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Yesterday morning some pallets got lifted from a terminal in Hunt’s Point in The Bronx by a Hudson River-based liftboat

to a Brooklyn-based ex-BUSL.  

Meanwhile, a Brooklyn-based crane ship on the hull of a repurposed lube tanker took   

position on the East Side of Pier 17.  

The lift boat Legs III is operated by Maritime Projects LLC, Helen A … by Brooklyn Marine Services, and  Louis C … by Lehigh Maritime.

For what’s going on here, I quote from “Beer Delivery Returns to NYC Waterways After 100 Year Absence“,  a press release from Oak Point Property LLC and Manhattan Beer Distributors,   Hunts Point community leaders, local businesses, maritime advocates, and public officials today cheered the first maritime delivery of beer on NYC’s waterways in over a century. The pilot project, planned and executed by Oak Point Property LLC, Manhattan Beer Distributors (MBD), The Howard Hughes Corporation, Maritime Projects LLC, and Barretto Bay Strategies, with ongoing support from the NYC Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) and the Greater Hunts Point EDC, delivered MBD’s six pallets of beer and Brooklyn-born Q Mixers from Oak Point terminal to Pier 17 at the Seaport.

With pallets loaded on its stern, Helen A., a New York harbor workboat, departed the Oak Point shoreline at 10:38 AM EST and reached Pier 17 at 11:38 AM. The Seaport’s operator The Howard Hughes Corporation received the shipment and distributed it to three businesses on the pier, including The Rooftop at Pier 17, NYC’s premier open-air venue hosting over 60 concerts this season.

The pilot is a crucial test of the viability of inter-borough shipping, tidal-assist propulsion, and congestion mitigation through waterborne problem-solving. One of the region’s busiest trucking hubs, the Hunts Point peninsula is criss-crossed by over 15,000 truck trips each workday.”   

“Inter-borough shipping” is a subset of short sea shipping, and in this case, short sea shipping confined to the sixth boro, recognizing that the sixth boro IS the underutilized link between the other five. Too bad “inter-borough shipping, tidal-assist propulsion, and congestion mitigation through waterborne problem-solving” doesn’t easily lend itself to a clever acronym.  IBSTAPCMWPS is quite unpronounceable. Any pronounceable suggestions?

Helen A‘s arrival was in fact timed to ride the tidal current, saving on fuel as well as mitigating the issues of delivery trucks making the approximately 12-mile run. 

Again, this was a pilot, a proof of concept, so a smaller scale cargo vessel is used, understood that you can’t scale up delivery trucks in nearly as many ways as you can a delivery vessel. 

In minutes, Helen A was fast alongside Louis C

The lift began almost immediately, and 

within 10 minutes of docking alongside with the cargo, 

Louis C crew 

lifted the first pallet

and swung it

safely ashore, where hand trucks 

awaited to move the cargo into the coolers. 

What’s next?  “The pilot will gauge the effectiveness and efficiency of waterborne solutions to middle-mile challenges while improving air quality and addressing environmental justice challenges in Hunts Point and other outer borough communities like it. To track outcomes, CCNY’s Grove School of Engineering will collect data from the pilot run and conduct a comparative analysis with truck-based delivery.”  I look forward to reading their report.

The first two photos are credited to Oak Point Property LLC and Manhattan Beer distributors;  all others and any errors, WVD.  

Some previous posts on similar projects include Black Seal , Ceres, and Grain de Sail.

 

 

Even if you’re not a regular reader of this blog or you lack a photographic memory, you just know from the photo below that Legs III has completed its journey.  Bravo Seth and crew. 

So let’s go back to the land of liftboats and have another look, since I’ve got “binders full of” boat photos I’ve not yet posted . . .

like L/B Lafayette above and Grand Isle below, boats likely now back at work.

So let’s hit the ditches . . .

 

Keep in mind that if I were to do this trip again–and I’d LOVE to–I might see all different boats, not Capt Doug Wright of Memphis, 

Clair S. Smith of Houma, 

or streamlined barge Kirby 28161. 

