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I stumbled across this quote yesterday from Antoine de Saint Exupery, the author of “The Little Prince,” and I just had to write about it somehow. Here’s the quote:

“If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.”

I’m not sure if the Whitehall Rowing program is still happening in New York, but I’m an enthusiastic supporter. Personal disclosure: I worked for the Board of Education NYC for three years and then resigned because of an oppressive principal. I wish I there had been a Harbor School back then. Here’s more on Harbor School.

All photos by Will Van Dorp.

Blogs and the internet are fantastic collaborative tools. In just a few months, this blog has introduced me to like-minded folk on all continents. Nothing from Antarctica yet. Of course, the mysteries of Alice still remain, but that’s appropriate with unrequited love. The beloved, shown below in this summer 2006 photo, is almost in Canadian maritime water returning from Gibraltar as I write. But why she dashed across the Atlantic and never communicates…. I’ll enjoy the unattention and just have to guess her motivations.

Below are some of your revelations.
Brendan: the tug being restored in the 2/22 post is New York Central Tug #13. Some info on other historic New York vessels can be found here, North River being an alternative designation to the Hudson and as distinguished from the East River.

By the way along the North aka Hudson on the cold Hoboken side, here are two vastly different projects, schooner Anne and Ferry Yankee, described in the link in paragraph above.


Fred: the delightful caravel in the 2/17 was the Nina and the “invisible” vessel in my “header” photo, top of every blog is Drillboat Fractor. See blogroll “tug44”.

Bonnie aka frogma: too numerous to list all, but notable was Rosemary Ruth, Mystic Whaler, and Klang II in the 1/23.  See blogroll.

Carolina: all about Mary Whalen in the 1/20, who floats again this week. See blogroll.
Enough for today. Thanks all.

Let me end by introducing the first blog I knew . . . er . . . blogg that is. Check out their schedule on this homepage; see them if you can… and dare.

All photos by Will Van Dorp.

Personal disclosure continues. This is another big “V’day.” Who would I possibly be photographing in the middle of the Hackensack between the Skyway and the 1-9 bridge?



Who’s the businesslike behatted Hudson River skipper of Margarita leaving the Catskills astern? The shirtless pirate behind her is actually an updated Cupid with a weapon aimed in my direction as I relax on the bow.


And who would possibly be standing on the stern of “home” a few years back fashionably attired for the snow season?


It’s Elizabeth, co-captain of my life. Happy Valentine’s Day. She has many specialities, and she introduced me to blogging. Yeah, her specialities are different from mine.
Oh, the white vessel? OK, it’s fiberglass, not steel or wood. And we moved on after three years in this lovely marina because of too many mornings before leaving for work, having to thaw ourselves free of the bulkhead. Defrost our bodies is what I mean, for they had become frozen to the “walls” of the v-berth overnight.

Love endures all, overcomes all, and moves onto land!

Good friends moved to Fairbanks in January; their first week there they faced -40 Fahrenheit. It’s been a mild cold spell in New York, by contrast.



Below is a close up of what the cold does to the salty water of Arthur Kill over by Howland Hook the other day. Check out the Moran gallery.


BoatNerd has some great photos of tugs doing icebreaking duty on the freshwater Great Lakes. Scroll through his tug pictures in the photo galleries.

Meanwhile, here’s more cold steaming in the Arthur Kill, ice on the portside of the K-Sea Maryland.



Oh . . . wimp that I am, my fingers froze while I had my gloves off to take these pictures.

All photos by Will Van Dorp.

New year, new options, new potential commitments. A few days’ contemplation spawns countless questions, inklings about other directions. I’ve lost my klaboutermannikin for now and am led by a Janus image like this, which no sane shipwright would ever place on a ship. It’s January after all.



January would not be called January if we weren’t vulnerable to conflicting visions. In fact the conflict is helpful; it forces a deliberateness without which we’d be like water, flowing only where gravity dictates, without choice, agency, ability to resist.



One option is upward, opposing the drudge of water and the shackles of gravity, to the tops of the watershed and look longingly skyward, where hawks and eagles play in front of even more heavenly bodies.



But I can stand longing here only so long before I notice the limitations of the eagles, the rut of thin air, and the monotony of the stars. Like Robert Frost, I have promises to keep.  It’s only a matter of time before I assemble a new vision–and a new one assembles me–and I embrace what’s beyond the archway, before I rush back into the swim.


All photos 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.


September 2021