Saturday, February 23, 2013

Tale of two tribs

Into a larger body of water like New York Harbor or the Hudson River flow many feeder streams called tributaries. To some people, they are affectionately called "tribs."

Today two Chesapeake tribs, each beginning with the letter 'S,' floated down the Hudson River.  I am talking, of course, about Baltimore-based Vane Brothers tugboats, most all of which are named after Chesapeake Bay tributaries.

One pulled and the other pushed barges. The first, at 464 miles long, is the Susquehanna, the source of which flows is Otsego Lake near Cooperstown, NY.  Its waters spill from the lake and flow through New York's hilly Southern Tier, winding on through Pennsylvania, and then cutting the Delmarva Peninsula from the rest of Maryland before finally emptying into the Chesapeake Bay's northern reaches.  The other is the antithesis of the mighty Susquehanna.  The brief Sassafras, just 22 miles long, rises in Delaware and flowing short north then west into Maryland and the bay.

I had known Sassafras was on her way.  Since I had never photographed this particular tug, I braved the  mid-30s temperatures, fog, and a light but steady drizzle.

But first came Susquehanna.  I've seen her before, photographing the tug bathed in golden light years ago from the Mid-Hudson Bridge.  Today, I'd get something completely different--a study in monochrome from river level at the shore between Walkway Over the Hudson and the Mid-Hudson Bridge.

The 98-gross ton Susquehanna is 94 feet long and was launched in 2007.  Her twin caterpillar diesels generate 4,200 hp.
 Susquehanna at Walkway

Susquehanna and barge approaching the Mid-Hudson Bridge

For a change of pace I dressed for rain, saddled up my bike and rode out onto Walkway for Sassafras.  Surprisingly, I was not the only person on Walkway.  About a half dozen others walked--some with their dogs--in the light drizzle.  I arrived at the center of the span early and waited about 10 minutes in the rain.

Sassafras, launched in 2008 is 99 gross tons, 90 feet long powered by twin 1,500 hp diesels.

 View blog

SUSQUEHANNA in better light
Back on November 2, 2008, Susquehanna pushed the light Double Skin 52 southbound at Poughkeepsie.  I caught her from the Mid-Hudson Bridge in brilliant light with peak fall colors.  The old Poughkeepsie Railroad Bridge, awaiting resurrection as Walkway Over the Hudson, stood in the distance

More on Susquehanna

More on Sassafras

All photos Jeff Anzevino c2013; All rights reserved.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Hawser, Line, & Wire gather to celebrate 50 years of service

Yesterday the United States Coast Guard's three 65-foot Harbor Class tugs gathered under Walkway Over the Hudson to celebrate their launching in 1963 and fifty years of service on the Hudson River, New York Harbor and associated waterways.

Come with me first to Saugerties, NY to watch Bayonne, NJ-based Hawser and home-based Wire strike off from the Coast Guard Station and down Esopus Creek and the Hudson River.  Later, they would muster north of Poughkeepsie with Line, which cruised up from West Point to sail in close formation through drift ice under Walkway Over the Hudson.

Here, viewed from the Saugerties Lighthouse are Hawser and Wire,

Hawser pushes off the dock first



Wire makes the turn southbound

As I hike out of the Ruth Glunt Preserve, home of the Saugerties Lighthouse, I hear a low pitched, but loud din.  I suspected the freighter Flinterstream, which left the Port of Albany earlier that morning, may already be southbound making the turn off the Malden-on-Hudson Reach to pass the light.  I hiked back toward the cove to find the engines' sound became louder and sure enough, there she was.


I wondered about the cargo on her deck and would soon find out.

Flinterstream had reportedly carried bulk cargo from Aruba, through the Panama Canal and on to Mexico's Pacific coast.

Next stop, Charles Rider Park, just south of the Kingston Rhineciff Bridge.  My decision to walk back into the preserve to catch Flinterstream nearly cost me photos.  I arrived just in time  to catch Hawser already under the bridge.


and Wire

At Kingston Point, the speedy Flinterstream, making 13kts, was catching up to the harbor tugs, which usually top out at about 10kts..

 Hawser, foreground, with Flinterstream and the Kingston-Rhinecliff Bridge, behind

Hawser at a red ice buoy

Wire with the Ferncliff Firetower on the hill behind

 and here comes Flinterstream with her fare

Meanwhile, at 12:15 on a windy and blustery Walkway, Flinterstream, this silvery flash, has rounded Rogers Point and made its way through Crum Elbow.  Now she bears down Lange Rack on toward Walkway.  At Walkway, in spite of the bitter cold and brutal winds, people began to congregate in anticipation of the trio of feted harbor tugs.

If you're wondering what Flinterstream is hauling... I asked over the VHF radio.  These modular housing units are bound for Newfoundland.

But soon the stars of the show, mustering to the north, would appear...

Line, the bonafide birthday girl launched on February 21, 1963, does the honors taking the lead with Hawser and Wire behind.


Here's Saugerties-based Wire, our local hero

...and Hawser

They sailed southward on past the Mid-Hudson Bridge out of our sight where a photo shoot ensued with   photographers on the 140-foot bay class cutter Penobscot Bay.  We all waited on the frigid bridge,
some taking turns in parks' vehicles doubling as warming huts.  

Then, they came again.

Line leads the way.

Wire follows suit

And Hawser

Wire                                                           Hawser

They muster at red buoy number 60.

and make the turn for a final pass under Walkway




How do you tell these virtual look-alike triplets apart?  By the numbers:  Hawser is 65610; Line is 65611, and Wire is 65612.

Also, Hawser's name is painted lower on its stern.

Say goodbye to Hawser, Line, and Wire and wish them another 50 years of good service.

P.S. You might want to check out Bowsprite's beautiful artwork and reporting on the harbor tugs