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Even if you’re not a regular reader of this blog or you lack a photographic memory, you just know from the photo below that Legs III has completed its journey.  Bravo Seth and crew. 

So let’s go back to the land of liftboats and have another look, since I’ve got “binders full of” boat photos I’ve not yet posted . . .

like L/B Lafayette above and Grand Isle below, boats likely now back at work.

So let’s hit the ditches . . .

 

Keep in mind that if I were to do this trip again–and I’d LOVE to–I might see all different boats, not Capt Doug Wright of Memphis, 

Clair S. Smith of Houma, 

or streamlined barge Kirby 28161. 

I might not see Born Again or 

Salvation, although

I saw Salvation of Nola on a previous trip.  

Good Shepherd I may have seen before too, or maybe it’s just a familiar name.

 

These lodges–sometimes single and other times in groups– on islands accessible only by boat and

really blue herons  . . . intrigue me, and as the other French speakers of North America say . .  . Je me souviens…  I’ll add  je reviendrai.

Names like Cullen Landolt and

Mike Mitchell . . . make me wonder who the namesakes are or were. 

Note anything unusual to sixth boro eyes on the stern of Matthew James?

I don’t believe I’ve ever seen folks working under a parasol up here, but there I saw it quite frequently, and the heat tells me it’s a health and safety issue.

All the photos in this post were taken in the first half day of the trip, the only portion we did on the GICW, but  . . . a lot of boats work what seemed like uninhabited land on the water’s edge, like Jeff Montgomery, 

Bill Tullier,

Squaw

Mr Leon, 

Intra Responder, 

and to end this part of the recap . . .

Zoie, which I’m not sure how to pronounce like . . . rhymes with Zoey or Joie….

All photos, WVD, who has more recaps with new photos to come.

This leg of the trip is shown in brown, covering the area of Louisiana coastline from what this link calls the “bird’s foot delta to the St. Bernard delta, which once ended at the Chandeleur Islands.  More on those islands later.  This link shows how the lobes of the delta have changed over time, during the time before we tried to “tame” the river.

Dawn found Legs III  spudded down in East Bay, along the east side of the channeled mouth of the Mississippi, the grassy delta seen as the green margin along the horizon.  When spudded down this way, the ‘boat becomes a platform.

As we made out way around the low lying Pass A Loutre Wildlife Management Area and all its bays, traces of oil/gas infrastructure were everywhere.  “Pass A Loutre” translates as “Otter Pass.”

Some platforms–eg. the one with the tanks topside and the crew boat to the left side– seemed active, whereas others

might have been in process of being dismantled by EBI liftboat Jimmy Holmes Elevator.  EBI claims to have conceived of the basic design for liftboats, although EBI boats have the single leg on the bow, whereas most other liftboats, including Legs III, have that single leg on the stern. Legs III was launched at Blue Streak and then fitted out at Marine Industrial Fabrication Inc.

See the two workers below the hook and headache ball . . . ?

I’m not sure which channel or pass through the grassy delta ABI C emerged from, but she overtook us, giving us a clear look at the 

stainless steel IBC totes used to transport liquids of all sorts safely between shore and platform.

 

Farther along we passed a platform

where Ms. Tami was flying the dive flag.

A GOL boat, Sea Service 1, stood by a platform.

 

A sizable flame burned off its flare boom  (or burn boom).

I gather most platforms along Pass A Loutre were pumping, given their flares.

Others might be relics of a time when they were active and now seemed like patina-encrusted industrial sculpture.

In late afternoon we began to follow our goal for the day, the long, thin, crescent-shaped sand bar called the Chandeleur Islands, part of the Breton National Wildlife Refuge established in 1904 by POTUS 26, T. Roosevelt.  I’d noticed the 50-mile chain of islands from the air as I flew into New Orleans on my way to port of Iberia, and they looked roughly like the lead photo here, which shows them from a north to south perspective. 

Those boats are anchored on the inside of the islands in Chandeleur Bay. 

The islands are accessible only by boat AND seaplane.    Southern Seaplane out of Belle Chasse LA offers many tours, but also brings folks out to this fishing lodge, spudded up on the inside of the Chandeleur Islands.  More on the lodge– Chandeleur Islander–in this Youtube clip. Yet another option is Compass Rose if you want to fish by kayak but ride over on a mothership over from Biloxi.  Surfers have laid claim too, although they might want to keep it a secret. 

