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Way too many years ago I made a trip back to Gloucester, as posted about here.  So I went back this weekend, had long talks with a few people, but of course that means I didn’t see all the people I would have liked to.  And although putting up these photos seems like walking on a concrete slab before it’s set, here I go, premature or not.

It’s the old 1952 Blue Ocean alongside some newer yachts.  This is the transition in Gloucester.


Here’s looking south toward Rocky Neck.  From left, it’s lobster boat Blivy Fish, Fort Point, and Disch’s old Dredge No. 200.   Click here for a post I did in 2009 showing the No. 200 in the KVK.  After the company owner died, the Disch equipment was auctioned off to the four winds.  One of Disch’s small tugs is on the Lake Erie now.  Fort Point used to be Patrick J. Hunt.


Waiting to go back in soon are Irish Piper and UB88, whose story you can find here on the GMG site.  More on GMG a little later.


F. H. Lane used to paint this scene.  Near the left, you see Our Lady of the Good Voyage, but lower,  more left I see a pinky stern and some interesting vessels made to the prominent dock.  Adventure‘s returned from Boothbay, where I saw both the black-hulled schooner and the pinky here.  More on these tomorrow.


Here’s the reciprocal shot, showing the bow of Adventure, which has a 90th year gala coming up in less than a month,  and a closer-up of the old motor life boat.  Anyone tell anything about her?  I know someone who probably can. Here’s another set of rebuilds.


This mystery life boat looks quite original.


Here’s Wanderbird with a schooner tied alongside.  Unicorn?  If so, did she ever sell?  Is Wanderbird for sale?  Also there, Lisa Ann III and Full Moon.  Overkill‘s in there too.


This beauty aint telling, nothing.


Here’s some info on Ardelle.


And here’s the home base for many things in Gloucester, including lobsters and community.  Cheers, Joey C. and GMG . . . Good Morning Gloucester.


All photos by Will Van Dorp.

Back in 1987, I took a leave from work (nearby in Newburyport) one morning to see a large Soviet factory ship that had finally been granted permission for shore leave in Gloucester after working offshore for months.  Here’s an article about that time.  Does anyone have photos to share of that?  I recall the chill I got seeing the hammer and sickle on the stack as she was tied up behind Gortons. I didn’t carry a camera much back then.

Three years ago when I visited Cape Ann, I returned obsessed with ideas about edifices and erections . . .  no no not what you think.  For a spell I toyed with efforts to grow ideas of erecting lights in the sixth boro like this . . . until I concluded–at the time–that our fair harbor already has its light. . . yet I’m ambivalent about the finality of that answer.

I like Gloucester’s unique reinvention of the tradition of a tree with lights, a genuine community effort, building the tree while building a community.

Evidence of community building showed elsewhere too  . .  like here.

The inscription barely visible in the foreground says “Step into my shoes and feel inspired,” and I did and was.  Fitz Hugh (or Henry) Lane‘s work is truly a memorial framing past.

Gloucester’s Harbor Walk has to be one of the most amazing ways to marry state-of-the-art technology with a  means to memorialize the past.  Here’s an article on its genesis and funding, and the  home website for these 42 “stations of the port.”

A stone’s throw from the water . . . a shrine to Gordon W. Thomas,  author of one of my all-time favorite books.

Here’s another memorial at the Portuguese church.

This marker in Bearskin Neck (Rockport) features some great obsolete words, seafencibles and “townsmen … in stockings.”

Actually, I was there in part to build a personal memorial, although I hadn’t known that when I first arrived.  Standing in Fitz’s shoes was inspirational.

And so  . ..  south of Straitsmouth Light, here memorialized in a postcard . . .  until some gust might topple it, a cairn stands.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp.

Three years ago I did posts about wooden vessels and names while in the greater Cape Ann area.  This time what struck me was the variety of vessels in this small but intensely important peninsula.  Essex Shipbuilding Museum is always “must stop there” . . . and make a donation if you wish.  Essex has fewer than 4000 people.   Treat yourself to beautiful lines fleshed out in old  . . .

and new like these.

Speak of random tugs, it’s YTL-438, built on City Island, NY,  in 1944, Nicholas T today.

I can’t hear the word “Gloucester” without thinking of fish and lobsters and other sea life.  Read what Capt Joey has to say about Western Venture, here with Osprey. Joey’s GMG does “citizen journalism” par excellence on many aspect of Gloucester life, and a more historically focused website on Gloucester industry can be found here.

Vessels old and

new–like these three midwater trawlers of Western Sea Fishing— line the piers when they’re not at sea.   It no secret that fishing brings risks:  a vessel I featured here three years ago–Plan B-sank earlier this year.

Small and newish like Cat Eyes or

or classic, versatile, and large like 1924 Highlander Sea (for sale)  and 1926 Adventure both Essex built . . .  they all lie in the few dozen acres of water in Gloucester’s Inner Harbor.   See Adventure‘ s site here and some fun fotos here.

Treats appear at every glance, near and far.

Can anyone tell me more about Traveler . .  and all her lives?  Here’s what I learned from Good Morning Gloucester:  follow the comments and you’ll learn that she was launched in “1942 by Cambridge Ship Builder, Inc. based in MD, for the US Army. She is 79.9 ft. long, was a rescue boat serving in WWII picking up downed fighter pilots and had full infirmary facilities aboard.”

More Gloucester tomorrow.  All fotos by Will Van Dorp, who realizes he should come back here more often.   And if you’ve never been to Cape Ann, sooner is better.

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October 2016
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