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The 2010 post had a photo from 2009, so let me start this one with one from 2010.  This photo made the cover of a NYS Restoration publication devoted to boats, but I lent my copy to someone and it’s never returned.  If you know the publication, please let me know.

OK, let’s see one more from 2010, taken from the same bridge, but closer to the bank and less zoomed.  Lots of folks come to these Roundups, but the number of working boats that can get there is decreasing because of increasing air draft and the inflexible 112th Street bridge, which also wiped out the viability of Matton shipyard.

The Roundup always begins with a parade, and that used to be always (in my times there) led by Urger.

Cornell and spawn named Augie waited on the wall in Troy.

Buffalo is now in Buffalo, and in less good condition. Here‘s more info on her.  She’s 53′ x 16’ and worked for the Barge Canal from 1916 until 1973.  Originally steam, she was repowered after WW2.  See her engine, a Cooper Bessemer, running here back in 2007.

Wendy B was the show stealer in 2010.  She looked good and no one I spoke with knew where she’d come from.  She’s a 1940-build by Russel Brothers of Owen Sound ON, originally a steam tug called Lynn B. More info is here but you have to scroll.

8th Sea is a staple of the Roundup, probably has been since the beginning. She was built in 1953 at ST 2050 by American Electric Welding. That makes her a sister to ST 2062, now in the sixth boro as Robbins Reef, seen here if you scroll.  Here‘s a tug44 description of tug and captain.

Small can still be salty, especially with this innovative propulsion . . . . Little Toot.

As I said, one of the traditions of the Roundup is that Urger leads the way.  Here, above the federal lock, the boats muster. And traditions are important.

The active commercial boats line up at the wall nearest the Hudson River, but when a job needs doing, they head out.

Since the Roundup happens just below lock E-2 of the Erie Canal, the thoroughfare for the Great Loop,  it’s not uncommon to see some long distance boats pass by.  All I know about Merluza is that it’s the Spanish word for hake.

What happened to 2011 you may ask?  Irene happened and the Roundup was cancelled.   We’re indebted to tug44 for documenting the damage of that hurricane in the Mohawk Valley.

All photos, unless otherwise attributed, WVD.

 

 

Preface:  There’s a new heading at top of the page called “virtual tour.”  Covid-19 has changed everything. Now it’s not alarming to walk into a bank or business establishment wearing a mask.  Many people commute from bedroom to desk, and a really long commute is one that involves stairs.  I’ve been to a few remote concerts already this week,  and virtual travel is happening without getting beamed up or down.   Webinars and Virtual guides are popping up everywhere, and zooming has a whole new meaning.

Today I begin posting a “virtual tour” across New York state by the waterway that changed our national history.  You don’t need a ticket or a passport or a subscription.  We’ll take some zigs into the surrounding land, and some zags into history because we don’t need to stay between the channel markers.  Transit from the Hudson River to Lake Ontario will take ten posts, ten days.  Also, to avoid confusion, click here to find the distinction between 1825 Clinton’s Ditch, the 1862 Enlarged Erie Canal, and the 1918 Barge Canal, today often referred to as the Erie Canal.  I’ll point out some vestiges of the 19th-century waterway.  That distinction and other terms are defined here.  Yes, some parts of the canal have been filled in, but those parts were obsolete already.  Sal would certainly saunter along if he could, but he’s got other duties.  Besides, Sal’s been replaced by Cats and Cummins and other mechanical critters.

Here’s a good place to start:  a weathered and water-stained distance table I saw in the wheelhouse of 1932 Canal tug Seneca. Although I don’t know the date of printing, the table clearly comes from a time when commercial traffic on the Canal made runs between the sixth boro to Lakes Erie and Ontario routine.  I’ll refer to it for distances now and again.  In this series, we’ll head to Three Rivers Point, and then take the Oswego Canal/River to Lake Ontario.

We’ll begin just south of Waterford, the eastern terminus of the current Canal.  Approaching from Troy on the Hudson, you’ll see

this sign in the town of Waterford indicating the entrance to the Canal, branching off to port.

Waterford, a town of just under 9000, is a fantastic stopping point for boats even today.  Note the red brick visitor’s center and just to the right, the bridge leading over to Peebles Island.  That Second Street/Delaware Ave bridge links this to a few photos farther below, taken decades apart.

Before plunging into history, have a look at where these boats come from.  Double click on most photos to get larger version.  Often recreational boats,sometimes loopers, tie up there for information and provisioning; international yachts . . .

Great Lakes work boats,

and self-described slow rollers.  We’ll roll quite slow too, to smell the flowers and avoid  . .  you know . . what Sal might’ve left behind.

To this day, commercial vessels that can squeeze under the 112th Street Bridge congregate in Waterford in early September each year for the Tugboat Roundup.

Can you spot the one tugboat that appears in both photos, above and below, taken more than a half century apart?  It’s Urger, whose story is long and involved and can be deciphered here.  The self-propelled barge, aka Eriemax freighter, on the wall to the right is Day-Peckinpaugh, which transported cargo on the canal from 1921.  She’ll come up again later in the trip.

Note the same Peebles Island bridge?  Judging by the barges, I’d place this photo at about a century old, back when the Barge Canal-iteration of the Erie Canal opened.  The archival photos throughout the series come from the Digital Collections of the New York State Archives, and this is my credit.  Visit the New York State Museum also virtually here.

 

In the next post, we enter the flight.  For now, let’s hail the lock master on VHF and see if he’ll open gates.  Click on the link in the previous sentence, and scroll, to see the friendliest lock master in my experience;  as with anything, your experience maybe different. .

Consider this a work in progress. Nycanals.com maintains extensive info about every lock in the journey on their site.