I might not see Born Again or 

Salvation, although

I saw Salvation of Nola on a previous trip.  

Good Shepherd I may have seen before too, or maybe it’s just a familiar name.

 

These lodges–sometimes single and other times in groups– on islands accessible only by boat and

really blue herons  . . . intrigue me, and as the other French speakers of North America say . .  . Je me souviens…  I’ll add  je reviendrai.

Names like Cullen Landolt and

Mike Mitchell . . . make me wonder who the namesakes are or were. 

Note anything unusual to sixth boro eyes on the stern of Matthew James?

I don’t believe I’ve ever seen folks working under a parasol up here, but there I saw it quite frequently, and the heat tells me it’s a health and safety issue.

All the photos in this post were taken in the first half day of the trip, the only portion we did on the GICW, but  . . . a lot of boats work what seemed like uninhabited land on the water’s edge, like Jeff Montgomery, 

Bill Tullier,

Squaw

Mr Leon, 

Intra Responder, 

and to end this part of the recap . . .

Zoie, which I’m not sure how to pronounce like . . . rhymes with Zoey or Joie….

All photos, WVD, who has more recaps with new photos to come.

From the sea buoy to the dock where we’d arranged to refuel at the top of East Bay was 40 miles!  I’d never really studied Tampa Bay…

On the way in, we passed an outbound Fednav bulker, a pilot boat alongside and some excursion boats on Egmont Key.  This is marks the beginning of the end to my trip:  out of the bayous and into the keys.

Outside the Sunshine Skyway we met outbound USCGC Pablo Valent.

We made it inside safely, leaving a sine wave wake. This bridge opened in 1987 after some spectacular tragedies. 

Keeper-class cutter Joshua Appleby was maintaining navigation aids. 

A shrimp boat was headed out to work. 

The channel in was long and sinuous.

American Rotortug (ART) Trinity headed outbound for an assist.   An older sister, Trident, appeared on this blog here

but not for Jones Act tanker Garden State

Bulker Sumatra (likely not named for Sumatra FL) was bound for sea. 

After passing the sea buoy four hours before, we still had not reached East Bay portion of 

Tampa Bay when we passed Liberty, a Marine Towing of Tampa tug built at Washburn & Doughty in East Boothbay!

All photos, WVD, with more Tampa Bay to come. 

The multi-colored lines here show the marathon between Pensacola and Crystal River, a shoreline that seemed endless and relatively featureless . . .  .  Each of the colored lines represents a day of travel.  I learned this part of Florida is called the “forgotten coast” or the “big bend of Florida.”  There may be other names, but the relative absence of settlement intrigues me.  On the other hand, with place names like Sumatra and Tate’s Hell Forest and Swamp, it may be inhospitable.  There’s even a song about Cebe Tate chasing a panther into that wilderness.

After a late departure from Pensacola, we were off the long Santa Rosa Island and its sugarwhite sand by nightfall.

Soon after we departed from Santa Rosa, we had the first heavy rain of the trip, but the storms

traveled fast and soon

we left them behind.

Remember in yesterday’s post I alluded to a contrast between LA-MS-AL (LAMSAL, a new acronym?) and FL waters?  What’s different?

Only everything:  no oil/gas infrastructure and very few boats of any type.  There was one boat, a sport fish, traveling at least three times the speed of Legs III and on a collision course until two sets of five blasts of our battery of air horns caused that boat to drop off plane and then sheepishly [I hope] take our stern.  I suspect the sport fish had all eyes on their lures and none on the wheel.   No, I won’t post their photo and name here.

Our next overnight was off Saint Andrew’s Park, Panama City. Notice the pads 11 feet down in that super clear water.

Beyond Panama City, inland fires suggest agriculture-related burns, but I’ve never traveled by road in that part of Florida.  Yet.

We gave Cape San Blas wide berth because of irregular shallows. The Cape was the site of Civil War activity and a whole series of lighthouses.

