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Here’s an article published by the USCG on this profession. And here’s my article/photos from the October 2016 issue of Professional Mariner on Lakes Pilots Association, District 2.  The photos in this post are outtakes from that article.

Below the captain of Huron Belle maneuvers into position to switch a District 2 pilot for a District 3 pilot on an upbound ship at the south end of Lake Huron.

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Here Great Lakes tugs Mississippi and

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Nebraska finesse a ship to negotiate a narrow bridge span on the Maumee River, as guided

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by a Lakes District pilot.  Imagine calling the commands to ship’s helm and tugs on bow and stern while watching this evolution from the bridge wing  700′ back from where the ship steel could splinter the bridge wood and steel. A seiche here can cause the river to run upstream, and that bridge, which sees a fair amount of water traffic, is a midwest version of the Portal Bridge.

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Pilots read the water as well as a plethora of tools to keep shipping without incident. Mark Twain said that as a pilot he “mastered the language of the river,”  and that’s still a requirement today.

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And there’s always the transfer of pilots, which represents a significant risk.

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This was a calm day, but in adverse conditions,

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this is a challenge not to be understated.

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Almost all photos here by Will Van Dorp.

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Here are the previous posts I’ve done on the wind farm southeast of Block Island.  I took the photo below on June 27, as blades to spin the turbines arrived in Narragansett Bay.

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Rod Smith took the rest of these photos in late July and early August.

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It shows Brave Tern as it prepared to sail out to the farm, deploy its sea legs . .  aka spuds  . .

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and put the caps atop the columns onto the bases.

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For the specs on Brave Tern, you can check them out here,

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or here,

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or

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here.

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And check out the froth from her stern!

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To keep up with construction off Block Island, check out the Deepwater Water site.  Or for even more updates, friend them on FB.

Many thanks to Rod Smith for all these photos except the first one.

I hope to get out that way in October.

Let’s start with one that I can’t identify, other than by its name . . . Charlie E, I believe.  I took this photo in Port Colborne.

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I was wrong when I thought McKeil’s Sharon M I was an ex-Candies tug like Na Hoku or Greenland Sea.  It turns out she was built in Japan.

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I can’t ever remember seeing a heaping load of coal like this . . .

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Petite Forte was docked also along the Welland Canal with barge St. Mary’s Cement.

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I’ll put up a pilot boat post soon.  Meanwhile, can you identify this pilot boat?

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Jaclyn is a 41′ tug built in 1967.

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Joncaire, it turns out, is an important name in Niagara history.

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Eagle is a 57′ tugboat built in 1943 and operating out of Cleveland. Here she heads for the outer harbor.

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All photos by Will Van Dorp, who is unpacking as quickly as possible, and preparing to repack soon.

We had a long transit from Detroit to Mackinac, so here are a lot of photos, starting with Federal Kumano and Ambassador Bridge in the distance;

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passing steel operations,

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and the mailboat Westcott.

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Near central Detroit a pilot boards Federal Kumano from Huron Maid.

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Entering Lake St. Clair, we pass Philip R. Clarke, 

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followed by Lubie in China township,

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Radcliffe R. Latimer, 

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Great Lakes Maritime Center,

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lightship Huron,

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and as we headed unbound into Lake Huron, we passed Arthur M. Anderson . . . the last vessel in contact with the Fitzgerald before she was taken by Superior.

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This was sunrise nearing the end of this leg, and in the night and distractions, I missed Alpena.

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This post closes with Buffalo, as she leaves the Mackinac Bridge behind her.

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All photos by Will Van Dorp.

 

Each year around this time, SUNY Maritime cadets go to sea.  Click here for photos from last year’s departure and here, for ports throughout the summer.  You can track the vessel here.

Here was a clue that a ship was headed this way.

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The next three photos here come from Roger Munoz, high atop the 74th St ConEd plant.

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That’s Roosevelt Island on the other side, at the southern tip of which i waited.

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Here the training ship passes under the 59th Street Bridge,

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and past the Empire State Building . . .

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escorted by a fireboat and

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two McAllister tugboats.

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Some of the cadets who made this journey last summer are already employed as professional mariners today.  And somewhat related, any guesses how long ago this particular T/S Empire State, the VI,  was launched?  Click here for info on her former life.   To see some dramatic shots of the knife edge cutting through the middle of the Atlantic, click here.  If you’re impatient, jump ahead to the 3-minute mark.

Thanks much to Roger Munoz, a SUNY grad,  for the three photos from high atop the East River.

