You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘Grouper’ tag.

Recently I got a request for something on single screw tugs.  Ask . .  and receive, from the archives.

May 1, 2011  . .  the 1901 Urger was on the dry dock wall in Lyons looking all spiffy.  A month later, she’d be miles away and alive.

On March 19, 2010, the 1907 Pegasus had all the work done she was scheduled for, and the floating dry dock is sinking here.  In 10 minutes, Pegasus would be afloat and a yard tug … draw her out.

On a cold day last winter, a shot of the 1912 Grouper, in dry dock, waiting for a savior.   If you’re savvy and have deep reservoirs of skill and money, you can likely have her cheap.

In that same dry dock, the 1926 boxy superstructure DeWitt Clinton.

To digress, here’s how her much-lower clearance looked when first launched in Boothbay.

Back on July 30, 2017, I caught the 1929 Nebraska getting some life-extension work.   Unlike the previous single screw boats, Nebraska has a Kort nozzle surrounding its prop, which clearly is away getting some work done on it also.

On February 10, 2010, the 1931 Patty Nolan was on the hard.  She was put back in, but currently she’s back on the hard, with plans to float her again this summer.

A CanalCorp boat, I believe this is Dana, was in dry dock in Lyons this past winter.  If so, she’s from 1935.

As you’ve noticed, single screw tugs have sweet elliptical sterns.  All painted up and ready to splash, they are things of beauty.  On December 16, 2006, I caught the 1941 Daniel DiNapoli, ex-Spuyten Duyvil, about to re-enter her element.

Also in dry dock but not ready to float, on March 10, 2010, the 1958 McAllister Brothers, ex-Dalzelleagle is getting some TLC.

Is it coincidence that so many of these single screw boats are   . . . aged?  Nope.  Twin- and triple-screw boats can do many more things.  Is it only because the regulations have changed?  Have any single-screw tugs been built in recent years?  Are single-screw boat handling skills disappearing in this age of twin- and triple-screw boats?  No doubt.

All photos by WVD, who enjoyed this gallivant through the archives.

And speaking of archives, Mr Zuckerberg reminded me this morning that nine years ago exactly, the sixth boro was seeing the complicated lading of the tugs and barges being taken by heavylift ship to West Africa.  There were so many challenges that I called the posts “groundhog day” like the movie about a guy having to use many many “re-do’s” before he could get it right.

 

From Capt Nemo, a few years ago, the 2000 Mary Gellatly high and dry and before she was Mackenzie Rose.  Also, I see Tasman Sea, Dace, an unidentified Bouchard, and Yemitzis.

From KP, Dace getting her upper wheelhouse . . . over 10 years ago.

From a Great Lakes Mariner, the oldest working ship on the Lakes . . . Alpena, a survivor launched in 1942, as she backs out of a Wisconsin city.

From Tony Acabono, it’s Kodi, among the smallest, hard-workingest tugs of the sixth boro.

From Bob Stopper a few years back, when Grouper was facing another no-starter season.

Another one from Bob, it’s tug Syracuse with a comatose Governor Roosevelt alongside.

From back in March 2020, thanks to Jan Oosterboer, via Jan van der Doe, it’s the world’s largest vessel by displacement . . .  Pioneering SpiritHere are tech specs and lots of images from her operator, AllSeas.

Here she enters port without an assist. Jan writes:  “Moves complete oil rigs, drilling platforms, can work as pipe layer.
Has a working crew of about 400 people including sailing crew.”

If I read this correctly, she has eight 20-cylinder engines that generate 127,000 hp and can cruise at 14 kts!

 

And finally one of my own from almost 15 years ago, it’s tug Hackensack.  As I understand it she’s now in South America somewhere.

Thanks to Nemo, KP, Mariner, Acabono, Stopper, and the Jans . . .  for use of these photos.

I hope to “see” you tomorrow for my Turnstile Tours on zoom doing “Exploring the Erie Canal.”  Tomorrow’s tugster post will be up early so that you can get interesting info for the zoom meeting.