The chart said we had plenty of water, but the bands of lighter water suggested maybe we didn’t.  Ultimately, the chart proved itself correct.

AIS said the tug towing tandems was Lady Terea, a name that meant nothing to me until I searched a bit more and found that from 2014 until 2018, she worked in the sixth boro and North River as . . .

Mr. Russell.  Then she carried the livery of Tappan Zee Constructors.

That evening we spent jacked up off a remote area of St. George Island, the barrier beach that defines Apalachicola Bay.  More on the Apalachicola River here.

Seriously, we saw no other boats with the exception of the two I’ve mentioned.  I saw this mast in the distance, and an hour or so when we passed it, it was as minimal as the waters of Florida’s forgotten coast were untrafficked.

Then later, Lady Edwina passed us with a tandem tow;  the captain hailed us to ask where we were headed with Legs III.  He also said he’d started his career out working on liftboats.

A bit north of the mouth of the Crystal River,  I brought the drone as close to the wave tops as I dared to get this shot, hoping for a blinding glimpse of setting sun under the hull, but this is the result . . .   no blinding sun.

Morning showed a Dann Ocean boat and a large Express Marine barge.

Ocean Tower! it was.  

Tending another Express Marine barge was Consort, which I’d not seen for over a decade!

All photos, any errors,  WVD.

This post covers a day and a half of travel, shown in pink and green.  You’ll understand why by the end of this post.

We departed Chandeleur Islands and headed for Mississippi’s Gulf Islands, part of a National Seashore.

In the distance off Pascagoula, we saw Crowley tug Achievement and her barge.

 

No Worries . . . that’s the small open fishing boat anchored near the rig.

 

F/V Apache Rose was at anchor showing off its “wing trawling” innovation.

Lois Ann L. Moran, with its very familiar livery, anchored off Mobile Bay, to the west of a dozen or so anchored vessels.

Sand Island Light marks the southernmost tip of the state of Alabama.

I’ll just point out here that we saw countless rigs off Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama.  That fact contrasts with what will follow in an upcoming post.

Lots of placards indicated presence of Cox and Telos, but I saw none marked Hilcorp or other energy companies. 

We ended that day off Perdido Key Resort in Floribama, where some skullduggery appeared to warrant keeping our distance. 

The next morning we entered Pensacola

for some crew change and grub shopping. 

Fort Pickens, one of only four southern US forts to remain in Union hands during the Civil War, lay on a barrier beach.   Updates were made to the fort up through WW2.

USCGC Walnut (WLB-205) is homeported in Pensacola, but nearby were two other CGCs,

Reliance and

Diligence.  A WLB and a WMEC made up part of the fleet in the sixth boro back in May 2022.

And here is the reason I extended this installment all the way to Pensacola.  As we made for our landing, we passed Gulf Dawn, which itself was passing that large blue/white vessel in the background . . . .

It’s Jacklyn, Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin rocket landing ship-to-be.  Well, now it will never be, since Julie F towed it out of Pensacola just two days ago, destination ISL Brownsville TX.  The story in detail can be read/heard here.

All photos, any errors, WVD, who will reprise this trip on the blog soon with more vessels.

 

 

This leg of the trip is shown in brown, covering the area of Louisiana coastline from what this link calls the “bird’s foot delta to the St. Bernard delta, which once ended at the Chandeleur Islands.  More on those islands later.  This link shows how the lobes of the delta have changed over time, during the time before we tried to “tame” the river.

Dawn found Legs III  spudded down in East Bay, along the east side of the channeled mouth of the Mississippi, the grassy delta seen as the green margin along the horizon.  When spudded down this way, the ‘boat becomes a platform.

As we made out way around the low lying Pass A Loutre Wildlife Management Area and all its bays, traces of oil/gas infrastructure were everywhere.  “Pass A Loutre” translates as “Otter Pass.”

