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A cryptotectonic shift?

An unidentified source within US Army Corps of Engineers, New York District, suggests that two of the four stainless steel cable moorings that keep Staten Island in place may have severed at some point this past month. The previously undocumented moorings, which were installed in the early 20th century, are tethered to Cambro-Ordovician serpentinite and Jurassic diabase and are designed to keep the island from shifting to the southeast. “In infinitesimal increments, the island, as if on its very own tectonic plate, has moved out the Ambrose,” said the USACE source.

A source close to USCG Sector NY but who refused to be identified reported that since the middle of last month vessel traffic service has had to recalibrate their station GPS settings, all to no permanent effect. “Investigations have been ongoing, but the southeast drift is undeniable,” this source opined, continuing,  “The USACE findings were entirely plausible, although officially we had never previously heard of these moorings.  This is disconcerting because these sub-channel bonds were never taken into account in the decade of dredging leading up to the arrival of the first Neo-Panamax vessel in the port.”

Further investigations by NOAA are said to be studying connections between recent fatal saltwater mammal groundings and this tectonic creep. Two of  13 operational NASA satellites in Sun-synchronous orbit and three of 4 in geostationary orbit have become involved using remote sensing satellites, and confirmed that Todt Hill’s summit of 401’ has subsided dramatically to 396’. Should this slide and subsidence accelerate, a possibility exists that the Island could settle, the equivalent of losing a geological version of hull integrity. NYC DOT bridge inspectors have been regularly tightening turnbuckles on the Outerbridge, Goethals, and Bayonne Bridges to attempt mitigation of this glissade to the southeast.  Leaked reports from the Lamont Geological Observatory suggest that Staten Island’s movement is an isolated drift, not happening with other islands of NYC’s archipelago.

Joey Gould, a reclusive independent scholar, had this to say on remediation:   “We put ourselves on this slippery slope; with the demise of the NYWheel project, we lost our last best chance to bolster those cables.” A flamboyant man-on-the-street, Commodore Belge, had this to say, “Despite assurances that sufficient towing power exists locally to reverse this slide, if arrayed in the vicinity of Port Ivory, hire me and I’ll fix the issue by getting waivers to the Jones Act, and bring in tugboats from Canada and overseas, and the Isle of Staten’s location will be right as rain once again.” 

If these unsubstantiated claims are in fact true, the worst option is to do nothing.  Inaction will lead to who knows where.  We need to end it.

Hat tip to Jason St. Onge for inspiration.   Thanks to Joseph Mitchell for his memorable characters

All reports here vetted and rejected by the tugster tower conspitheo department.

Click here for a 2019 version.  Here’s a 2010.  And this may have been a clever fake. 

Do you have associations with the term “banana boat,” like maybe a song . . . this one?  I’ll bet you’ve sung along.

Get my drift?   Maybe not yet?

I’m no good judge of how common the word “platanos” is in English because it’s been in my vocabulary for too long.

Painted battleship gray and sporting a name like platanos might be considered subterfuge . . . ,

a crude oil carrier getting named as “plantains” . . .  well, bananas.  I know banana boats and this is not a banana boat, even if it comes from that banana-producing area called Point Tupper, right, Jack?

I’m pushing it here, but maybe port of registry should say “maduro,” at least that’s my favorite format.  Maybe the fleet mate is called “papa criolla”?

All photos and warped humor, WVD, whose previous “names” posts can be seen here.

I think I read this story right . . .  NYPD got called in for an unruly large group of champagne brunch passengers.  Excessive alcohol was involved . . .  BEFORE the champagne brunch.  What!@#!?

On youtube, there’s a whole series of these CRAZY Boating Fails . . . .

Then there are Darwin Award winners on the water . . . .

But I’m not immune from ignorance:  a personal story will demonstrate.  When I was about 7 or 8, I really wanted a canoe.  My father replaced the aluminum roofing sheets on a barn with asphalt shingles.  Seeing the sheets on the scrap pile, I imagined reshaping one as a canoe, filing any holes with tar.  I folded one over on itself lengthwise, closed up the ends.  It had no sweet lines but to me it was a canoe and time had come to float-test it.  I convinced my younger sister to get into it and shoved “canoe” and sister off into the farm pond.  I’ll stop the narrative here so that you have time to imagine what could possibly go wrong.

