Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Two boats

This evening I got to see two boats passing Huntington.

First was the Savage Voyager.

Trailing two or three miles behind it was the Linda Reed.

I had wanted to get a better overhead shot, but the Reed was moving pretty fast downstream in that current.

The Linda Reed is one of my favorites, by the way.

As for the Savage Voyager, I need to learn more about that class of boats. The Savage Marine boats are getting more numerous up this way.

Monday, February 18, 2019

Missed it by 90 seconds

When I was a youngster growing up along the Ohio River in the 1960s, there were two kinds of boats that came to mind when someone said the word "towboat". One was the Hillman series of boats nowadays identified with the M/V Charleston. The other was the series of Ohio River Company boats that are now known as turtlebacks.

Turtlebacks used to be all over the Ohio up into the 1980s at least. For three decades, there was often one when you went looking for boats. But things changed. Some of the boats were moved to other rivers. Or even to South America. Here on my part of the Ohio, about the only turtleback we see regularly is the O. Nelson Jones. It's worth a trip to the river to see when it's in the area.

There are a couple of others that come through here from time to time. This evening I learned the Charlie G, formerly known as the Wm. H. Zimmer, had been through here today. Tonight I learned it was down at South Point, Ohio, so I drove down to Catlettsburg, Ky., after dark to see if I could get a shot.

By the time I got to Catlettsburg, the Charlie G had already begun its trip downriver, and its pilot wasn't wasting any time. It was passing my spot right as I parked the car. So I drove a block down the street to attempt another shot, but I couldn't get my camera settings working in time. I managed to et off some dark photos that for now aren't worth sharing because there's not much in them.

I could have gone down to Ashland and tried to get something there, but I was already late to pick up someone. So I grabbed a few other images, none of which grabbed me, and left.

So I missed it by 90 seconds. For the photo I wanted, it was probably more like 90 minutes. I'm disappointed I missed the Charlie G tonight. Maybe next time.

I say that a lot these days.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

M/V Janis R. Brewer

One thing's for sure ...

... I'm going to need a bigger lens.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

M/V William B

Three photos of the M/V William B as it came out of the Big Sandy this morning pushing two loaded coal barges. I decided to get a little bit artsy with them. More photos from this morning coming later.

M/V Janis R Brewer at Catlettsburg

I went down to Catlettsburg, Ky., this morning to see the M/V Janis R Brewer while it was in town. Between it and a few other boats, I came back with too many pictures to process in one sitting.

So here we start with the Brewer, which had been over at the McGinnis dock at South Point, Ohio, and was on its way across the river to the former Boggs Landing.

I couldn't pass up this shot of the stack logo.

As I was about to leave, the captain or pilot came out of the pilothouse to breathe some of that fresh Kentucky air, I guess.

Here it looks like he saw me on shore and across the street snapping pictures. He was probably wondering why. Answer: I like this line of boats.

More to come.

Monday, February 11, 2019

Looking forward to spring and summer

When the hills are green and the light is good.

I was looking through some shots from last fall and I found this one. It's one of my favorite photos of my favorite bridge.

Friday, February 8, 2019

Towboat sinking at Gavin

The M/V Ed McLaughlin sank at the Gavin power plant at Cheshire, Ohio, in the Robert C. Byrd pool today.

If you're on Facebook, you can see pictures here maybe.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

One more day of fog

This morning I headed down to Virginia Point Park, at the mouth of the Big Sandy River at Kenova, W.Va., to get a photo of the M/V Ginger Moller in the fog. It was foggy where I lived, and the weather hadn't changed much in the two days since I got those other fog shots, so it was worth a try.

By the time I got to the park, the access road was blocked and the park was closed by order of the Kenova Police Department. Maybe it was because the river was coming up. At that point, I didn't care. I wanted to get a shot of a boat in the fog before the weather changed, so I turned around and headed to Catlettsburg, Ky., on the other side of the Big Sandy.

While crossing the Billy C. Clark Bridge (more on that later) over the Big Sandy, I saw a towboat headed toward the Ohio. Seeing boats on the Big Sandy isn't odd, considering there's a refinery, a chemical plant and at least a couple of coal docks still on business on the lower few miles. The odd thing was that this looked like an Ohio River line haul boat, not a local harbor boat.

Despite the slow pickup in front of me, I got to the boat ramp at the mouth of the Big Sandy and waited. I was hoping the boat had not beaten me out. When I heard its engines, I knew it hadn't. I was surprised to see it was the M/V Bill Tullier of Florida Marine.

Here is a shot where I zoomed in ...

... and one where I zoomed out.

After the Tullier had passed, I went back up the hill, where I saw the Ginger Moller with a bunch of coal loads looking like it was getting ready to depart. I got this one as the fog got heavier. Within a few minutes, I couldn't the West Virginia side of the Big Sandy, and the river is not that wide.

After I left Catlettsburg, the drizzle that had started was getting heavier and heavier. When the rain stopped, the air was noticeably warmer. In a couple of hours, the fog that had covered the river for a few days was gone and the river had risen. My guess is that the cold water from upriver had passed us, plus the water from the rain that had fallen in the watershed was warmer, so the temperature of the river was to the point where its contact with warm air would not create any more fog.

Too bad for camera nerds, but good for people who work on the river, I guess.

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

M/V Cincinnati

As seen from Proctorville, Ohio.

Hey, look! A boat!

Changing weather means a foggy Ohio River. Just ask the people aboard the M/V Sandy Drake.