Some platforms–eg. the one with the tanks topside and the crew boat to the left side– seemed active, whereas others

might have been in process of being dismantled by EBI liftboat Jimmy Holmes Elevator.  EBI claims to have conceived of the basic design for liftboats, although EBI boats have the single leg on the bow, whereas most other liftboats, including Legs III, have that single leg on the stern. Legs III was launched at Blue Streak and then fitted out at Marine Industrial Fabrication Inc.

See the two workers below the hook and headache ball . . . ?

I’m not sure which channel or pass through the grassy delta ABI C emerged from, but she overtook us, giving us a clear look at the 

stainless steel IBC totes used to transport liquids of all sorts safely between shore and platform.

 

Farther along we passed a platform

where Ms. Tami was flying the dive flag.

A GOL boat, Sea Service 1, stood by a platform.

 

A sizable flame burned off its flare boom  (or burn boom).

I gather most platforms along Pass A Loutre were pumping, given their flares.

Others might be relics of a time when they were active and now seemed like patina-encrusted industrial sculpture.

In late afternoon we began to follow our goal for the day, the long, thin, crescent-shaped sand bar called the Chandeleur Islands, part of the Breton National Wildlife Refuge established in 1904 by POTUS 26, T. Roosevelt.  I’d noticed the 50-mile chain of islands from the air as I flew into New Orleans on my way to port of Iberia, and they looked roughly like the lead photo here, which shows them from a north to south perspective. 

Those boats are anchored on the inside of the islands in Chandeleur Bay. 

The islands are accessible only by boat AND seaplane.    Southern Seaplane out of Belle Chasse LA offers many tours, but also brings folks out to this fishing lodge, spudded up on the inside of the Chandeleur Islands.  More on the lodge– Chandeleur Islander–in this Youtube clip. Yet another option is Compass Rose if you want to fish by kayak but ride over on a mothership over from Biloxi.  Surfers have laid claim too, although they might want to keep it a secret. 

All photos, any errors, WVD, who looks at the photo above and tries to imagine what it’s like when a hurricane barrels across it….

 

Day 3 shows up in green . . . from just west of Port Fourchon to just east of SW Pass.

We took the stern of C-Fighter on the way, as the ECO boat appeared to head into Fourchon. 

Surprising were the number of small fishing boats, out angling and 

even anchoring next to platforms;  certainly the structure and maybe some scraps serve as chum in a food chain here.

Here’s another shot of Fourchon Runner, which I mentioned in an earlier post about exotics.  Here I have questions:  doesn’t the center of this platform base look different than ones I’ve posted earlier?  To me, it’s thick like a massive tree trunk, not only tubular.  The platform itself supports more tanks than others.  What might those tanks contain?

One rig that caught my attention, because of the “steam” emanating from beneath, carried the nameplate Enterprise 205.  Some info, although not “more specs,” on this rig can be read here.  The 40-year-old rig appears to work at depths up to 200′.

For scale, note the two crew on the cantilevered helipad.

The network of valves of the red pipe would be the “Christmas tree,” I gather.  How or why is the Monrovia registry arrived at here?

Among the platforms were shrimp boats like this one.

As the day passed, the winds died and the GOM 

became like glass, reflecting big fluffy fair-weather clouds.  Not pictured but off to the left was a smudge of Grand Isle and low-lying borderlands to its east.

Serving as a steering guide, we looked at Enterprise 351 for what seemed an endless time, punctuated only by the occasional dolphins.  I’ll devote an entire post to 351 one of these days.

Once in West Bay, we left rigs and associated vessels like Randolph John to our right and 

watched ships moving up and down the Mississippi to our left.  

The pilot’s station was visible, but my “all-zoomed-out” photo was embarrassingly blurry.  For a better view, click here.

We crossed–not entered–the Southwest Pass, the longtime and anticlimactic main Mississippi shipping channel. See the jetties?

From the south, Carnival Glory was arriving to take on a pilot for a dawn arrival in New Orleans.  If I were a passenger on that ship, I’d be disappointed to be passing this 70+ mile stretch of the big river at night.

