue tug Powhatan below, Ellen McAllister, USCG Katherine Walker, ATB Brandywine, ATB Dublin Sea. and the Staten Island Ferry Spirit of America (as well as ferries Molinari and Marchi) all have in common?

For starters, the Menominee River in Wisconsin.   And from that, given corporate acquisitions, an “in-law” relationship exists with Fincantieri vessels including Costa Concordia as well as the caissons that’ll try to re-float her.

But closer to home, the list above was built at the same Wisconsin shipyard as seven fleet ocean tugs, four of which are active in Military Sealift Command today.  Click here for the 2012 MSC vessels poster, one fifth of which is reproduced below.  MSC operates over 100 vessels today using 5500 civilian mariners.  Civil servant mariners!!

The DonJon Marine Powhatan above has since 2008 become Inebolu A-590 of the Turkish Navy.

The Powhatan-class T-ATFs hare huge, by New York tugboat stands:   226′ loa x 42′ x 15.’

And they do long, large tows.  Here about a year ago, Apache begins to tow a decommissioned USS Nassau to join the reserve fleet  in Texas.  Click here for more context on the foto, taken from USNS Grapple, another MSC vessel that may appear on this blog soon.

Thanks to Birk Thomas, I have a few more fotos of Apache in New London.  Note the towline . . . attached to a sub in this 2010 foto, and  . . .

light in 2011.   Here’s a question I do NOT know the answer to:  Apache visited NYC before 2001, but I don’t know when.  Does anyone recall this?  Have a foto of this?

In the next post, we look inside Apache.  Next question . . . does this marlinespike seamanship have a name?  Would this have been original to this 1981 vessel?  By the way, Apache’s 31st b’day (technically d’day . . . D for delivery)   is late July.

Only the first and last fotos are by Will Van Dorp. The second and third from last are thanks to Birk Thomas.  All the others come from Military Sealift Command.   Many thanks to Susan Melow, MSC Public Affairs Officer,  for setting up a visit and to Apache Second Officer Michael R. Rankin for guiding the tour.

Click here to see Apache towing USS Forrestal.  Here she is in St. Petersburg.  Finally, here she deals with Atlantic Ocean pirates.

Finally, once again, does anyone remember when Apache visited NYC?  Is there an archive online for vessels visiting during Fleet Weeks going back to 1982?

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