chemical pioneer & esso brussels

Posted in Uncategorized by bowsprite on 2021/11/26


Built: Bath Iron Works, ME
Launched: 1968
Length: 610 ft / 190 m
Beam: 76 ft / 23 m
Draft: 35 ft / 11 m
Crew: 40


Built: Kockum shipyard FH, Malmö, Sweden
Launched: 1959
Length: 699 ft 3 in / 213.12 m
Beam: 97 ft 3 in / 29.65 m
Height: 38 ft / 11.59 m
Propulsion: single screw
Speed: 17.25 knots
Crew: 52
Homeport: Antwerp, Belgium (1959-1973) ; Pieraeus, Greece (1973-1985)

On June 1, 1973, container ship Sea Witch experienced steering failure and collided with oil tanker Esso Brussels which resulted in a horrific fire in lower NYHarbor and great loss of life.
Fireboat Firefighter (built in Greenport!) responded, fighting the huge fire singlehandedly and rescuing 31 surviving crewmen.
Both ships were salvaged and rebuilt.
Tugster has recent photos of Chemical Pioneer in NYHarbor: during her final days, she made her last trip here.

In memory of all who perish, and gratitude to all who work at dangerous jobs, everywhere.

the east end seaport museum auction

Posted in Uncategorized by bowsprite on 2021/02/16


The East End Seaport Museum Art Auction bidding ends tonight at 20h00, today the 16th of February, 2021.
A lovely little old railroad building outlined in blue halogen lights, the museum is a good aid to navigation if you are on the Shelter Island ferry in the dark. Beautiful fresnel lens collection and other maritime artifacts are preserved here, along with that certain little village-old time smell from the old wooden staircases and cabinets.
This blowspittle entry is a whaling ship collage, comes with lines sewn in. Thank you EESM! thank you, everyone for your support.


Posted in Uncategorized by bowsprite on 2020/12/08


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fishing lures’ dada poem

Posted in Uncategorized by bowsprite on 2020/11/30

T’was a month before Xmas and the boat was hard up,
Trucks* made their deliveries, and came to pickup.
(*FedEx, UPS trucks)

Malls that once rang out with good cheer
Fast became forests complete with the deer.

Stockings were draped over the heaters with care,
A-waiting the fuel delivery that would soon be there.

The tree was so festive — with tinsel silver!
The lures cried, what are we, chopped liver?

So out came the minnows, chatter bait and bugs;
The angels and shepherds and spinners did hug.

Poppers and plotters, swimmers and frogs
Wassailed the crêche before the yule log.

And a good time was had by all inanimate objects.

…blah blah blah here.

Coast Guard Nightmare

Posted in Uncategorized by bowsprite on 2020/11/23
Ho ho ho. Happy Anchoring!

thank you, Laurent Maes!

hello, there, you at sea!

Posted in Uncategorized by bowsprite on 2020/11/20
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Friends in Light

Posted in Uncategorized by bowsprite on 2020/04/26
This painting is called “Friends in Light”, it is currently up at VSOP gallery in a group show “As Far As The Eye Can See.”

Acrylic on panel, 24 x 48 inches

Ships:  I love ships
There is a convoy of military and merchant ships in the upper left corner. This image was inspired by a photo a friend in Singapore sent of cargo ships at anchor outside her home. The ships were there for days, “Contango” was the term, and those ships, in a conga line, tangoed around their anchors as the tides and currents would allow.
But it was not just cargo ships, but also Very Large Crude Carriers (VLCCs) and Ultra Large Crude Carriers (ULCCs) that were at anchor.
These are BIG ships, and 90 million barrels is a lot of crude oil to be held at sea. It was not just at Singapore, but also outside the ports of Rotterdam and Iran.   The International Energy Agency (IEA) guesses that there are not enough offloading facilities. Oil refineries are not lucrative businesses.  I watch ships because what happens with ships affects our land: soil, air and water.  The pipelines are not so far away. Nuclear plants are not very far away. We are a closed system, we here on the Mothership.
Mariners on ships are affected by lockdowns, unable to dock and release their weary crews. This is not an easy time for so many people.
The war plane: I like beautiful old planes.
The ghost image of a Hawker Hurricane in the foreground symbolizes to me the height of the human species’ period of productivity.  For WWII: it seemed everyone was involved, everyone was drawn in, almost everyone was affected.  Food, materials, and goods were rationed.  People grew produce in their plots. Communities made sacrifices and did without for their men at war–on all sides.
The war effort brought to life radar, sonar, proximity fuze.  Production of machine tools tripled, thousands of ships were built by shipyards that formed for the war effort.
Along with ships of all kinds, we built aircraft, tanks, artillery, vehicles, we brought the interstate highway system to a new level and into our national defense system.
Raw materials had to be extracted, transported, refined, combined. From this things were built, transported, maintained, and used against each other.  We were productive.
* Of special note: more inventions that came from WWII found on Pacific Paratrooper’s always interesting and lively posts here.*
Friends: we love friends.
The lights of the ships are on. There’s something about the decadent lovely yellow of incandescent light bulbs of old ships along the bulkheads, reflecting in the water. If enemy presence was detected, the lights would have been turned off.  They are on the same side — they are friends: this plane, capable of inflicting much harm and death, will not hurt these ships, and probably, would greatly have buoyed the crews’ spirits in wartime.
2020: I know light is here. One cannot see the source of illumination over the water, but there is light.  It was not an easy decision to go on with the show for Jonathan at VSOP, but I am glad he did.  The world feels upside down, inside out: try to focus on beauty, not fear.  Try to do more what makes you happy, try to be with what you love.