To the west, a stunning sunset evolved, and to

the northwest, Carnival Glory ensured that it was visible–and then some–in the channel.

“Legs down” in the shallows of East Bay, this was my final shot of day 3.

Allphotos, any errors, WVD.

 

Technically we were out of the bayous once we entered the Atchafalaya on day 1.  Ever wonder the derivation of the word “bayou”?  It’s Choctaw for “sluggish watercourse,” and there was not much sluggish about the Atchafalaya. While on word/place name derivations, “atchafalaya” is Choctaw for “long river.”

On the annotated map below, red shows roughly our track day 1, orange is day 2, and green is day 3.  After day 1 we were no longer in inland watercourses. 

Call it near coastal, or call it pelican waters, as contrasted with alligator and egret waters.

Or call it wellhead waters.  Note all the pelicans residing on this platform marked TalosSS110A.  Talos Energy is a significant oil/gas company in the GOM.

From charts, I surmise the floor of the GOM is crisscrossed with much more infrastructure than appears on the surface, and the number of platforms of various designs was too many for me to count.  Granted, companies like Talos and Cox, not exactly household names although associated with the oil/gas industry, have departments to quantify every last item out here.  Click here to see a hint of that subsea infrastructure for just one company;  note that it’s interactive.

Crew of all skills levels get shuttled around in crew boats to platforms and lift boats.

No matter where you gaze, you see infrastructure.

 

Crew also shuttles in and out on helicopters.

Those appear to be a number of christmas trees on the lower left portion of this platform.

As day 2 wore on, we passed these laid up aka “cold stacked” drill platforms, although not close enough to read any names/writing on them.  Might they be, and I’m quoting here from someone who knows more than I do, “seven or so former HERCULES jackups (which, in fact, have never been officially renamed as ENTERPRISE)  that match these perfectly:  six Bethlehem units (one of which has no derrick because she was last used for production) and one lattice–legged unit, matching the sole Marathon-LeTourneau rig on their list, HERCULES 150.  [Check out the first six minutes of this 1980s film to understand some of the features].

These elderly shallow-water jackups are dinosaurs and have trouble finding work in the best of times.  They probably were cold-stacked about 10 years ago as oilfield slowed down, and between antiquation and corrosion, would only be reactivated in a real windfall.” 

“Lattice legged” I understand, but can someone explain the “screw” tip legs to the right, which must be Bethlehem Steel built? 

As darkness fell, we “legged” down south of the Timbalier Islands, Terrebonne Parish,  east of the mothballed rigs, and

southwest of Port Fourchon, aka Fourchon, where I’ve visited twice. Fourchon is so low-lying that even from just a few miles off, it seemed like nothing more than skyglow.  I’ve not been back there after Hurricane Ida hit last summer.

  Port Fourchon was little more than mosquito lands until 1960. 

All photos and any errors, WVD.   Many thanks to a modest but “somewhat trusty expert” [his nomenclature] for some explanation of the function of oil/gas infrastructure.  As I post more such photos, I’m hoping more experts will weigh in.

Here’s a 2010 photo essay of rig work from the Houston Chronicle, and another from CNN  here showing work conditions on a rig in the GOM. 

Before you read this post, you might enjoy studying a Google map satellite view of the area between Port of Iberia and Atchafalaya Bay, about 80 miles away.  Locate Lafayette and then zoom in and go to the SE.  Bays, islands, bayous, and lakes abound.  Soon after we made the eastbound turn onto the GICW, we met fishing vessel Isabella and another dredge. 

x

Around the dredge, some makeshift markers indicated something, maybe not intended for us to know.

Disused infrastructure made up parts of the boundary between the GICW and Weeks Bay.  I plan a post soon on energy infrastructure I saw and have received some help understanding.

Port of Memphis ACBL tug Capt Doug Wright steamed eastbound here alongside some Morton Salt/American Mine Services infrastructure along the GICW at Weeks Island.  It appears Weeks Island may have a ghost town . . ..

