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I shouldn’t be surprised to find pricey boats in a city like NYC, but I still am.  I took the first two photos here in Chelsea Piers, and I imagined their understated elegant lines meant they were affordable.  Well, maybe they are easily affordable by the incoming executive branch standards, but for most folks, not so much.  Look them up . . . Van Dutch boats.


I also shouldn’t be surprised how fast some boats travel on the Hudson, but this one flew past at


least 35 knots, and it wasn’t small.  I’ve no idea who the manufacturer is.


Traveling in the canal makes for a slower pace, with people going for the distance, like


Pioche.  They must know about some new navigation canal infrastructure plans I’m not privy to.  And I wonder who they hope to meet in Pioche.


If I bought another cruising boat, I’d want something like this . . .


here upbound the St Lawrence.  I’m not positive it’s a pleasure boat, but PCF does not mean patrol craft, fast.  It could be Provincial C___  for Fisheries?


I’m not sure what this is, besides a boat.  Anyone know the story?  She was up north of the Scarano barns in Albany.



All photos by Will Van Dorp.

She’s here–to the right–it’s Manhattan II, Classic Harbor Line’s latest tour boat in the sixth boro.  The Manhattans operate parts of three seasons.


And along the same stretch of dock, earlier this year was Lady May, a 150′ Feadship.  Last year in Netherlands, I kayaked with a Feadship employee who loved building these vessels but loved kayaking the canals there even more.


Also, back in August I espied Knickerbocker on the Sound, so I came down to North Cove to see her close up.


I’m not sure the size of her crew. Anyone know?  And where does one apply?


Here’s more of the Scarano sixth boro fleet.


Here’s a Robert Frank article inside a recent edition of the NYTimes about a 274′ Feadship yacht with a crew of 26 and a hybrid power plant capable of 18 knots.

Click here and here for some other megayachts.  Here’s a Feadship heading out to sea.


A Nordhavn 62 . . .  ??  exiting the Erie Canal last weekend.  Professional delivery crew?


It was interesting that something they saw on the bulkhead in Waterford prompted them to do a 180 and try to squeeze onto the bulkhead.  Was it thoughts of dining on sausage and onions washed down with a Keegan Ale?  Port of registry here–Port Colbourne–marks the southern point of the Welland Canal.


At 73′ Sea Fox pulled into Morris Canal recently.


Sutton Island lies just south of Acadia National Park.


Two-Can is a repurposed North Sea fishing trawler . . . at near 90′ and built in Urk in 1968.


I took the photo below of Wanderbird in May 2013, and I don’t know if it’s still for sale, but when I visited Belfast recently there was another


and newer Wanderbird in the yard.  I wonder what the story is, and where the black-hulled version now floats.


Top Hat  . . . with its own Mount Desert origins . . .  I’m not sure how much it’d cost,  but it looks like a million dollars.






And bringing this back to the sixth boro . . . Jamaica Bay, an unlikely name it seems, came in the Narrows on Friday.


This 200′ yacht was built in Rendsburg along the Kiel Canal in 2010.



Closing shot . . .  Makulu heading for the sound via the East River this week.  In the late 90s and early 00s this ketch sailed around the world at least three times as an educational project.  It appears now she’s for sale or sold.  ??


All photos by Will Van Dorp.

Personal disclosure:  I used to enjoy playing football, but I’ve never watched a Super Bowl game.  I certainly have no feelings at all about any team, any sport.  But with all this talk of seahawks and broncos on ground hog day, I’m not oblivious: ground pork meatballs will go in my lunch stew.  This morning over coffee I decided to look up the history of the two teams soon to engage in New Jersey.  So the first owner of the broncos originally (prior to 1960) had a team called the bears.   And one of the two first investors in the seahawks was a Ned Skinner, scion of the Skinner & Eddy shipyard in Seattle and himself last owner/operator of the Alaska Steamship Company.

Anyhow . . . enjoy this digressive post, one that zags and zigs through a number of critters–like Stolt Bobcat–I’ve seen in the past year, as


well as this unusual logo on the side of a junked truck,


first signs of winter on the sixth boro,


my favorite fishing bird,


a quite effective gull,


my company atop a mountain in January River,


disciples of a certain waterborne tagger along the KVK,


the only good rat I’ve seen in a while over at Sal Polisi’s shop near South Street Seaport,


a beached shark, and finally


some docked rays struggling in the light of morning sun’s rays over by Owl’s Head.  And speaking of rays and ground hog . . .


I’m guessing Staten Island and Punxsutawney pick on ground hogs just because there are no convenient bears or badgers around to consult about winter weather.

Last critter word here, see a sea hawk and a bronco go toe-to-toe here.

Here was an earlier critter post.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp, who’s now off to grind the pork.