today, July 18, thursday, no swim

Posted in Uncategorized by bowsprite on 2019/07/18

Hello beautiful swimmers!

Due to the all the rain, today’s free public swim will be cancelled–even if the full, bright sun comes out.  A lot has washed into the bay, and it is advisable to wait two full tide cycles to flush the bay out so we can swim again in just nice plastic bits-fertilizer-pesticide-chemicals soup without the street run off as well.

Swimmers: you are looking wonderful! Thank you for the joy!   Christina


favorite recipe for asian carp

Posted in Uncategorized by bowsprite on 2019/06/27


  1. using a cleaned asian carp,  dredge both sides of a not-wet fish with a mixture of flour, salt, pepper, paprika,
  2. heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat,
  3. fry smashed garlic, ginger, scallions, a touch of soy sauce, (optional: a bit of black bean sauce) and let sizzle in the heating oil,
  4. place floured fish into sizzling oil and let one side cook,
  5. turn fish over, add a splash of white wine or sherry and a squeeze of lemon. Cook the other side. Then:
  6. throw away the fish and eat the skillet.


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Posted in Uncategorized by bowsprite on 2018/03/06


Every monday night is mono printmaking at Garance’s magical studio in New Suffolk, NY.


You squeeze tubes of printing inks on palettes, roll, paint, collage onto a printing surface,


take your piece and walk carefully to not tread on the parrot that patrols the floor space,


And give the Printer (Garance) your work. She will allign your piece on her press, measuring under her breath in Swiss-German, and through the heavy metal roller it goes.

What comes out on the other side is: a surprise, each time.

Danke, Garance!

southold indian museum

Posted in Uncategorized by bowsprite on 2018/02/12


Across the road from the Custer Observatory is the Southold Indian Museum. It was a dreary, cold rainy day…perfect day to draw old artifacts in a room where time stops still and ancestors quietly stand and watch.

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winter night sky

Posted in Uncategorized by bowsprite on 2017/11/27


I have always wanted learn the constellations, but the classroom was never available in NYC. But here, on the North Fork, on any clear night, it is open.

Draco, Ursa Minor, Ursa Major, Cepheus, Cygnus, Lacerta, Cassiopeia, Lynx, Camelopardalis, Perseus, Gemini. 

This 10×10 painted board will be on sale at the South Street Gallery’s 10×10 art sale which benefits the North Fork Environmental Council.

PREVIEW:  Friday, December 1, 2017  noon-9pm; SALE BEGINS: Saturday, December 2, 2017, 6pm.

I am using a Kindergarten art technique: toothbrush splatter art. My most formative years.

The Sullivans (DDG 68)

Posted in Uncategorized by bowsprite on 2017/11/11


Now at Staten Island pier (305 Front Street, Stapleton,) USS SULLIVANS (DDG-68) is open to the public for tours from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Nov. 9-12,  alongside USS Hue City (CG 66.)

It was at the Battle of Guadalcanal on November 13, 1942 that 687 souls were lost when their ship, the USS Juneau (CL-52) was sunk. Five of the men were the Sullivan brothers for which this ship is named.

Not directly related, but worth noting: this documentary.



