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Picking up this retrospective post with the beginning of May 2015, it’s a nearly 40-year-old and tired Barents Sea, waiting then as now for what’ll likely be a “fish habitat” future.


The end of May saw Quantico Creek move Mary Whalen to its public space over in Atlantic Basin.  Was there a docking pilot calling it out from the drone?


Here’s first glimpse of an early June trip I’ve never reported on via this blog.  More on this vessel will appear soon–currently working in the Dominican Republic.  The red vessel in the distance is F. C. G. Smith, a Canadian Coast Guard survey boat.


Eastern Dawn pushes Port Chester toward the Kills.


July opens with the ghost of Lafayette arriving back in the harbor aboard L’Hermione. Click here for the set of posts I did about this person. 


I’m omitting a lot from my account here;


The end of July brought me back to the south bank of the KVK watching Joyce D. Brown go by.   July was a truly trying month . .  is all I’ll say for now.


In early August Wavertree awaited the next step into its rehab, and I


made a gallivanting stop in New Bedford, a place I’d not visited in too long.



All photos by will Van Dorp.

I could have called this “unusual sail.”

That’s me in the two-person sailing Folbot back in 2002.  I had bought it back around 1998 from an ad I saw in a publication called Messing Around in Boats.  The gentleman who sold it said it had been in his barn for at least 30 years.  When I peeled off a layer of pigeon shit, the skin came off with it and exposed a wooden frame that broke down into pieces four-foot or shorter.  The hull, mast, leeboards, sail, rudder all could fit into a seabag, and I fancied myself, a show-off,  hiking up to a roadless mountain lake, assembling my vessel, and sailing  . . . in the clouds.

When I couldn’t sew a new skin or find someone who could do it–two different canvas shops took on the job and then backed out–I decided to skin it with leftover shrink-wrap boat covers,


reinforce the bow with duct tape, and go paddling.


It worked!  Here’s a blurry shot showing the insides . . . shrink-wrap and plastic strapping.


As time passed, I decided the Folbot could at least as be sculptural until such time that I find a canvas skin maker.


So this is the top of big room in my Queens cliff dwelling, where I should maybe keep some shrink-wrap and a heat gun handy to skin my boat in case the water level here rises.


And since I’ve invited you into my home, how about more of the tour.  Yes, that’s the stern of the Folbot in the center top of the photo and a spare one-seater kayak, which I cut-bent-glued-stitched at Mystic Seaport, to the left. [They appear not to offer the kayak building classes now.]   Only problem with the stitched kayak . . . the only egress/ingress is out the window, down 12′ onto a flat roof, and then down another 15′ onto the sidewalk.


In a pinch, you could make a kayak using a tarp, willow or similar shoots, and wire.  And in the long ago and far away department, here I was back in January 2005 sewing that kayak you see hanging to the left above . . .  10 hours of just sewing once the skin was on, per these plans.


Bending ribs right out of the steam box and


knotting together the bow pieces happened



prior to the actual two-needle sewing.


These last two pics are not mine but come from a Folbot publication from the 1960s.  The photo below shows what a later-model sailing Folbot–just out of the duffel bag– looked like.


Here’s what the publication says it looks like sailing.



For now, mine remains sculpture.

What better vessel to post about on the winter solstice than a lightship.  Here, here, and here are some previous ones.


This particular lightship I saw east of Rotterdam in May 2014.


It’s not particularly old, so I hope it’ll be a reminder in dark times into the distant future.


Here’s part of the story.


All photos by Will Van Dorp.

One more winter solstice post from the archives here, but this year I’m not thinking about the 182 or whatever days until the summer solstice.  Maybe it just feels like the world’s a darker place than it used to be and we need light and relief now.

aka GHP&W 2.  Macedon only became a port when Clinton built his ditch.  The ditch and subsequent iterations connected it to the sea.  When I took the photo below back on Oct 21 2014, eastbound on Urger, I felt very far from salt water.


But Chris Williams’ photo below, taken October 25, 2015, shows how connected Macedon is to the sixth boro and all watery places on Earth beyond the VZ Bridge.   Less than a week ago, I did a post about Margot, the tug frequently-seen in NYC that delivered this cargo to the port of Macedon.


Bob Stopper took the next set photos.  The fact that a Goldhofer semitrailer of 12 axles, 48 wheels,  is needed shows the weight of the cargo delivered across the state by NYS Marine Highway.  The land portion of the cargo transfer is provided by Edwards Moving and Rigging.

01rs12 axels

Here’s a closeup of the hydraulics at the front of the trailer.


Transfer from barge to trailer begins with the jacking up of the cargo.

02rsjacks under cargo


1No passing zone (1024x768)

At this point, there are 96 wheels under and moving the cargo.