So how about . . .  the fishing hole showdowns . . .

Oh . . . and boat ramps can be drama settings.

Let’s reuse this photo from the East River almost a decade ago.  Click on the photo to get the post.  I recently passed that island . . . U Thant Island, and the fishy leftovers smell from the cormorants was quite overwhelming.

Back to my canoe story . . . The biggest thing that went wrong:  I had not considered water pressure.  No sooner had my sister gotten into the pond when water pressure closed the sides in on her;  I’d not thought to include internal structure to counter the external pressures.  My sister went for an unexpected swim and lives to this day to periodically remind me of my failure.  She can tell the story to raise the drama factor each time she tells it, and I’ve never designed another boat, although I’ve built a few kayaks.

Below, that’s not me, and I’ll admit some foreshortening is present, but

not where I’d put myself.

All turned out well, but be safe and smart out there.

And to end this post on some hallelujahs, click here for a story about good eats stopping a war.  Here’s to sharing our best food!

Sometimes voices talk to me as I’m taking photos.  I realize I’m leaving myself wide open when I write something like that, but I’m not joking.  Especially when a vessel named Opportunity comes in.  Be honest.  What would the voice in your head say?


And then it goes away?

So once you register that “opportunity comes and goes,”  and then you see other vessels doing the same . . . .?

sure . . . Yankee comes and goes.  Her sister vessel . . .  Freedom comes and goes.

Even clunkier names . . .  RHL Agilitas . . . yup . . . .

she comes and goes . . . from Kingston Jamaica to Halifax Canada.

All photos by Will Van Dorp, who himself comes and goes.   Then other times he eats shoots and leaves. 


I take photos of machines that don’t float and have these to share.  I used to have a Class 1 driver’s license.  Hmmmm..  maybe this blog needs a new name and focus?


Harry Milkman took this photo;  I’d seen a boot truck like this once but on the opposite side of I-95.


This Oshkosk was south of 30th the other day although I forget the street number.


These many wheeled configurations were in Savannah port.


This amphibious jeep was in New Orleans.  Trucks have real potential for a blog of their own.


This old DAF Kromhout was near Rotterdam.


I love the range of challenges the operators of this truck will take on.


This International has been parked in the kudzu not quite long enough to be cocooned.


DonJon has trucks as well as tugboats.   I’ve seen a Kirby truck on Richmond Terrace and can pull that out of the archives in future posts.  The soil seems fertile enough if I switched focus on this blog.


This looks like an original woodie by the spokes as well as the doors.


And this .  . is unique.    So . . . retooling this blog I will


NOT.  It is April 1 and I thought I’d entertain the idea.  But then I could do a blog of wanted posters and call it thugster, one of short-muzzled dogs and call it pugster, one about a central Swiss city would be Zugster, and one for folks who fix software problems called buster.  Of course, buster could also work on entomology. Plugster for plumbers, jugster for fans of moonshine, and the list would be so long I’d be paralyzed.

So I’ll maintain course and speed.  Thanks to Harry for the LL Bean bootstermobile.


What?  Photoshop?


No, it’s not .  . . here’s the namesake, which has its own namesake.

And another . ..  evidently named for a ghost town.


Here’s another.  Was Florida settled and named by witty folk with an unusual sense of humor?


It looks like Dump Key was the toned-down version . . . .  Here’s a bunch more of Keys-nomenclature.


And here is the wikipedia take on odd names.

Many thanks to JLF for sending this along.

I’m loving this.  Please send more fun with charts and even maps and signs.

soon to be determined . . . less than 48 hours from now.  Here’s a schedule from the race organizers.

Will the winner be blue . . . like Atlantic Salvor or

formerly blue like Greenland Sea or Lincoln Sea?

Maybe it’ll be blue and miraculously restored . . . like Crow?

Or will it be red, like this Pegasus or

. . . the not-to-be underestimated Augie?

Or maybe a blue and gold government boat?

Or it might be some shade of white like Susan Miller or Gabby L Miller?

On the other hand, it may be a stealth competitor, like the one these gents have been refurbishing since late spring?

