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This is a singular image, a 1969 tugboat in a century-and-a-half-old graving dock in Brooklyn.  Some of you maybe saw it on FB, but not everybody wades in FB waters.  What makes this photo so powerful to me is such a combination of composition, subject matter, and light that different people will look at this and see not all the same things.  Some might see beauty, and others defeat . . . or power, or fatigue, expense, challenge . . . .  It strikes me as not unlike this Mark Twain passage on conflicting ways of seeing a river.  And I’ll stop myself here.

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Click here for a favorite I took of the 1969 YTB-803 Nanticoke, now Robert E. McAllister.

Thanks again to Donald Edwards for permission to use this exquisite photo.

And while we’re on a Mark Twain morning, at the end of this post is a clue to my summer/fall employment.

. ..  make that boats and ships.  Thanks to Allen Baker for sending along this set of T-AKR 294 Antares moving out of GMD back in January 2010.  Yup, some drafts get caught in an eddy and they spin round and round never getting posted.  But I’m a believer that late is better than never.

Antares is a Fast Sealift vessel.  Other Fast Sealift ships can be found here.

Charles D and Ellen McAllister assist her stern first out and

spin her around to head for sea.

Recent other government boats include this NJ State Police launch and

this one I’ve never seen before.  (Or since, unless it’s been repainted)

One more, here’s  300 of the New York Naval Militia.

First three fotos come thanks to Allen Baker, from early 2010.  Others are mine.

Back in 2008, I had a chance to see a VS-driven tug for the first time here and here.  Since that time, this tug has become Matthew McAllister, a Narragansett Bay-based tug which is McAllister’s only VS tug.  A local set of boats with VS props is operated by the Staten Island ferry.  Here’s a post that shows the ferries’ VS system out of the water.

But I digress.  The question in this post is  . . . where do these props come from?  How big and heavy are they?

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There are two in this park in Portsmouth VA, and

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on both, on the “hub,” there’s info.  I’ve seen this before on tug Pegasus here.

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Diameter . . . 28′ and almost 40 tons each!  They’re from one of these oilers. 

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All photos by Will Van Dorp, who has left for sea and will be in the signal-free zone for a few weeks.  The robot will put up a few more posts, but don’t expect any answers to questions, as I might not have a signal until early February, when I hope also to have some new tales to tell.

As was true yesterday, all photos today were taken in the first 12 hours of 2016.  For Chatham, the last tug I saw in 2015, the year end/start distinction was likely irrelevant.  No doubt the same holiday treats were out in the galley in the wee hours of 2016 as were a few hours before in 2015.

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From a different angle as last night, here are Michael J,

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Camie,

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and the “weather tugs.”  I’m happy the precipitation of December 31 has ceased.

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Although some people movers waited in reserve, 

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another was cross-crissing the Elizabeth.  By the way, is this the same James C. Echols?  Is it still LNG powered?  Does anyone know where the new ferries are being built and delivery dates?

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The quick side ramp system impressed me.  It was in fact similar to a system on “water bus” I saw near Rotterdam a while back.

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Surrie heads back to base, passing BB-64 USS Wisconsin

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Recognize this vessel, which spent a little time in the sixth boro a bit over a year ago?

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It’s HMS Justice, slinging Bryant Sea now in the curvaceous Elizabeth River and

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passing Mahan, Stout, and

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Oscar Austin, far right.

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Closing out today . .  what can you do with $12 million and a 1962 North Sea trawler?  Check here for this story on explorer yacht Discovery.  Here’s another story with much better photos.   Docked astern of Discovery is Shearwater, which was doing a project in the sixth boro back in sumer 2013.

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All photos by Will Van Dorp.

One of my (formerly) secret heroes is Guy Noir, secret because I may be revealing too much about myself in admitting that.  But life’s too short to care about drivel like that.   Noir has an office on the 20th floor of the Acme Building in a “city that knows how to keep its secrets,”  yet each week a different mysterious woman seems to find him in quest of a favor. So imagine this as a view from Noir’s Portsmouth VA office around 1600 hrs .  . . on the last night of the year.  It’s rainy but warm and all the creeks feeding into the estuary course in, with color and warmth of some old coffee  . . .  I was last here, though on the river then, about six weeks ago here.  And notice the hammerhead crane to the right.  Here’s

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the deal.  But I’ll come back to this history stuff later.

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For now, this is a record of the last night of the year, what my parents used to call “old years night.”

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In the fading light, there’s Michael J. McAllister, another McA (Nancy??) behind it, Camie, and a trio of Robbins Maritime minis called Thunder, Lightning, and Squall.  AND if you look carefully beyond the McAllister tugs, you’ll see Dann Ocean’s Neptune and the Colonna Shipyard, where a Staten Island ferry is being overhauled. Click here for previous posts referring to Colonna.