2Ninety six wheels under the cargo (1024x768)


3Balancing and raising the barge (1024x768)


4By land and by sea (1024x611)


5Here she comes. Goodbye canal, Hello Plank Road (1024x768)

The next photo taken by Rob Goldman, and taken from the NYS Canal Corporation FB page,  on October 31, 2015, shows how the Edwards trailer moves the cargo, one huge piece at a time, off the barge and into the port of Macedon.


Macedon is one of those place names in central NY named for places or people in classical Greek and Roman history.    Others are Troy, Ithaca, Palmyra, Greece, Athens, Rome  .  .  .  and more;  people memorialized in town names here include Hannibal, Scipio, Pompey, Homer, Ulysses, Brutus  . . . .

Credit for these photos goes to Chris, Bob, and Rob.  My personal connection to Macedon includes the fact that I bought my first car there, less than a half mile from the Canal, and at the time had no clue that it was a port, that it could be connected to the oceans.

Here are previous “port of __” posts i’ve done.

And finally, unrelated, here from another even smaller NY canal port, here’s into on an auction below.


The title is such a mouthful that I’ll soon reduce it to GHP&W. Although this blog began with photos and observations of mostly working vessels in the great harbor associated with New York City, the watery part of which I call the sixth boro, the blog followed a course suggested by these vessels to other GHP&Ws. And given then the global nature of water traffic, it seems logical to devote at least a month to other GHP&Ws.

I’ll kick off with this post about a port I’ll likely never visit, the former Aral Sea fishing port of Moynaq in Uzbekistan.  The photos come from Getty Images by Bjorn Holland and Kelly Cheng. Surprisingly maybe, I live in a neighborhood of NYC where Uzbek is the dominant language, which was part of my motivation to read a Tom Bissell book called Chasing the Sea:  Lost among the Ghosts of Empire in Central Asia.  I highly recommend it.

So here are some detail areas of a huge aerial photo print I saw the other day.  Can anyone point to detail that confirms a date?  My guess is somewhere in the 50s or 60s.   The first photo below shows the southeast point of Bayonne NJ.  The peninsula bisecting the top and bottom is MOTBY.  Governors Island is upper right and the Statue is upper left with the southern tip of Manhattan along the top.


Below is a closer up of the lower right corner of the photo above, showing that tugboat, some barges, and two sets of  trucks  at the cement dock.


Note the Statue and Ellis Island.  To the left of it is now Liberty State Park.  The Caven Point Pier crosses the center of the photo and the current Global Terminal is still waiting for fill.


Below is the just capped landfill that is topped by the Bayonne Golf Club.   Lower left is quite the gunkhole with disintegrating watercraft I’d love to see a closeup of.


Remember that all the B/W “photos” above are parts of the same aerial shot.

Let’s have a fun month with lots of GHP&Ws.  And not to be too prescriptive, I’d love photos from a variety of GHP&Ws in Asia and Africa, mostly lacking in my previous 2900+ posts.  Of course, here and here are a few posts I’ve done on African ports; here,  Asian; and here and here, South American.

While I’m asking for collaboration, I have a chance to replicate a trip on a major African river that I originally did in 1973-74;  what I seek is leads to a publication that might be interested in the story and photos. The trip is pricey, and if I can sell a tale with photos, I can offset some of the expense. Anyone have ideas or connections?

Here’s an index for the previous in the series.

I got this photo in July 2003 in Oswego, the 1943 Bushey tug  WYTM-71 Apalachee.  I haven’t seen it since, although it was at one time in Cleveland.  Anyone know if it’s still there?


Here’s another Great Lakes tug, for now.  This photo of James A. Hannah was taken by Jan van der Doe in Hamilton harbor in late May 2015.  I posted it here then in this larger context.  And here in February 2012, thanks to Isaac Pennock.  Now I knew that James (LT-820, launched July 1945) was a sister to Bloxom (LT-653) and that the Hannah fleet had been sold off in 2009 in a US Marshal’s sale, but I hadn’t known until yesterday that the CEO of the Hannah fleet–Donald C. Hannah–was Daryl C. Hannah’s father!!  That Daryl Hannah!  But it gets even better, there once was a towboat named Daryl C. Hannah!  Anyone know what became of it?  Last I could find, it was on the bank of the Calumet River used as an office.  Updates?


As you can tell, this photo was taken in the East River.  It was July 2009 that Marjorie B. McAllister escorts Atlantic Superior as it heads for sea.  Any ideas where Atlantic Superior is today?   Actually, I know this one . . . after a long and eventful life, she powered herself over to China this year to be scrapped.


I haven’t seen Bismarck Sea here in quite a while, but last I knew, she was operating in the Pacific Northwest.


King Philip . . . went to Ecuador around 2012; Patriot Service is still working in the Gulf of Mexico, I believe.


