Bowsprite: A New York Harbor Sketchbook

ships in the night

It is not easy to spot a ship in the dark. It is an inverse search–you look for lights on land that disappear, that get eaten by a big black shadow that moves. Once you’ve got the shadow, you look for those red & green dots that cease being traffic lights and become running lights.

4am – This is what the scene looks like. But if I push the camera’s ISO…

Surprise!! the Bulkship Ayna Marina!! passing the Colgate clock at 0416 (not sure of the spelling of ship’s name)

Below, The Balsa 71, going up to Yonkers Sugar Dock.

It is so early in the morning, but there is a jam in the harbor. Traffic was very busy, and channel 13 was buzzing:

Ayna Marina, at buoy 22, we’re dragging our heels with all this inbound traffic…”
Sealine approaching 26 buoy, we can take Grand Pioneer’s stern, see you on one whistle, two whistle whatever you want.”

“Yeah, uh, Balsa?”
“one whistle, John.”
Balsa 71, buoy 24, heading north to Yonkers sugar dock.”
“What time, Coleen?”
“I was told 6, but I could be there 6:15″

snippets of ships calling out: “Atlantic Hess…Bayonne, heading out to sea,” “Outrageous,” “Grand Pioneer,” “Everdelight…salt dock”

“Good morning sir, what’s your pleasure?”
“well, if you want to cross my bow I’ll take you on one.”
“Very good, sir, one whistle, you have a good morning.”
“You too.”

“I could be there at 4:45…how would you like to pass when I get there…, two whistles?”
“yeah, starboard to starboard sounds good, see you then.”

“uh, a little clogged up here today.”
“yeah, i’m southbound on the range, see you on one whistle”

Tug Michigan Service, this is the Ayna Marina, the first ship outbound to sea, we’ll see you on one whistle”
“One whistle, very good, thank you.”

“I’ll just slowerer her down”
“I’m sorry to have to make you do that”
“we’re just all making room here this morning.”

“yes, John”
“we’ll shoot across, see you on one whistle?”
“ok, very good.”

Meanwhile, just before the Colgate clock, a tug has spun a barge around, taken it on her hip, and moves north, no fuss. Don’t know who she is.

4 Responses

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  1. [...] harbor, Reinauer, Seaboats Inc., The Kills, literature, thoughts I think of the phrase “ships passing in the night.”  Random encounters also happen at dawn  (like Donald C and McAllister [...]

  2. nikki said, on 2009/06/04 at 00:53

    soon to on board in balsa 71. maybe this june 9.

    • nikki said, on 2010/07/22 at 22:40

      i dis embark last April,,,

  3. Maritime Monday 204 said, on 2010/03/07 at 23:52

    [...] also: Ships in the Night » It is not easy to spot a ship in the dark. It is an inverse search–you look for lights on land [...]


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