• The Fleet Arrives

    The Fleet Arrives

    Fleet week kicked off with a parade of ships entering the bay and sailing up the north river. The larger vessels, the USS Bataan and the HMS Protector, headed directly for their births at Pier 88 and Pier 90, but the shallower draft vessels proceeded up the north river towards the bridge before u-turning to their berths in Stapleton on Staten Island.

    Coast Guard Cutter Beluga made an early run up the river to check security
    And Navy Blackhawks kept an eye on things from above
    The USS Bataan arrived with Blackhawks above and three harbor tugs to assist with docking
    Sailors, Marines and Osprey aircraft were visible on the flight deck
    Newport based buoy tender Sycamore and the local Army Corps Hayward presented the colors
    The British Navy’s Antarctic patrol ship Protector arrived
    Coast Guard Cutter Dependable arrived from Virginia Beach and made a loop up the river
    As did the Littoral Combat Ship USS Milwaukee
    NYPD, USCG, and NJ State Police provided security
    USS Bataan got refueled on arrival at Pier 88

    The Bataan is the largest naval vessel to visit Pier 88 since the hospital ship USNS Comfort arrived at the height of the pandemic in April 2020.

    The USNS Comfort arriving in April 2020

    Of course, regular commercial life went on as usual on the river. The Jennifer Turecamo remained anchored off Riverside Park and would have had a great view of the arriving ships. Sand headed north and sludge and empty tanker barges headed south.

  • Getting ready for the fleet

    Getting ready for the fleet

    An atmosphere of anticipation prevailed over the river Tuesday ahead of Wednesday’s arrival of the ships participating in the annual fleet week events. Cool and pleasant conditions prevailed.

    A Coast Guard 65’ harbor tug was heading for the Battery in the afternoon
    As was Marine 1’s large fireboat
    A flattop barge was brought upriver and docked on the south side of Pier 88 as perhaps a viewing platform of some kind

    Regular business also went on as usual of course.

    Business as usual ahead of Fleet Week

  • What’s in that tanker?

    What’s in that tanker?

    The MTM Kobe headed back to sea before sunset on Sunday, three days after passing us heading north to the Buckeye Terminal in Albany where she was docked until Saturday. Foreign flagged tankers like Kobe can carry foreign cargos to Albany or pickup export cargos there for shipment overseas. Moving product between U.S. ports restricted to the U.S. flagged barges we see more often.

    Leaving us, the Kobe appeared to be drawing deeper than when she arrived, and the vessel is signaling Montreal as a destination. What cargo could be moving from Albany to Quebec? Crude exports from Albany stopped a few years ago but Buckeye does handle ethanol and it is plausible this was what was loaded up there and now en route to Quebec. Of course only the shippers and the Kobe’s mariners know for sure, but demand for U.S. ethanol has been expected to increase in Quebec due to passage of new environmental regulations there according to the U.S. Grains Council. The first two months of the year saw record U.S. ethanol exports to Canada according to the EIA.

    MTM Kobe leaving Sunday night and passing the anchored Jennifer Turecamo
    Kobe was lighter when arriving last Thursday

    Meanwhile, Monday brought more normal temperatures after the weekend swelter and winds came out of the north. The day opened with Jennifer Turecamo and the Kristin Poling still at anchor off Riverside Park. Kristin headed down to the Arthur Kill for more cargo in the afternoon but Jennifer remained into the evening hours.

    Jennifer Turecamo and Kristin Poling at anchor Monday morning
    Vames Brothers’ Fells Point moved a cargo north in late afternoon
    As did Kimberly Poling
    Passing Dace Reinauer on its way back from Newburgh. Dace was built in 1968, making it one of the oldest if not the oldest Reinauer tug in the fleet
    A structure fire in West New York sent up a plume of smoke but was quickly extinguished by North Hudson Fire
    Cormorants remained hard at work
    A trio of Blackhawk helicopters passed overhead, below FlightRadar24’s radar
    An egret made a late afternoon sortie up the river
    A J80 sailboat came south on a broad reach
    A larger sailboat tacked upwind

  • Sultry Sunday

    Sultry Sunday

    Hot steamy conditions persisted on Sunday, but there was a light breeze and cool water temperatures made things tolerable on the river. Commercial traffic was light but two tug/barge combinations anchored off Riverside Park.

