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What is that? asked one gentleman standing at beside a lock.  The geese took no chances and scurried as it approached.

From this angle, its ferry origins are quite evident.  Scroll to compare with SS Columbia and SS Astoria.

This is the bow of Ward’s Island;  she’s departing the way she arrived around 1937 but stern first, leaving under duress.

Here the tow departs E-12 for Amsterdam.

That’s E-11 in the distance, and from this vantage point, I see

the hull as a sounding board for an as-yet invented instrument.   I believe that before she goes to the reef, her crane and wheelhouse will be once again mounted.  For show.

From one of her former crew, here’s what a working Ward’s Island looked like late in a season, replacing summer buoys with winter buoys.

The next batch I took near E-10, a lock allowing photos from the sunny side.

As you can see, she was certainly rotund.

 

To close out this post,  . . . to that gentleman who couldn’t identify the blue rotund hulk, I’d say  this reefing plan is obliterating some NYS history that could be repurposed.  Eradicating context destroys a dimension of the Canal. What do you think?

For more about the photo below by Jon Crispin,  click here.

The photo above by Jon Crispin.  All others by Will Van Dorp.

It occurs to me that someone might want to start a website using the slogan above.

Click here for previous canal reef express posts.  For Urger posts responding to and with the same urgency, click here.

 

The last time we saw Jay Bee V, she was solo and reportedly beginning an epic.  That was nine days ago, and now Jay Bee V (JBV) has taken over this large white barge from larger river tugs and is heading west with a a flotilla that began over a month ago in Brooklyn.  Click here for specifics on this journey as well as sponsors, and there are many.

Arguably, the epic began in 1868, and I quote here from the link above:  “1868, the Brooklyn Flint Glass Company relocated to Corning, via the New York Waterways, and evolved into the company that is today known as Corning Incorporated. In celebration of the 150th anniversary of this pivotal journey, CMoG will launch GlassBarge—a 30’ x 80’ canal barge equipped with CMoG’s patented all-electric glassmaking equipment—in Brooklyn Bridge Park on May 17, 2018.”

What’s pushing the “glass barge?”

Here’s a top down view of JBV, and

the boats of Lake Champlain Maritime Museum.

Way in the distance, that’s the glass barge and beyond that, lock E-11.   Here from tug44 a few years back is more info on lock E-11.

If this photo illustrates nothing, it shows how JBV‘s  captain relies on understanding and communication from the watch stander on the barge.

 

Above and below, the flotilla passes Fonda, NY,

before locking up through E-13.

 

The glass barge flotilla had given its 8th set of shows (by my count)  in Amsterdam the day before.  To understand the impact of these shows, think canal-traveling circus of the 19th century.  Here they were heading for a set of shows in Canajoharie.  

 

More to come.  Again, if you have not checked out this link for their schedule–the water portion of which ends in Watkins Glen on September 16, click here.   Below is a vase I witnessed a glassblower make in less than 15 minutes!

All photos by Will Van Dorp, who reiterates that I take all the photos credited to me on this blog;  any photos taken by anyone else–collaboration I encourage–I attribute accordingly.

More photos of the Great Race soon.

 

 

See a statement at the end of this post.

The next vessel headed for the reef is Reliable of Utica, once a twin of Syracuse of Syracuse, which has been featured here in many previous posts. Fred of tug44 has also gotten some photos I have not.

For years–I’d estimate about two decades–Reliable has languished out of the water, as seen in photo below, which I took in June 2014.  Click here (and scroll to the third photo) for a photo of the bow while on the hard.

Its approximately 100-ton shell was lifted from the bank and placed in this  . . . coffin  (well, what else?) for a final journey, likely its only journey to the salt water.

As of publication today, Reliable –in its cortege–is being pushed by Rebecca Ann in proximity of the GW Bridge.

Lucy H pushed her through 22 locks–if my count is right–on her way to the flight, where I took these photos.

Many have said reefing might not be the best “re-purposing” of Reliable and other boats, but, as you can see, the migration of these vessels seaward has begun.

I’m grateful for the opportunity to have been here yesterday in this glorious light to see

Reliable make her final exit from the NYS Canal system.

 

All photos by Will Van Dorp, who wishes there’d been at least a single bagpiper for solemnity as Reliable sank into the chamber, foreshadowing the descent she’ll make soon into the briny not-so-deep but from which she’ll never emerge.

