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Back in 2010, I did four posts about the weekend, which you can see here.  What I did for today’s post was look through the archives and just pick the photos that for a variety of reasons jumped out at me.  A perk is each of the four posts has some video I made.  One of these photos is from 2006.

Again, I’m not listing all the names, but you may know many of these.  In other cases, you can just read the name.  If you plug that name into the search window, you can see what other posts featured that particular vessel.

Below, here the pack that locked through the federal lock together make their way en masse toward the wall in Waterford.

You’ll see a lot of repetition here.

The photo above and most below were taken earlier than the top photo;  here, Chancellor and Decker head southbound for the lock to meet others of the procession beginning in Albany.

 

 

2020 is Decker‘s 90th year.

 

 

 

Nope, it’s not Cheyenne. Alas, Crow became razor blades half a decade back.

Technically, not a tugboat, but Hestia is special.  We may not have a functioning steam powered tug in the US, but we do have steam launches like Hestia, with very logical names.

 

 

You correctly conclude that I was quite smitten by Decker at the roundup back 10 years ago.

 

All photos, WVD.

And Shenandoah was not from 2010. It was 2009.

 

This title goes back more than 10 years.  But I got some congested photos recently, so I dredge up an old title.  Count the boats of all sizes here.  Of course, foreshortening makes them seem much closer to each other than they really are.  I count at least 12 vessels on the photo below, including some I had not noticed when I took it.

There are five here, and maybe two miles of separation between the two container ships.

Three operations were happening simultaneously in this stretch of the channel, and all were either stemming or moving very slowly.

Again, there’s lots of foreshortening here.

It may be exhilarating to get this close to a large ship, but if your engine stalls . . .  stuff’ll happen really fast.

Here’s a different sort of “traffic” photo from august 31, 2008 . . . exactly 12 years ago.  And it gives me an idea for a post.  By the way, left to right, can you name at least half of the 12 boats at least partly visible here?

All photos, WVD.

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Please, Lord, no . . . Day-Peckinpaugh has not been put out to pasture, I hope . . .

“Out to pasture or not,” as Craig said, soon someone will have to start mowing the grass around her hull.  Maybe green goats can help?  This photo was taken between locks E-2 and E-3 a week or two ago.

Here’s the Erie Canal between E-28A and E-28B. In normal seasons, by this time (photo taken in late May) the water would be from top of riprap to top of riprap on the other side.  I hope to hike it, in search of treasure, evidence, or  . . . just plain junk.

Here, looking west, is the top of the Lyons dry dock to the left and the top of E-28A to the right.  For a photo of DonJon tug Rebecca Ann on that wall between the dry dock and the lock, click here.  I took that photo August 2019.

This is a great place to catch walleye . . . or was.  That’s lock E-27 to the left.

Right near this bridge, I got a photo of a buck swimming across the canal just ahead of the tugboat here.

So why is there no water over the spillway here?  Why are the levels so low in the other photos in this post?  The canal was de-watered at the end of the last season.  This is done each winter so that maintenance and repair can be done in the winter.  That was ongoing last winter until mid-March when the state classified  canal workers as non-essential.  All work stopped until very recently.  So all disassembly that happened last winter is now late in being reassembled.

Until the canal gets re-watered, it’ll make for some interesting hiking.

 

Many thanks to Craig Williams and Bob Stopper for these photos.

And if you’ve not yet watched the Turnstile Tours talk I did back on May 26, have a watch here.  It’ll take about an hour. That’ll be in lieu of blog posts the next days, weeks . . . however long this retreat takes.  I’ll be back . . .

 

Recently I got a request for something on single screw tugs.  Ask . .  and receive, from the archives.

May 1, 2011  . .  the 1901 Urger was on the dry dock wall in Lyons looking all spiffy.  A month later, she’d be miles away and alive.

On March 19, 2010, the 1907 Pegasus had all the work done she was scheduled for, and the floating dry dock is sinking here.  In 10 minutes, Pegasus would be afloat and a yard tug … draw her out.

On a cold day last winter, a shot of the 1912 Grouper, in dry dock, waiting for a savior.   If you’re savvy and have deep reservoirs of skill and money, you can likely have her cheap.

In that same dry dock, the 1926 boxy superstructure DeWitt Clinton.

To digress, here’s how her much-lower clearance looked when first launched in Boothbay.

Back on July 30, 2017, I caught the 1929 Nebraska getting some life-extension work.   Unlike the previous single screw boats, Nebraska has a Kort nozzle surrounding its prop, which clearly is away getting some work done on it also.

On February 10, 2010, the 1931 Patty Nolan was on the hard.  She was put back in, but currently she’s back on the hard, with plans to float her again this summer.