And here is a time lapse gif of ES VI passing, thanks to Rand Miller.

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Click on the photo below to learn more about it, taken in late January 118 years ago.

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Here’s that same location last week.  Sorry about holding the camera crooked;  if I straighten it out now, the 1845 lighthouse disappears.

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The guys sitting on the seawall to the extreme left are tour bus drivers.  Did you notice the two tour buses on the central ridge line in the photo above?

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A little farther into the port I saw Sea Wolf A, 72′ x 23′ built by Damex in Santiago in 1996, and in spite of this info, not laid up. You can find more info here by using the “find” feature.

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Alnair . . . I have no information on her. Anyone help?

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And a pilotboat . . . is a pilotboat, not to disparage pilots and their skills in any way whatsoever.

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Can you guess the white ship whose hull dwarfs the pilot?

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Find the answer here.

All photos by Will Van Dorp, who was on a journalistic mission.

Click here for posts about many other ports.

I’ve lived most of my life on one side of the Atlantic or another, which leaves me unfamiliar with the Pacific.  Thanks to Mage, frequent commenter on this blog, here’s a classic Pacific vessel, one built at Manuel Goularte’s yard in San Diego in 1914.  According to information on her filed with the National Register of Historical Places, “her active life of 1914 to present, Pilot has enjoyed the longest continuous career of any working watercraft in the western hemisphere.”

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These photos were taken by George Bailey, Mage’s husband.  Click here and scroll to see a photo of Pilot in 1916!  99 years ago.  Click here for a 5-minute documentary featuring Pilot.

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My “reading around” turns up Manuel Goularte in connection with another West Coast classic, Butcher Boy.”

Unrelated:  Grace Quan is another classic although replica West Coast boat I’d love to see.   The idea of a west coast trip is an itch I’m going to have to scratch soon!

 

I’ve never been to St. John, but Justin Zizes has recently on a voyage from the sixth boro, and he sent along these photos, ones that give a snapshot of one moment on a track into port.  The pilot boat meeting the ship was Capt. A. G. Soppitt

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Atlantic Spruce is Canadian built.

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Some other Atlantic Towing Limited (hardly limited!!) vessels at the base:  From right to left:  Atlantic Bear, Spitfire III, Atlantic Beaver, and Atlantic Hemlock.

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Again, thanks to Justin for these photos.  And let me reiterate that I’m really happy about the collaboration on tugster these days, especially these days that I’m busy like crazy with an endeavor I don’t want to talk about yet.  It’s good.  I’d be interested in a series of ports to which vessels sail from the sixth boro, as is the case with St. John.

 

A jolly tar sent me some photos that could be a continuation of Other Watersheds 17.  He was there recently, and these photos add to my desire to get back up there, since it’s been 25 years since I last saw this place.

Note the pilot boat.  Now I’ll use his words:  “MAERSK PALERMO northbound on St. Lawrence possibly bound for Nova Scotia or proceeding to sea.
Bridge in background connects mainland to Ile D’Orleans.  River SMOKES when it ebbs – 5+KTS.”

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To see Ocean Charlie (1973) in exactly the same location in February, click here. Quebec City has an average January temperature of 9 F, compared with 30 for the sixth boro. If you want cold, go up to Quebec’s north country to Inukjuak, where the average January temperature is -12 F.

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Ocean Tundra (2013) was built at Ocean’s own shipyard.   To her stern is Ocean K. Rusby (2005).  And the grain silos have also served as a projection screen.

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Ocean Echo II (1969)  is a pin boat.

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Ocean Guide returns from a call, fighting a current.

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From a month ago, here are some other Ocean tugs, these in Hamilton.

For the entire Ocean tugboat fleet, click here.

Again, many thanks to the jolly tar.

For some stats on Canadian ports, click here.  Montreal–upriver from Quebec City– is one the the big four Canadian container ports; for info on the four, click here.

I’d love to know more about this launch . . . in terms of engine and performance.

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“Launch” is what the pilot service calls this.

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And this is the PSV (pilot station vessel) Polaris, which has operated off the Port of rotterdam for three plus years now.

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For some great photos of pilot vessels all over the world, check this site by Mirjam Terpstra.  Click here for more of her photos before Polaris was in service.

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Many thanks to Freek Koning via Fred Trooster for these photos. Freek, a few years ago, asked me to try to discover the disposition of this former Royal Dutch Navy tugboat.  My letters to various addresses in the USCG in reference to the lost tug went unanswered.

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Graves of Arthur Kill

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Seth Tane American Painting

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My Babylonian Captivity

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

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