On the blocks!

The previous post showed the barkentine Gazela in position in the graving dock. Today we take a look at herĀ on the blocks. These photos are large on purpose. They’re excellent eye-candy for people who appreciate all things nautical. Let’s start with the long view:

Sailing vessel Gazela on the blocks at the former Philadelphia Navy Yard.

Sailing vessel Gazela on the blocks at the former Philadelphia Navy Yard.

Moving closer, here’s a dramatic view of the bow.

Bow of the Gazela in the graving dock at former Philadelphia Navy Yard.

Bow of the Gazela in the graving dock at former Philadelphia Navy Yard.

And here’s a view of the stern:

Looking up at the stern of Gazela on the blocks at former Philadelphia Navy Yard.

Looking up at the stern of Gazela on the blocks at former Philadelphia Navy Yard.

And finally here’s a view from above of both Gazela and the lightering barge.

Gazela and barge in graving dock at former Philadelphia Navy Yard.

Gazela and barge in graving dock at former Philadelphia Navy Yard.

Now the work begins, repairs and refits. Keeping any vessel afloat is lots of work. The reward is in the sail afterward. Stay posted for more updates. (For those interested, these photos were taken with a Nikon D810 and 17-35mm lens.)

Behind the dam…

Well, it’s not exactly a dam, but rather a coffer dam, or a door, or the thing that holds back the Delaware River at the former Philadelphia Naval Shipyard. Take a look at this photo:

The coffer dam of a graving dock at the former Philadelphia Naval Shipyard.

The coffer dam of a graving dock at the former Philadelphia Naval Shipyard.

Click on the photo for a larger version, and count the numbers on the left, indicating feet above the bottom. Then imagine all the water that thing is holding back. If it lets go, you’re going to get deluged by the full force of the river. Thanks to a friend, I was able to check out the laying of keel blocks in this graving dock. More posts to follow, hopefully, showing the vessel on the blocks, which is an amazing thing in its own right.

Ships at Anchor

While on final approach at Philadelphia international Airport, I had a nice view of the Delaware River below. Although a cloudy, rainy day, the visibility was fairly good. Any time I’m in the air, I like to snap a few pictures. Here’s a look at some ships at anchor:

Ships at anchor in the Delaware River.

Ships at anchor in the Delaware River.

Of course, this photo was taken with my iPhone. Could be sharper, but good for the device and the conditions. Been a long time since I travel on the Delaware River. Was good to see a bunch of ships there.

Tugboat Tour, video

In conversations at book signings and other events, people ask me how I came to be a writer. It was a winding path, though plenty of interesting places. One of those locales was the Philadelphia waterfront, including the Delaware River and Bay as well as the Atlantic Ocean. Part of my business involved tugboats and barges. So, here’s a video tour of the tug High Roller, a boat that I worked with while in that environment.

That’s quite a piece of floating machinery, isn’t it? One of the main engines has just been rebuilt, to the tune of about $250,000. That gives you an idea of what things cost in this field. While underway, the boat burns close to a hundred gallons of diesel fuel an hour. Do the math at today’s prices and you come up with a steep number indeed. Nonetheless, the job has to be done and working with the High Roller was always a fun challenge. Hopefully, I’ll have a chance to interview the owner, a fellow who is a real character. Stay tuned.

Published in: on October 17, 2011 at 12:52 pm  Leave a Comment  
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