It’s been a busy few months and it definitely shows in my lack of posts. After my long hitch at our companies Philadelphia operation it was time for some time off mainly consisting of my wedding and honeymoon. As you may have read from the last post titled Our Most Excellent Wedding Adventure, we had a pretty excellent wedding! Everything went by like a whirlwind and then it was time to head back to work.
While I had enjoyed my time working in the Port of Philadelphia, especially the tractor work, it was finally time for me to head back to New York and continue my education on the harbor. It was right back into the fire as my boat is on a run nicknamed the “Port Jeff Express”.
Our barge loads in New York at one of the many terminals in the Kills, and we make the short hop to Port Jefferson Long Island for the barge to discharge. The short distance and smaller size of the barge make for a quick run and quick turn arounds. For our 60,000 barrel barge, which is of modest size these day, its generally around 12 hours to load or discharge. If we are on our return trip from Port Jeff with the light barge there is no tide to wait on and we only have to time our departure around the arrival and departure of the ferry boats. From there its roughly five and half hours to Hell Gate, though more often than not we need to either slow down or anchor off of Kings Point to time our arrival at the Gate with the window around slack water that we can make our transit. From the Hell Gate it is only about an hour to an hour an a half down into the Harbor. At this point it is usually a short wait for a loading berth to be available, or depending on the berth waiting on a tide window for docking. Then its roughly 12 hours to load and we do it all over again. It keeps you very busy over a two week period with plenty of assist work for our client when we are in New York, and having to plan all of your barge moves around the tide. It has been a learning process for me to plan around several tides, arrange assist boats, and strive to improve my traffic management skills. It can become a real handful while thinking about how to want to make your docking or sailing, handling the radios, anticipating other vessels movements and often fielding phone calls from the office.
At the end of the day though it has been very satisfying to really delve into barge work in New York again. Its still challenging and I expect it will be for a long time. I’ve been fortunate to be working with a great Master who sets the bar very high and has been a great help in continuing to improve my skill set.
So with out further rambling here are some pictures from the last two hitches.