A CanalCorp boat, I believe this is Dana, was in dry dock in Lyons this past winter.  If so, she’s from 1935.

As you’ve noticed, single screw tugs have sweet elliptical sterns.  All painted up and ready to splash, they are things of beauty.  On December 16, 2006, I caught the 1941 Daniel DiNapoli, ex-Spuyten Duyvil, about to re-enter her element.

Also in dry dock but not ready to float, on March 10, 2010, the 1958 McAllister Brothers, ex-Dalzelleagle is getting some TLC.

Is it coincidence that so many of these single screw boats are   . . . aged?  Nope.  Twin- and triple-screw boats can do many more things.  Is it only because the regulations have changed?  Have any single-screw tugs been built in recent years?  Are single-screw boat handling skills disappearing in this age of twin- and triple-screw boats?  No doubt.

All photos by WVD, who enjoyed this gallivant through the archives.

And speaking of archives, Mr Zuckerberg reminded me this morning that nine years ago exactly, the sixth boro was seeing the complicated lading of the tugs and barges being taken by heavylift ship to West Africa.  There were so many challenges that I called the posts “groundhog day” like the movie about a guy having to use many many “re-do’s” before he could get it right.

 

Here are the previous posts in this series.  Let me call this vessel what it is:  the last Barge Canal bulk carrier, launched on May 21, 1921 as Interwaterways 101,

the first of five, built at the farthest end of the Great Lakes, Duluth. Less than a week ago, she celebrated her 99th birthday.  She worked as the last bulk carrier on the canal until 1994.  Her work history is delightfully told in the documentary Era of the Erie #3 embedded at the end of this post.

Below, photo from June 8, 1921 at what was likely a “meet and greet” at the start of her inaugural trip into the new Barge Canal and system.  Those are not the hats and coats of workingmen.

Less than a week later, she’s eastbound in Fairport towed by Cowles Towing Line‘s Lorraine.

Continuing eastbound, she’s departing lock E21 into the summit level.  Comparing the photo above and below, I’d say it’s warm, and the hatch with portholes has been raised to increase ventilation.  That was air-conditioning in 1921.  Also, that was prior to the national electric grid, so lock 21, like all the locks, created its own DC power from water turbines.  I love ILI 101‘s steering pole here;  it’s very Great Lakes.

This “aerial” was taken from the top of the “guillotine” gate at lock E17.  The “faces” in the rock at Moss Island are unmistakeable.

This “aerial” from the east end of lock E7 allows a good view of the stern.

Here she has departed the Barge Canal and is lying alongside a wall in the port of Albany.  Notable is the horse and carriage here, and

the Model-T era automobiles here.  Cowles Towing Line’s Lorraine appears to have taken ILI-101 on a transit of the Barge Canal.  ILI 101 was renamed Richard J. Barnes in 1936 and Day Peckinpaugh in 1958.

As a final treat, click on the image below to see and hear Day Peckinpaugh, the last Barge Canal bulk carrier, under way.  She is a NYS treasure and we should monitor her future.

And for the pièce de résistance, click on the image below for an excellent half hour documentary on her place in the Barge Canal era.  For more by Low Bridge Productions, click here.

Many thanks to Craig Williams and the NYS Archives for these images.

You won’t see the 80′ Cohoes Falls from the boat heading into the lock E-2, but this is the reason for the flight of five locks you climb right after leaving Waterford bulkhead to starboard.  The falls, shown here in September, is only about a mile, as the crow flies, from the Waterford visitor center.    Imagine the torrent stretching across the entire width of the lower Mohawk during a quick warming and melting spring, looking

like this.

Lock E-2, the entrance to the flight, looked like this about a century ago.  To the right side of the photo, note the Champlain sidecut locks still functional then;  these three locks, of dimensions appropriate to 19th century shipping, allowed access between the Hudson River and the old Champlain Canal. Today they are a spillway past lock E-2.

 

Grande Caribe, an Eriemax passenger vessel, enters lock E-2.  All 34 locks in the Erie Canal can accommodate vessels up to 300′ x 43.5′ x 12′, although the locks in the western half can only be reached if airdraft is less than about 15.’ The past four years I’ve worked as onboard lecturer on this vessel and her twin.  Her superstructure has been lowered to 21′ so that she can fit under the low bridges along the way to Lake Ontario.

The water below lock E-2 is 15.2′ above sea level.

The record year for commercial cargo on the Canal, then referred to as the Barge Canal, was 1951, when records show 5,211,472 tons of cargo was transported, most of it petroleum in units like Carmelite II,  built in Brooklyn in 1941, pushing Hygrade No. 26 into lock E-2.