All photos, any errors, WVD, who looks at the photo above and tries to imagine what it’s like when a hurricane barrels across it….

 

Day 3 shows up in green . . . from just west of Port Fourchon to just east of SW Pass.

We took the stern of C-Fighter on the way, as the ECO boat appeared to head into Fourchon. 

Surprising were the number of small fishing boats, out angling and 

even anchoring next to platforms;  certainly the structure and maybe some scraps serve as chum in a food chain here.

Here’s another shot of Fourchon Runner, which I mentioned in an earlier post about exotics.  Here I have questions:  doesn’t the center of this platform base look different than ones I’ve posted earlier?  To me, it’s thick like a massive tree trunk, not only tubular.  The platform itself supports more tanks than others.  What might those tanks contain?

One rig that caught my attention, because of the “steam” emanating from beneath, carried the nameplate Enterprise 205.  Some info, although not “more specs,” on this rig can be read here.  The 40-year-old rig appears to work at depths up to 200′.

For scale, note the two crew on the cantilevered helipad.

The network of valves of the red pipe would be the “Christmas tree,” I gather.  How or why is the Monrovia registry arrived at here?

Among the platforms were shrimp boats like this one.

As the day passed, the winds died and the GOM 

became like glass, reflecting big fluffy fair-weather clouds.  Not pictured but off to the left was a smudge of Grand Isle and low-lying borderlands to its east.

Serving as a steering guide, we looked at Enterprise 351 for what seemed an endless time, punctuated only by the occasional dolphins.  I’ll devote an entire post to 351 one of these days.

Once in West Bay, we left rigs and associated vessels like Randolph John to our right and 

watched ships moving up and down the Mississippi to our left.  

The pilot’s station was visible, but my “all-zoomed-out” photo was embarrassingly blurry.  For a better view, click here.

We crossed–not entered–the Southwest Pass, the longtime and anticlimactic main Mississippi shipping channel. See the jetties?

From the south, Carnival Glory was arriving to take on a pilot for a dawn arrival in New Orleans.  If I were a passenger on that ship, I’d be disappointed to be passing this 70+ mile stretch of the big river at night.

To the west, a stunning sunset evolved, and to

the northwest, Carnival Glory ensured that it was visible–and then some–in the channel.

“Legs down” in the shallows of East Bay, this was my final shot of day 3.

Allphotos, any errors, WVD.

 

Before you read this post, you might enjoy studying a Google map satellite view of the area between Port of Iberia and Atchafalaya Bay, about 80 miles away.  Locate Lafayette and then zoom in and go to the SE.  Bays, islands, bayous, and lakes abound.  Soon after we made the eastbound turn onto the GICW, we met fishing vessel Isabella and another dredge. 

x

Around the dredge, some makeshift markers indicated something, maybe not intended for us to know.

Disused infrastructure made up parts of the boundary between the GICW and Weeks Bay.  I plan a post soon on energy infrastructure I saw and have received some help understanding.

Port of Memphis ACBL tug Capt Doug Wright steamed eastbound here alongside some Morton Salt/American Mine Services infrastructure along the GICW at Weeks Island.  It appears Weeks Island may have a ghost town . . ..

We overtook them and had this view of  another view of the mostly covered barges.

A few feet of clearance allowed us passage under the 75′ clearance of the Route 319 bridge for the road to Cypremort Point.

We met LBT tug Clair S. Smith.

Compass Minerals-owned, Morgan City-built  cable ferry Tripper III crosses between

the mainland and Cote Blanche Island.

USCG 75′ tug Axe, based in Morgan City LA, is one of eight 75′ WLIC boats.

Periodically, I sit drinking ice water and looking out the galley door at the forbidding banks.

Triple S Marine’s lugger tug Stephen L is a 1200 hp tug based in Morgan City.

Cullen Landolt from Tuscaloosa AL pushes westbound in the ditch.

LBT’s Dickie Gonsoulin waits in a cove adjacent to what I believe is the Birla Carbon plant in Centerville LA.   It produces carbon black, a product that among other things makes tires black.

Kirby tug Steve Holcomb pushes barges Kirby 28045 and 

28075 toward the west.

Without my listing all these boats or posting all the photos of boats I took that afternoon . . .  I hope you conclude that the GICW west of Morgan City is a busy corridor.