Any additions, corrections, or other comments are appreciated.  I have literally thousands of photos of the canal, but would welcome your best as well. I’d love to make this an ever-growing communal project.  Let me add one more from the 2008 Waterford Tugboat Roundup.

Again, black/white photos from New York State Archives, Digital Collections. Color photos WVD, unless otherwise stated.

Fred of tug44 created a systematic tour here several years ago.  Sally W went through the same itinerary from June 11 until 22 in2012.

 

Katanni and

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Sawyer I, these photos I took in September along the Saint Lawrence.

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I took the next photos in October.  Evans McKeil was built in Panama in 1936!   The cement barge she’s paired with–Metis— was built as a ship in 1956 and converted to a barge in 1991.

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Wilf Seymour was built in 1961 in Port Arthur TX.  I’ve always only seen her paired with Alouette Spirit.  Here she’s heading upbound into the Beauharnois Lock.   The digital readout (-0.5) indicates she’s using the Cavotec automated mooring system instead of lines and line handlers.

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Moving forward to Troy NY, I don’t think the name of this tug is D. A. Collins,   

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but I know these are Benjamin Elliot, Lucy H, and 8th Sea.

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Miss Gill waited alongside some scows at the booming port of Coeymans.

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And the big sibling Vane 5000 hp Chesapeake heads upriver with Doubleskin 509A.

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And one more autumnal shot with yellows, browns, grays, and various shades of red, and a busy Doris Moran and Adelaide.

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Will Van Dorp took all these photos.

 

The foto below is Nellie Crockett, a 1925-6 Tangier Island “buy boat” that may never have cleaved sixth boro waters, but–used with permission here from the FB page Chesapeake Bay Buy Boat–certainly conveys the notion of a workboat decorated for the end-o-year holidays.

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The rest of these fotos come courtesy of Justin Zizes, taken earlier this week in the Hudson off the west side of mid-town.   Circle Line does lights this way.  Here’s how you could get on board.

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Nearby, World Yacht does it this way.  And although you can’t get on for the end-o-year holiday, there are many other events.

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Notice anything interesting about this arrangement?  Look to the left side of the foto.

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It’s Sea Bear aka Sea Gus as the red-nosed draft animal.

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Here’s that same small tug without the Rudolphian accoutrements.

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Many thanks to Justin Zizes and to Chesapeake Bay Buy Boats for permission to use these fotos.

In the next week or so, if you take a foto of a workboat–or mariner– with colored lights a la Christmas, please send it to tugster.  I could possibly even come up with a gift for what we deem as the best foto.   By the way, I’m still mildly obsessed with finding a foto of the 1997 transport of the Rockefeller Center tree down the Hudson via tug Spuyten Duyvil and barge.

And what is the story of Sea Bear aka Sea Gus?  It looks to be cut of the same plans as 8th Sea.

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A truckable tug named Mame Faye and her tow anchor outside the current near the confluence of the Mohawk and Hudson Rivers.  Idyllic . . .  serene, sleepy upstate river banks .  . . eh?  She’ll be back.

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Here tugs Empire and Shenandoah tie up on the opposite bank of Mame Faye and along the bulkhead.

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Farther east is The Chancellor, with twin stacks arranged longitudinally.

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Still farther east inside LehighValley Barge 79, speakers like Jessica DuLong and Don Sutherland mesmerize with their tales and chronicles of the river.

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Captains Bill and Pam park their powerful machines to rest and enjoy the quiet of oars moving in and out of the fresh water.

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Rain showers come and go and no one cares.  Lined up behind Empire are Little Bitt, Gowanus Bay, Benjamin Elliott, and Margot. It’s another lazy day at the Roundup.

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What’s this on the foredeck of Bill’s Eighth Sea?  Looks like PVC, hairspray, and  . . . radishes?

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And Captain Fred has gotten involved.  This looks  . . .

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ominous, especially after he went to the supermarket for 50-calibre radishes, the most lethal kind.

aatdx2As dusk falls,  that same Captain Bill boards Mame Faye to maneuver the barge into the middle of the stream, which is now closed to traffic, for it will soon be time to

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see the scene change and

How to describe that:  part night harbor scene, rock concert, traffic jam, railroad crossing, cacophony, simulated war zone, kaleidoscope, popcorn popper, video game, confetti, aquatic bioluminescence gone wild, volcano, apocalypse .  . .   Oh, and I’ve always preferred seeing the flashes reflect in water to seeing them in air.

Now who do you suppose Mame Faye was?  Elizabeth toots Mame‘s horn here.

All fotos and video by Will Van Dorp.

Unrelated . . .  the Dutch barge flotilla probably moves through the Hudson Highlands and northward today;  if you get good fotos and want to share, email me.

Imagine sport without scoring . . . the Olympics without medals . . . a tennis championship with statistics on “seeding”

boxing without weight divisions,

a softball game with neither umpires nor arguments,

a playground where the only rule is that everyone goes push and smile,

and then you’d have the beginnings of an idea of the Roundup, but there’s a lot more . . . like

the stories, reminiscences, ideas, joking,  planning, late summer sun and tropical storm torrents . . .  Roundup #11 is only 363 days away and 158 miles north of the sixth boro.  See you there.

Photos, WVD.

Darkness has fallen on the confluence in Waterford, and a bargeload of fireworks will mark the end of Tug Roundup #10.  Wisps of white pudding on the vessel to the left evidence what had happened under the afternoon sun.

But Gowanus Bay and Cornell were to clash again.

As did 8th Sea and W. O. Decker,   and

steamer African Queen v. the sheriff??  This was just posing, right?

More noses and more on the RoundUp soon.

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