For last month’s first post in this series, Canal Reef Express 1, click here.

For a sense of how that bagpiper would sound and look, click on the YouTube link near the end of this tugster post from 2010.

What follows is a statement from Tom Prindle and posted on the Canal Society of New York FB page.

This comment was in the post with the Reliable photos, but it should be read on its own here, with no photos. Tom Prindle is a leader in preserving canal history. #savetheurger

“The scuttling of the Reliable and other canal vessels and the impending beaching of the venerable and much beloved Tug URGER begs the question with all due respect : who is making these decisions and how are they qualified to decide what is historic and what is not ? What should be saved and what should be destroyed ?These vessels need to be evaluated by those professionals charged with protecting the historic resources of our state. The Reliable may not look like much as she now is but she and the other vessels slated to be sunk are unique artifacts of New York State history. What is being planned for the 117 year old URGER is horrible. Her destruction was first proposed some 30 years ago. Instead John Jermano and Schuyler Meyer “re-imagined” the old tug as a floating classroom and ambassador of the NYS Canal System. Thousands of school kids from Harlem to Tonawanda have been welcomed aboard her. Now somebody has decided that for some reason must stop, Surely we can do better than that.”

Hats off,  Thanks, Tom.

 

 

May 15, 2018 was the 100th anniversary of the opening of the Barge Canal.  That fact was mentioned at the ceremonies opening the Canal to recreational traffic yesterday, and quite a diverse and international flotilla of recreational boats waited, like racers on the starter’s blocks.

But first, do you recognize this captain?

Well, he waved at all these school kids who serenaded him and all the other boats, first of the season, leaving lock E2.  For prices on similar Hinckley 36 picnic boats, click here.

Sonically greeting them also were two Canal vessels:  Governor Cleveland and Grand Erie.

But let’s step back about 15 minutes.  The lower gates of E2 open to reveal the queue.

The nearest boat to the left was driven by the gentleman I asked whether you could identify.  The large vessel to the right — a 78′ Azimut Benetti Spa registered in Grand Rapids MI–was rumored to belong to a well-known professional basketball player.

 

It was the second batch locking through that brought the more unique westbound boats.

The green vessel —Oliver Plunkett-– Canadian registry, was returning from a stint in the Bahamas.  Her PEI fishing pedigree is quite noticeable.

Troll–hailing from Elburg NL– intrigues me, but I can’t point out anything besides an unusual name and bright hull color, both of which you’ve already noticed.

Broadsword, German registry, is a 58′ New Zealand-built Artnautica LRC 58 motoring around the world to the east, although here headed west.

Each of these boats has a story, many stories, I’ll never know.

 

And finally, this Florida-registered Axopar caught my attention too late and too far from the camera.  But, check out these Finnish boat designs.

To see some unusual recreational boat designs, lock E2 is the place to be on opening day.  I would be remiss, however, to leave out reference to commercial vessels . . . several of whom have already locked through, and that may be a story I pick back up in a few days.

The first boat here–a Nordhavn 62– was an unusual vessel to see up in Waterford.

And the person at the helm of the Hinckley, it was Geraldo Rivera, whom you’ve likely heard of.  But, check out his info on this wiki page for lots of tidbits you probably don’t know, eg, he attended SUNY Maritime, he’s a lawyer, he went to West Babylon High School, and some scandals . . .

All photos by Will Van Dorp, who’d love to hear more about any of these boats at points farther west . . .

 

 

On May 4, 1928 this “oil-burning” tug was launched at Buffalo Marine Construction Co.  The 1928 price for the 74’1″ x 19’6″ x 8’2″ tug was $44,250, which is (adjusted for inflation) $644,318.82 in 2018 money.  Here are some photos over the few years I’ve followed her.  Starting below, September 2008.

September 2010 here

and here.

October 2013.

June 2014

August 2017.  Yes, she’s a working boat.

Now clearly this is not Cleveland, but her sister Governor Roosevelt.  That is a deep hull.   I don’t believe I’ve ever seen Cleveland hauled out.  According to Michele A. McFee’s A Long Haul, the two Governors were purchased by NYS DPW in the late 1920s to break ice, and proved their worth in the dramatic November 1936 deep freeze.

