You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘Sakura Express’ tag.

This verb or noun or adjective seems popular in large vessel names. A century and a half ago Currier and Ives depicted this vessel called Ocean Express. Suppose Columbus really wanted to dub the Nina “India or New World Express”? Or Ulysses the “Itaka Express”? “Argo Express”?



Is there even a local to Ludwigshafen



or Turin?


This one never goes to Oslo.



I doubt this carries anything made from cherries. Might Fedex order a future genration of sail vessels? Might these vessels get slippery bottom paint and rechristen (as Federal Express did) . . . turning these into Ludwex, Turex, Osex, and Sakex?

Which also brings me to this consumer season, transportation of consumables, and a kids’ book called Polar Express. Let’s mess with Van Allsburg’s story a bit: It’s Christmas Eve and a restless child named . . . Pat living near the top floor of a high-rise apartment block waits to hear the sound of the mythical elf. This apartment is near the sixth boro. Instead of sleigh bells, deer hooves, and laughter, Pat hears a ship’s horn. The ship is anchored at the edge of the channel closest to the apartment. The lifeboat is lowered and some crewman invite Pat to come with them to . . . what’s left of the northern polar ice cap, promising all the hot chocolate he could drink and a chance to meet the red-clad elf . . .


You know . . . I don’t think this story works. How come as Van Allsburg’s kids’ story or Zemeckis movie it works, but when I try it out here, it sounds more than a little creepy?

Of course, NYPD would rescue Pat and arrest the crewmen, who would likely be convicted and expressed behind bars on some island for a long long time.

Would it work if it were set in the harbor but 150 years ago and with sailing ships like Ocean Express? Or if I made the steel ships more conventionally magical . . . like back before sunrise with Pat holding a noise-making gift (a mini ship’s horn or bell, of course) that only the youthful and innocent can hear? If the book–or blogpost–ended with a line like Van Allsburg’s does:

At one time, most of my friends could hear the bell, but as years passed, it fell silent for all of them. Even [my sister] found one Christmas that she could no longer hear its sweet sound. Though I’ve grown old, the bell still rings for me, as it does for all who truly believe.”

Photos, WVD.

Small indie tugs need character maybe? Can you beat the color of Jenny Anne and Hubert Bays? Do you suppose fashion designers seek inspiration here?



Donjon’s Thomas D. Witte sports the best ice-blue under a wintry sky.



Coral Sea and



Barents Sea project exotic shapes to match their names against a monochomatic Staten Island and Bergen Point. That’s the west pylon of Verrazano upper left, 600+ feet high over the north ridge of Staten Island. More on the bridge soon.


Odin, Sakura Express, Kimberly Turecamo (right to left) eastward toward night movements.



All photos by Will Van Dorp

In some light, what looks orange turns to pure gold. Magical light turns an oil products tanker into a metaphor. Arthur Kill here shows its potential to make beauty.



Nothing exceeds the alchemy of a November sunset. Why gild the lily?  Timing and perspective make so much difference, and not just for oil ships in a commercialized waterway, but just with everything.  Carpe diem, ship as cherry blossom, fleeting beauty.


Not enormous not new but already, Sakura Express travels with a reputation as a life saver, as attested by the crew of Almeisan, victims of a rogue wave. See Amver.

Be well, golden ship.

Photos, WVD.

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October 2021