Ooops!  here’s one more critter link . . . from gCaptain, an inside look at a cattle/livestock carrier.

And another loops!  Read this NJstarledger article about birds here.

Aug 31.  A late summer day at the beach, where a new “towel drying rack” has been adopted and a bumper crop


of sand awaits the erosion of winter, perhaps?  All photos here taken by Barbara Barnard.


Sept 1.  A tug (Trevor?) moves a crane barge to where the “drying rack”/piping needs to be fished out for transport to the next job.


Sept 13.  The remaining pipe on the beach, no longer serving to dry swimmers’ towels, awaits dismantling and



allows for closer inspection.



This Rockaway series was of course motivated by Hurricane Sandy and the photos of Rockaway by my friend Barbara in the past 12 months.  Barbara, many thanks.   Here was my Nemo to Flag Day post, which started with a mystery house.

And now it looks like the Nola “make it right” rebuilding plan is coming to the Rockaways.  Click here for the design for “resilient house.”    Here’s an earlier article.

Click here for a project/business entirely created by the devastation of trees during the storm.  It’s not maritime, water,  or even specifically landthreshold related, but is quite interesting.

The other side of the boro . . . the strand on Coney Island, sees a visitation of finnyfolk, who briefly leave the water for this sun festival.  Enjoy this field guide to western North Atlantic merpeople.  These came  in a replica of Nefertiti’s royal barge.

These seemed influenced by both 1960s popular music and bowsprite’s logo, and

these . . .  by abandoned rowboats . . .  .

Bubbles emanate . . . maybe from lungs not yet fully functioning.

The appearance of merpopulations triggers camerafolk, some of whom work alone with archaic gear, and

others that swarm, especially as mermaids apply their version of  . . .  cosmetics?

Lest anyone appear a threat, they bring in formidable security.

But otherwise, they just love to dance the

sun dance to their

own musicians who work with strings and wind and


Some have ideas about politics and

activism;  others


Some mermaids, residing underwater as do hulls of boats, like boats need a haircut and a shave.

Some experience low-oxygen shock in the Coney summer air, as

they dance and

dance and take a break only for

recording it all for posterity.

And posterity surely should remember the color

and line.

Happy sun dance day.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp.

Labor Day weekend is upon us again, but I can’t remember when it seemed quite this polarized, although if you read the first two sentences in the section here called “history,” maybe the celebration of the day was born in conflict, polarization, and then reaching out for solidarity.  Check out the Post editorials from the  Washington  and the Huffington.  I liked this foto essay in the New York Times Magazine here.

For many of the first 20 years of my life, living on a farm where Labor Day was a holiday in name only since harvest had to be taken then, I heard that on “labor day” one labored.  End of story.   And that was not such a bad way to spend the day.  Work challenges,







and ultimately feeds us, and others.

Happy Labor Day, whatever you do or don’t do.

Al fotos by Will Van Dorp.

Janis Joplin did my all-time favorite rendition of Summertime.  I like how she takes it furiously into flight, almost like these boats, her sibilants and band’s cymbals in places like electric cicadas.

Boats are jumping . . . er getting on plane . . .

If your daddy’s rich . . . or at least willing to put some money into a boat . . . that is if he can after the S & P downgrade .  ..

One of these mornings you’re gonna rise up singing…

Then you’ll spread your wings and take to the sky . . .  or not.  This one seems more like it’ll head for the submarine races or something . . . .

But hush little baby . . . one of these will

take to the sky . . .  one of these mornings . .  or afternoons.

If your daddy’s rich and your moma’s good looking

Or if you’re lucky when you play the flight board . . .  with StndAIR…

Then you really might finally spread your wings and  (leaping over the East River Ferry) . . . .

take the sky…   topping the crown of Queens.

That’s Will Van Dorp’s version, who took these fotos.  Here’s Janis Joplin’s, once when she kept it together and did nothing to harm herself.  A seaplane on the East River appeared here quite long ago.  Still, these booted seaplanettes pale in comparison with the old Aeromarine airships that used to link the North and Raritan Bay with Florida.

Some interesting postscripts:

1) BRBRbrooklyn caught FDNY’s greeting SUNY Maritime’s Empire State return this morning . . . while I was still drinking my coffee!!

2)  Hats off to Stephen Askew, superintendent of North River Waste Treatment Plant, for his recent heroic captaining of a raft, a true friend of all denizens of the sixth boro.

3) News about the “troop carrier” found buried deep in the foundation of the World Trade Center . . . .   Revolutionary War troop carrier that is.

A WTF!@#@! postscript too”

Lady Liberty appears in many fotos on this blog, including one above.  Do you know what Rev. John Benefiel thinks about Bartholdi’s lady?    Fie!!!

