Spot Jobs, of a Different Kind

I have been busy with things other than the new house and having fun since I got home. Having to take an extra week off from work to make my closing meant trying to make up some of the lost capital through other means at home. Since I am not quite in bikini shape yet, modeling or selling my body was out of the equation. Thankfully a lot of the small operators in the area don’t have set crews and tend to be looking for a warm body now and again. This need for crew has led to picking up a few spot jobs for an old friend and boss, for a new boat, and the chance to be part of one ships remarkable 38th voyage.
The first tug I ever worked on is the Jaguar from New Bedford, she is owned and operated by Capt. Charlie Mitchell and has been since he had her built in 1967. I always try to get a trip or job in on Jaguar when I am home, she is 65′ of pure hawser boat. No winches, no capstans, just proper boat handling and muscle on deck. Everything is fairly small and for an 18 year old who thought he knew a thing or two about boats it was a great environment to get humbled in. Nowadays Jaguar is where I go to keep the deck skills sharp and continue to learn a thing or two about running a tug from a master of the trade. This trip home we have done a couple cool jobs, two rather par the course and another of a more historical manner.
One thing I have done a far bit of on Jaguar is move and tow tall ships. She is the right size for it and Capt. Charlie has a delicate touch with wooden hulls often older than any of two crew combined. So it was no surprise for me when I got the call to be crew for undocking the historic whaleship Charles W. Morgan as she left New Bedford to continue her 38th voyage. I had ridden as a passenger several days earlier for the boat parade celebrating her visit, though that was pure fun. This was work, albeit still fun. Even better was getting to say hi and take a line from a class mate from school working aboard the Morgan for the summer. Even Even better was getting to take the Therapist Fiancé along for the ride, her first tugboat experience and a first hand glimpse into what I do for a living. Things went off with out a hitch and the crowd to see the Morgan off was amazing. She is the last wooden whaling ship afloat and the oldest sailing vessel in the country next to the U.S.S. Constitution. Getting to be even a small part of her first voyage in decades is something I feel privileged to have done. What was just as special for me was getting to share this part of my life for the first time with the Therapist Fiancé. She has been curious about the mysterious Jaguar for a while, and to get to take her along on a really cool job like this was a treat.

Charles W. Morgan at the state pier

Charles W. Morgan at the state pier

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Charles W. Morgan at the state pier

Charles W. Morgan at the state pier

Dropping lines, photo by my Fiancé

Dropping lines, photo by my Fiancé

Approaching, photo by my Fiancé

Approaching, photo by my Fiancé

Passing lines

Passing lines, photo by my Fiancé

Stern line up

Stern line up, photo by my Fiancé

Sirius making up

Sirius making up

Outbound Butlers Flats Channel

Outbound Butlers Flats Channel

A pretty sight

A pretty sight

Flying high

Flying high

The other two jobs we have done are slightly less glamorous regular tugboat work. After the boat parade we ran out through the dyke and followed in the tug Sirius towing the Seastreak Wall Street, yes that one. They had lost one of their wheels near the dock in the vineyard and had to be towed to New Bedford for repairs. After coming in through the hurricane barrier we made up on the port quarter of the ferry and brought her over to the state pier. An easy little job and I even got to work alongside my cousin on deck.

Inbound alongside

Inbound alongside

The most recent job was heading out to vineyard sound to take over the tow of a clam boat that had broken down. A partner boat had towed her overnight from offshore and about two miles outside of Quick’s Hole we took her in tow for New Bedford. It was a less than pleasant day to be on the bay and if we had headed out past Nantucket the night before to tow her the whole way it would have been a lot less than pleasant. As we approached I faked the hawser and bridle out on deck and made up my heaving line, we set up just upwind of the bow of the F/V Starlight, and passed the towing gear to them. I made the hawser up short, even though Charlie will tell you I was itching to let some out, and headed for New Bedford. Upon making New Bedford we towed on a short hawser through the dyke, and made the swing bride just in the nick of time, still towing on a short hawser. After getting through the crew on the Starlight dropped the bridles which with the hawser I hauled aboard quickly, and we made up along side of them on the fly. This involved not getting them stopped before we broke tow, and letting them over take us, putting up the head line first and using that to stop them as I put up the strap and stern line. We secured her alongside some of her partner vessels and it was time to put up the hawser and wait for the southbound bridge opening.

FV Starlight on a short hawser

FV Starlight on a short hawser

To add to the variety I was able to do a two day job aboard the tug Bucky for the Toscana Corporation of Nantucket. They own the Bucky and a barge for the express purpose of moving their own materials and equipment two and from the island, as well as providing removal service for certain island trash. We took a load of crushed stone and empty dumpsters over one day, and offloaded and reloaded with full trash dumpster the next day before making our return trip. It was a fun job and I got to take some good pictures of Nantucket harbor and some of the ferry boats. Capt. Tim onboard was a really cool guy to work with and I hope I get to fill in some more for them.

Outbound New Bedford

Outbound New Bedford

Looking back at woodshole, eastbound

Looking back at woodshole, eastbound

Nantucket Sound Sunset

Nantucket Sound Sunset

Starting to offload

Starting to offload

Almost finished

Almost finished

trash going on

trash going on

westbound on vineyard sound

westbound on vineyard sound

See ya on the one, but first...let me take a selfie

See ya on the one, but first…let me take a selfie

So I have a little over a week left at home and with any luck I can squeeze in one or two more short gigs to round things out! If not I still got to keep my tug boating skills up and continue to stay familiar with my home waters for my eventual leaving of the bayou for good.

