Bowsprite: A New York Harbor Sketchbook

how to swim near a lock

Posted in Uncategorized by bowsprite on 2013/09/10

Don’t.

Really, don’t do it.

lockbound

The Hudson beckoned, I obeyed. Swimming towards a dock near the lock (before the canal cruiseship had arrived), I realized I was making no headway. It was shallow, but I was not grounded, I know I wasn’t.

Guardian boatsmen, Mike Schmidt (of Allyson Ann, pictured below with blue cap) and Stuart Pate (Dragonfly) motored over: “The lock opened and we were swept away, we figured you’d be caught, too.” Completely nonplussed, and, completely nonjudgemental, as in, no “what the bleeeeeep is wrong with you?!”
Thank you, Mike and Stuart! and to their better halves, handing out goggles and moral support.

prop check of Mame Fayphoto: Tugster

“Oh, while in you’re in there, can you check my props? Make sure nothing’s bent?” said Capt Bill Curry of Eighth Sea.

It was scarier than I thought–yet nothing deeper than 3′. It was all metally, creepy crawly tendrils up the thighs, dark and cold. I heard a strange bubbling beneath me as if souls embedded in the bottom were murmuring. And dammit, I couldn’t find the props. Kept popping up for breath, then crawling further under Mame Fay. Finally found it, all four blades intact and not bent. Thus ends my marine surveyor gig. I don’t know how you gals and guys do it. And oil rig welders: ok–write me for a free blowspittle bottle opener.

So much thanks to our host, Fred, Capt CPO Bill, Mike Byrnes (CG, tug Urger), JED, Larry, Marie, and as always, Will! Look to Tugster and Dupee FB for photos. Beautiful, wonderful old tugs, convening at a great spot in a cool town, a warm community. We love these tugs — and the very special people who work on them–truly, words fail me.
xoxo c!

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9 Responses

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  1. Michael said, on 2013/09/10 at 10:07

    Yeah…what were you thinking? Checking for bent props in a bikini. Next time bring a flashlight (and an anchor)!

  2. paulB said, on 2013/09/10 at 11:16

    It’s a strange feeling, going under a boat like that, isn’t it? I used to hate having to cut rope out of fouled props in my local lobster boat fleet- if it had been a while, the creeped-out feeling really cut down on the time I spent between breaths- I could swim comfortably underwater for a full minute at moderate exertion, but maybe 15 seconds if I was cutting line under a boat. Changing zincs, on the other hand, was easier for some reason. With scuba gear it got easier, if somewhat more awkward.

  3. Marc said, on 2013/09/10 at 19:25

    There is absolutely nothing more pleasant than messing about with ships. :-)

    • bowsprite said, on 2013/09/10 at 19:30

      about, maybe. But under–ugh.

      • tugster said, on 2013/09/11 at 06:41

        was capt bill maybe trying to see whether you’d notice that Mame Faye actually has jacuzzi jet drives?

  4. mageb said, on 2013/09/11 at 09:34

    Illustrated, no less.

  5. Reid Sprague said, on 2013/09/11 at 21:48

    Wonderful post! Glad it became an adventure and not a trial. I want to run the Canal one day. I will beware of swimming near the locks.


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