Built: Bath Iron Works, ME
Commissioned at Staten Island, NY, 19 April 1997
Length: 505 ft / 154 m
Beam: 66 ft / 20 m
Draft: 31 ft / 9.4 m
Homeport: Mayport, FL


Posted in Uncategorized by bowsprite on 2017/07/29

New: BuoyantSea swim. Thank you, Rya, for the beautiful website! I love it!

Classes begin Monday, 31 July at Fifth Street Beach in Greenport, NY. This schedule will be good until 30 September (or unless something changes.)


See you on the beach…and in the water!

plein air at Soundview, Greenport, NY

Posted in Uncategorized by bowsprite on 2017/07/20


Every Wednesday from 16h to 19h, Amy Worth of the South Street Gallery in Greenport holds a plein air painting class at the Soundview. Yesterday was the first time I joined them, and we were lucky to have guest artist Duane Keiser demonstrating and critiquing.

Duane began a small oil painting; it was wonderful to see the view bloom and unfold on his small linen on wood canvas. The sky changed, the shadows over the water, sand and trees changed, and Duane’s painting was a record of the hour he painted. The last to appear under his brush were the few bathers in the water. It was a lovely painting. And then, it was out turn…

But, it was terribly muggy and hot. Some of us went into the water first and had to paint in salty damp swimwear (very worth it!) Some watched the demo and then packed up and left. And some sat in the sun and painted, roasting nicely. My oil sticks melted.


Duane went around and commented. My rocks that were silhouetted in the view seemed dark brown, but he pointed out that they were not: they had sun and movement, and he suggested color to bring in the vibration.   Mine is more an illustration than a painting. He used oil, and said to paint the big blocks of color first, “Once people start to draw people and umbrellas and houses, the painting stops and the drawing begins.”  So, I tried to put down blocks of color, and will keep on trying.


If you are a rock, I can do your portrait, in an interpretative way. Sorry, I cannot do people, yet.

it was fifty years ago today…

Posted in Uncategorized by bowsprite on 2017/06/01


Today, 50 years ago, on June 1st, in 1967, the Beatles released this album in the US:Sgt._Pepper's_Lonely_Hearts_Club_Band.jpg

Listen to it now, streaming on WPKN (Purple Knights Network) of Bridgeport, CT off the original 1967 album. It is one of  the 75,000 vinyl records in their collection:

Go to archives , click on Peter Bochan – All Mixed Up for a great show of expertly cut sounds of songs (rare versions) and the Beatles’ talking.

The many DJ’s various shows are kept online for a couple of weeks in the archives.

WPKN is an incredible resource, truly non-profit and renegade, with excellent music reflecting the different DJ’s and their expertise and tastes.  The one consistent thread is that the DJ’s are extremely knowledgeable in their field. This is a real labor of love and passion. All genres. I have expanded my mind and ears on this site.

Music. It does not get more intense. And the collection is nowhere as good as here.

Enjoy exploring…while fixing the hole where the rain gets and stops my mind from wandering…

weeping cuts

Posted in Uncategorized by bowsprite on 2017/04/27


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shell junks

Posted in Uncategorized by bowsprite on 2017/04/16


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a vintage machine

Posted in Uncategorized by bowsprite on 2017/02/14


I am in awe, wow!  The International Sewing Machine Collector Society is an incredible resource for old sewing machines, and has scanned and put online many old manuals.


Here is the link to the beautifully illustrated and written Singer Sewing Skills Reference Book. Scrolling through, I am dumbfounded by the fascinating attachments that were cleverly engineered to create hems, various edges, complex stitches, bindings, piping, tucks, darts, ruffles, seams, braids, shirrs. Perhaps it is not lamentable to have some of the fashion styles go away, however, the minds who designed such beautiful machines and brilliant attachments that have lasted decades, the factories which made these machines–are these lost forever, never to return?

For amusement: how to open the domed lid (“the doomed lid”). It is amazing what helpful things good people put online to advise and guide others. It was this post that taught me how to open Richard Hudson’s 1948 antique sewing machine cover. The machine seems to run beautifully, the artfully crafted steel attachments are intact.


With the help of the International Sewing Machine Collector Society, there is a good chance Mr. Hudson can sew his sails for schooner Issuma. She will look smart leaving Jersey City to Toronto under sail with perfectly ruffled leeches and a smock tucked fisherman.


“Crime of the Ancient Mariner” by Brian Lance

Posted in Uncategorized by bowsprite on 2017/01/30

Just published!  “Crime of the Ancient Mariner”   by ELECTRIC LITERATURE’s weekly ‘literary oddments’ magazine, OKEY-PANKY.

