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Here was 18.

The following two fotos come thanks to Joseph Graham, a New Yorker who pilots a Kirby boat among various ports in the Gulf and on the Mississippi.   Study the six tugs below  . . . yes six.  Recognize the one on the left?

Sure!  It’s Odin, featured here and here and many more places.  Right now she’s in the vessel equivalent of Sailors’ Snug Harbor, in Kirby’s reserve yard in Houston.    Odin . .  you’re not forgotten!

Notice anything unusual about this staple?  It may be common elsewhere, but I’ve never seen one with a stainless steel insert. This foto comes compliments of Allen Baker;  here’s one of his many fotos on this blog.  And the vessel . . .

is three-year-old Delta Billie, 6800 hp and built in Washington state.

She was docked here on the San Francisco Embarcadero . . . below the Tower there named for “Firebelle  Lil’ Coit.”

And finally, from Lauren Tivey, whose foto of a lion figurehead on a Shanghai barge appeared here a year and a half ago,  a fisherman working on Er Lake in Yunnan . . .  using

these birds we know well in the sixth boro.    I love the paint job on these fishing boats.   Quiz:  Can you name three of the six major rivers that drain Yunnan province?

Poor foto . . . I took on Sunday, but I was fascinated by this KVK cormorant struggling at least two minutes to swallow this sea robin.  Cormorants must have throat tissue like a rubber tire!

The rivers flowing out of Yunnan–which borders Burma, Laos, and Vietnam– are the Irrawaddy, Mekong, Salween, Red, Pearl, and Yangtze.

Thanks again to Joseph, Allen, and Lauren for use of these fotos.

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Note:  Since I overdo the links sometimes, the two most important background ones here and this on the China Tea Trade and this on the China clippers.

I start this post with five older fotos; the one below showing crew tidying up lines on McAllister Responder dates from January 2007.   Until now, I’ve always focused on the foreground, not the background.  Of course, all those blue warehouses are now being replaced by Brooklyn Bridge Park.

Another example–Francis E. Roehrig (now Aegean Sea but ex-Jersey Coast and John C. Barker and as Francis E. a hero post-Bouchard accident) has always been focus of this foto for me rather than what’s in the background.

Again, I’ve focused until now on the foreground, on the 140′ icebreaking tug Sturgeon Bay instead of on the rich architecture of Brooklyn Heights,

in summertime obscured by a jungle of foliage, making it easier to focus of East River traffic like Express Marine’s Duty, below.  However, what I learned last week is that Brooklyn Heights has fascinations all

its own.  Like this house standing on Pierrepont Place, the house of Abiel Abbot Low, son of Seth Low of Salem, Massachusetts.   A. A. Low moved to Brooklyn Heights after spending six years in Canton’s markets dealing with Wu Bingjian aka Howqua.    From Brooklyn Heights, Low could observe

the goings and comings of his fleet of China clippers over at South Street when it was a seaport in the years between the First and Second Opium Wars.  Finding out more about the Lows ( and in subsequent generations their connections to the mayor of Brooklyn, Columbia University and FDR . . . ) those are adventures and work that lie ahead.  Last week I learned that what’s in the background might as well be an interesting focus as what is background.

Meanwhile . . . the drum calls to Coney Island, with the parade just four days off.  Here and here are links for 2009; first and second for 2008.  More tomorrow.  Plan to be in Coney on Saturday?

All fotos by Will Van Dorp.

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