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Tugster last captured snow days here and here 13 months ago;  this year has brought inches more.    Thanks to Jed for the foto below from Thursday afternoon.

Modifications to the routine forced by heavy weather bring unlikely revelations, like this metro NY area newspaper editor reading his poetry (yes poetry . . . from a no-nonsense editor!!) about snow that you can enjoy here.  Low-brow?

Sometimes snow is just snow;  and bad weather is unadulterated pain, but  . ..  other times snow might get us thinking about other stuff.

Claude McKay sees in snow flakes love found and lost:   “Throughout the afternoon I watched them there,   Snow-fairies falling, falling from the sky,   Whirling fantastic in the misty air,   Contending fierce for space supremacy.   And they flew down a mightier force at night,   As though in heaven there was revolt and riot,   And they, frail things had taken panic flight   Down to the calm earth seeking peace and quiet.    I went to bed and rose at early dawn   To see them  huddled together in a heap,    Each merged into the other upon the lawn,   Worn out by the sharp struggle, fast asleep.   The sun shone brightly on them half the day,    By night they stealthily had stol’n away.

And suddenly my thoughts then turned to you   Who came to me upon a winter’s night,   When snow-sprites round my attic window flew,   Your hair disheveled, eyes aglow with light.    My heart was like the weather when you came,   The wanton winds were blowing loud and long;     But you, with joy and passion all aflame,    You danced and sang a lilting summer song.    I made room for you in my little bed,    Took covers from the closet fresh and warm,   A downful pillow for your scented head,    And lay down with you resting in my arm.    You went with Dawn. You left me ere the day,     The lonely actor of a dreamy play.”  High brow?

Anyone feel inspired?  A poem . . . 60 seconds or less?  Snow on the water?  If you go, I’ll go ….  I’ll even film my reading at one of my favorite waterfront offices.  High brow or low brow or no brow . . . no problem.

Until then, I hope you enjoyed the same foto of Meagan Ann, increasingly manipulated.  Here she appeared in the 2009 Tugboat race with her Viking crew, and here (See Youtube at end.) she sports in nose-to-nose pushing with Nathan E. Stewart.

Again, foto thanks to Jed although I’m still looking for more.

Update:  For evidence of serious (ha!!) impromptu conferencing among some waterbloggers on Friday night, check out Peconic Puffin here.

Cold winds and spray trigger a hibernation reflex in me . . .  especially when the day is gray and

ice encases everything like the manifold here on Maersk Bristol.

But there is a beauty, too, particularly

on sunny days like the one when Pacific Fighter headed south not from below Albany through the crystalline Hudson.

More shades of blue:  Meagan Ann

Emma Miller,

Department of Sanitation scow 170 . . . here schlepped by the versatile James Turecamo,

and finally this all-blue unit called

Kenny G.  By the way, does anyone have identification on Kenny G?  I find nothing in my usual indexes.  Come summer, we might miss the blues.  Or blueblues.

Credits:  renowed ship/tugboat photographer Jed for the first three, a bird blogger (Richard Guthrie)  from the Albany Times-Union for  Pacific Fighter, and the rest by Will Van Dorp.  More Kenny G–the sax player–although there’s a lot of water with it.)   here.  Actually, while on the blues, here’s a fun,  bittersweet (blue-gray-crazy)  love song with water references from (?) late 1960s, shared by someone with a birthday today.

Happy end-of-January.

As I drank coffee this morning and read Kennebeckcaptain’s article on ATBs, sunrise colors warmed the color of the drab brick building across the way;  stoking the color did nothing for the 18-degree temperatures.  Time for a walk, I thought, wondering what I’d see.  Bright color, fresh

paint?  New steel and welds?  After all the pleasure I’d had watching the final days of construction as documented by the fine folks at Narrangansett Bay Shipping, my first glimpse happened here of Laurie Ann Reinauer!  As Don S calls it, it’s facet tug!

And she was not alone among ATBs:  tailing her was Patriot Service,

a very different-looking tug than –say–Meagan Ann.   By the way, see Meagan Ann in “push contest” video here v. Nathan E. Stewart.  (starts at 40 seconds in).

And then Huron Service.  That’s Irving Oil’s Great Eastern with yellow stack in background.

Laurie Ann made a U-turn somewhere off St, George and headed back west, allowing

a twice over and

a third and

–I was practically leering by now.

But it seemed like a parade, so I felt excused.  That’s Houma approaching on the left and a noisy Captain D with the parade to Laurie Ann‘s port.

