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Click on the image below and enjoy the music.  Come out and hear this traditional American music by the Paradise Mountain Boys–and stories about the port of New York history this coming Thursday night in Red Hook.  Details here.


I hope you listened to the song above.  Here’s the kicker:  the band is from Norway.  Here’s their take on “Man of constant sorrow,” one of my favorites.

For the Red Hook connection, here’s Lars Nilsen, co-chairman of the Norwegian Immigrant Association, “One hundred plus years ago, Red Hook ( including what is now Carroll Gardens ) was the center of a hard-working maritime-related Norwegian speaking community of about 10,000 people.”  And here’s a thought from John Weaver, son-in-law of Alf Dryland, deceased Captain of PortSide NewYork’s flagship  Mary A. Whalen “Norwegians in America playing Blue Grass music! If Alf Dyrland were still with us, he would be smiling. Every new adventure is the continuation of his dream come true. He would be proud of the heritage celebrated and future welcomed aboard his Mary Whalen. Thank you PortSide NewYork.”

Click here for Rick “old salt” blog’s take on this event.

Here are a few of the many posts I’ve done on PortSide NewYork.

Unrelated, here’s another unlikely interpretation of American bluegrass performed at South by Southwest.


Here were some of the previous Mary Whalen moves.  And here was one return.  A few days ago, Mary Whalen moved into Atlantic Basin, where the 70th birthday party was held and public access will be much easier than it has been for future programming TBA.   This post shows pics taken onboard during the move;  I hope to present more soon.  The day started early at the pier which has been home for a long time.


0734 hr

Prime mover this time was Quantico Creek, tailed by Christian . . . way in the distance.



NYMediaBoat and Christian were part of the escort, as



as was Shipshooter with his latest equipment to follow and film


“We have lift off.”

the pirouette in the Buttermilk Channel and a





NYMedia Boat captures the action from starboard side of Quantico Creek

hook into Atlantic Basin, where in September 2009, Portside helped host a huge Dutch barge party.


Once she’s all fast, may the programming begin.



All photos here by Will Van Dorp.

Read the press release here from PortSide NewYork.

For some great Red Hook history and historical images, click here.


Sandy pushed this 1941 vessel ashore on Staten Island late last October.  The registered owner was from another continent and possibly no longer alive due to unrelated circumstances.  The city took charge and the sheriff’s auction happened today.


Viewing and inspection happened from this vantage point.  Sheriffs offered binoculars, though none with x-ray capability.


Before the auction began, a tanker at least four times greater in length passed northbound in the Arthur Kill.


Auctioneer Dennis Alestra welcomed the crowd to the auction, indicating where the bidding would take place.


Members of the sheriff’s department outnumbered all other attendees combined. Carolina Salguero, director of PortSide NewYork, has a similar tanker, Mary A. Whalen, now possibly the last of this class of coastal tanker in the United States and certainly the only tanker serving as a center for cultural and educational events.


One bidder and one bid . . . and the tanker is SOLD for $25,000  to Donjon Marine.  Total elapsed time of the bidding:  about one minute.  Here shipshooter Jonathan Atkin witnesses the signing of papers.


I’ve always enjoyed seeing her.


All fotos by Will Van Dorp.

I’ve mentioned or featured Mary Whalen in tons of posts. Click here for the archive.  Over five years ago the blog called “A Brooklynite on Ice” did my all-time favorite post of the vessel and PortSide NewYork here.    “Brooklynite on Ice” title captures her dilemma  . . .  “613 Tons of Homelessness.”

She’s twisted and turned in the currents too long, her viability as a fantastic asset to sixth boro education and culture trifled with by her lack of easily accessible-to-the-public dock space.  Befriend her on Facebook to see all the good things she’s been doing with that medium, and then

Please  help MARY A. WHALEN & PortSide NewYork

The promised “real estate deal” aka “dock space” fell through and she needs a new home and some fundraising fast. Here are three possible ways to help.

1) Come to a meeting tomorrow Mon 2/27/12 6:30 p.m.  Info here.

2) Submit a supportive comment here.

3) Donate via PayPal here.

You may recall a reference here last week to a three-masted schooner story emerging from the haze.  Thanks to PortSide NewYork, I learned about a project

to ship cocoa by commercial sail.  And as a TWIC-carrying PortSide volunteer, I was invited into Red Hook Marine Terminal to blog for the  unloading of cocoa from the schooner.    Black Seal, a 70-foot Colvin “Sea Gypsy” design with the biggest cargo hold and steel pilothouse, has been the 25-year building project of Capt Eric Loftfield.  Tugster has featured many fotos of two other Colvin boats: samples at  Rosemary Ruthand the misguided Papillon.  On her maiden voyage, Black Seal traveled from Falmouth, Massachusetts to Puerto Plata, DR . . .  to Red Hook, New York.  With cargo.  Twenty tons of organic cocoa beans,

285 bags of over 150 pounds each.   And how much fuel was consumed in the 30-seaday, 3000-mile voyage?  Answer appears later in the post.

