You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘Howland Hook’ tag.

Over six years ago, here was the last time I used this title.  At 09:23 this morning, E. R. Denver was at Howland Hook as an outbound tanker eased by.   E. R. seems to have been created by erasure from MaERsk.


. . . nine seconds later, it’s


Mount Everest.


This is serious, precision navigating,


with even less tolerance of errors because of the channel work, and


surrounding traffic, like Kristy Ann Reinauer and Paul Andrew and dredge units.




This short stretch of Arthur Kill, where serious dredging is enlarging the channel, were featured here and here (a blast!!) back last October.   I’m not given to playing video games or using simulators, but if such a thing were available, I can imagine spending time playing “games” imitating professionals piloting different types of vessels through ports of the world in every sort of conditions.  Hats off to the professionals.

All fotos today by Will Van Dorp.


Guess what this is?  I’ll call it T-time on Kraken.

Then this is T minus five minutes.  Note the orange mass just forward of the channel marker.

T minus five seconds!

Believe it or not . . . this is T PLUS five seconds.  So, there was a thud that resonated through the concrete barrier I braced myself behind on shore at least 600 feet away, and then the sound of spray seen in the first foto above.  But five seconds beyond . . . mist had dissipated and some gurgles formed in the water.

T plus fifteen seconds . . . the first bird arrives and the water turns muddy.

T plus a half minute, the gurgles have grown, appear grainy and muddy, and a yellowish mist forms.

One minute beyond . .  birds have heard the dinner bell . . . er . . . blast.

I wonder what the cormorant on lower right of center is thinking . . ..

Two minutes beyond . . .

And the zone reopens to traffic.  All fotos by Will Van Dorp, who has a blast every time he goes down to the water.  The last blast depicted on this blog–taken in Panama–was the final foto in this post from back in March.

It’s been over a year since I’ve used this title . . .  I worry sometimes that someone I catch in the act of working might feel intruded upon. Such is the farthest thing from my intention.  I’m certainly not the first or last to state there’s dignity in labor, whether it’s performed indoors or out.

Here Doubleskin 37 approaches NYK Rumina (named for the goddess of breast-feeding mothers!!!) as

day breaks to refill

the bunker tanks;  Coral Coast (1970, McDermott, and attractive) in pushgear.

Green Bay shuttles between dredge and

shore, throaty as she pushes water.

Paul Andrew seems headed for a shore base as well,

as Sarah Ann heads for Newark Bay

with a deck barge.

Scott Turecamo pushes New Hampshire into the interior of Arthur Kill land.

And Maria J moves a crane barge in

the same direction.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp, who’s mindful that for every member of the crew outside, there are possibly four inside.

I saw this vessel tonight as I drove home from work, drove exuberantly into spring break 2012.  I’m through with cubicles and classrooms for a while.  But seeing the “boxaceous” stern of Grande Morocco from the Goethals Bridge gives one pause.  Said stern is supremely boxy, quite different from the bow, here

bathed in first morning light.

These fotos were taken before seven a.m. Thursday.  Click here for a partial cutaway of that stern.  As of Friday morning, fleetmates of this class Grande Gabon has recently left Ghana, and Grande Guinea (good view of the stern here)  has passed Cape Verde on its way to Senegal.

From here, she goes to the Gambia, Senegal, Cote d”Ivoire, Guinea . . . oh! I’d love to travel along, even if it goes nowhere near Morocco.   Surely, there’s some role I could play.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp.  Do I sound like a victim of wanderlust?

Unrelated . . . or maybe not: Warren Zevon’s  Roland the headless gunner.

For a bit more context than yesterday’s post . . . I visited the AK twice yesterday . . . before my “shift”  started and at a break eight hours later.  Doubleclick enlarges fotos.

At 0651, I caught my first glimpse of Bayonne’s new landmark.

I know about the “green flash” at dawn and dusk;  I don’t know if there’s a counterpart term for this yellow spear pointing to the sun’s track.

The foto below of Howland Hook was taken less than a minute after the one above;  looking southwest v. east makes an amazing difference.   And this difference is much more noticeable on fotos than to naked eye.  I like the pink clouds in the orange morning.