Let me back up a bit on this story.

This afternoon I was at Riverfront Park in beautiful downtown Huntington before I had to go pick up someone. There was a layer of fog hanging over the Ohio, so I got this picture of a pier of the Sixth Street bridge (real name Robert C. Byrd Bridge).

I was about to leave until far off I noticed the pilothouse and barges of a boat coming upriver, so I figured I would hang around and get a picture of a boat in the fog. Those are usually good photos if you have the right background.

The boat moved slowly, but it finally got to the bridge and from the look of the pilothouse and the sound of the engine I guessed it was a Crounse boat. Here the top of the fog was seven to ten feet higher than it was a few min

The fog was getting thicker and deeper.

I had been down by the river's edge. I figured I had better go up the hill to get above the fog if I wanted to get a decent shot of the boat.

Didn't do much good, did it?

And the fog got thicker.

As I was leaving, I go the photo that led off this blog entry.

So much for my excitement of getting another good boat-in-fog photo. But I did get a decent one earlier in the day. That's for the next entry.

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Cold morning down by the river

This morning, as I usually do on Saturday mornings, I venture in downtown Huntington (America's Best Community, or so I am told by the people who know these things) to help with a street ministry. While others preach, I cook the eggs and serve them and move tables and do whatever needs be done. If enough people show up to help, I take a few minutes and go look for pictures.

This afternoon we have 50-degree temperatures and sunny skies. This morning, the remnants of the polar vortex (TV talk for cold snap) hung around. There was fog. Temperatures hung around below freezing. My fingers got pretty cold taking pictures. But I got off a few snaps. Here are a few.

I have seen where others have reported ice on the river in the Belleville pool, but around here there is none to be seen.

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Another name disappears

One bad thing about growing old is all those things you used to like seeing aren't around anymore.

The Ohio River Company boats, the Ashland Oil boats, Ohio Barge Line, G&C Towing ... you know what I mean. Now it looks like the Cenac boats will be rebranded.

According to this story in the Waterways Journal, Kirby Corp. has agreed to buy the marine fleet —boats and barges — of Cenac Marine Services.

July 25, 2018 — The M/V Odette Cenac enters Locks and Dam 52 downbound.

When the deal is completed and Kirby puts its colors on another group of boats, that's another name that goes into history.

It's the way of things.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

A barge

I like boats, but I like barges, too, even if they are devoid of the architecture and personality that boats have. An example is this one as seen last fall being pushed by the M/V Chip Lacy.

I look at this picture and see a lot of things. When the weather gets back to tolerable, I'll return to the river and check on a few things related to barges as well as to boats.

Saturday, January 26, 2019

On further review

Back on the 10th of the month, I got some pictures of one of those tug-and-tow combinations headed up the river to Monaca. At the time I was pretty disappointed in what I got and figured I had wasted an afternoon.

I looked at the pictures again and decided maybe a couple were salvagable.

Here is the tow at Huntington, W.Va., (America's Best Community) as seen from the front.

And if you ever wondered how the wires on the tow in the back were arranged ...

Not the best, but maybe not a total waste of an afternoon.

Saturday, January 19, 2019

All Good Cars ...

This week I said good-bye to an old friend who had been with me since April 2011. We had made several round trips to Camp Lejeune to see my son while he was in the Marines. We commuted to Charleston WV daily — a round trip of more than 100 miles. We also traveled to towboat christenings in Cincinnati and Pittsburgh and Elizabeth, Pennsylvania, and maybe more, but I can't remember. We chased boats, sunrises, sunsets and fog. We went the Point in Pittsburgh and Fort Defiance at Cairo.

But a few weeks ago, there was a rear-ender. Tuesday we got the news that the damage was too much, so after 281,239 miles, I had to say good-bye to my Honda CR-V. I can't tell you how many times it got my wife home in deep snow late at night or before dawn. The thing was great going uphill in snow, but not so great downhill.

Now I need to find a replacement. Ideally it would be a compact pickup with four wheel drive. With my luck lately, I'll have to settle for a Smart Car. But we'll see.

Friday, January 18, 2019


So here I sit, waiting for a load of laundry to dry. What else can I do but look through some recent photos and see what I can find to play with that might turn out interesting. How about this one of the M/V Janis R. Brewer's nameboard?

It was worth a shot, in more ways than one.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Warmer days, longer weather and green hills

Sitting here thinking about how I've not been able to get out and get some good pictures lately, so I reach back in the archives for better weather.

Independence Day is less than six months away, folks. I don't know about you, but I'm looking forward to warmer weather, longer days and green hills. And going down by the river to get my head straightened out. The only bad thing is knowing I have to go home afterward.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Not this time

So today I went out to get some pictures of the latest tug-and-tow combination to come up the Ohio. I got back home, looked at them and thought, these pictures are okay, but not worth sharing. So I will wait until conditions are better and I'm not on a learning curve trying different things with my camera.

If I'm going to put my name on something, I want that something to be good — if I have the choice.

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Another tug and tow on their way to Monaca

This evening the tugboat Sea Cypress and the towboat Sarah Cenac passed Ironton, Ohio, on their way to deliver more parts to the Shell ethane cracker plant being built at Monaca, Pa. I had hoped to get the evening sun reflecting off the boats, but the sun dropped behind the hill a few minutes before the boats passed beautiful downtown Ironton and went under the new bridge there.

If you want to see a short video of the Sea Cypress in motion, go to my YouTube upload.