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Call me smitten . . . but when I must, I can walk away.  The waving girl waved, but when I approached and proposed some fairly straight forward project, she said naught.  Nothing.  Mute she was!  Taciturnus maximus!  And so, upriver I headed.  With regrets galore, of course, for my own protection.  Whatever there is of Tugster that needs to be protected.  But before I left, I tried to play with perspectives not available in the sixth boro . . . aka 6B.

Like . . . height.  YM Los Angeles as seen from a little over 100′ above the water head on and

over the bow bulwarks at dusk.

Georgia Queen on New Year’s Eve, as seen from the same height.

Relative to the secure Cape Henlopen, see the bow wave coming off this Hapag-Lloyd vessel, and the next time I see that logo, billboard-size, on the side of a ship, I’ll remember

that the letter “g” might open to reveal this hatch.

Energy Puma heads upsteam only

to spin around and head for sea to suckle

via these color-coded ports and hoses hither and yon and next yon . . . .

CMA CGM Swordfish heads up to the container port.  I need to work on taking better night fotos in 2010.

Inventana shows that the golden hour, with sun low on the horizon, is indeed the best time for fotos.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp, who by now hopes to be in Virginia, making his way back to the sixth boro, with Georgia–at least Savannah–on my mind.  I’m blessed to have  excellent navigators–Elizabeth and a parrot–helping me see the otherwise unseen.  Well, the parrot does suggest tangents we can’t quite follow.

I’ll never claim to know all the sixth boro stories although I’ve chosen as a goal to hear more of them.  Savannah has a great waterfront story.  See if you can figure it out from this set of fotos;  I will explain at the end of post.  Call this . . . what’s Flo Mar’s tale?   Call her Florence Martus, if you want, and click here for the spoiler if you wish, but indulge me and see the fotos first.  She did get a Liberty ship named for her.  Be a sport, and follow the fotos.

She waves at Hoechst Express,  whose crew wave back, as do

crew on YM Los Angeles, once they see what they’re seeking.

So is it the friendly waterfront, the large hotel windows convenient for … er … flashing, accidental or intentional, something else?  But anyhow, crews seemed vigilant

binoculars at the ready to find waving folk,

waving girls maybe,

and then they wave back with exuberance no matter the ship.

Crew of Morning Chorus not only waved but also shouted audible new year’s greetings to lubbers reveling alongshore.

So Savannah’s hospitality has gotten enshrined.  So the story of Flo Mar, as reported in Savannah & the Georgia Coast by Jim Morekis goes like this:

“Beginning at age 19, Flo Mar–who actually lived a few miles downriver on Elba Island–took to greeting every passing ship with a wave of a handkerchief by day and a lantern at night, without fail for the next 40 (plus) years.  Ship captains would often return the greeting with a salute of their own on the ship’s whistle, and word spread all over the world of the beguiling woman who waited on the balcony of that lonely house.

Was she looking for a sign of a long lost love who went to sea and never returned?  Was she trying to get a handsome sea captain to sweep her off her feet and take her off that little island?  No one knows for sure.”

Now I began by denying expertise about New York stories, and  harbor folk  surrounding the sixth boro may very well have characters as compelling as Flo Mar.  I just don’t know them.  Anyone throw out some names?  Of course, New York does have a very impressive waving girl of its own aka Lady Liberty, as I wrote about here.

One of my favorite New York City novels begins to enlarge the intriguing truth of a failed writer named Herman Melville working out his last days as a night (the insignificant shift) customs inspector in the harbor.  Melville actually held this post for 19 years starting around 1866.  The novel,  The Night Inspector by Frederick Busch, is a great read if you’re trying to see the sixth boro of another era.

Photos, WVD.

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December 2021