Tag Archives: Shipwreck

A Late-Summer Staten Island Circumnavigation

By Vladimir Brezina

Staten Island circumnavigation 83

High on our list of paddling priorities for this summer has been the Staten Island circumnavigation.

It’s a trip that has everything—the busy New York Harbor and the open water of the Lower Bay, islands and lighthouses, surf on sandy beaches, grassy creeks and salt marshes, wildlife, heavy industry, decayed piers, shipwrecks, huge container ports, container ships, barges, and tugs of all shapes and sizes, imposing bridges, and finally the Statue of Liberty and the Manhattan skyline glowing in the sunset or, after it, sparkling with a myriad lights…

And all this in just twelve hours of paddling!

We used to do a Staten Island circumnavigation often, but suddenly we realized we hadn’t done one for two years—since Hurricane Sandy, in fact. We wondered how Sandy might have changed the familiar landmarks…

And the long days of summer were drawing to an end.

So on Saturday we went. Here are some photos.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Relic

By Vladimir Brezina

This week’s Photo Challenge is Relic.

Kayaking around New York Harbor, we pass many relics of its maritime past—

Binghamton

Binghamton 1
Binghamton 2

Major General William H. Hart

Major General William H. Hart

— the Yellow Submarine, Quester I

Yellow Submarine 1
Yellow Submarine 2

— and, of course, the celebrated Graveyard of Ships

Graveyard of Ships 1
Graveyard of Ships 2

Container Dominoes

By Vladimir Brezina

Johna’s recent post about Keith Tantlinger, the inventor of the Twistlock, the device  that has made modern container shipping possible, reminded me of the question that I always have when I see a loaded container ship in the harbor. How securely do all those containers, stacked so high on top of each other, remain stacked when the ship rolls and pitches in heavy weather? (Indeed, how stable is the ship itself when loaded so high, although that’s a different question.) Perhaps suggested by another of Johna’s posts, the image of falling dominoes comes to mind, or perhaps a house of cards…

Well, now there’s an answer.

The Twistlock locking corners that anchor each container to the container below, and to the container above, hold up surprisingly well. In this photo of the Rena, the container ship that grounded a week ago on Astrolabe Reef off the northern coast of New Zealand, entire stacks of containers so anchored lean at a 45-degree angle without collapsing…

But, inevitably, some containers are falling into the sea and washing up on local beaches. Here, “local residents come to look at a washed up container with its cargo of packets of partly-cooked hamburgers littering the beach…”  (Usually, locals do more than just look…) Unfortunately, not just hamburgers, but large amounts of oil are now also washing up on the beach, and there is no end in sight.

The Atlantic has a series of 32 stunning photos of this, New Zealand’s worst environmental disaster. Take a look!