I have always loved Gustave Doré’s moving etchings, and was very happy when Brian Lance asked me to illustrate his psychedelic, angst & drug-laden, navy man’s lament in his weaving of Coleridge’s poem with a U.S. Navy psych evaluation.

stargazy pie

Posted in Uncategorized by bowsprite on 2016/12/24

Stargazy pie has a great name and history.pie
Enjoy this essay entitled Forgotten Fish by Mary Sue Milliken. Menhaden pie, anyone?

I will be making this recipe, courtesy of Saveur magazine. If you do, too, let us know how it comes out!


Get up, get dressed, go out in this rig to catch the fishies for the pie…


from Food of England (1954), by Dorothy Hartley, social historian, illustrator and author.

Merry Christmas, happy rejoicing-event of your choice!

the “Boke”

Posted in Uncategorized by bowsprite on 2016/12/05



Hoboken Terminal, NJ.

My boss took me there on a survey job one snowy day, several years ago. The ferry slips were not ready yet, and were still being painted. One could see the grandness of the architecture. Billowy sheets of plastic were hung over the openings, and we had to drive in and out of the curtains to do the surveys, like stagehands hopping on and off the grand stage. It was so silent, snow falling into the river, no one there to see any of the beauty that day but us.

Thank you, JD, for the push to finish this drawing. Thx, Frankie for the ‘Boke’ tip!

hamburg süd

Posted in containership, Uncategorized by bowsprite on 2016/12/01


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le nuove strade

Posted in Uncategorized by bowsprite on 2016/11/15


le nuove strade (the new streets)
Dancer image: costume design by Eugène Lacoste for the ballet “Namouna”  performed in 1882 at l’
Opéra de Paris.

bird on a wing

Posted in Uncategorized by bowsprite on 2016/11/09


or, a wing on a bird…
Happy November 9th everyone. And now: onward. Carry on.

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go see…

Posted in Uncategorized by bowsprite on 2016/10/21


“Macondo” — from the fictitious cursed town in the novel One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.   The well was named by this winning entry in a BP employee contest. (wiki)

The hydrocarbons that were sought lay 4000-4500 m below the sea floor.
That is 2.8 miles.

It would be like starting at the Empire State Building and going south, ending around the Wall St. Stock Exchange.

They never passed 14th street when the blowout occurred.

Go see the new Deepwater Horizon movie.

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talk tomorrow, all welcome

Posted in Uncategorized by bowsprite on 2016/09/13


Ships of Commerce, War, Work & Pleasure

a presentation of NYHarbor doodles by Bowsprite

aboard Nantucket Lightship WLV-612

Wednesday, September 14, 2016
6 to 7pm

Pier 6 Promenade, Brooklyn Bridge Park


take the WaterTaxi ferry or the East River Ferry from Pier 11 across the East River to Pier 1
Brooklyn Bridge Park, walk south to Pier 6,
or, take the trains to the stations shown on the map and walk west to the park and the ship.

Of great note!


“Between 1941 and 1945, Liberty Ships were constructed in 18 U.S. shipyards.
John W. Brown is one of only two Liberty Ships that survive.

“She is docked at Pier 36 on the Lower East Side (299 South St.) and is open for tours and other events ending with a six-hour living history cruise on Sept. 18.
The John W. Brown was built in Baltimore. She was named for a well-known labor leader and launched on Labor Day, 1942.  Her maiden voyage was to New York City where she picked up Jeeps, trucks and ammunition to aid Russia under the Lend-Lease Act and took them to the Persian Gulf. She transported troops and cargo in support of the WWII effort until 1945…

“On both Saturdays the engines will be working at the pier as part of the tour.”

From DowntownPost. For more information:
“She’s been fully restored and is beautiful. I’ve never ever ever seen
such a clean engine room.”   –Schoonertrash Ros


how I learned to stop worrying…

Posted in Uncategorized by bowsprite on 2016/09/07


…and love internet searches. Are you in need of a good title for a talk or presentation?

I am! Next week, I am invited to speak on the Nantucket Lightship, WLV-612, on my New York Harbor Sketchbook drawings.

So, I did a search, and found this site:
They recommend a few sites for generating titles using your keywords, so, I tried them all.

I think this one wins for making me laugh the loudest:

• What Will Historic Ships Be Like In 100 Years?

how sublime. I could never make anything so perfect up!