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In the driving rain as the last hours of the year ebb away, Vane tug Chatham heads south;  the oil must move . . . . even when the postal stream sleeps.

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Shadows . . . on a rainy night paint the river.   And under the “tent” inside

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And so ended 2015 for me . . . not a low-flying aircraft but a high flying window perch.

All photos by Will Van Dorp, private and public eye.

 

If you saw the 2015 tugboat race, you may have glimpsed this vessel . . .

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She’s the current vessel of Ship 243 of Sea Scouts.  Here’s what her current mate says about her:  “Sea Horse was built in 1973 by Swiftships in Morgan City La.

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Designed as  for Vietnam, she was never was deployed.  For some time she was used in the San Francisco Bay area as a training ship for Navy Special Forces.  Then she was used by the CIA for what,  who knows. She was covered in radar absorbing tiles.  There was afire in the engine room and then mothballed before we got her.”

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Click here for details of what Sea Scouts do.

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Sea Horse has been hauled out and for regular maintenance, which always costs.  Click here for details about how you can help.  Given how difficult most of us know it is to find a work niche for our lives, Sea Horse is a valuable driver in that search;  I wish there’d been Sea Scouts around where I grew up.   If you do FB, check out Sea Scout Ship 243.  Click here and here for two posts about another community on the water program.

The first two photos are by Will Van Dorp.  The others are all used thanks to Robert Meseck, currently Mate and soon to be Skipper of the unit.

Click here for a previous swiftship post on this blog.

It’s still November 2015, so for me, it’s day 22 of this focus.

Let’s head south again from Hampton Roads, where a lineup of MSC vessels includes a supply vessel called Supply.

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I guess this would be a small Navy yard tug.  Click here (and scroll) to see a variant with roll bars.   Here it closes the security gate after a Moran tug has come inside.

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More security is provided by WPB-87329 Cochito.

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In order from near to far on this foggy day are LSD-46 Tortuga, DDG-103 Truxton, and USNS T-AH-20 Comfort.

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Emily Anne McAllister (2003) waits at the Norfolk International Terminals.

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And there’s a long list of commercial tugboats, more than I want to squeeze into this post.  So let’s start with Ocean Endeavor (1966),

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Night Hawk (1981),

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Dauntless II (1953),

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Choptank (2006),

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Payton Grace Moran (2015),

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Goose Creek (1981), and finally for now

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Steven McAllister (1963).

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All foggy/rainy photos above by Will Van Dorp.

One of these days we’ll meander farther south on the Elizabeth River aka ICW.  In the meantime, if you have photos of work vessels from any port huge or tiny, get in touch;  there are still a few days of November left.

And since we’re a week or so from December, my idea for next month’s collaboration is “antique/classic” workboats, functioning or wrecked.  Of course, a definition for that category is impossible.  For example, NewYorkBoater says this:  “The definition of an antique boat according to Antique and Classic Boating Society is a boat built between 1919 and 1942.  A classic was built between 1943 and 1975 and the term contemporary, are boats built from 1976 and on.”  Hmm . . . what do you call an old vessel built before 1919 . . . a restoration project?  antediluvian?

 

If you take another transportation sector–automobiles, you get another definition:  25 years old or more.    And for the great race, here were the rules for this year:  “Vehicle entries must have been manufactured in 1972 or before.”  Next year’s cut-off will likely be 1973.

So my flexible definition is  . . . photo should have been taken in 1999 or before, by you or of you or a family member, and in the case of a wreck, probably identifiable.  Exception . . .  it could be a boat built before  . . . say  . . . 1965.

This post is a direct follow-up to one I did a week ago, documenting the 270-nm trip from Kings Point NY to Norfolk aboard USMMA Sailing Foundation vessel Tortuga.  This post documents the second and final leg of the trip to Tortuga‘s winter berth in New Bern NC, a 179-nm trip from Norfolk.

Let’s start here.  Departure time on day 1 is 1100 h. If you think the navy vessel in dry dock looks familiar, well . . . it visited the sixth boro in May 2012, and I toured the ship DDG 57 USS Mitscher at that time here.

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A USN presence is pervasive along the Elizabeth river portion of the ICW, but the Norfolk Naval Ship is

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technically in Portsmouth. The vessel above is AS 41 USS McKee

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Click here and here for info on the Elizabeth River, technically a tidal estuary.  Click on the map below to get interactivity.

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Here McLean Contracting Co. tug Fort Macon works on the replacement of the Steel Bridge in Chesapeake VA.

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I was surprised to learn there’s a lock in the ICW, the Great Bridge Lock.  I was even more surprised to learn the USACE contracts the operation and maintenance of the lock to a company called US Facilities.

