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See a statement at the end of this post.

The next vessel headed for the reef is Reliable of Utica, once a twin of Syracuse of Syracuse, which has been featured here in many previous posts. Fred of tug44 has also gotten some photos I have not.

For years–I’d estimate about two decades–Reliable has languished out of the water, as seen in photo below, which I took in June 2014.  Click here (and scroll to the third photo) for a photo of the bow while on the hard.

Its approximately 100-ton shell was lifted from the bank and placed in this  . . . coffin  (well, what else?) for a final journey, likely its only journey to the salt water.

As of publication today, Reliable –in its cortege–is being pushed by Rebecca Ann in proximity of the GW Bridge.

Lucy H pushed her through 22 locks–if my count is right–on her way to the flight, where I took these photos.

Many have said reefing might not be the best “re-purposing” of Reliable and other boats, but, as you can see, the migration of these vessels seaward has begun.

I’m grateful for the opportunity to have been here yesterday in this glorious light to see

Reliable make her final exit from the NYS Canal system.

 

All photos by Will Van Dorp, who wishes there’d been at least a single bagpiper for solemnity as Reliable sank into the chamber, foreshadowing the descent she’ll make soon into the briny not-so-deep but from which she’ll never emerge.

For last month’s first post in this series, Canal Reef Express 1, click here.

For a sense of how that bagpiper would sound and look, click on the YouTube link near the end of this tugster post from 2010.

What follows is a statement from Tom Prindle and posted on the Canal Society of New York FB page.

This comment was in the post with the Reliable photos, but it should be read on its own here, with no photos. Tom Prindle is a leader in preserving canal history. #savetheurger

“The scuttling of the Reliable and other canal vessels and the impending beaching of the venerable and much beloved Tug URGER begs the question with all due respect : who is making these decisions and how are they qualified to decide what is historic and what is not ? What should be saved and what should be destroyed ?These vessels need to be evaluated by those professionals charged with protecting the historic resources of our state. The Reliable may not look like much as she now is but she and the other vessels slated to be sunk are unique artifacts of New York State history. What is being planned for the 117 year old URGER is horrible. Her destruction was first proposed some 30 years ago. Instead John Jermano and Schuyler Meyer “re-imagined” the old tug as a floating classroom and ambassador of the NYS Canal System. Thousands of school kids from Harlem to Tonawanda have been welcomed aboard her. Now somebody has decided that for some reason must stop, Surely we can do better than that.”

Hats off,  Thanks, Tom.

 

 

By now, many of you have read about the governor’s April 17 decision to use “33 barges of Tappan Zee Bridge recycled materials and 30 vessels” to build reefs at six locations north and south of Long Island.    Well, an expeditious eight days later, the first two vessels were already on the Hudson headed south.  Glenn Raymo and I positioned ourselves to document this first shipment.

Glenn positioned himself at the Walkway, where the tugs/barges were soon after daybreak.

Brian Nicholas led the procession with Witte 1405.  The Canal tender–aka T6–seemed like a toy on the barge.  For photos of some off the tenders, including T6 from four years ago, click here.

Here’s a great shot of the stripped, decapitated, and “environmentally clean”  tender.

Rebecca Ann followed pushing a dump scow.  A source says that T6 dates from the 1920s, and I’d guess that the dump scow vintage is similar.  To put this in context, check out this video of a 1928 Mack dump truck.

If you’ve never been on the Walkway, it’s a repurposed rail bridge with a “walk way.”   To catch the tow on the south side of the walkway, Glenn just stepped about 20 feet and got the next two shots.

 

Four and a half hours later, the day was bright, sun having burnt off the fog, and the tow was approaching Bear Mountain Bridge.  Walkways exist on either side of the Bridge, but one needs to cross three lanes of traffic to get from one side to the other, so I opted to take photos from the upstream side only.

Given the size of Witte 1405 relative to the single tender, I’m wondering why the urgency.  More fodder for the reef could have fit.

 

 

Note the chains used to

open the dump doors.

Many thanks to Glenn for use of his photos.  All other by Will Van Dorp, who’s thinking that if the governor holds to his word, 28 more Erie/Barge Canal vessels will descend the Hudson as part of the Reef Express.

If there exists a need for someone to document the final journey–ie, sixth boro to an actual reef location, I’d gladly step forward.

For interior shots–and more–of T6 not that long ago, click here, thanks to Tug44.

It’s a non-profit devoted to the history and functioning of NY’s canals, and there have been over two dozen.  In these years of bicentennial, consider joining.  Nobody asked me to suggest this; but I’m a satisfied member.

Let me share historical photos of the boat I worked on for a season, all photos posted on CSNYS FB in the past month.

You may know, the vessel is Urger, an extraordinary boat who has likely now crossed the line from a work boat and working boat to a museum boat.  Here she is under steam power in Waterford headed for the Hudson, 1940.  At this point, Urger was already 39 years old, a product of Ferrysburg, Michigan, 1901.