 

 

I grew up less than 10 miles from this very location, in Wayne County, and having seen the whole system, I’ll suggest that, from the water, Wayne seems the most rural county transited by the canal, and that’s just description, not criticism.  Interesting to me is the fact that familiarity makes it hard for me to identify this area’s tourism appeal.

Tug Seneca, whose distance table we’ve been using, followed us into lock E-28A. In the distance, notice the “abandoned” 1912 tugboat Grouper, the topic of many many posts on this blog.

Below is the same area, from 400′ up and looking east. Note the lock center right and Lyons dry dock to its left in February. That’s Route 31, again, along the right side of the canal.  One of the pieces of equipment long-term (and maybe terminally) in the dry dock is Dipper Dredge No. 3, entered service around 1929 and last operated in 1985.  I’m told that the expertise to operate the unit no longer exists.

Lyons pre-dates the canal, only briefly, and is named for the city in France. It owes some international fame to H. G. Hotchkiss and peppermint essential oil, made there for over 150 years.  At one time, the smell of peppermint wafted over the canal and greeted travelers. More on that story here. A unique feature of the canal corridor through here is the number of houses, built by canal workers, made of cobblestones.  For a list with photos of cobblestone buildings in the immediate area, click here.  Signage on the north bank directs boaters around town and the area.

Let’s take a prompt from those signs and go ashore to

admire both the bucolic splendor and, alongside old Route 31 here in Lock Berlin, stare in disbelief at this ditch. Yes, that’s Clinton’s Ditch!  If you have ancestors who traveled west on the Erie Canal, this is where they floated past.

Off the road just slightly in Black Brook Park are these remnants of lock no. 54 of the Enlarged Canal, i.e., this saw traffic between 1862 and 1918.

I mentioned signage above:  Many murals have been created in Lyons and elsewhere along the canal by organizations like Mural Mania.  See a few Lyons examples here.  Murals help maintain a sense of history.  This one is a work-in-progress (notice the table and chairs in the studio?) painted on large sheets of plywood;  when the time is right, the mural is one of two to be assembled in mosaic form in a location to be disclosed on this blog later.

Another Lyons detail, this time from the Moran archives, of Agnes A. Moran (upper right)  tied up in town in summer 1961.  Many thanks to Chris Williams for a “heads up” on that on.  Click on the photo for the full context, and scroll.

It’s time to get back onto the boat.  Here we’ve passed under the Route 14 bridge.  Note the county courthouse dome in the center of the photo.

More industrial remnants catch our attention;  what looks abandoned now isn’t really, but its current usage differs from its original.

It was built 1900  (or 1903) for the Empire Sugar Beet Company, in season processing 600 tons of beets daily to produce 50 tons of raw sugar.  The beets came from 6000 acres farmed for this purpose locally. No sugar beets have been grown in the county for some time. In the 1940s the factory processed dates brought here by rail and sea from Iraq and Iran, pineapple . .  from Hawaii and the Philippines.

This is the reason one always carries a camera and maintains a sharp lookout.

Traffic on the narrow bridges here reveals what’s going on beyond the wooded banks.

The wooded banks, however, appear to shelter great hideaways, even though there may be a paved road 300′ on the land side.

Traffic . . . again, keep a camera handy, because you never know what you’ll see.  Grand Erie, now a NYS Canals vessel, spent the first part of its life on the Ohio River system.

Have another machine from the inception of this land cut.

Here’s another example of an industrial vestige along the Canal;  until 1989 when the last barge made a delivery, hot asphalt was moved here and through the pipes into the storage tank from a “hot” barge pushed by a tug all the way from Perth Amboy NJ.

Ten miles east of Lyons we arrive in Clyde, a village with a population of about 2000 for over a century.  Clyde Glass Works put the town on the map.  Here’s more on the glassware made here.

What’s not visible from the boat is the proximity of the Enlarged Canal, as seen from this drone photo of the laser-straight “ditch” to the right of the current canal.