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I must read more about the ICW, but in WW2 it proved a safe route for commerce when enemy submarines preyed on vessels offshore.

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Paradise Creek pushes oil along the ICW today; when I started this blog,  it was a regular workhorse in the sixth boro of NYC.

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The color of ICW water is determined by natural tannins.

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The ICW is composed of wide open bays and sounds–which have narrow channels-as well as narrow cuts.   Here Evelyn Doris of the ICM fleet pushes a covered barge–soybeans, I’ll wager–northbound, possibly to Norfolk.

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Ahead is the US Rte 64 Bridge over the Alligator River, a swing bridge.

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Note the proximity of the photo above to the Atlantic Ocean.

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Tannins in the Alligator River water create this color.

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North Carolina today protects a lot of its coastal wetlands. Hunting is permitted, and in fact, VHF radio picked up a lot of communication with folks hunting in there.

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Parts of the ICW flow through cuts like the Alligator-Pungo Canal.

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This moment of arrival in Belhaven meant a lot to me, because just around the point in the center of the photo is the hospital where I was born. I hadn’t known it, but Belhaven also considers itself the birthplace of the ICW.

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Departure time on day 3 was 0600, Jupiter and Venus were higher in the sky than the rising sun.

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Aurora Mine looms over the Pamlico river. Potash export happens through Beaufort,  documented on tugster here and here a few years back.

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See the mine area on the south side of the Pamlico River below.

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Hunting abounds here.

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Note the spelling. 

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Belhaven used to support a fishing fleet.  I’ve no idea how the size of the fleet and market in Hobucken has fluctuated over the years.

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Day 3, early afternoon we depart the Neuse River for the Trent by passing through the Cunningham Drawbridge.

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Tortuga is docked here for winter.

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All photos by Will Van Dorp.  Again many thanks to the USMMA Sailing Foundation for inviting me to crew in winter relocation for Tortuga.

Know Apra?  Actually I didn’t, so let’s make this about guessing the location.  All photos come from Kyle Stubbs, who has previously contributed these photos.  Most of the text here is also from Kyle, who took these photos in summer 2010.

The Ha. 62-76 is a World War II Japanese Type C Ko-hyoteki-class midget submarine.  It ran aground across the island from Apra.

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By now, clearly you can identify the body of big water. Taisei Maru No. 28  is a longline fishing vessel built at Takuma, Japan in 1991. She stopped for a port call at Apra Harbor presumably to take on supplies.

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Natsushima, a Japanese research vessel built by Kawasaki at Kobe in 1981 is operated by Nippon Marine Enterprises, Ltd.

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CSC Brave is a 2007-built chemical/product tanker.

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Goliath was built at Yokosuka, Japan in 1980 as Kinuura. Ready to guess?

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Super Shuttle is a compact container ship built in Germany in 1977 as Passat.  It is used to transport cargo between the islands.  Now here’s a clue;  it’s operated by Seabridge, Inc.  

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And here’s another big clue with Matson’s 2004 Philadelphia built Maunawili.

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Chamorro, now operated by Seabridge, Inc., was built by Halter at News Orleans in 1974 as Mister Bob for Jackson Marine Corporation. One of a large series of tugs, you’ve previously seen photos of her sisters Mister Darby, now Atlantic Salvor,and Mister Peter, now the blighted Barents Sea.

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USNS Vadm K. R. Wheeler, T-AG 5001, built by North American Shipbuilding at Larose, LA in 2007, is operated by the Navy as an “Offshore Petroleum Distribution System (OPDS),” designed to facilitate the transfer of fuel from tankers to onshore installations from up to 8 miles offshore. Alongside is her tender, the 160′ loa crew boat  Fast Tempo.

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And finally, it’s USS Pearl Harbor, LSD-52. 

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Apra is a deepwater port in Guam.

Again, many thanks to Kyle for sharing these photos.

This is GHP&W 9, and since this unexpected trip to new ports has materialized, here we are.  Passing through Thimble Shoals Channel looking toward the Delmarva peninsula . . . it’s hard to capture the expanse of this bridge/tunnel.  But once inside, vessels to behold through the sudden rain include

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a noisy LCAC,

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a historically-named fishing boat,

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a Stiletto,

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and a landing craft.  Is that a pelican-shaped drone flying escort?

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Although we passed through Hampton Roads, the rain grayed out any sign of shore, where I’d been ashore four years ago.  Gold Coast was pushing a covered barge with

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seagull lookouts.

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Spring Scenery left a lot to the imagination.

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But the fleet lining the Norfolk shore was fabulous starting with USNS Lewis B Puller,

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possibly about to get a push from Tracy Moran, and

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USNS Supply,

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and Robert E. Perry.

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And much more, but for this post, we stop here.  All photos here by Will Van Dorp.

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Graves of Arthur Kill

Click 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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