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Oleander has been a regular in the sixth boro since 1990.  It’s so regular that I’d not take photos of it, much of the time;  it’s as regular as Staten Island ferries departing on the top and bottom of the hour, as regular as crocuses in spring or NYC Marathons in early November.

Technically, it’s Oleander III, and I’ve been unable to find images of the first two boats by that name, ones that shuttled between Bermuda (BCL expands to Bermuda Container Lines) and Elizabeth NJ.

I took the photo above and the one below on December 16, 2017, feeling sorry for the crewman on that cold day checking and securing the load straps on that trailer.  The photo also shows the limitations of the Oleander III.

On January 02, 2018, I took this photo because of the saltwater ice on the hull.

Yesterday Oleander came through the KVK, and I almost didn’t take photos . . . because it was a Thursday and there would be nothing out of the ordinary about Oleander coming through the KVK.

Except I thought she looked different.  I wondered if my general indifference to something that regular had led me to forget what this the actual vessel looked like.  When I got home, though, I thought I’d look up my earlier photos of the BCL vessel.

Then I realized it was clearly NOT the regular. It’s Oleander IV, technically, and yesterday MAY have been her inaugural visit to the sixth boro.  With a check in the accuracy department of tugster tower, I learned the new vessel only first arrived in Hamilton, Bermuda on March 19, 2019, from Yangzijiang Shipyard in Jingjiang up the Yangtze River from Shanghai, China.   Click on the image below to see the differences in profile as the “old” and “new” pass in Hamilton.  The most significant visible change is an increase in size and “garage space” so that the exposure of cargo as seen in photo #2 above is no longer needed.

 

For a tugster shot of Oleander in 2009, click here.  For more news from Bermuda on Oleander, click here.

All photos by Will Van Dorp, who learned a lesson about looking but not seeing yesterday.

 

To start, these are boats, I’m told, not ships.  I first saw the type as a kid, reading a book that made an impression and crossing the St Lawrence on the way to the grandparents’ farm.

I’ve posted Great Lakes photos a fair number of times in the past few years, so I continue CYPHER series here with Manitowoc –a river-size self unloader–departing Cleveland for Milwaukee.

Alpena–1942–with the classic house-forward design transports cement.  I was thrilled to pass her late this summer on a magnificent Lake Huron afternoon.

Although you might not guess it, Algoma Harvester was built here half a world away from the Lakes.  To get to her trading waters, she crossed two oceans, and christened less than four years ago.  The selling point is that she carries more cargo than typically carried within the size parameters of a laker (Seawaymax), requires fewer crew, and exhausts cleaner.  I took the photo on the Welland.

Thunder Bay hails from the same river in China as Algoma Harvester and just a year earlier.  The photo was taken near Montreal in the South Shore Canal.

Tim S. Dool was built on a Canadian saltwater port in 1967.  I caught her here traversing the American Narrows on the St. Lawrence.

American Mariner was built in Wisconsin in 1979.   In the photo below she heads unbound on Lake St. Louis. I’ve seen her several times recently, here at night and here upbound St. Clair River.

Baie St. Paul is a slightly older, nearly identical Chinese built sister to Thunder Bay.

Algolake, launched 1977,  was among the boats built in the last decade of the Collingwood Shipyard.  

Lee R. Tregurtha, here down bound in Port Huron,  has to have among the most interesting history of any boat currently called a laker.  She was launched near Baltimore in 1942 as a T-3 tanker, traveled the saltwater world for two decades, and then came to the lakes.  I  also caught her loading on Huron earlier this year here.

Mississagi is another classic, having worked nearly 3/4 of a century on the Lakes.

Buffalo, 1978 Wisconsin built, and I have crossed paths lots recently, earlier this month here.  The photo below was taken near Mackinac;  you can see part of the bridge off her stern. Tug Buffalo from 1923, the one going to the highest bidder in five days, now stands to go to the bidder with $2600 on the barrelhead.

I’ll close this installment out with lake #12 in this post . . . .    Hon. James L. Oberstar, with steel mill structures in the background, has been transporting cargo on the lakes since the season of 1959.  She is truly a classic following that steering pole. See Oberstar in her contexts here, here, and really up close, personal, and almost criminally so for the diligent photographer, here.

All photos by Will Van Dorp.  More to come.

 

 

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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