In May 2018, the Canal opened for the 100th season;  yachts of substantial size enter the lowest lock of the flight vying to be part of the first locking through, and

local school children sing welcome songs as these vessels exit the top of E-2 on opening day, guaranteeing they’ll never forget their Waterford welcome.

On the south side of lock E-3 you can see a Canal maintenance dry dock and to the left, the shops.  When the area is flooded, boats are floated in via the gates at the far (west) end.

Today this slope has extensive tree cover.  Without tree cover, you can clearly see that the flight resembles a staircase, each lock raising vessels just over 30′.  For archival photos , the digital collections of the NYS Archives are a great place to spend many hours as we make our way west.

This photo is taken from lock E-5  eastward down to E-4 and beyond. Note the blue catwalk just beyond the railings atop the lock gates.

This is from that catwalk as tug Frances pushes a barge toward lock E-5, and

the same view in winter.  Click here for archival photos of this area taken in 1911.

The Canal is increasingly a recreational space, and in summer 2019, hundreds of kayaks transited through the lock.  I’ve seen these locks operated for a single racing shell and spotter boat.

Above lock E-6, a series of guard gates protects the flight.  Twenty-some guard gates, like these,  are used in the system.

When the Canal was constructed, places like these–seen above today– needed to be excavated.

At the top of the flight, we are 184′ above sea level.  In less than two miles, we’ve transited five locks, of 57 total in the system, and been raised about 160.’  Since we are heading for Lake Ontario at Oswego in this part of the tour, we’ve got 24 locks and over 185 miles left.

In the next post we head west.

And a postscript . . .  these photos show more boats in the locks and waterway than is typical, but shots with boats in the waterway, which I’ve taken over the many transits I’ve made, are just more interesting.

Preface:  There’s a new heading at top of the page called “virtual tour.”  Covid-19 has changed everything. Now it’s not alarming to walk into a bank or business establishment wearing a mask.  Many people commute from bedroom to desk, and a really long commute is one that involves stairs.  I’ve been to a few remote concerts already this week,  and virtual travel is happening without getting beamed up or down.   Webinars and Virtual guides are popping up everywhere, and zooming has a whole new meaning.

Today I begin posting a “virtual tour” across New York state by the waterway that changed our national history.  You don’t need a ticket or a passport or a subscription.  We’ll take some zigs into the surrounding land, and some zags into history because we don’t need to stay between the channel markers.  Transit from the Hudson River to Lake Ontario will take ten posts, ten days.  Also, to avoid confusion, click here to find the distinction between 1825 Clinton’s Ditch, the 1862 Enlarged Erie Canal, and the 1918 Barge Canal, today often referred to as the Erie Canal.  I’ll point out some vestiges of the 19th-century waterway.  That distinction and other terms are defined here.  Yes, some parts of the canal have been filled in, but those parts were obsolete already.  Sal would certainly saunter along if he could, but he’s got other duties.  Besides, Sal’s been replaced by Cats and Cummins and other mechanical critters.

Here’s a good place to start:  a weathered and water-stained distance table I saw in the wheelhouse of 1932 Canal tug Seneca. Although I don’t know the date of printing, the table clearly comes from a time when commercial traffic on the Canal made runs between the sixth boro to Lakes Erie and Ontario routine.  I’ll refer to it for distances now and again.  In this series, we’ll head to Three Rivers Point, and then take the Oswego Canal/River to Lake Ontario.

We’ll begin just south of Waterford, the eastern terminus of the current Canal.  Approaching from Troy on the Hudson, you’ll see

this sign in the town of Waterford indicating the entrance to the Canal, branching off to port.

Waterford, a town of just under 9000, is a fantastic stopping point for boats even today.  Note the red brick visitor’s center and just to the right, the bridge leading over to Peebles Island.  That Second Street/Delaware Ave bridge links this to a few photos farther below, taken decades apart.

Before plunging into history, have a look at where these boats come from.  Double click on most photos to get larger version.  Often recreational boats,sometimes loopers, tie up there for information and provisioning; international yachts . . .

Great Lakes work boats,

and self-described slow rollers.  We’ll roll quite slow too, to smell the flowers and avoid  . .  you know . . what Sal might’ve left behind.

To this day, commercial vessels that can squeeze under the 112th Street Bridge congregate in Waterford in early September each year for the Tugboat Roundup.

Can you spot the one tugboat that appears in both photos, above and below, taken more than a half century apart?  It’s Urger, whose story is long and involved and can be deciphered here.  The self-propelled barge, aka Eriemax freighter, on the wall to the right is Day-Peckinpaugh, which transported cargo on the canal from 1921.  She’ll come up again later in the trip.

Note the same Peebles Island bridge?  Judging by the barges, I’d place this photo at about a century old, back when the Barge Canal-iteration of the Erie Canal opened.  The archival photos throughout the series come from the Digital Collections of the New York State Archives, and this is my credit.  Visit the New York State Museum also virtually here.