Cosmetic work has been visible on the outside, but

Glen had this grin straight off the cheshire cat when he told me they’d installed huge power down below and

as they’ve worked on the surface, above decks, rendering a beautfully restored New York Central No. 31 house.  Who

knows whether Glen was kidding or not about that power plant and about the hull they cleverly built below the dock which be free with a few minor cuts of the Saw-zall.

New York Central No 31 might turn its competitors green with envy once they steam out onto the course.  And if she were flying a Canadian flag, she’d be an international entry.     And

with all that jabber about competitors red and blue at the beginning of the post, you might have wondered if I was talking about something else.  Maybe a spokesperson for red or blue might be interviewing a stealth version of a leading member of the competition?

Check page four of this 1952 issue of Towline for an action foto of one of the winners of the race exactly 60 years ago.  And on page 5, you’ll see that the 1952 race was in fact a revival of a pre-WW2 International Lifeboat Race.  Click on the image below to watch a two-minute video of the rowing race, some time between 1930 and 1939.

In 1952, after the tugs raced, oarsmen took to the same course.  Hmmmm….  Might that portion of the race be revived too?  I wonder what happened to that trophy.

Here’s my summertime post from almost a year ago;  it’s still spring in the sixth boro, although spring 2012 has made for a mostly sultry season and a lush KVK.  Thomas J. Brown tows

an irregular load.

And with a warm winter and sultry spring, bugs

are so big and hungry I fear to swat.

John P. Brown pushes along a many-wheeled barge, and if you want a scene for a Stephen King horror story by the name of Maximum Overboard or somesuch, you know this crane

could proceed to scoop this fish out of the water.

The start of summer is a holiday for the Dutch (even those who live in Brooklyn and dally with crocs), when they do this with herring, and elsewhere

in Brooklyn, it’s time for

who knows who to transform in mermaze!!

All fotos by will Van Dorp.

I needed smiles so bad that I went through the past few months of fotos looking for cheeriness.  And as I put these up, the sun broke through what feels like two weeks of mostly clouds.  A sea lion, and

a close up of a sea lion,

a deck seal,

lots of fish, and my pole-vaulting


Yeah, and this goes out to Paul . . . I don’t know how you manage all those weeks on the job!  Tomorrow I have got to get some R & R.

Meanwhile the clouds are back and Willie is in my ear.

When I was in high school upstate, I had to read this novel about drums . .  and history.

Now imagine this interior monologue . . . our speaker doesn’t read much . . . he works and then goes to the river to fish with his best friend the bottle . . . a riverine Rip van Winkle.  He slings in some bait, he dozes, he hears an approaching engine . . . and he sees this!

He shuts and reopens his eyes . . . and it’s closer.  He rubs his eyes .  .  .  and it’s still there.  He flings the cursed bottle into  . . . nearest recycling bin (of course), swears to mend his dissolute ways, and runs along the bank yelling  “OMG!!  It’s a Douglas F3D Skynight!!”   He just happens to “favorite” that aircraft of all the ones ever developed . . .  because of having built a model of one as a boy.

Our Rip has found new purpose.  The 2012 Erie Canal season has delivered the vehicle to turn his life around!

He vows to walk or run or bicycle along the Erie Canal as far as he needs to in order to see where this jet will land.

Then he hears another noise … another DonJon blue tugboat pushing a scow laden with

OMFG!!  He has no idea, and all the life-remedying he’d promised minutes ago . . . is in danger.    He turns and walks back to where moments before he had enjoyed the bliss of fishing along the Mohawk.  He stopped once and

looked back at Cheyenne and the scow.  “Nah . . . that never happened,” he decided.  Never.

Downriver some 100 plus miles, the day before, another blue DonJon tug had been pushing this dredge spoils scow toward the Bayonne Bridge when the 747/Shuttle flew past.

To be serious, the wonderful fotos above come compliments of Don Rittner, of the Onrust project, about which I did many posts a few years back.  Here are a few representative Onrust links:  2010September 2009 (see the last foto), May 2009, and 2008.    Use the search window to find many more.  Last foto is by Will Van Dorp.

The aircraft –a Skynight, a Mig-15, and a Supermarine Scimitar–have migrated from Intrepid Museum, which needs to make room for the Shuttle display, to ESAM, an upstate aerosciences museum.   The blue tugboats have all appeared here before; in order they are Empire, Cheyenne, and Caitlin Ann.

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June 2023