And to round out this glance back, here’s a list of WW2 vessels still operating at the time of its compilation.  Many thanks to aka Fairlane for putting it together.

Thanks to Jan van der Doe for the Hannah photo;  all others by Will Van Dorp.

By the way, it was rewatching The Pope of Greenwich Village that got me to wonder about Daryl Hannah.

Here’s the index.

Since I grew up in western New York and my grandparents lived 30 or so miles off to the right of this photo, crossing this bridge happened several times a year.  It was by far the biggest bridge in my world.   That’s Canada to the right.


Baie Comeau (2013) upbound under the Thousand Islands Bridge

The bridge was completed in 1937, weeks ahead of schedule.  Canada, which appears to have no equivalent of the US-Jones Act, uses China-built vessels like Baie Comeau.  I saw a one-year-older sister here last October.


Over in Kingston, I learned this vintage but functional crane today had been mounted on a barge and used in the Thousand Island Bridge construction back in the 1930s. There are several cranes of this design along the Erie Canal, some also still functional.  For one, check out the sixth photo here.


In an archipelago called “thousand islands,” there’s need for lots of boats for commuting and transport.  Check out the lines of the white-hulled 25′ boat to the right.  Now check photos seven and eight in this post.  Spirit of Freeport is also a 25′ and it crossed the Atlantic!  A few more perspectives of Spirit of Freeport can be seen here, scroll through. To hear builder Al Grover, click here.


Click here for info on Jolly Island.


The proximity of Antique Boat Museum may draw classics here, wherever they might have been built.  Anyone identify the make?


Vikingbank has an interesting bow.


Clayton waterside with St. Mary’s steeple to the right.


Check out the etymology of “delfzijl

R/V Seth Green is a fisheries research vessel based in Cape Vincent.  Last year I caught the christening of another Lake Ontario research vessel here.


Wilf Seymour used to be M. Moran.


All photos by Will Van Dorp, who will add more photos from this watershed later.

Many thanks to Seaway Marine Group for conveyance.


Fleet Week is part of the official marking of Memorial Day in the six boros of NYC each year.  Maybe someone can tell me how long ago this tradition began.


DDG-55 Stout receives greeting from Fort Hamilton

This is the day set aside to honor those who died in America’s wars, but the listing earlier in this sentence does not list all of the skirmishes that resulted in the death of American military personnel.  Take the Battle of the Pearl River forts aka Battle of the Barrier Forts.   Know the details?  I’ll tell you about it in a minute, but I stumbled upon this neglected monument in NYC about five years ago.  It was overgrown.  The public couldn’t see it because it’s fenced off.


Barrier Forts Monument

As it turns out, the stonecutters misspelled two names here, and two others listed here as killed were not.


The Barrier Forts Monument is located inside a closed-to-the-public area of the Brooklyn Navy Yard.  For an interesting article on the battle and the monument, click here.  For a wikipedia treatment of the event, click here.

I stumbled onto the event depicted in the rest of the photos here last week and had only the phone camera.  Any ideas on what’s going on?



What I’d happened upon here is two workers of the NYC DPR Arts and Antiquities division cleaning up the Richmond Hill “doughboy” war memorial.  The crew told me they do this one each year in May as a preparation for today.


All of this brings me to a thought I’ve carried today.  I retire from teaching this month, a pensive process of deciding what comes next and revisiting students and colleagues from the years extending back to 1973 and in places in five countries where I’ve worked.

There was a student in one of my classes back in 1979 who died in Desert Storm in January 1991.  This link identifies her as Staff Sgt. Tatiana Khaghani Dees.  I knew her as  Tatiana Khaghani, a student on an F-1 visa in the US who wanted to be a lawyer.   A FB link goes on to describe her death this way, and I paste it in here, since not everyone does FB.

“USA SSG Tatiana Khaghani Dees, from Congers, NY in Rockland County but originally from Tehran, Iran drowned after stepping backwards off a pier in Dhahran while avoiding moving military cargo. She was unable to swim due to all the gear she was wearing. She was assigned to the 92nd Military Police Company, 93rd MP Battalion, 14th MP Brigade, V Corps based in Grafenwoehr, Germany. Tatiana leaves behind two children: Lena and Joseph. On 28 May 12, I received an email from Tatiana’s son Joseph. He thanked me “for remembering the great women who served our country” and included this photo of his mother.