Lauraville Landing in Clyde back in summer 2017 saw these boats tied up for an evening, part of the “votetilla,” a parade of boats that transited this part of the canal on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of New York granting women the right to vote.  The 19th amendment was passed two years later.

The bottleneck for folks that travel the canal frequently, this is the infamous Clyde Bridge, aka the E-93 bridge that once carried the many-years-defunct West Shore Railroad.  It blocks passage of any vessel exceeding about 15′ of air draft.  If you’re 16′ and can ballast yourself down without hitting the bottom, there’s hope. Otherwise  . . . Lake Erie is only 130 miles behind you, and you’ll see things you missed as you return, right?  The jackstaff with the yellow “flag” aka jack can also be called a feeler or a tell tale.

In the photo above,  we approach just barely drifting, in case we need to reverse engine to avoid hitting.   Below, I took the photo before I knew exactly what this “grafitti” represented.  Later,

I learned that Blount Small Ships Adventures then known as American Canadian Caribbean Line, used to transit this portion of the canal, and here the owner of the company, Luther Blount, is standing atop the highest deck of Niagara Prince, leaving a record before squeezing through on the way west to Lake Erie.  Photographer unidentified.

Two miles east of here we transit E-26, and then another five miles farther, we get to lock E-25. The small boat just before the lock to the left is called a buoy boat.  You may have seen others earlier in the trip and wondered. In the first decades of the Barge Canal, when traffic moved 24/7 as long as the ice was not too thick, channel buoys had kerosene lamps;  buoy boats carried kerosene tanks to replenish the tanks on the buoys to keep the flame burning.  They are still used as appropriate in the system.

A mile east of  E-25,we’re in the Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge, and

we come to a junction, shown

more vividly here from a 1981 aerial.  We will overnight here and, rather than heading straight ahead for Syracuse, we’re branching off to the right.  And that triangular island, does it have a name?  If the name is as boring as Junction Island, I think we need a a legend and an intriguing name.  In the absence of one, I’ll call it Tadadaho island, and if you want to learn about this scary local, click here.

Given all the mention of Haudenosaunee names in this series, you might be wondering where “Montezuma” comes from.  Well, a cosmopolitan NYC physician named Peter Clark with a commercial interest in the salt deposits under the marsh there  built a home overlooking the area in 1806.  He considered his home akin to the palace of the Aztec ruler, and therefore chose that name.  It stuck.  I’d love to see a photo of that house.  And salt, that’ll come up again.

At the start of the next post, we’ll virtually transport ourselves 50 miles mostly south to the bottom of Seneca Lake, town of Watkins Glen, and head north across the Lake.  One could do the same trip heading north starting in Ithaca, less than 20 miles to the mostly east from Watkins Glen, but then we’d hit only one lock.  So to Watkins Glen we’ll go.   It’s a nice place, by the way for hiking (last three photos here) and spectating this and more.

Many thanks to Bob Stopper of Lyons for some of these photos and information, Chris for the Moran tug heads-up,  Mark De Cracker for the mural-in-progress, and drone-assisted photos by Jim Kerins.

There are at least three more installments coming.  To continue this series, consider this:  if you’ve done any part of the NYS Canals and feel like adding here, info and photos of something sublime or even that I’ve underrepresented–section, activity or historical context, please contact me.  You can supply photos of the area, activity, constituent, or era . . . Together we’ll collaborate to get that represented.  It could be like this one cruising the Champlain Canal in the 1950s.

Here from 2013 was the first in the series. Since then I’ve done another series called “tale of the tape,” borrowing from boxing analysis or automotive competitions.  Consider today’s and tomorrow’s post as something similar to what you’d see and read if a car magazine compared a 2020 C8 Corvette with a Tesla Cybertruck, or a 1969 Karmann Ghia convertible, or even a 1948 Willys Overland Jeepster . . .  more on that later.

The photo below I use with permission from Fred Miller.   It carries Oneida name boards;  Oneida is the same vessel as Grouper, the 1912 boat I’ve posted so much about over the years.

