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April 2009 . . . a decade ago but it’s still palpable and present.

How could I not remember the morning before work I stood on the Elizabethport dock wishing the punch-in clock mechanism would slow to a pace slower than McAllister Responder and McAllister Sisters helping Eagle Boston ooze toward her Linden berth . . .   Some who don’t take many photos might not be able to fathom how those moments stick to the memory.

Or the unmistakeable Norwegian Sea light and going for fuel near IMTT .  . at dawn;  it’s unforgettable.   I was hoping there’d no delays on the rest of my way to work that morning.

Another day, I took lunch break in Elizabethport, thrilled that Laura K and Margaret were escorting Seoul Express away from Howland Hook . . ..  backing her down.

And here’s one . . . I recall my pain this morning as I walked north along HRP, conflicted between the hurt of betrayal and the chill of being under-dressed, since I’d crept out early on a Saturday morning thinking that sun in April translated into warmth ..  . and the throaty sound of Melvin E. Lemmerhirt distracted me from all those things.

Also from that dock in Elizabethport, I watched Rosemary McAllister and Responder ease Hyundai Voyager boat toward the dock in Howland Hook . . .

The scene here is harder to recall, but from l to r, it’s Nathan E. Stewart, New River, and –the uniquely named– Gramma Lee T Moran . . .!

In April 2009, I commuted into work early a lot,so that I could catch the likes of this . . . John Reinauer moving a barge southbound on the Arthur Kill… not knowing that a few years later, that equipment would travel across to the South Atlantic.

Scott Turecamo . . .  this is the only photo in this “oldies” set that could have been taken in 2019 as easily as in 2009, except I’d have to photoshop in the current Manhattan skyline in the distance . . .

All photos by Will Van Dorp, who hopes he’s still fit to add to the archives in 2029 . . .

“Backing down” is a term I’ve heard used to describe a ship assist in which the tugboats control the sternwise movement of a vessel away from a dock.  Most of the work here seems to be tide current driven, if I saw it right.

Let’s pick this up at 16:28 hrs.

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The evolution waits for incoming traffic, in this case Seoul Express, which I watched getting backed down half a decade ago here and here.  Margaret Moran was involved that time as well.

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At 16:49, Seoul Express, accompanied by Kirby Moran, is passing and Margaret throttles up, catching

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the attention of a crew member on the superstructure of Seoul Express.

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By 16:51, Heina is well away from the dock, and now

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James D.Moran needs to get the stern out, but I’m not well placed to capture that.

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Margaret moves around to the bulb.  I love how the load markings mimic the tug profile.

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By 16:58, Heina is at least two ship lengths east of the salt dock, and

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by 17:07, Heina has begun to rotate counterclockwise in preparation to head under the VZ Bridge out to sea.  By now, she’s south of the Bahamas.

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All photos by Will Van Dorp, to whose untrained eyes this all seemed to evolve with masterful control.

As to the meaning of “heina,” try this.

(continued from 2a)  … as I was saying, once Margaret senses an opening between Sex and the bulkhead, she nudges the bow over toward New Jersey, causing Laura K to quicken her 5100 horsepower and to send Kills water geysering astern.

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Margaret lavishes 3000-hp attention to the bow,

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Laura K persists,

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Margaret doesn’t relent until Sex‘s

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964′ length pivots with the desired angle to slip into the channel toward Newark Bay,

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Sex‘s 104’ beam gets squeezed between a total of 8100 hp intensely pushing, while she herself uses nearly 30,000 hp to withdraw

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transforming the tugs into flexible thrusters, bow and stern, backing

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in the direction of southern Bayonne before

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release from the confines of protected waters and a run to sea.  A ship as long as a 64-floor building is tall urged from bonds ashore to energized freedom to rock on whatever seas she encounters . . . all taking less than 15 minutes  . . . tis a thing of beauty.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp.

I posted about this procedure last summer, abridging the vessel name Glasgow Express to a monosyllabic Glex.  Never did I think then there’d be a Seoul Express that could collapse to . . .  Sex, (in its prudishness, Hapag-Lloyd abbreviates  the vessel as Sox . . . gosh darn jiminy crisper)  but in deference to precedent and celebration of spring, meet the container ship code-named SEX.   Anyhow, my favorite Laura K nosing into the bulkhead so that  the pilot (?) can jump ashore means only one thing below those as-yet taut sternlines . . . assist time has arrived!  A large vessel will soon reverse itself out of this part of the sixth boro, aka the “inner coast” of Staten Island, i.e., the Kills.

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Laura K glides over to stern starboard to wait for

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(while Margaret noses in and pins Sex to the bulkhead)

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a heaving line to haul in the towline so that

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Laura K can inch Sex into the stream

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as she churns her own self stern-first seaward.

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Once Margaret senses space widening between the bulkhead and Sex‘s  bow, she . . .

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(Oops. Postus interruptus, to be continued tomorrow...)

Unrelated:  Allie B and Brooklyn Bridge, whose departure from greater Boston we documented on March 7, have now arrived with their cargo in Romania.  Bravo to the crew.  Thanks to Sackrabbit for following this story.

Also, a message from Henry has been received from the North Sea off Norway;  as soon as the garbling across the seas of time is clarified, we’ll post.  Stand by.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp.

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