Also 1940, this photo gives an idea that the colors have not always been blue/gold.  Note the extension of the superstructure forward of the wheelhouse.

Here she is in April 1941, and

back in Waterford in 1949.  Note how busy the Canal was back then with commercial tug/barge units.  That’s Day-Peckinpaugh over to the right.

Here she is in 1960.  Can anyone identify the location.  I can’t.  Of course, canal banks have changed a lot through the years.

I don’t know any of the photographers above, but I took the rest of these.

She made her last visit to the sixth boro back in 2012

July 14, 2012

Here in early September 2014 just above lock E-2, she’s being passed by Benjamin Elliot (1960).

And finally, by September 2017 she’d been tied up for almost a full year.

To close out, here was my bunk back then.  Whenever I was lying in my bunk, the distance from my nose to those angle iron beam was about 18 inches.  The bed itself was 5’11” in a bunkhouse itself about 5’8.”  I’m 6’2.”

Since this is a big Canal year, again, consider becoming a member.  And for starters, you may want to “like” them on FB.

 

The photo below I took on October 14, 2017 from the O-7 lock chamber, looking toward O-6.  Notice the red tug in the distance along the right side wall, which is the Leto Island side.

Here’s a close-up of the tug.

Below is a photo I took on March 24, 2018 from a cofferdam built where the tug above was, looking back toward Lock O-7.

Yes, the canal bed there is dry enough.  Who knows what besides bicycles lie in the mud . . .  guns, cell phones, flung away wedding rings . . .

 

The green bridge beyond lock O-7 is Utica Street.  All the compromised concrete of O-7 has been removed and

form and rebar installed.

Note the blue lift-basket in the photo below and use it as a reference in the following photos.

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My position in the photo below is less than 30′ from the initial photo in this post.

These are the mitre gates at the top (south) side of O-7

And here’s that same tug Endeavor we saw above.  Now the pressures . . .?  Think of all the work that needs to be done by opening day in the NYS Canal system!  Crews here were working hard, and I was there on a Saturday, but opening day in less than 50 (??) days away.

All photos and sentiments by Will Van Dorp.  These locks are within Oswego city limits, right along East River Road, aka 481.

 

Here are previous posts with this title.  Another unusual cargo that passed through here were these barged US, British, and Russian jets five years ago also in May.

I owe all these shots to Mike Pelletier and other folks who were at E2 in Waterford yesterday, as the Erie Canal opened for its 200th consecutive season.  It’s cause for celebration that Day 1 brings significant commercial cargo into the Canal.

The job will entail moving a total of 12 identical tanks from the Hudson River level to the Rochester level. At the end of this post, I share a photo I took at the Rochester area a few years ago in the fall.  Can you imagine what that part of the Canal looks like?  But I digress.

If you don’t know the story, let me highlight some details, although you can read more here.  The cargo here consists of three tanks, each 20′ x 60′ and fabricated of stainless steel.  If each tank holds 2000 barrels, or 661,000 cans, and if I drink an average of two six-packs a month, one tank holds a 4,500 year supply of Genesee for me….  Another way to think of it . . . if a party was held and each guest had three beers, all twelve tanks would contain enough beer for 2,644,000 guests!  That would be enough beer @ two or three beers each for every 21+ person in Wyoming, Vermont, North Dakota, and Alaska . .  and quite a bit more left over.  But I’ve really digressed.

Here the tow lies alongside the wall below E2. #Toast the tanks is the tag Genesee wishes “social media makers” to use to group-document this journey.

Here CMT Otter pushes the tow into the opened lower gates of E2.  Here is a previous post featuring Otter and fleet mates.

So, here the tow is inside and the lower gates closed. The shot above was shot from midpoint on the catwalk over the gates beyond the stern of the tug.   The lock chamber valves are now set to fill. The two crew lower photo are radioing distances to the captain.

 

Now the camera is back to that same catwalk.  What else do you see?   I missed it the first times I looked at this photo….

See the drone?  It’s between the catwalk rail and the portside stern of CMT Otter.  I’m guessing this is CMT’s camera team.

Believe it or not, this is the Canal through which these tanks will travel near the end of their journey to Gates . . . Rochester, beyond E33.   From the Canal, Rochester is mostly invisible.

Now some speculation . . . I believe the tanks arrived in the US aboard Wladyslaw Orkan on a voyage that began in Shanghai around March 13.  My guess would be that the manufacturer is Lehui, possibly in Xiangshan Ningbo.  If all this is true, I’m curious about this stated goal on the Lehui site:  “During a two-decade-plus journey, Lehui exercises “European Quality, Chinese Price” philosophy, which won Lehui “the most outstanding beer/beverage equipment manufacturer” in China.”  Where were previous Genesee tanks fabricated?  With concerted several decades effort, a 21st century plan to return more manufacturing to the US might be held on course with a mantra something like ““European Quality, Chinese Price, US Essence, ”    . . . concerted effort . . .

Click here to see the tentative schedule.

