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As we head upstream into Montreal, an orange dawn greets us from beyond Sainte-Anne de Varennes Basilica.
Closer to Montreal, a line of ships awaits, three at anchor and two down bound.
Ocean Intrepide switches the pilots.
I recognized Balder immediately, new name notwithstanding.
And the raised metal confirmed my suspicion.
I was not expecting to learn of this direct link to a distant archipelago rich in lobsters and road salt, but one of these years, that’s a trip I’d love to do both for the destination--Îles de la Madeleine–and the journey.
I have no photos to prove it, but I wanted to experience Lachine Rapids, so I took a surprisingly enjoyable tour in one of these get-very-wet boats.
here passing the Clock Tower.
All photos by Will Van Dorp, who comes to the end of the actual trip with this post and who will now recap the same trip with some of the details left out.
Here’s the index for previous Twin Tube posts. This freight vessel is 64′ x 19′ x 8.5, and I’m sure I’ve mentioned before that it is one of the first Blount built vessels ever, launched in 1951. Here’s the index to all my previous Blount posts.
This is how I imagine her, but recently . . .
the boom has been missing. I don’t know the story, but I’d like to.
Most larger cargo vessels provisioned by Twin Tube have their own on-board cranes, so maybe the boom was removed to avoid having to negotiate the dock lines as she had to here in a blinding snowstorm back a year and a half ago.
All photos by Will Van Dorp.
Unrelated but important: If you are local, free and have the slightest inclination to make merry, there’s a soiree on Lehigh Valley 79 THIS Friday night, as a means to consolidate doubloons to keep the barge afloat. Details here. See you there, if my best approximation of pirate hood. Here’s a post I did nearly five years ago. And one more.
Rhine is currently in port offloading salt given the reported shortage of the material.
Lines were made fast Monday midday, just after Balder had left.
In the past six days, Balder had come and discharged its dozens of thousands of tons of the stuff and gone. As Corey Kilgannon reports in the first sentence of his recent NYTimes article, “Pass the salt, please” describes the business plan here.
This is what international trade looks like, whether it be Islandia heading out under a leaden-gray afternoon or
these unidentified vessels departing recently at dawn. In the photo above, the dry-docked vessel in the background is USNS Pomeroy, T-AKR 316.
The first three photos are used with permission of Brian DeForest. The others are by Will Van Dorp. And obviously, none of these photos were taken today, as another type of white stuff descends upon the harbor.
The link here may show the first glimpse I had of Balder. Let me share my getting better acquainted, but first . . . the foto below I took 13 months ago. Note the different colors of salt, reflecting
different provenances, as explained in Ian Frazier’s New Yorker article below. Buy a copy to get the rest of the story.
Without this vessel, all of us who drive the roads or walks the sidewalks and streets within the metropolis surrounding the sixth boro would be at greater risk of slipping and crashing. Framed that way, Balder could not be better named. Here’s what Kimberly Turecamo looks like from Balder‘s bridge.
On the far side of the channel, that’s Dace.
Here’s what has come forth from Balder‘s belly, a bit of the Atacama Desert on the KVK. Huge tractors load the trucks that come to a highway department near you today.
This 246′ arm, reaching nearly to Richmond Terrace, offloads at the relatively slow rate of 8oo tons per hour.
And here’s the hold just emptied, one hold of five. Notice the ladders and the tracks at the base of the hold.
Click here to see the unloading machinery in action.
Here’s what gets even the last pound making up the nearly 50,000-ton payload onto the salt dock.
All fotos by Will Van Dorp. Thanks to Brian DeForest of Atlantic Salt and the Balder crew for the tour.
I love snowy mornings . . . like this one 48 hours ago.
As of this writing, APL Pearl--Oakland registered–has just docked in Savannah. I also adore surprises: it turns out I took fotos of APL Pearl docking in Howland Hook four and a half years ago, when the vessel was known as Hyundai Voyager.
Resolute follows–well, resolutely–waiting to retrieve the docking pilot.
And what’s on the boxpile?
As I said, I love snowstorms. That’s when the most interesting fotos seem daring someone to snap them.
All fotos snapped by Will Van Dorp.
Here’s the first post I did on this vessel more than 5 years ago.
When I saw Twin Tube–a workhorse older than me– northbound yesterday, I’d no idea we’d meet up again later. What caught my attention right then was
the lowering boom, something I’d not noticed before.
