One of the feathers in any New York Boatman’s cap is being able to run to and from Albany and any points en route on the Hudson River. Though as any tug boater in the harbor will tell you, it’s the North River, only ferry boats and land lubbers call it the Hudson.
Due to the nature of the work my boat normally does, we don’t stray far from the upper bay and kills. Occasional trips out the east river to the sound, and occasionally, up the North River to various terminals on the way to Albany. So when we do get these occasional trips, it’s not only a welcome relief to the normal grind, but a fantastic learning experience for a mate like myself.
This past hitch we were fortunate enough to get two trips in the lower section of the river back to back. One to Heritage Kingston, the dividing point for the upper and lower sections of the river, and one to Bottini New Hamburg. The trips were back to back loads with the same barge, which allowed us to escape the bustle and grind of bunker work in the harbor for a few days, and catch up on some needed sleep and paperwork. The barge itself is one of the nicest in our New York fleet, one of three purchased from Gellatly & Criscione Services when they were absorbed by my employer. Roughly 35,0000 BBL’s and well thought out and engineered in all respects. The tankermen love them too, excellent equipment and deck layout, and cavernous accommodations. From a boatman’s perspective they are fantastic to move. The cleat arrangement allows for an easy time with any kind of alongside make up, and its large skegs make for a barge that steers well.
At the start of the hitch we are already back to the grind with this barge and more diesel home heating oil. This time a quick run up to Buckeye Roseton, and then back down to the city for another load to a different terminal. That certainly doesn’t hurt my feelings at all, more trips in the lower half of the river are a continued learning experience for me. Every trip is more familiarity, a higher level of comfort, and a great opportunity for some fantastic landscape photography. It has also been a chance to learn first hand from my captain the history of not only the various terminals on the river, but of the river itself. These upper wheelhouse history lessons are a welcome experience every trip.
As the cold continues to build the demand for home heating oil will only increase, and I hope it continues to mean a steady stream of dock to dock work for us. One barge, one destination, I could certianly get used to this.