Thanks again to Mike Pelletier.

 

Thanks to Erich Amberger for these photos up near Mechanicville.  According to Erich, this could be the first boat on the canal this season.

Lock C-2?

 

And it’s the mighty Betty D, which I’ve caught here only once.

One of my goals for this summer is to travel the Champlain.

 

Many thanks to Erich for whetting my appetite.

 

You may recall that back in 2014, I often juxtaposed  canal&river/rail in photos like the one below.

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This post was originally going to feature only photos of the river and canal from the rails, like the one below, but

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then I decided to pair photos from the train toward the water with the opposite:  photos from the water toward roughly the same land area where the rails lay and the trains speed.

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Train shots are difficult because of speed, coatings on the windows, trees and poles along the tracks . . .  but I’m quite sure a letter that begins “Dear Amtrak:  could you slow down, open windows, and otherwise accommodate the photographers” would not yield a positive response.

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I hope you enjoy this attempt on my part.  And if you ever have a chance to ride Amtrak along the Hudson, Mohawk, and Lake Champlain . . . sit on the better side of the car; switch sides if necessary.

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Here we’re on the Livingstone Avenue Bridge looking south and

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here we are south of it, looking north.  Yes, that’s Crow, Empire, W. O. Decker, and Grand Erie passing through the open swivel.

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Here’s the pedestrian bridge in Amsterdam

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as seen from both vantage points.

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The 1766 Guy Park Manor from a speeding train and

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from the Mohawk River/Erie Canal, where post-Irene repair has been going on since 2011.   Here’s a photo taken soon after the unusual weather.

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Schoharie Aqueduct from Amtrak,

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a slow boat, and

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the east bank of Schoharie Creek.

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Little Falls onramp to I-90 from rail and

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below.

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The rail bridge at Lock 19 from the span and

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from west of it at Lock 19.

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And these all east of Utica I can’t pair, but decided to include here anyhow:  a dairy pasture,

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a construction yard, and

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a truck depot.

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Maybe if I write that “Dear Amtrak” letter, I could just ask if the window could be cleaned a bit.  If you’re going to try this, take amtrak when the leaves are off the trees.

All photos by Will Van Dorp, who embeds this post from “Good Morning Gloucester” to reveal a bit of my past . . . 1988.  Scroll all the way through to see a piece of shipwreck “treasure.”

. . . aka the leap between the seasons.  Call this photo, taken on Saturday dusk, the last moments of autumnal daylight.

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I was here waiting as a slight November blush lingered in the central NY trees, hoping this

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vessel, Sojourn, would pass before daylight faded and before those storm clouds caught up.

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She eased into the lock.  Some of you, I know, can guess this lock by the structure far left.

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And here at sunrise was a new season.  Winter isn’t just coming anymore.  It came in the night. By the way, thanks to Xtian’s comment here, I understand the significance of the registration numbers.

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Here the converted freighter eases into Lock 17, the highest lift lock in the Erie Canal system.

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Watch the descent.

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The gentleman below built this barge 53 years ago in Belgium, then used it to transport cargoes, including animal feed, through all the canals in the low countries, and in this case that included France and Germany too.  He’s riding along on the trip, his first visit to the United States.  Imagine the joy, being reunited with your handicraft in this way after a half century and halfway around the world!  His daughter, Maja, who was literally born on this barge and who as a kid jumped from hatch cover to hatch cover while the vessel–loaded to the coamings–was underway, is accompanying him.

fasse

 

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When the water level is lowered by almost 41′, the counterweight (almost) effortlessly raises the guillotine-style door.

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Click here to see photos I took of Urger from the same vantage point two years ago.

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And in the snow falling at a faster rate by the hour, Sojourn journeys eastward toward the Hudson.

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And from the road I took back to the sixth boro, here’s what has already accumulated east of the Hudson . . .

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All photos taken in the past 24 hours by Will Van Dorp.

For many other posts I’ve done about Dutch canal barges, click here.

 

Here are the previous posts in this series.

What’s unique about these photos is the season, the gray of November and absence of colors in the trees set off by the vibrant paint on Erie,

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the two Governors shown together here so that you can see the difference in paint scheme–Cleveland and

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Roosevelt, which different even

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in nameboard.

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Waterford, I’d guess, got too close to a dredge pumping operation.

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All photos by Will Van Dorp.

As we progress toward winter as well, the daylight hours shorten, making less to photograph, but I was happy we passed lock E8 in daylight to capture the crane GE uses to transship large cargos, like the rotor of a few weeks ago.

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The changing leaves complement the colors of the vintage floating plant,

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locks,

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and even Thruway vessels.

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Venerable Frances is a tug for all seasons as is

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the Eriemax freighter built in Duluth,

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both based near the city of the original Uncle Sam, which splashes its wall

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with additional color and info.

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Once this Eriemax passenger vessel raises its pilot house, we’ll continue our way to the sixth boro.

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Will Van Dorp took all these photos in about a 12 hour period.

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