Watching this diving bird (grebe) was part of my prep for a long work day.

At 1442, I took a break, and headed down the street to revisit the AK.  Marie J Turecamo (1968, ex-Traveller) was southbound on the Kill as Matthew Scott headed for the dredge.

And another type of orange flowed onto the scene . . . 830′ x 144′.

Eagle Beaumont, escorted by Bruce A. McAllister (1974, ex-Ellen F. McAllister) and McAllister Responder.

Thirty-six feet of her below the surface of the AK,

regally she passed, a huge cistern

to be avoided by all traffic

all around.

By this point, I was about halfway through my break.  More tomorrow.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp.

From Howland Hook to the parking lot at my job takes about 10 minutes.  On a clear morning, a quick stop across from the port gives me ballast I need for whatever I might face at work.  What I wrote about dawn here a year and a half ago still holds.    The ship here is NYK Rigel, which I wrote about here last year.  It departed the sixth boro last night after the “tornado.” It spent about a day in Howland Hook after having left Qingdao, Ningbo, and Shanghai … in mid -August.  Today, those containers are starting to fan out across the eastern US via truck and rail.

The gantry operator has a fantastic vantage point but a schedule that prevents him from stopping to enjoy it.

I linger across the Kill and watch the light play first here, then there, on

countless surfaces.  Differing areas light up almost like the

sounds made by fingers crawling around the keyboard of a piano.

Even later in the day, reduced light is not a deprivation; darkened or even bleached out

light invokes magic.

Here’s a light post from last spring.

All fotos today by Will Van Dorp.

Very general backstory:  NYK Rigel (965′ x 105′ and 4800 teu) entered service in Spring 2009.  See fotos of engine. Named for a star in Orion’s foot in Western conceptualization but equally fascinating cultural significance (رجل الجبار,参宿七,Yerrerdet-kurrk)  among star-watchers of other cultures and our own.

I first saw NYK Rigel on my way to work Thursday.  The foto above taken around 7 am;  I then turned around and took the foto below (That’s Irish Sea pushing DBL 103 with Ross Sea as assist;  MSC Carla [I believe] headed for sea in the way background.)  looking in the general direction of the sun.

Two minutes later, Irish Sea passes, disturbing the calm reflections.  NYK Rigel had arrived in port around dusk Wednesday, having left Shanghai about a month earlier.

By the time I return to my vantage point on Howland Hook around 3 pm for break, tons has happened (literally), the chaplain’s red van of the Seafarers & International House has just left, and Gramma Lee T. Moran drops off the pilot.  This can mean only one thing.

Catherine Turecamo is the other half of the backing-down team.

When the “all clear” sounds, Gramma Lee T. muscles the stern away from the dock, azimuth thrusters sending water

racing in the opposite


I realize how lucky I am to spend my break time here today, seeing this

departure with the cliffs of Manhattan in the way background.  Backing down (or out) is a must here since Rigel is too long to turn around until just off Bergen Point, where she did in fact spin counterclockwise on her way out to sea.

Catherine works the bow as

needed.  It’s just another day’s

work for some;  the best place to take a break for me.

And as I drove along the Belt Parkway headed home five hours later, NYK Rigel was headed outbound (for Norfolk, I think)  just south of the Verrazano Bridge.  I decided not to stop for fotos.  End of my infinitesimally short story.   Some other perspectives I’d love to hear relate to the pilot, the tug crews, the chaplain, NYK Rigel‘s crew,  pilot boat crew, the families of all those folks . . .   along the esplanade.

Hope you enjoy the fotos ( by Will Van Dorp) as much as I enjoyed my two stops yesterday.  Work went well too.

About a year ago, I also documented a “backing down” here.

Oh . . . yes I know Alice was in town, but she’s playing so hard to get that I feel discouraged.

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 1,579 other subscribers
If looking for specific "word" in archives, search here.
Questions, comments, photos? Email Tugster

Documentary "Graves of Arthur Kill" is AVAILABLE again here.Click here to buy now!

Recent Comments

Seth Tane American Painting

Read my Iraq Hostage memoir online.

My Babylonian Captivity

Reflections of an American hostage in Iraq, 20 years later.


May 2023