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L . . . line, of course.  No matter what type of vessel from ship to dinghy to raft to  . . . coracle, rope gets used.  And line?  My understanding is that rope used for a specific purpose is called line, e.g., clothesline.  And then line gets renamed according to its specific use, e.g., mooring line.  And not all these “renamings” involve the word “line,” e.g., halliard,  hawser.  And some line gets modified for specific uses and then renamed:  snotter.  And these modifications may be less or more temporary; e.g., knots, bends, hitches allow rope to be joined quickly to accomplish a specific task and then undone as quickly.  Too many  sentences starting with “and” and too many e.g.’s.

My friend below, identity obscured by his hat, practices throwing line over a bollard, a skill that,  when improved, reduces effort.


In other words, expertise trumps energy.


Line not in use awaits closest to where its needed and in condition to serve that use most efficiently.


The strength of line should be clear from this foto:  small diameter line relative to the tanker connects McAllister Responder during the transit through the Kills.


After transferring fuel, Capt. Log casts off lines in mere seconds.


Line appears in art because besides being functional, it’s just beautiful.  I find it gives pleasure not only to the eye but also the touch.

aaaal5Line has to be a word with one of the highest number of meanings in English, as you can see from this wikipedia list.  Before looking there, I ran a list in my own head and came up with such contrasts as “land line” and “waterline” as well as diverse uses like skyline, county line, treeline, date line, party line, blood line, fuel line . . .  you can continue this yourself if you wish.

The bottom line for me . . . line connects objects, maintaining the connection until it no longer serves a desired purpose, and then allows quick uncoupling.  There should be “line” solutions to more lived situations.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp.

Some updates:  the tug in Jed’s foto pulling the house boat is Patty Nolan, built in 1931 in Wisconsin.  The house was towed from 79th Street Boat Basin eventually to Kingston.  I’d love to see a closeup of the tug.  Info thanks to Capt. John Johnsen.

Also, thanks to Robert Brennan for identification of the chimney in the foto here behind the pilot boat.  It’s the New York Power Authority Pouch Terminal.

Tugster can now move from the “silent” era to “talkies,” and what better way to inaugurate this to showcase Cornell leaving Krevey’s Pier (aka Pier 66) on a bright July morning and demonstrating only two of its seven voices.  First you’ll hear the New York Central #6 chime and then the “peanut whistle,” a high-pitched toot, a voice that–in a system of disappearing sound signals–could acknowledge a command.

K is a tough letter.  And I’ll mostly get to it later in the post, but for now, Cornell lives in Rondout Creek, almost 100 miles north of the sixth boro.   The Rondout flows through Kingston, formerly capital of New York.  Cornell Owner/Captain Matt Perricone here approaches barge Black Diamond for transit from Kingston to the sixth boro’s second annual City of Water Day, tomorrow.  Free boat rides . . . music from the likes of Sea Devils . . .


Once the tow is made up, Cornell


heads downriver past Poughkeepsie


and Newburgh, toward a place of many spirits


which Matt wards off by serving as the tow’s own figurehead as we head into the Hudson Highlands.


Any time I pass here I find my awe of the river’s beauty kindled anew.


Washington Irving published his satire Knickerbocker‘s History of New York in 1809, a book that begins with Hudson’s travels, surely a gone-to-dust fun read this Quadricentennial year.


More fotos of the trip will appear soon, but here Buchanan 12 pushes 15 empty stone scows northward as we pass Stony Point Battlefield and Light.


As I said, “K” is a tough one.  “Kill” (like Kill Van Kull or Catskill aka “Kaatskil”) starts with it, but of course I mean the Knickerbocker sense, not the English.  “Cornell” sounds like it could start with one.  “Kindle” does, and that’s my word.  Sometimes I find I work so many hours that I find myself interacting with such a thin sliver of life I start to feel isolated almost out of existence.  Meeting so many intriguing people in the process of blogging does kindle and rekindle exuberance for life,  curiousity, love, and all our beloveds anew daily.  Almost all people are story tellers, and I find I just don’t connect with a lot of people’s stories until . . . through experiences like traveling the river I find unexpected common ground, face to face, or  . . . VHF to VHF.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp.  Off gallivanting again before dawn.  Crew in Cornell “talkie” are Paul and Karl . . . whom you hear say “all aboard.”

Remember, click on fotos to enlarge them.  To discover where Cornell has appeared in this blog before, use the blog search window.  Land background in the video is Hoboken, NJ.

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October 2021