All fotos here were taken by Scot Surbeck and come thanks to Julian Marsano, who blogs as PioneerSailing.  The moral of the story is that extreme weather can move in quickly, as happened two weeks ago when a squall galloped into the sixth boro at 30 mph, bringing in 45+ mph gusts.    Manhattan Sailing School J-24s were racing in regular midweek evening regatta under the flag of Manhattan Sailing Club.  Gusts hit Great Republic first, the boat with GR on the sail, knocking her flat.

With no warning, safety talks had to translate into immediate action.

Great Republic sank to the bottom of the harbor.  No one was hurt.

Read Julian’s reflections here.    So even on the Dead Sea, be alert and practiced.

Thanks much to Julian for these pics and this story.

Unrelated entirely, thanks to Matt Soundbounder for this youtube showing F/V Miss China  shredded.  Here’s a foto of Miss China five years earlier still commercially viable.

Some previous posts with lighthouses can be seen here,  here and here, but  more hide in the archives of this blog.

Question:  any guesses what/where this structure is?  Answer follows.

Dry Tortugas Light on Loggerhead Key–three miles from Fort Jefferson– first illuminated navigators in 1858, this month 143 years ago.

This National Park Service pdf about Loggerhead Key details its interesting history since the 1819 Adams-Onis Treaty, when La Florida was transformed Spanish to United States territory.

The first light in the Dry Tortugas-a place to stock up on turtle meat-was first lit in 1826, but according to the tour guide, that brick light tower was razed in 1877 because its location too often directed approaching vessels over reefs to their doom.

Fort Jefferson-the unfinished coastal fortress also known as the second largest masonry structure on Earth (after the Great Wall of China)–would never have been started if the US government had heeded the 1825 recommendation of US Navy Commodore David Porter (adoptive father of the future Admiral David G. Farragut!!) because of its lack of fresh water and stable bedrock for foundations.  Four years later, the US government accepted the recommendation of the next Commodore–John Rodgers–and began construction of the structure that failed in the ways Porter predicted and was obsolete before it approached completion.

By the way, Porter had an intriguing career, including being prisoner of both the Barbary pirates (1803-5)  and the British Navy (1814) but also  Captain of US naval vessels, court-martialee after his unauthorized invasion of Fajardo, commander-in-chief of the Mexican Navy (1826-29),   and US ambassador to the Barbary States and Turkey.  Imagine someone trying to do those things in that order today.

In the foto below, notice the different colored bricks.

The iron light tower  built into a wall of Fort Jefferson served from 1877 until 1912.

The bricks of different colors reflect the origin of the brick:  again . . . according to the tour guide, bricks produced in the South before the Civil War have resisted time well.  After 1861, bricks came here from Maine (!) and have fared less well in this climate.

If you imagine you see window air conditioners where guns should be, you are NOT imagining that.  National Park Service employees live inside the Fort and have added contemporary creature comforts.

Dry Tortugas is 70 miles west of Key West; only six miles out is Sand Key Light, shimmering astern of Western Union beyond the green buoy.

Key West Light–through various remodelings– has stood here since 1847.

Less than a block away is the house where Hemingway lived in the 1930s.

You might call it a “cat house” today, where the dozens of poly-toed cats have names like Picasso and Dickinson and Truman . . .

A mariner who shall remain nameless claims to have briefly sat in Hemingway’s chair and typed on his keys.  Well, be advised . . . that’s just not possible any more.

Time for a few Hemingway quotes?    “There is no rule on how to write. Sometimes it comes easily and perfectly; sometimes it’s like drilling rock and then blasting it out with charges.”    And   “The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them.”

But check out this title!   I’d imagined he’d say something like “There is no way to make good pictures . . . the best way to make them is  . . . to make them.”

At least Hemingway had taste in naming his boat . . . which I hope to see some day, not easy to do because Pilar is at Finca Vigia in  Cuba.  More fotos here.  Pilar was once in Brooklyn!  Brooklyn’s Wheeler Shipyard (I believe it was in or near the Navy Yard) made out a bill of sale to the writer on April 18, 1934 for a “38-foot twin cabin Playmate cruiser” with “one [75 hp] Chrysler Crown reduction gear engine” and “4-cylinder Lycoming straight drive engine” for trolling for a grand total of $7455.  For a thread on a discussion board related to Pilar, click here.    Pilar was Hemingway’s q-boat.

My question is this:  How did Pilar get from Brooklyn to Key West?  Did someone make a delivery by water?  Ship?  Train?   And does anyone know if Valhalla, Pilar’s sistership, has been restored after its accidental sinking in 2007?

So that first building . . . here’s the rest of it as seen from Jacksonville Beach.  It’s the 1946-built Art Deco life saving station, not a lighthouse at all.  A beauty though.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp.

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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.


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