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All the events that follow actually happened;  watch the photographic evidence.  Before working this week one day, I had a rendezvous with Bowsprite along the KVK for spotting ships.  Like many folk especially along the sixth boro, Bowsprite and I can shapeshift.

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Not seeing Bowsprite, I sat on a convenient rock to make fotos of a tanker.  My aging eyes read the name as  Ice Babe.

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I turned to the east when I heard some friendly hissing;  how appropriate on this hazy day to see a haze-colored swan.

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The swan swam on, and to my delight, I saw the bimonthly Brazilian orange juice tanker, Orange Wave.  Remember I told you about my drinking habit here?

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Suddenly I sensed I was no longer alone on that rock;  Bowsprite had appeared . . . out of nowhere, it seemed.  She was alternately drawing Ice Babe (she insisted the name was Ice Base, and her eyes are better than mine), and brushing some KVK seaweed off her shoulder.  And where was that swan?

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As Orange Wave neared, Bowsprite’s ever-moving brush started to transfer the juice vessel’s lines onto a page of her sketchbook.

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The magic of the swan-white tanker, swooping bow like a curved neck,  gliding over the hazy bay . . . came swimmingly into her sketchbook.

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HanJin Portland . . . when it arrived with its polychromatic deckload, the spell seemed broken.  Bowsprite suggested she’d walk me to the ferry.  Why didn’t she say . . .”let’s go to the ferry,” I wondered.

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About a quarter mile from the ferry, she asked me to carry her sketchbook, then waded into the bay.  She distracted me my pointing to a strange sign inland.  When I turned back to her,

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I saw only this swan.  It swam northward, and then took

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flight.  With quickened step, I made for the

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ferry.  And went to work.

Photos of or by WVD.

OK, so I’m a curious blogger who  looks in on a world I don’t really inhabit, a set of professions I wish to know more about than I do, a realm where I might re-engage.  If I’d made different decisions years ago, I could have been this crewman, almost lost among the steel members of bow and crane at the dock where President Polk will discharge and accept containers with goods worth millions.  I’m guessing he’s a docking pilot, sixth boro crew as opposed to Polk crew.  Might some of Polk crew be asleep as their vessel docks, here at Howland Hook?

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I might have come to work the clamshell dredge this morning on this crew boat.  Or I could have been boat crew bringing these dredgers to their job site.  English is strange sometimes:  crew boat just isn’t the same as boat crew.  The tug there is Miss Gill.  More Gill and dredge fotos soon.  Is Gill a day crew only boat?

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When Grimaldi Lines Repubblica di Amalfi came through the Narrows the other morning, I first saw a RORO container ship painted the same bright yellow as  . . . a Ferrari or a Fiat.  Well, maybe less glossy.  But I didn’t think of the crew:  how many, what life stories and dramas and talents, what nationalities.  But as the vessel came closer, I noticed the bow

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had five guys visible.  They were taking in the sunrise as I was.  (I’m trying to figure out how to upload fotos such that when you click on them, they enlarge, but I don’t have it yet.)  The closest guy wearing a chartreuse life vest had a phone to his ear.  Talking to whom and where, I wondered.  I’d certainly call friends and special friends all over the city just to say I was back in the sixth boro, but could he even get off the ship?

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About the same time into the harbor came this beautiful tanker, Orange Wave, carrying my favorite drink fresh from groves in Brazil.  And the Orange Wave crew, what color uniforms do you suppose they wear?

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But who is he?  How many trips between Santos and Newark has he made?

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Robbins Reef . . . I could be wrong, but I’m guessing what we see here is the entire crew, one man sitting at the wheel.  Correct me if I’m wrong.

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And the crewman of Falcon standing beside the railing near the stern of the barge, how many fellow crewmen are on the tug?

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As Miriam Moran with white protective sheet over the rubber pudding  trailed a cruise ship into port last weekend, a crewman looked upriver maybe at the stern of the cruise ship, resting on the warm H-bitt.

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This is one of my favorites and I posted a different shot in the series a few days ago:  one crewman of Gramma Lee T Moran working out on a rowing machine while hundreds of people on the cruise ship look on.  Does he realize he appears to be such a spectacle.  Of course, you say, those folks were looking at Manhattan, not the crewman, and I know that.

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My point:  crew is crew.  They’re not passengers, family, friends, staff, associates, castmates, colleagues, teammates, partners . . . I could go on.  Crew.  They’re crew.

If I were crew, there’d be gains and losses.  I’d know some of the answers to questions like those raised, but I wouldn’t see myself or my vessel in its entirety the way I can now.  On the other hand, I’d see the world from it, see the insides.  Gain some, lose some.  Makes it hard.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp since July 1, 2009.

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