According to SSG Bill Hancock: I wanted to clear up the events that lead up to Tatiana’s death. It is reported incorrectly on your site. Tatiana had immigrated from Iran to the United States and was assigned to 2nd platoon (squad leader) 92nd MP Co, 93rd MP Bn, 18th MP Brigade, (not the 14th MP Bde) from Baumholder, Germany. Tatiana and 2 soldiers in her squad were pulling guard duty at the port. They saw a man taking pictures from atop one of those large cranes. Tatiana sent her 2 soldiers up to investigate. Both soldiers handed Tatiana their M-16s so she was holding 3 M-16’s and wearing full gear including Kevlar and flak vest. She stepped back from the base of the crane to get a better view of her soldiers as they climbed when she fell into the water. She was found an hour or so later and still had all her gear on and the 3 M-16’s. I think she was found in 50’ of water around 11 p.m. She was a great squad leader and person. Her troops held her in high regard.”

For Tatiana, all those who have died in too many wars, and all the families, let’s keep some solemnity in this day.

Entirely related:  American war dead still abroad.

Also related, an 1889 poem written by John Greenleaf Whittier called “The Captain’s Well” 


Call this Simone at the “7” in the sixth boro. Bound for sea.


A large part of what drives my continuing this blog is the satisfaction of trying to capture the magic of the traffic in NYC’s harbor, what I call the sixth boro.  And some boats and companies conjure more magic than others in my very suggestible mind.  But take Simone, she ‘s not a new boat–1970-launched–but consider her recent itinerary:  a year ago she had just returned from Senegal, and a year and half ago she had traversed the Panama Canal at least twice and made trips to California and Hawaii.   I’m impressed by that.  This is why I left the farm all those years ago.


To digress just slightly, here’s a photo of Simone one day earlier than the ones I’ve taken.  Birk Thomas of tugboat took this.  This photo was taken just west of the Bayonne Bridge–looking south– and shows better than any photo I’ve seen the immense progress that’s being made of the raising of the Bayonne Bridge roadbed.


Meanwhile, enjoy the rest of these photos of Simone, here heading out with MSC Monica a smallish and oldish container vessel.




I’d be thrilled to get a job on a Tradewinds vessel, but for now I can watch Simone pass by and say “ah.”


Thanks to Birk for the photo already attributed, and all the others by Will Van Dorp, who says “ah.”

Here was a post from a year and a half ago when I missed Miss Lis.

As for Ipanema in the links above, I’ve been there, and here was the first of 25 posts from there.


I have not been back to a closeup of the scrapyard in the Arthur Kill since last spring, but recent correspondence both in the comments area of the blog and private and directly to me prompt this revisitation.  Click here to see the original post from August 2011.  Let me just add that this vessel–Bayou Plaqumine–was originally called Junior Mine Planter (JMP) MAJOR ALBERT G. JENKINS, built 1921 in Bay City. MI.  She didn’t become Bayou Plaquemine until after 1951.  The photo below shows her location since the early 1970s.


Here’s the view looking northward from Plaquemine‘s bow, and


from a slightly different vantage point.


and in the opposite direction.


Here’s the text of an email I received last week and for which I am very grateful.  “The Jenkins (aka Bayou Plaquemine) was captained by my grandfather, David B Nettles; the Jenkins was used to tow gunnery targets for the Navy and the shore batteries to take target practice with back in the 30’s in addition to her other duties while stationed in Pensacola, FL. My uncles and father all spent time aboard the Jenkins during their childhood and young adulthood. There was a second vessel stationed there as well,  a twin sister of the Jenkins. I have photos of both.  In fact I have one of the bronze bow emblems that was mounted to the Jenkins bow.  I know she was docked at Fort Barrancas and at times Old Fort Pickens. I grew up with many stories about the vessel being shared. The family is all gone now but me and cousin or two. So the stories are all but gone now.”

Cold and damp winter weeks are a time to celebrate the past by telling its stories and sharing photos of its many faces.  I hope this prompts more sharing.


I’ve paid attention to the recent activity on the blog in relation to “189 Ghost Ships,” including a question I received today about anyone having photos of the ghost fleet maintenance crew, including 85!! civilian employees.  I’d love to see and post some of these photos if you are willing to scan them and share using my email address on the upper left hand side of the main tugster blog page.

By the way, sometimes conversation happen on the FB side of this blog;  I’d rather they happen here so that archiving of comments is more certain than on FB.

All photos here by Will Van Dorp and taken in May 2010 and August 2011.   If you want to see more of the scrapyard and a few of the stories, please order Graves of Arthur Kill.  Click on the image of the DVD to get ordering info.


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Graves of Arthur Kill

Click on image below to order your copy of Graves of Arthur Kill, by Gary Kane and Will Van Dorp. 3Fish Productions.

Seth Tane American Painting

Read my Iraq Hostage memoir online.

My Babylonian Captivity

Reflections of an American hostage in Iraq, 20 years later.

Tale of Two Marlins

Blue Marlin spent 600+ hours loading tugs and barges in NYC Sixth Boro. Click on image for presentation made to NY Ship Lore and Model Club, July 25, 2011.


February 2017
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