The cocoa represents about a year’s worth of Dominican beans used by Mast Brothers Chocolate.  Click on the 8.5 minute clip for some background.

Before containerization, this is what port work looked like.

According to Rick Mast, this voyage is partly about R & D, figuring stuff out like

the pricing, the efficiencies.

This cargo was loaded in the Domincan Republic in two hours and unloaded in Red Hook in

–because it meant fighting gravity–four.

By noon today, the hold looked like this;  I wish the blog could convey the heady aroma of chocolate that lingered.  I could sleep here and dream of flavonoids.

According to Capt. Loftfield, a Cook Inlet pilot in Alaska, the total amount of fuel used, including motoring out of and into port as well as running the generator and galley was

less than 50 gallons.  Assuming 3000 miles, that’s better than a Prius!

Here’s what 12 pallets of cocoa looks like on the dock within sight of

Wall Street.

Some inspiration for using commercial sail to move  cocoa from the Caribbean can be traced back to  Ross Gannon and Nat Benjamin of Gannon & Benjamin Marine Railway.   Ross Gannon is the uncle of  PortSide New York‘s founder and director Carolina Salguero.  Gannon & Benjamin has received their own cargo (wood) by sail.   Some other examples of current commercial sail projects include Beth Alison,  Tres HombresKwai, and Albatros.    I’d love to hear about others.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp, who is ecstatic to witness extraordinarily-prepared people learning how to do extraordinary things by . . . jumping in–when the time is ripe– and doing them.

Challenges abound; the story of schooner John F. Leavitt illustrates the risk of jumping in prematurely, of not being extraordinarily prepared.

For the Wall Street Journal version of the story, click here.

Can you guess the connection between the three fotos that follow?    Gazela –540 hp, the oldest wooden square-rigger sailing in the United States, built in Portugal in 1901 (?) to fish cod, and Philadelphia’s tall ship.

Paul T. Moran, 7200 hp and built in 1975

and “pirate Calico Jack, who, unbeknownst to his crew, has decided toget out of the pirate business, and has sailed to Wall Street to make some business deals, secure a401k, and plan his retirement.”

Once more, Gazela,

Paul T and    … who’s this with Calico Jack!

Well, buy your tickets here for “The Seven Deadly Seas.”  Read a review from the Philadelphia CityPaper here.

Bringing Gazela and crew/acting troupe to Atlantic Basin is the result of hard work of PortSide NewYork.  “About bringing her to NYC, Eric Lorgus, President of Gazela, had this to say, ‘Tall ships have found it increasinglyhard to visit this place, and I’ve been trying to crack NYC foryears. We really appreciate the efforts PortSide has made on ourbehalf. Carolina herself has pursued this will tenacity and zeal.’

Carolina Salguero, Director of PortSide NewYork says about the visit ‘PortSide was founded to bring the BlueSpace, or the waterpart of the waterfront, to life in New York City. We are excited that Gazela is coming, because tall ships are education and inspiration afloat. We hope her visit opens the door to more visits by more boats—of all types—at this pier and other piers.We are encouraged by recent government initiatives focusing onthe water itself and grateful that the EDC [New York City Economic Development Corp] has made Pier 11 available to us for Gazela’s visit.’
Gazela will be open for deck tours during the day. These arerun on an open-house basis. To defray costs of the trip, a modest $5 donation is being requested, but is not mandatory. The cabaretalso subsidizes the trip.”

As to the connection between Gazela and Pati R., I’m leaving that open to your guesses for a few days yet.

See press release here.   Show dates are August 19–22, 8 pm and 10 pm shows, for a total of eight shows.

Fotos 1, 2, 4, 5, and 7 by Will Van Dorp.  Show fotos are compliments of Peter Gaffney of Cabaret Red Light.

home of the two Marys.  The farther Mary comes and goes, but the nearer one–Mary A. Whalen, hub of the Basin–will

serve as locus for (literally) tons of visiting historical vessels (See Atlantic Basin 1)  this summer as well as intangible amounts

of fun.  See the full calendar of music, movies, lectures, and visiting vessels on the calendar here.  Or just come by to hang . . . during TankerTime.  When I tried to interview Mary A. Whalen about the summer, her only response was the smile created by red-white-blue bunting hanging between the portholes on the house.

As to the other Mary, the distant one with a tiara suggested by her name, she’s itinerant.  She left yesterday (7/19) and will return

in early August . . . if the schedule is to be believed.

Hail!   Marys of the Atlantic Basin.  See bowsprite’s adorable rendering here.

This coming Saturday–July 24–is City of Water Day in NYC.  Some of the events at Atlantic Basin include a marine security display with a VACIS container scanner, a sniffer dog from US Customs and Border Protection, Urban Divers mobile marine museum, a container mover from American Stevedoring, tours of visiting steam lighthouse tender Lilac, live music, food from local Brooklyn vendors including Kevin’s Restaurant and  Kustard King.  And more!

See more City of Water Day info here.

