Bowsprite: A New York Harbor Sketchbook

moshulu

Posted in Uncategorized by bowsprite on 2013/06/09

She sells ship porn on the sea shore. On LILAC at pier 25, every saturdays and sundays, 1pm to 7pm.

He wore a tshirt with a drawing of a three masted ship under full sail that read, “Frig It” and pointed to my print of Peking.
Moshulu! he said.

The ships look alike, both are black, steel-hulled, four-masted barques, both have what I was taught was called a ‘liverpool house’ but when I search for it, photos of pub grub and happy people in a bar pop up.

 However Peking was built by Blohm + Voss in Hamburg, Moshulu was built on the River Clyde by Alex. Wm. Hamilton & Co., Port Glasgow, Scotland, for a German client. Both ships carried the same cargo: nitrates.

 “Moshulu” is Seneca for “Dreadnought” (Dreads Nothing).

“River Clyde” rolls off the tongue in Scottish Gaelic thus: Abhainn Chluaidh.
moshulu
Moshulu!” he said, “I had a friend who worked on Moshulu. Bob Reusswig, signed on the Moshulu as an able bodied seaman in the 30’s at the age of 16.  He was a remarkable seaman.

“He told us once when he was newly aboard  Moshulu, they were in a horrible storm. The first mate yelled at him to go up and furl the sails on the upper yard. They train you, start you off on the lower ones and you work your way up to the higher ones. Well, Bob wasn’t ready for the upper yard, and he was scared. But he was more scared of the mate’s cobbled boots: he’d seen that boot make it’s mark on several men’s bottoms, so up he went.

“They were tough men, on that ship. The captain of the Moshulu at that time was a Norwegian, 5’5″ and made of the toughest stuff men are ever made of. He was thrown about and part of his skull caved in. He took out a penknife, heated it on a flame, cooled it in seawater, stuck the penknife into his head and popped the skull back out.”

•   •   •

Not that Lilac goes anywhere, but I have VHF 13 on, to pretend I’m on the bridge, and I listen to traffic passing behind me.
And sometimes you hear from modern day sailors: “Oh, thanks for the wake, Cap.”
Meeeeeeh.
•   •   •
On days of old vs modern day:
In 1908, Moshulu made a fast voyage from Newcastle, Australia, to Valparaíso with a cargo of coal in 31 days. Fuel cost: $zero. Well, I do not know how much they burned for lamps or cooking.
Today: slow steaming.

Click here for the re-rigging of Moshulu

as she operates as a restaurant, complete with Bongo Bar.

and here for a beautiful painting of the ship by John Stephens.

thank you, Seaman “I am not a rude man” Snake Roodman.
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10 Responses

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  1. Dr. Dann said, on 2013/06/09 at 07:16

    What a lovely way to begin my Sunday morning, with this deftly told bit of maritime arcana. And doubly delightful, as I had for the last hour been looking through my binoculars toward the smoke billowing from the Columbia waterfront – the cloud almost obscured Lady Liberty. I Imagined a ship aflame. Now with this story you set my imagination aflame. Thanks.

    Kevin Dann
    Brooklyn

  2. Michael said, on 2013/06/09 at 09:39

    “He took out a penknife, heated it on a flame, cooled it in seawater, stuck the penknife into his head and popped the skull back out.”

    I love mad exaggeration as much as the next storytelling waterguy, but, um…I tend to doubt the veracity of this statement.

    • bowsprite said, on 2013/06/09 at 10:07

      no, no! really! a sailor told it to me. And now it’s on the internet, so it must be true.

      • walt stevens said, on 2013/06/10 at 09:14

        If it’s on the computer, it’s got to be true!

    • Reid Sprague said, on 2013/06/25 at 08:38

      Sailors seldom lie. They get carried away sometimes, though.

  3. bluebrightly said, on 2013/06/09 at 12:15

    O those Norwegians!!

  4. tugster said, on 2013/06/09 at 13:25

    on the peking/moshulu confusion . . . moshulu spent a period of time docked at south street seaport in the early 1970s, several years before peking arrived there. http://tugster.wordpress.com/2009/12/page/3/

  5. walt stevens said, on 2013/06/10 at 09:22

    In the Halcyon years of the ’80’s and the 600 ship Navy, we’d be doing business at the PNSY, Philly, and lunch,
    the Moshulu! Otherwise, it was Bingo and Beer on the base. Those were really good days, and now their just really good memories. Slow Steaming: At these slow speeds the vagaries of laminar flow and turbulent flow, apply. At higher speeds doubling the speed costs Eight Times the fuel.
    Thanks as usual

  6. Mage Bailey said, on 2013/06/10 at 10:07

    Just magic stuff. I had now known the Moshulu still existed. Thanks so much for this and all the links. You made my day.

  7. fishandships said, on 2013/06/19 at 08:37

    Beautiful and informative as usual. Thanks.


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