    Evelyn Cutler pushed a loaded barge towards Albany
    Saint Emilion returned from Albany with an empty barge and headed for Perth Amboy
    Kristin Poling brought her empty barge back from New Haven and anchored off 72nd Street
    Jennifer Turecamo anchored with an empty barge on the hip a bit further north
    HMS Justice pushed a loaded barge up river late in the day
    A Hoboken Sailing Club J80 followed a cormorant downriver on a port tack
    Fireboat Feehan made a late loop up the river

  • Summer arrives early

    Summer arrives early

    What started out as a cool and foggy morning quickly morphed into a hot and hazy day, with temperatures getting up into the 90s. The water remains cold, keep temperatures right by the river rather moderate. Traffic was fairly typical of a summer Saturday though.

    A foggy start to the morning. New Jersey is out there somewhere
    DEP’s Red Hook was servicing the North River plant, overtaking a sail boat with its mast shipped “on two whistles”
    The Coast Guard was on patrol in a 29’ boat
    This 62’ NYPD dive boat had a crowd on the top deck
    The Army Corp of Engineer’s Hayward made her usual rounds
    Dann Marine pushed an empty cement barge back to the Lafarge plant in Ravenna, NY
    Mr. Jim was also heading back to Coeymans with at least one loaded hopper
    Franklin Reinauer was pushing oil products towards Albany. Built in 1984 Franklin is one of the older tugs in the Reinauer fleet, though not the oldest
    Nicole Leigh Reinauer passed a Circle Line boat “on one whistle”
    A Weehawken-bound ferry took the stern of an ATB heading for the Upper Bay
    The Pier i raft fisherman was back on-station
    Kayakers fought the flood heading south
    And passed one heading north in the haze
    Life is easier with an engine

  • Maiden voyage of the Knot Refined

    Maiden voyage of the Knot Refined

    Thursday began cool and rainy but ended hot and rather steamy. There was a lot of interesting traffic on the river for the first time in a while. Most notable was the arrival of Dann Marine’s Ruby Coast pushing American Sugar Refining’s (ASR) brand new 450-foot long barge cleverly named “Knot Refined”. The Knot was launched in March by Senesco Marine in North Kingston, Rhode Island, and left Palm Beach on its maiden voyage about 10 days ago. According to ASR, the name was chosen by means of an employee contest.

    ASR’s Domino plant in Yonkers has been receiving what seems like an unusually high volume of deliveries of late. In addition to the Knot, Dann Marine brought up a second barge later in the day on Thursday, a bulker loaded with Mexican sugar arrived just Sunday evening, and a number of barges have been seen heading up there in recent weeks. It is not obvious what supply side, demand side, logistical, technical or seasonal explanation there might be for this, but the plant seems to be running at high capacity right now.

    ASR’s Knot Refined barge heading for Yonkers on her maiden voyage
    Followed a few hours later by the smaller Jonathan sugar barge

    Another notable vessel Thursday was the General Purpose oil/chemical products tanker the MTM Kobe, arriving from the Port of Quebec and signaling Albany as destination. Foreign flagged tankers are not common on the Hudson, with most oil products heading north on US flagged tug/barge combinations. Valero runs a refinery in Quebec and diesel supply has been tight in the northeast so perhaps this a cargo of imported oil products coming in.

    Tanker MTM Kobe heading for Albany

    The Kobe and Knot Refined were followed late in the day by a big bulker, the Tac Imola. The Imola seems to be heading up to Coeymans after having just been up in Albany last month, with no foreign ports visited in between, so presumably she is heading up there to pick up a cargo, perhaps scrap metal.

    The Tac Imola heading for Coeymans

    More familiar vessels were also on the river going about their usual business.

    Reinauer Twins returned from Albany and headed for the Upper Bay
    Evelyn Cutler also returned from Albany and headed for the Arthur Kill
    The DEP’s Red Hook made sludge runs from North River to the Passaic Valley plant in Newark
    Cormorants relaxed on old New York Central piers while a J80 sailboat moved down river in the background
    And another bird kept to himself. Is this a loon? Nope, it’s a double crested cormorant according to replies to my iNaturalist posting

  • A ducky Wednesday on the river

    A ducky Wednesday on the river

    Another lovely day with winds dropping and the sun shining. Recreational boaters were out in force but commercial shipping was fairly light.

    The Corps of Engineers was on patrol as usual
    As was Harbor Charlie
    Wicomico and the Haggerty Girls came down from Albany with empty barges
    A smoky car fire on the helix leaving the Lincoln Tunnel in Weehawken snarled traffic as all lanes were shut down for a short while
    FDNY Fireboat Feehan approached Weehawken, perhaps to investigate the smoke but did not stay long
    A mother mallard minded her chicks on the gangway to the wrecked kayak dock at the end of 72nd Street

  • Tuesday bluster

    Tuesday bluster

    Tuesday brought beautiful weather after Monday night’s storms, though gusty winds picked up in the afternoon. Activity was fairly light on the river.