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Fiddler’s Green

Roughly three weeks, I know I know I know! I have actually gotten messages about not posting, the Therapist Fiancé has been asking me if I am going to. Honestly I have a very good excuse though! We not only bought a house and moved in, but we have even gotten the place half decorated. So yes it has been a busy couple weeks for me, not a whole lot of loafing about. There are several songs about Fiddler’s Green, a heaven for sailors with no bad weather, good food, etc. However I must say true heaven for a sailor is having a home of their own to return to. It is a warm living room to sit on the couch in and rub the dogs ears. It is a porch with a big back yard to toss the ball to the dog in. It is that perfect kitchen to cook and entertain in….and feed the dog scraps in.
Needless to say the dog is happy! We all are for that matter, the Therapist Fiancé and myself are still pinching ourselves and asking if this beautiful little home is really ours. We finally have a place for all our stuff, and closet room to spare. No more RC boats in the kitchen or vacuum sealing everything in the basement for fear of flooding. The fun we have had decorating and making the place our own has been unlike anything else. Pictures, little odds and ends, and I finally got to build a real kayak rack in the backyard! The Therapist Fiancé is over the moon about our massive master bedroom and its closets. I love them too, it is nice to not have to walk to a separate room to go to me dresser.
It isn’t just the house itself that has us so happy, we are also in a pretty great location. We are finally back on Cape Cod near most of our families, and most of the places we go to have fun. Trips to Main Street Hyannis for pictures for the house, kayaking at Scorton creek, walks on the canal with the puppy dog. Everything is a short drive and when I am gone to work there is always family near by. The house and the town just feel like home.
So yes I have been busy! Over the next week I will be working to get a couple more posts together and catch up a bit. Here are a couple pictures of our very own Fiddlers Green.

Our pre move mantra!

Our pre move mantra!

view from the porch

view from the porch

Our new backyard

Our new backyard

So many places to pee!

So many places to pee!

A proper doorbell

A proper doorbell

new house, new chart for the coffee table

new house, new chart for the coffee table

In case we get underway

In case we get underway

Yes we like the nautical theme

Yes we like the nautical theme

Late night picture hanging

Late night picture hanging

Finished result!

Finished result!

Where the magic happens

Where the magic happens

The kayaks even have a new home

The kayaks even have a new home

Happy Dog

Happy Dog

Taking a break from decorating

Taking a break from decorating

his and her kayaks!

his and her kayaks!

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Back in the Swing of Things…..now with more video!

As I said in my earlier post , I had to bust a little rust of my boat handling skills when it came to driving a conventional boat again. Here is a little video showing me doing just that. All I have to say is thank you dad for letting me drive all those boats as a kid, and thank you HOS Port dispatch for the morning shuffle!

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Proper Planning Prevents

Well it prevents this

Vessel awash

Vessel awash

I have been following and commenting the a thread on The Hull Truth where I got this picture. The owner of the vessel in question was returning from a two day canyon trip when he decided to stop for fuel at Atlantic Highlands before continuing to their final destination. While approaching the entrance from the west they missed the beginning of the channel and ended up right in the middle of this mess. A large field of pilings that are the remnants of a pier, that from I have been told, burned down a long long time ago.

Notice the men walking around the vessel

Notice the men walking around the vessel

Wreck removal

Wreck removal

So what happened here? From what I have read on the hull truth, as well as infer from the vessels location is two things. No one consulted a chart, their chart potter, or a coast pilot. On the chart as well as even my Navionics app on my cell phone the piling field as well as the channel are clearly marked. From the path the vessel took into the piling field, as well as statements on the forum by people on the boat, it appears the man at the helm got fixated on the entrance and aimed straight for it. This I can definitely believe as right at the entrance is a pair of buoys (a red and green) and it makes a natural target for most people. However there are many sections of channel all over the country that do not have defined gates of buoys to pass between. This is a perfect example, to the west there are the pilings and all along the west edge of the channel are red buoys and day markers. According to the chart they are all lit. To the east of the channel is a break wall and a in front of that good water. Hence no need for corresponding green buoys up the east side of the channel.

vessels approach, illustrations added by passenger on vessel

vessels approach, illustrations added by passenger on vessel

Chart of area

Chart of area

Now if you planned this trip on a chart, it would be pretty easy to see that you aren’t aiming for a set of entrance buoys. You need to stay well to the north, and once you are just east of the entrance make your turn to the south. When going into an unfamiliar area or harbor it is foolhardy to not at least consult a chart or your plotter before hand to get a feel for what the approach should look like. Plan your voyage and voyage your plan. These guys were lucky, the weather was nice and sea tow was minutes away to get them off the boat. In another location or in different weather this could have turned out worse.

All photos found on The Hull Truth.

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Perks of the job

The pay is nice, the time off is better, and the view out your office window is often pretty world class. However in my opinion, depending on where you work, the food is perk #1!

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Thanks to Capt. Jeremy Dann for the shot, and a serious case of envy!

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Spot Jobs

Coming from a company like ECO, with a very different business mindset, I have had to get familiar with the idea of doing spot work as opposed to long term charters. Being on what is now, at 200 feet, a smaller boat. I will more than likely be doing a lot of short term charters for different clients. While having a regular gig and getting into a decent routine is nice, being able to see and go different places, and work with different vessels or installations is pretty cool.
The spot job we just completed was to bring fuel, water, and groceries out to a sub sea construction vessel. The charterer had asked us to take a couple pictures if possible, and not only did I do that, I did them one better and put a little video together. Now for your viewing pleasure, here it is!

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Photo of the week 6-14-14

A shot from a recent job delivering bunkers, potables, and groceries to the MPSV Lewek Falcon.

The old fashion way

The old fashion way

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