At the intersection just before Morgan City, we turned south, leaving the GICW for the Atchafalaya River, where we had real depths in the channel between 105′ and 5′, which briefly had us aground.  Fast crew boat Kervie B comes up the Atchafalaya River from the Bay.

Nowhere on this shrimp boat could I find a name.   Also, among all these traditional designs, I’m not sure how to call this one;  Lafitte skiff or Atchafalaya skiff or something else?

As dusk approached and we followed the channel out, we met Marcella G. Gondran heading up the Atchafalaya with what appeared to be major pieces of a dismantled platform.

As we headed into a windy evening out on the Bay, we followed this vegetation where no settlement is possible.

Before “legging down” at the end of the first day of the journey, we studied the buoys and waited for the green flash. 

The next morning good calm weather allowed me to do the first in a series of selfie drone shots.  More of those in future posts.

All photos and any errors, WVD.  These photos show fewer than half the boats we saw that day.  If you are interested in more tugs from that section of the waterway, please let me know.

With all the references to Morgan City in this post, you might want to go back to this December post (and scroll) to see how Christmas is marked in Morgan City.

 

 

 

The bell hung silent as one prolonged blast signaled departure, and today’s post, a slow one, covers just the two first hours heading out of port of Iberia into the NISDC, as explained here a few weeks ago.  Also check part 1 and part 2 of this title. 

That morning a local toothy critter gave us the send off.

Behold the many fingers of the Port of Iberia, as witnessed by the screen. We had been the red X. 

Traffic was quite heavy, with Full Steam and others shuttling aggregate barges past us.

Note the many legs we left behind in the yard where many were built and more are serviced.

More legs are visible as we head south on the NISDC. 

Our heading south meant this photo of these miles and miles of pipes is backlit.  Feel the heat and humidity in the air.

The number of OSVs in the port astonished me. 

When did Abigail Claire last crew up and depart, or

ditto Seacor Washington?  There were other OSVs up various waterway fingers as well.

Around the very first bend, we came upon a dredging operation.

Small tug named Mudd Tug 7 was tending

Magnolia‘s dredge called Grand Terre.

A ways farther, a memorial along the west side of NISDC caught my attention, and of course I had to look it up.  I’ve seen these along roads, but this is a first along a waterway for me.

Then the canal was straight as “land cuts” in any canal, like portions of the Erie Canal.

Dead ahead is the intersection of NISDC and the Gulf ICW.  A right turn here leads to Texas and a left to points east as far as Florida, my destination. 

Ambre Lynn Settoon tends the dredge and crew boat Mr Isaac assists with crew change and supplies.

All photos, WVD, during the first 10 or so miles of a thousand-mile journey, and not yet two hours have elapsed. 

Other posts will cover more more territory, but you have to admit that the first few steps of a hike sometimes feel the best.

The cane is still growing,

the chili is heating up, along with the air.  

This is jump-starting the weather,

 and fast-moving winds brings buckets of unforecasted rain.  This rain, not predicted, dropped the temperature 20 degrees in fewer than 20 minutes!

Alligator patrols, by mostly submerged A. mississippiensis, never stop.

You know what they say about “red in morning…”

sailor take warning, I’ll add [and gators come swarming.]

All that has postponed our leaving in the way in the way I anticipated.

Enjoy views of the vessel above the water, and from

below.

Hope springs.

And how did I get out of the bayou this time? With a toast.  The JT Meleck I’ll have to try another time.

I got out by plane.

Google a St James LA map and you’ll see exactly where we crossed the Mississippi heading back NE. 

After some delays, this series will be continued, even if I need to do it this way.

All photos, WVD, who’s happy to be out of the heat dome. 

Well . .  or with an accent, I’d say whale . . .  I’m not out of the bayous and sugar fields yet, but it’s getting closer.  When we do leave the dock, there may be several days that not even the robots will be posting, so be patient if this doesn’t update.  Either that, or you could do searches in the archives of  5200+ tugster posts for your favorite photos of who knows what.

Some day soon, we’ll leave the NISDC and the land of … legs, alligators, mullet, gar . . . . and start toward the sixth boro. 

Here are some recent photos of Superior Attitude, Gar, 

beautiful dawns and dusks,

and the neighbors Maggie Kay and 

Red Fin.  The image below inspired me to rewrite the words to wimoweh . . . “in the bayou the murky bayou the gator lurks tonight . . .  ”  and you can imagine or freestyle the rest . . .