    Dann Marine pushed an empty cement barge past Riverside Park, heading back towards Lafarge’s Ravenna plant after an early departure from the College Point cement terminal
    Mr. Jim was also heading back home to Coeymans with loaded hoppers
    Dean Reinauer was going in the other direction, bringing an empty barge back from Newburgh and heading for the Upper Bay
    The DEP’s Red Hook was on its appointed rounds, heading for the North River plant to ferry sludge to the centrifuges in Hunts Point for dewatering
    A huge C130 flew low up the river, eluding my camera but not FlightRadar24 which shows the plane making a big loop from Grabeski in West Hampton. Air National Guard C130s based at Grabeski are part of a search and rescue group made famous by The Perfect Storm.
    Source: FlightRadar24

  • A Pea Souper

    A Pea Souper

    Sunday opened with a thick layer of fog sitting over the river. The soup burned off, though, over the course of the morning, and afternoon brought sunny skies and warm temperatures, with plenty of recreational activity on the river.

    The upper wheelhouse and forward barge mast of the anchored Saint Emilion were barely visible in the morning fog
    Once the fog cleared she weighed anchor and headed down to Cateret
    An outrigged kayak was happy to have an orange hull in the fog
    More kayakers and SUPers ventured out as the conditions improved. This group passed a North River Lobster Company lunch cruise.
    A J80 sailboat from Hoboken Sailing Club used the steady south wind and its spinnaker sail to run upriver agains the ebb tide
    And then easily tacked back upwind, passing the Palisades Medical Center in North Bergen
    Buchanan12 had to work harder to move upriver with its lash-up of empty hoppers heading back to Clinton Point
    Kimberly Polling anchored overnight near Yonkers and then shifted down to around 86th Street once things cleared up
    Cormorants were hunkered down in the damp, with one exception
    The gosslings are getting bigger
    Ducklings have arrived on the scene as well now
    These look like Canada geese at first glance, but they are Brant, a different species. Here they are passing the 72nd Street kayak pier wrecked by Sandy
    The dredge is now working off the end of Pier 92; Norwegian Joy is back from Bermuda and set to leave for there tonight with a stop in Norfolk on the way

  • Spuyten Duyvil

    Spuyten Duyvil

    Spuyten Duyvil is the name of the neighborhood in the Bronx directly across the mouth of the Harlem River from the northernmost point of Manhattan. It is also the name of the rail bridge which spans the Harlem River at that point,and the creek which originally flowed from here to the Harlem River. When the creek was widened and filled in and a canal dug through Marble Hill, the body of water separating the north end of Manhattan and the Bronx became known simply as an extension of the Harlem River. While there is no agreed definition of the limits of the North River section of the Hudson, the Spuyten Duyvil Bridge would be a reasonable demarcation point.

    The name Spuyten Duyvil of course comes from Dutch, but it is not exactly Dutch and time has obscured what it was intended to mean, with a number of theories out there. The Wikipedia entry for Spuyten Duyvil has a good survey of the various views on the etymology of the name.

    An Amtrak Empire Service train passed over the Spuyten Duyvil Bridge Saturday morning heading for Albany from Penn Station, with the Henry Hudson Bridge carrying the Henry Hudson Parkway looming behind
    The bridge opens on demand for ships and boats, Amtrak schedule permitting, including this Circle Line sightseeing boat on Saturday
    Evelyn Cutler emerged from the fog shrouding Yonkers and the Cuomo Bridge farther north, heading for an anchorage in the Harbor
    Nicole Reinauer passed the Spuyten Duyvil neighborhood with an empty barge, heading for the Kinder Morgan terminal in Perth Amboy
    A paddle border enjoyed the flat conditions Saturday morning approaching the George Washington Bridge. When we spoke to her by the Dyckman Marina, she indicated she had come all the way up from Pier 84, a distance of over 8 miles. She didn’t say what her plans were but presumably she rode the ebb tide all the way back. The animal swimming towards her from the shore is not a marine mammal but rather a retriever dog playing fetch.
    In Harlem, these geese were proud parents to an only child. The kayak dock in the background was wrecked in Hurricane Sandy only a short time after it was installed and, similar to the kayak dock at 72nd Street, it has not been repaired.
    Further south, Saint Emilion remains at anchor off 84th Street
    Looking back to Friday evening, we saw this cement barge being pushed back to the Lafarge plant in Ravenna after leaving the College Point terminal