Here she is, as Electra rages, westbound in the KVK, boom lowered and supplies-laden.
And then it was explained to me . . . rather, demonstrated . . . , lower boom to get into work position.
Note the operator of the ship’s crane upper left. A week ago this crew basked in sun on tropical seas.
Now they need groceries, spare parts, stores . . . .
As a resident of and a familiar with New York’s City’s SIX boros, I feel strongly that this–and not the luxury baubles and almost ancient poets–make us a city of ships.
All fotos by Will Van Dorp.
Here was 3 with links to 1 and 2.
I’ve been so far unable to find the original use of this barge, but I haven’t expended much shoe leather either.
Click on the foto below from the July 21, 1977 NYTimes for an article on Michael O’Keefe’s barge restaurant opening. Anyone identify the tug?
Bulk commodities commerce needs some stretches of riverbank in the sixth boro. Crushed stone in; garbage out, as well as
scrap metal, petroleum,
desert scrapings aka road conditioner.
Products galore and more and
Places to park aka dock are vital also.
All fotos by Will Van Dorp.
I feel blessed. Something told me to check Panama Canal AIS for Balder Atlantic bound. I noticed her Pacific bound instead . . . possibly loaded with Colombian coal for an Andes port. I also noticed she was approaching Miraflores locks–see my shots from March 2012 here–at that moment. Thanks to the efforts of bowsprite and Elizabeth on my behalf, here’s Balder‘s transit through Miraflores. Finally, why Balder . . ? Check here and here for origins of my interest.
16:45 . . .
Many thanks to bowsprite and Elizabeth for the screenshots. Bon voyage Balder . . . now beyond archipelago de las perlas . . .
I’d planned something else for today, but when Brian DeForest, terminal manager of Atlantic Salt, sent along these fotos –taken Sunday from a unique perspective, I scrapped my erstwhile plan. See the orange details in the foreground?
These are fotos from the ship, which is currently moving at 10 to 11 knots southbound off Cape May. That’s the Bayonne Bridge and
here’s the arm conveying salt onto the pile.
I’m sure this has a technical term, but I’ll call it the bracket that supports the arm when not in use.
And here’s a view into the traveling wheelhouse and
Here is engine room info.
Finally, here’s Quantico Creek as seen from the bridge wing.
Here’s a foto I took nearly six years ago on the KVK looking off the starboard bow of a large vessel of another time–a century ago–that used to engage in a salt trade out of Chile. Know the vessel?
Answer: Peking. Here’s one of six posts I did about that transit of Peking from Caddell’s back to South Street Seaport Museum waters.
Many thanks to Brian DeForest for all these fotos, except the last one.
A thought just occurs to me: Chile’s main salt port today is Patache. Could that word be a Spanish spelling/pronunciation of the word “potash”?
Here was part a of this series. Twelve hours after arrival, Balder could already be 25,000 tons lighter, although I’m not sure at this writing at what hour of darkness the discharge began.
But in daylight as by night, the Cats labor to keep the salt piled for maximum space efficiency. Since I’ve not done it, I can only imagine what a time lapse of the unloading process–in say 60 seconds–would look like as the great orange hull rises in the water as a mountain–with Cats scrambling laboriously– grows on shore.
Periodically the flow of salt stops along this nearly 300′ long arm, and
the traveling deckhouse, covering the unloading machinery and keeping the process virtually dustless, trundles over a still loaded portion of the hold. The fotos below come from the MacGregor site.
Notice the Empire State Building–almost 10 miles distant– in the foto below, just down and to the left from the starboard side lifeboat.
Here’s another shot showing Balder‘s traveling deckhouse.
Salt goes off the portside while fuel enters to starboard from
Doubleskin 33 squired by –here–Quantico Creek.
All fotos–and narrative–by Will Van Dorp, who is solely responsible for any factual errors and who is grateful to Brian DeForest for permission to observe and take fotos of this process. I’d also LOVE to accompany Balder for the six-week 6000-mile voyage to the Chilean desert for more seasonings to tame your wintry commute.
Returning to the foto above, notice the creamy colored hull intruding from the right . . . well, more on that tomorrow.
Postscript: Balder might have loaded this salt in Patache, in northern Chile. Click here for a CSL article on Balder’s South American bulk trades.