All fotos taken this morning by Will Van Dorp.  Blizzard  (yeah, right) here tomorrow.

Not an ITB in sight.    On site here.

And for a little perspective, Kennebeck (and gCaptain)’s  post on Sea Reliance and its barge deals with a tug of more than twice Laurie Ann‘s bhp of 4000,  and a barge with 155,000 barrel capacity v. Laurie Ann‘s barge (which I haven’t seen yet) of 80,000.

Happy Labor Day!  An often forgotten fact about this holiday is that it stems from labor disputes.  President Grover Cleveland (former governor of New York),  115 years ago, put together  a proposal for this celebration to make reconciliation with Labor after the Pullman Strike, in which 13 strikers were killed.  The suggested formula for celebrating Labor Day included “street parade to exhibit to the public ‘the strength and esprit de corps of the trade and labor organizations,’ followed by a festival for the workers and their families.”

What better time then than now to devote some space to some Jones Act issues that affect working mariners in the Gulf of Mexico.  Since I’m out of my depth in specifics, I’m ceding this link to a maritime lawyer who has launched a petition drive to save American seafarers’ jobs.  Check his homepage here. Read the link here and sign the petition if you so feel moved.  It seems relevant to me, since the marine job market is a national one.  Fotos of some of these vessels can be found here.


Videos follow at the end of this post, but the tugboat race (Technically called  “17th annual Great North River Tugboat Race & Competition”) quite well fits the description of “festival for  the workers and their families.”


What a day to introduce families to the working water,  to teach curiosity, to


feel solidarity, to join


in the rewards, to take time off with


fellow students as well as sister and brother vikings, and


just scud across the sparkling waters.


Ellen McAllister made it down the nautical mile in six minutes and seventeen seconds;  watch the abridged version below.  Countdown starts at about T minus twelve seconds.

After a glide past by the most beautiful 108-year-old ever in the sixth boro . . . Urger–with Jack, Rick, and crew–no doubt serving the function of “urging” the tugs to shove away, push matches ensue  featuring Ellen McAllister, Nathan E. Stewart, Meagan Ann, and Pegasus. Enjoy.

See old salt blog’s fabulous shoreside coverage of this event here.  Bravo Rick.  I love the horns, hoots, and whistles!  One group Rick’s video captures is a set of PCV’s, “population control volunteers,” commingling their wake with those in the middle of this race, seemingly determined to do themselves in.  See them at the following times:  1:14, 1:24, and 2:05.  What’s not funny is that had there –please no please no–been an incident, somehow others might have caught the heat.

Fotos and videos by Will Van Dorp.

Again, if you haven’t voted yet, consider casting one for Cornell for the “People’s Choice” award at next week’s Waterford Tug roundup here.

Thanks to Matt Perricone, I witnessed the 17th annual tugboat race from an up-close platform, kind of like watching the Kentucky Derby from hind edge of the jockey’s seat.  Cornell won the best vintage tug award today, and if you haven’t voted yet, vote for Cornell for the “People’s Choice” award at next week’s Waterford Tug roundup here.


And they’re off.


Fastest tug and winner of Class A (over 2000 hp) was Ellen McAllister.  She also won “best-looking” and a member of the crew had


“best tattoo.”  Find the text here; scroll down til you see “The Last Watch.”


Fastest in Class B was Megan Ann, whose very hospitable crew also won another award, to be shown later.


It was 1901 Urger for the Class C speed award.  To get some sense of Urger‘s first life, appearance and function, click here.


Nathan E. Stewart, second fastest overall, also won the line throw.


Now which award might this be?  Best Viking award maybe?


Karl, fearless Cornell crewman, didn’t win the spinach eating award, but gave the most intimidating pre-contest show.


The “lil toot” award went to Lt. Michael P. Murphy, named in honor of the Navy Seal?


“Best spirit” award went to all the Miller Launch boats, here from left to right:  Susan, Catherine, Shawn, and Gabby L.


After a competition, all is forgiven and affectionate.


My award for “best decoration” goes to Growler, who counted a Viking among its crew as did Megan Ann although Growler’s Viking identity shifted during the morning.  Growler comes from the USMMA at Kings Point.


My special award goes to this gentleman–Antonio Alcaraz Arbelo–who traveled from Spain for the race today.  Boluda is a Spanish tug company.  Antonio’s blog is , great pics even if you don’t read Spanish.  Antonio and Samuel, welcome to the sixth boro.


More fotos and video soon.    Please inform me if any information is wrong.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp.

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May 2021