Thanks to Chris Freeman who put her “birth certificate” on FB this morning and alerted me to this day for ceremony for the Cleveland.

All photos by Will Van Dorp, who leaves you with this obscure story of Cleveland (later POTUS 22 AND 24) getting incarcerated in Medina NY on a suspected “corruption of a minor female” charge . . .  all a mistake.  Read it below:

Here we are in 2018, and Grouper is still in purgatory,

aground on a soft smooth bottom created when the Canal is drained,

when the waterway looks like a brook.  I’m told that portions of the Canal in Oswego have been drained as of last week, and I hope to see for myself one of these days.

Grouper, if you are new to this blog, is a stranded Great Lakes tug–sibling to these in Cleveland, and launched in 1912!!

Many thanks to Bob Stopper for these photos.

 

 

We came across this bridge inspection operation

between E-13 and E-12 eastbound on the Canal

in the town of Fonda, NY, not far from the speedway, which has hosted motor racing for 90 (!!) years,  and the fair, which is way older.

But the other day, Arnold D, of Seaway Marine Group, stood by and placed inspectors in the basket where they need to put eyes on the infrastructure.

 

For context on Fonda and lands immediately to the east, enjoy these shots.

 

All photos by Will Van Dorp, one of whose previous Seaway Marine posts involved stocking fish

here.

For starters, let me say I should have visited the Chittenango Landing Canal Museum a long time ago.  And if you’re in the Syracuse area, it’s certainly worth a visit.

Now the museum is much, much more inclusive than this diorama, but the subject matter intrigues me . . .   My all-time favorite circus movie was Something Wicked This Way Comes, stemming from Ray Bradbury’s ripe imagination.  But I’d love to see a movie doing a rendering of life in central New York set in Sig Sautelle’s floating circus…   so many strands . . . 200 years of canal history, Civil War drummer boy turned circus guy, meow man cats, ventriloquism and maybe a split personality, and to

juice it up, there needs to be a murder or a sordid affair.

Maybe it involves a rival circus, and it could all get

scented up by a wayward whale . . . westbound, crossing paths with the eastbound circus!

More canal spectacle here, although additional surprises may lie around each bend.

 

 

Steel barges rules these days, although a few all wood or partly wood barges still exist as reminders of past stages of technology.  But a glass barge? And reading that it’s sponsored by Corning Museum of Glass …  that could give one pause.

As it turns out, I saw this barge opened up a bit later and took advantage to learn more.

Hot glass was in fact being shaped.

It turns out the “glass barge” is a set of kilns set up on a steel barge;  in summer 2017, the glass barge traveled to three locations in central and western NY state, as

a prep for a glass barge voyage from Brooklyn to Corning next summer.  Click here for a short intro to glass blowing, and here for a much more extensive video.

Wet newspaper . ..  yes, it’s the cheapest effective material for this stage of the process.

While researching this post, I learned that Corning already does glass blowing at sea demos on cruise ships. 

Who knew?  Stay tuned for more info on the glass barge and its visit to NYC in the summer of 2018.

All photos by Will Van Dorp.

Way in the distance where the waterway narrows, that’s lock E-11 and accompanying moveable dam, Amsterdam NY.  Click here for closer-ups of some of the Erie Canal locks and bank scenery.

I saw no names anywhere as this catamaran cut dynamic grooves into a calm river, where I was waiting–in vain–for a vessel in the opposite direction, hoping to get photos of it navigating through the morning mist.  By this time, that mist had dissipated.

Here Bear motorsails westward past Little Gull light . . .

Anyone help with the name of this large sloop in the sixth boro about three weeks back?

It looked to be about 60–70′  . . .

America 2.0 plied harbor waters operations

out of Chelsea Piers.

Off Croton Point, this metallic-looking catamaran headed upriver.

Again, I noticed no name, but the flag could say Bermuda.

Even as the mainsail is lowered, Clearwater is unmistakeable.

And this brings up back up to the Oswego Canal, it’s brigantine St Lawrence II;

her rig conspicuously missing tells me it went on ahead on a truck.  St. Lawrence II here was nearing Oswego.

And to close this out, here are three photos from Lake Erie, late summer.

 

 

All photos recently by Will Van Dorp, who by this time should be back on the St. Lawrence River.

 

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