The title was generated by the website, HubSpot, along with these:
• 7 Things About Historic Ships Your Boss Wants To Know
• How To Solve The Biggest Problems With New York Harbor
• 10 Signs You Should Invest In Historic Ships

(I know of too many people who would pelt me with rotten tomatoes if I used this last one.)

Here is a pedantic site for generating academic paper titles:

• Formulating Versatile Pathology: Artistic Guide To The Harbor in the Disenfranchised

• Politicizing Pessimistic Postmodernity: Exploring New York Harbors Historic Ships and the Savage

•  Exploring New York Harbors Historic Ships: Creating Narrow-Minded Desire and Affliction

• Intersection and Mythos: Suppressing the Savage New York Harbors Historic Ships, Pathologizing Amiable Perversion

This site is the perfect reason to skip college and run to sea.


This was the most amusing site: Portent’s Content Idea Generator

• How Drawing Boards Once Saved the World
• Why Do People Think New York Harbors are a Good Idea?
• How Artists View of the Harbors aren’t as Bad as You Think
• It Did What? 19 Secrets About Drawing Historic Ships
• What Mom Never Told You About A Once and Future Harbor
• What Experts Are Saying  About Doodles of Ships
• 9 Ways Drawing Historic Ships Could Leave You Needing a Lawyer
• Folk Remedies for Improving Drawing New York Harbor
• Drawing Historic Ships Taboos You Should Break

• The Unconventional Guide to Drawing Horsecock (had to try this military delicacy keyword once.)


Linkbait Title Generator is another rich source of merriment:


• 10 Ways Historic Ships Can Suck the Life Out of You
(others could speak with more authority on this than I)

• 10 Ways Historic Ships Can Help You Live to 100
(make up your mind!)

• 8 Things the Media Hasn’t Told You About Historic Ships
(and won’t)

• The Rise of Historic Ships and How to Make it Stop
(make rising seas stop. I’m on it.)

• 101 Unusual Uses of Historic Ships
(I’m not so creative to attempt a talk thus titled.)

• 10 Ways Marketers Are Making You Addicted To Historic Ships
(I’d pay good money to hear this one.)

• Guns Don’t Kill People — Drawing Historic Ships Kills People

• What the Government Doesn’t Want You To Know About Historic Ships

• Why You Should Forget Everything You Learned About Historic Ships
(you mean in school? a non-issue)

• Why Historic Ships Are Destroying America

• Historic Ships Die Every Minute You Don’t Read This Article

A few more straggling suggestions:

• Do You Make These Common Historic Ship Acquiring Mistakes?
• Drawing Historic Ships By the Numbers
• How Drawing New York Harbor is the New Drawing New York Harbor


well! they are all winners. How DO I pick? which do you like?
(Winning Title To Come):
a presentation of NYHarbor doodles over the years,


Posted in Uncategorized by bowsprite on 2016/06/24


“I just had the bittersweet honor of removing the USCGC BOUTWELL from active Coast Guard service, pierside at Coast Guard Island in Alameda. This small event involved the remaining few who have completed the legwork that began with the formal decommissioning ceremony back in March in San Diego. The hull now will sit empty until its prospective owners, the Philippine Navy arrive to take custody.”

Capt. E. Westfall,
Commanding Officer

USCGC Boutwell (WHEC-719)
Builder: Avondale Shipyards, LA
Laid down: 1967
Homeport: San Diego, California
Motto: “Best in the West”
Length: 378 ft / 115.2m
Beam: 43 ft / 13.1m
Draught: 15 ft / 4.6m
Speed: 29 knots / 54 km/h
Endurance: 45 days
Complement: 167 personnel

swim season

Posted in Uncategorized by bowsprite on 2016/06/04

Unlike my fellow waterlovers, the Coney Island Polar Bears, I cannot jump into cold water. I must go in very slowly.

The waters of Gardiner’s Bay have been warming up perceptibly, and I have finally been able to swim without my face numbing.

Today at high tide, while standing and waiting to adjust in waist-high water, something bit my heel.

In the Sound during hot months, little 2″ / 5cm long white fish gently nibble and exfoliate my legs. This was not that. This was a bite. And the next bite was on my toe. And the bite after that was even harder. I peered in and saw this:


It looked like a rock, about 7″ / 17.8cm long and triangular pyramid shape. I kicked at it. It came right back, biting harder. And I was mad I had to swim earlier than I was ready.

But once I was in, it was all good.

I think it was a lumpfish, but I am not sure. A “football with warts” is how it was described. And I will add: attacks toes.