Middle three fotos by Will Van Dorp;  all other fotos and mosaic here by Carolina Salguero.

Unrelated:  Earlier today I asked the following question:  Can anyone help identify this large floating object on the Hudson here?  Foto was taken by the Mighty Quinn five days after the Willis Avenue Bridge floated by, and a few weeks after the house barge sauntered through.       And the answer . . . just in from Richard Canty, captain of Glen Cove:  The object in question is a set of “cooling towers for the new power plant being built in Astoria at Steinway Street.  They were  built at P&M Marine’s dock in Coeymans, NY. That dock may be remembered by some as the old Brickyard.  The towers are giant sails. Very exciting driving in a wind….. any wind.”

Thanks, Richard.

And this will be my last post for July.  Lake Opeongo has called.  It seems some mysteries there need my immediate attention–or I need theirs . . .  stuff like deciphering the code of crickets, the flickering of fireflies, the meandering of muskellunge, the wiles of wintergreen, the secrets of snipe, the contours of congress (lower case), the rituals of relating, the protocol of pursuit, the finesse of friendship   (oh.. this could be endless)  . . . .  Ah, the glories of gallivanting.

Til August . . . cheers from tugster.

Oops!  Here’s some merry music from Tina Turner, Jimi Hendrix, and Tom Petty.

Thanks to Amy Bucciferro for the first two fotos here taken in San Francisco in early May.  From left to right here, Japanese training barque Kaiwo Maru II, unidentified AmNav tugs, and SFFD fireboat Guardian.  The AmNav tugs are either  Independence (farther) and Patricia Ann (nearer).

Below is 1914 tug Eppleton Hall, seaworthy enough in 1970 to travel from the North Sea to San Francisco via the Panama Canal.  For a foto of “Eppie” under way, click here.   (I love the “save the Eppie” art, for the aesthetic of the late 1960s.  Anyone know of a larger, more detailed version?)

Crowley Valor is bow escort for Vancouver Express into Seattle.

Foss Pacific Star awaits the signal to ease Cosco Antwerp off the pier, bound for sea.

Andrew Foss glides northbound toward bulker Tian Yu Feng.

Log bronc Skillful finds haven on Lake Union near Center for Wooden Boats’ Northwest Seaport.

Truckable tug Lynx stands by in Newcastle harbor.

In Bremerton and behind a fence, it’s YTB 828 Catahecassa.  Read the sign on the fence?  Catahecassa was a Shawanee chief.

Also behind the fence is YTB 779 Manhattan.  When I thought to try to get a closer, unobstructed foto, I

saw another sign, clearly, that reiterated what I couldn’t quite read on that other sign.

First two fotos by Amy Bucciferro;  all others by Will Van Dorp.

Not random but unrelated:  at PortSide NewYork in Atlantic Basin on July 22 (830 pm), the movie Random Lunacy will be shown, featuring a transAtlantic crossing by Poppa Neutrino aboard Son of Town Hall.  Read about Bonnie’s encounter on Jamaica Bay this weekend with a vessel made with parts of Son of Town Hall.

(Back in New York)  You’ve seen this before here.  No, it’s not named for a boat competition, as someone suggested to me yesterday.  The paint is spiffied up, but

imagine my surprise and delight when

Cape Race glided into Atlantic Basin yesterday under

her own power, accompanied by music from her own Cat 3512.

Ah joy!  Eggs hatch (or make delicious souffles), apples ripen, oysters open, bread rises, and projects evolve.  Click here and here for festivities in Atlantic Basin last year, and come

check out this calendar of July events planned there this month and next, including Underwater New York (Check out their “An Oral history of Atlantis“)  and a movie about Poppa Neutrino.

First five fotos by Will Van Dorp.  Composite by Carolina Salguero.  By the way, if you do Facebook, you could befriend Mary Whalen, the 613-ton ambassador (See post for 2/20/2008).

Tangentially related and from the other side of the continent, check out these blog posts (thanks to Tom Larkin)  on

Log broncs (a variation on truckable tugs)

Seattle’s Tug race

A collage of wooden boats and other delights.

BlueBQ?  Why blue?

“Blue moon?” I wondered.   “Blue eyes, blueberries, or blue chips . . . ?”

No, it’s blue space, the “watery parts” needing consideration in urban planning . . . like green space . . . only aquaeous. The sixth boro is blue space.

BlueBQ:  It’s PortSide NewYork’s fundraiser held on July 3, 2010 on Pier 11 Atlantic Basin.  See all details here.

All fotos (taken in 2007 and 2008) by Will Van Dorp.  If you do Facebook, check out Mary Whalen‘s page here . . . with lots of fotos, including ones from their event last weekend:  Concierto Tipico.

Unrelated:  Check out the current state on this tugboat,  launched as ST 246 from the Levington Shipyard in Orange, TX, in 1943 . . . after surviving WW2 and morphing through French, Italian, and Turkish hands.  ST means “small tug.”Be sure to click on the “gallery,” and enjoy beautiful music even if the images are a bit repetitive.

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