We overtook them and had this view of  another view of the mostly covered barges.

A few feet of clearance allowed us passage under the 75′ clearance of the Route 319 bridge for the road to Cypremort Point.

We met LBT tug Clair S. Smith.

Compass Minerals-owned, Morgan City-built  cable ferry Tripper III crosses between

the mainland and Cote Blanche Island.

USCG 75′ tug Axe, based in Morgan City LA, is one of eight 75′ WLIC boats.

Periodically, I sit drinking ice water and looking out the galley door at the forbidding banks.

Triple S Marine’s lugger tug Stephen L is a 1200 hp tug based in Morgan City.

Cullen Landolt from Tuscaloosa AL pushes westbound in the ditch.

LBT’s Dickie Gonsoulin waits in a cove adjacent to what I believe is the Birla Carbon plant in Centerville LA.   It produces carbon black, a product that among other things makes tires black.

Kirby tug Steve Holcomb pushes barges Kirby 28045 and 

28075 toward the west.

Without my listing all these boats or posting all the photos of boats I took that afternoon . . .  I hope you conclude that the GICW west of Morgan City is a busy corridor.

At the intersection just before Morgan City, we turned south, leaving the GICW for the Atchafalaya River, where we had real depths in the channel between 105′ and 5′, which briefly had us aground.  Fast crew boat Kervie B comes up the Atchafalaya River from the Bay.

Nowhere on this shrimp boat could I find a name.   Also, among all these traditional designs, I’m not sure how to call this one;  Lafitte skiff or Atchafalaya skiff or something else?

As dusk approached and we followed the channel out, we met Marcella G. Gondran heading up the Atchafalaya with what appeared to be major pieces of a dismantled platform.

As we headed into a windy evening out on the Bay, we followed this vegetation where no settlement is possible.

Before “legging down” at the end of the first day of the journey, we studied the buoys and waited for the green flash. 

The next morning good calm weather allowed me to do the first in a series of selfie drone shots.  More of those in future posts.

All photos and any errors, WVD.  These photos show fewer than half the boats we saw that day.  If you are interested in more tugs from that section of the waterway, please let me know.

With all the references to Morgan City in this post, you might want to go back to this December post (and scroll) to see how Christmas is marked in Morgan City.

 

 

 

The bell hung silent as one prolonged blast signaled departure, and today’s post, a slow one, covers just the two first hours heading out of port of Iberia into the NISDC, as explained here a few weeks ago.  Also check part 1 and part 2 of this title. 

That morning a local toothy critter gave us the send off.

Behold the many fingers of the Port of Iberia, as witnessed by the screen. We had been the red X. 

Traffic was quite heavy, with Full Steam and others shuttling aggregate barges past us.

Note the many legs we left behind in the yard where many were built and more are serviced.

More legs are visible as we head south on the NISDC. 

Our heading south meant this photo of these miles and miles of pipes is backlit.  Feel the heat and humidity in the air.

The number of OSVs in the port astonished me. 

When did Abigail Claire last crew up and depart, or

ditto Seacor Washington?  There were other OSVs up various waterway fingers as well.

Around the very first bend, we came upon a dredging operation.

Small tug named Mudd Tug 7 was tending

Magnolia‘s dredge called Grand Terre.

A ways farther, a memorial along the west side of NISDC caught my attention, and of course I had to look it up.  I’ve seen these along roads, but this is a first along a waterway for me.

Then the canal was straight as “land cuts” in any canal, like portions of the Erie Canal.

Dead ahead is the intersection of NISDC and the Gulf ICW.  A right turn here leads to Texas and a left to points east as far as Florida, my destination. 

Ambre Lynn Settoon tends the dredge and crew boat Mr Isaac assists with crew change and supplies.

All photos, WVD, during the first 10 or so miles of a thousand-mile journey, and not yet two hours have elapsed. 

Other posts will cover more more territory, but you have to admit that the first few steps of a hike sometimes feel the best.

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