 

In the next post, we enter the flight.  For now, let’s hail the lock master on VHF and see if he’ll open gates.  Click on the link in the previous sentence, and scroll, to see the friendliest lock master in my experience;  as with anything, your experience maybe different. .

Consider this a work in progress. Nycanals.com maintains extensive info about every lock in the journey on their site.

Any additions, corrections, or other comments are appreciated.  I have literally thousands of photos of the canal, but would welcome your best as well. I’d love to make this an ever-growing communal project.  Let me add one more from the 2008 Waterford Tugboat Roundup.

Again, black/white photos from New York State Archives, Digital Collections. Color photos WVD, unless otherwise stated.

Fred of tug44 created a systematic tour here several years ago.  Sally W went through the same itinerary from June 11 until 22 in2012.

 

Click here for a series of posts and photos of Wards Island from a point almost exactly four years ago, in mid November  when I spent a long day photographing the old crane ship on what was to be her last year working.   Today she lies at the bottom of Hempstead Reef, a few nautical miles of the west end of Jones Beach Island, in 50 to 70 feet of water. A map follows below.  I’d love to hear from anyone who has fished or dived on the reef during the past year, since she has graced the bottom with her hospitable presence.

Although I’ve posted some of these photos, the day I spent on her pulling Erie Canal navaids out of Oneida Lake was a magical day .  . mid November, but warm and without wind.  Enjoy this set.

Photos were taken from morning to night on November 16 and then the last one is November 17, 2015.  All are re-edited.

She ran, if not quite like a deer.

Heading eastbound into the Lake had the look of space flight.

 

For a crane ship fashioned from a double-ended ferry, she plucked buoys from the water quite efficiently,

replacing them with ice buoys, of the right color of course.

 

 

 

But for November,

it was an enviable day for photos.

Some of the navaids in the Lake rest on concrete-capped shoals, islands.

At the end of the day, all buoys were transferred to a barge so that Wards Island had cleared decks for the next day of work.

 

Click on the DEC map below to get to an interactive map.

Click on the photo below to see more of the Flickr photo stream from which it was taken.

All photos not otherwise attributed taken in November 2015 by Will Van Dorp, who is eager to see photos of her taken in her watery home.

And as a wise friend, frequent commenter here has said in relation to another vessel, “[New boats] have come along to supplant and surpass their predecessors. We should count ourselves fortunate to have known so many of the elegant and durable old-timers while they were still around, and feel privileged to help transmit their images and stories into the future.”    Thanks, Lee

 

 

November 2009 saw the USS New York (LPD-21) arrive in her namesake city for christening commissioning. Just faintly, the name is visible on the stern.

I also went up to the Lyons NY dry dock in November 2009 and caught Urger, then in seasonal layup. Five years were to go by before I did my season on this Barge Canal tugboat.  May she return!

Firefighter was still working in the sixth boro.

Stephen was working then too, and she’s still working today.

Cape Ann’s Essex Creek is hardly the sixth boro, but you can get there from here . . . . and Essex MA is one of my favorite places, although –truth be told–I’ve been there only once since 2009.

Some miles north of Essex Creek is the Piscataqua River, and back then these were the horses in Moran’s stable on Ceres Street:  Carly A. Turecamo, Mary M. Coppedge, and Eugenia Moran.  Carly‘s now in Maine with Winslow, Eugenia is maybe laid up, and Mary M. is still working there . . . but again I’ve not been there in almost two years.

And finally . . .  she who need not be named alongside a dock in Philly.

Any since we’re on the retired undefeated speed champion, let’s zoom in on the “crow’s nest” in these next two photos . . .

Not my photo although I felt like talent that day . . .   Here and here are more photos from that day, in 2014.

This last photo is by Chris Ware.  All others by Will Van Dorp.

 

Let’s go back to September 2009.  CMA CGM Marlin, launched 2007,  was the standard size back then . . .  The 5092-teu vessel has since been scrapped, after only nine years of service!!

Over a dozen sailing barges came to NYC to sail in New York waters in commemoration of the 400th anniversary of the Half Moon arriving here all those years ago.  Here are more posts from back then. Groenevecht, below, is a 2000-built replica of a lemsteraak.

Also in town to celebrate were Onrust and HNLMS Tromp. Here’s more on Tromp.

Old and new came.  On one end of the spectrum was Day Peck, 

her great hold still waiting to be transformed into museum.

Urger still operated, here sidling up to Lehigh Valley 79.

A different Rosemary McAllister worked here.

Irish Sea (1969) was still at work.

Yessir, stuff changes.  All photos in September 2009 by Will Van Dorp.

 

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