Ruth M. Reinauer dates from almost a century later and could not be a more different boat, built for an entirely different mission.  They are apples and oranges, you might say, dogs and cats.  I’ll let you enumerate the differences and similarities for yourself.

Thanks to Fred for the top photo;  the bottom one I took.

Languishing along the Erie Canal, now in the dry dock adjacent to E-28A, is tugboat Grouper.  As she continues in limbo, folks far from the Erie Canal remember her, recall family experiences long ago, not thinking of her as Grouper at all, but rather . . .  Green Bay. Here she assists passenger steamer SS South American, a steamer that plied the Lakes for over 50 years.

Some look at the photo below and can identify relatives.

She has been shipshape with

many assists behind her, like Hennepin here.  This laker was known by the name Hennepin between 1937 and 1975.

Of the many captains who worked on her over the years, Lester Gamble, to the right below,  was the captain from 1954-68.

Many thanks to the the Gamble family for sharing these photos.

Below are two photos I took of the highly endangered Green Bay/Grouper last month.  For all her previous names and history, click here.

For the dozens of previous posts I’ve done on this boat, click here.

 

 

Many thanks to Lee Rust for working with the two photos immediately below, showing a boat frequently featured here.

Photo to the left was taken near the elevators in Manitowoc in a slip now filled in and frequently piled high with coal adjacent to Badger‘s slip. In the 1959 photo, the tug was owned by C. Reiss Coal Company. The tug had recently been repainted and repowered (1957).   Badger gets regular maintenance, so a similar treatment of that vessel would not evoke the same emotions.

Technically, the two photos above were 58 years apart, so I added the two below which I took in Lyons NY earlier in 2019; hence, six decades apart.

 

Thanks to Lee and Jeff for providing these photos.

Unrelated:  Check out freighterfreak’s photos from Duluth here.

Anyone have similar juxtapositions of a single vessel or vehicle across time, please send it in.

Here are previous posts in this series.  Other titles with the word hulls can be found here.

I’ve taken all these photos since the start of 2019.  The one below is a leap forward:  that’s my first view of the 1912 hull of the oft-mentioned tug I know as Grouper.  This might be the year of destiny for this 107-year-old boat, although I’ve thought that many times before. If plans are to emerge from the foundry of all possibilities, this is the time to forge them.

A decade and a half younger at 90 years young, Kentucky illustrates the draft on these tugs.

Tender #1 will also be 90 years in service this year.

Fairchild is the youngster in this set . . . launched in 1953 at Roamer Boat in Holland. MI

And finally, I don’t believe this is the 1938 Kam.  But what boat is this?  And why are those square openings in the hull just above the waterline?  And is this the Purvis scrapyard?

All photos by Will Van Dorp, in Lyons NY and the Soo.

 

Grouper!  This boat has been the focus of a long series of posts dating back to April 23, 2008.  I had expected resolution years ago, but so far, unresolved.  However,bg  there is some news, although it’s hardly new since Bob Stopper sent me these photos two full months ago already.  Have a long look:  she’s out of the water in the dry dock in Lyons, NY.

Launched in 1912, this is some solid craft.

The news is only that she’s out of the water right now.

Her future could well involve becoming fish habitat, deep

in salt waters.

We will follow this story.  Many thanks to Bob Stopper for these photos.

 

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.

 

 

Jack Ronalds took this photo of Ontario (Jeffrey K. McAllister) and Erie (Missy McAllister) in Canso back in August 2016.

John Jedrlinic took this in the sixth boro in December 2008.

I took the photo below a few months earlier in 2008, as the transfer from Normandy to Ross Sea was happening.

Grouper has been featured here many, many times over the years, but you’ve never seen this much of her out of the water;  it’s “draw-down” time on the Erie Canal near lock E-28A.  These photos come from Bob Stopper a few weeks ago.

 

From Bangkok, Ashley Hutto sends along photos of a decidedly pastel Thai tug

with two barges

on a hawser.

Thanks to Jack, Jed, Bob, and Ashley for these photos.

 

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