Wednesday, April 14, 2010

No camera this time

When I went out to do a couple of errands this morning, I forgot my camera. I'm glad I did.

I walked up on the 6th Street bridge over the Ohio River between downtown Huntington WV and Chesapeake OH. In the distance, I saw a boat pushing a single barge, and it was heading my way. So I waited. As the boat came out from under the bridge, I noticed it was pushing a single loaded covered barge. All over the barge was a white powder. Whether it was lime or cement mix or ketracel white (obscure Star Trek reference), I don't know.

The boat was the Transporter, one of which I do not have a photo yet. When I saw the boat, I remembered my mother telling me that my uncle Herman, who died in 1960, worked on the old sternwheel steam towboat Transporter.

The river surface was smooth until the Transporter passed. Without the camera, I stood on the bridge and watched the waves from the barge move toward shore. That was expected; I'd seen this many times before. But this time I paid attention to the waves left by the Transporter's twin propellers. Where the barge waves were straight and linear, the waves from the propellers were circular. As the circular waves met the straight-line waves, they canceled in some places and amplified each other in other places.

I'd seen a variation of that in several physics textbooks that my wife has collected, but it was different seeing it on such a large scale from 80 feet or so above the water.


Henry M. said...

Transporter hauls cement from Kosmos Cement, Kosmosdale, Ky. Far southwestern jefferson county (Louisville), Ky. Usually leaves with 5 or 6 & distributes upriver, usually not much above Gallipolis.

tanstaafl said...

Probably to Portland, Ohio?


Unknown said...

As Henry already mentioned, the Transporter is in the cement trade for Kosmos. Some of those Kosmos barges used to go all the way up to a terminal on Neville Island below Pittsburgh, but I believe this tow was probably headed to the terminal right above the RR bridge in South Charleston.