All photos, WVD, who posts when possible, with assistance from the robots of tugster tower.

 

Full disclosure:  Years ago I was showing friends from Germany around the city, and chuckled when they stopped to take photos of squirrels.  Squirrels were a novelty, they said, because they’d never seen one in Germany.

The closest thing to an alligator I’ve seen in the sixth boro is this plastic toy that lay along the KVK a long time this winter;  I took the photo then because NYC’s terra- and sub-terra boros have their own alligator tales–with some basis in fact– like here

Given all that, I’m pleasantly surprised to have seen at least two alligators now, differing in size, alongside the vessel we’re readying to move.  More info on that that later. 

Yesterday I  managed to see the gator coming our way with enough advance warning that I had time to grab my real camera. 

This photo I took shooting straight down from wheelhouse . . .  about 35′ above the water.  I’d estimate this el lagarto” to be 6′ to 8′.

No, I would not want to be in the water with this Alligator mississippiensis.

 

All photos, WVD, who apologizes to the robots for interjecting this post into their orderly queue.

As the robots diligently do their thing in the tower, I’ve been out gallivanting, as you likely know.  The where and the how long . . . you might not know.  Answer:  I’m in the New Iberia South Drainage Canal, aka NISDC, kinda sorta between the fascinating home of Tabasco on Avery Island and the bayou still as uncharted (well . . . not really) as in the days of Jean Lafitte and his Baratarians, and of course some of their descendants. 

From a distance, you know the locations of waterways and ports from hundreds of spuds, three per vessel. More on this indigenous species of technology can be seen here (published 1985) and here

This one was supposed to have departed a week ago, but “boat time” says it leaves–as I do–when the work is complete, maybe a week from now. 

Meanwhile, the delay means I get to see a series of sunrises and sunsets

and the light effects on the bottom of hulls, something not otherwise visible except with a snorkel mask–at least–in the realm of the alligators.

No, I’m not going in here. 

Work on other lift boats ends, and new ones arrive and get snagged near our dock.

Others pass by on fingers of the NISDC to elevate themselves elsewhere. 

And when rain comes, it’s intense but cooling.

All photos, WVD, who arrived here too late for the Shrimp and Petroleum Festival (yup… that’s the name)  and too early for the Sugar Festival. Guess I’ll have to return for that. Of course, today is Creole Culture Day not far from NISDC.

Previous tugster posts from this area can be seen here, here, and here. With denser populations, places east of here have figured in posts like here and here

And just for context, the NISDC heads south to the Gulf ICW. More on this section of the ICW can be seen here

 

Cargill’s Carneida and her sisters were unique enough, forgotten enough designs that when I stumbled onto this image yesterday AFTER posting, I decided to dedicate a whole post to Cargill’s vessels on the Barge Canal. The resemblance to the cargo portion of the 1000-footers currently on the Lakes is unmistakable although she’s less than a third of their size, but Barge Canal max.  She even has a hatch cover crane that runs along the deck.

This image would be the maiden voyage.  After construction in Leetsdale PA, she headed down the Ohio, up the Mississippi to the Illinois.  John MacMillan Jr. joined this vessel in Cairo IL for the voyage to Chicago.  There, Carneida was loaded with 1900 tons of corn.  On August 22, 1940, eight miles off Wilmette IL on Lake Michigan, however, the vessel found the weather not as favorable as predicted and swamped the towboat and two of the barges in almost 80′ of water!  The third barge broke free and floated away. 

In early September, a diver reported that the units were still connected and resting right side up on a coarse gravel bottom.  The found a salvage company that brought the corn up first.  The towboat and two barges stayed on the bottom until May 1941, then winched to the surface.  Once cleaned up, the two main engines and two auxiliaries ran. 

The lesson learned for the subsequent Carneida-class boats was . . . to put significantly less than 1900 tons of cargo into the holds for the Lakes portion.  These were canal cargo carrier, Barge Canal max ones.

Also after posting yesterday, I stumbled upon this version of the last photo in yesterday’s post:  this clearly identifies the boat as Carutica, an Odenbach vessel launched in 1946 with substantially more space in the towboat portion of the unit. The location is clearly below lock E-2 in Waterford.

All photos here from the archives on the Canal Society of New York. 

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