The day before Earth Day, Tuesday, was an enjoyable day at the office with great lighting along with a lot of traffic which proved to be very productive.

Highlights of the day were the giant Dredge Super Chief, and the 1st. time seen tug Kristen Grace towing a large crane barge. (Click photos to enlarge.)

Towed by tugs Pacific Dawn and Pelham, the dredge Super Chief. Photo by John Skelson

Super Chief and Pelham. Photo by John Skelson

Pacific Dawn. Photo by John Skelson

Chesapeake. Photo by John Skelson

Specialist. Photo by John Skelson

ZIM San Francisco. Photo by John Skelson

Eric and Robert E McAllister assisting Zim San Francisco through the Bayonne Bridge. Photo by John Skelson

Kristen Grace with the help of Joyce D Brown towing a crane barge. Photo by John Skelson

A rusty Kristen Grace. Photo by John Skelson

Kristen Grace. Photo by John Skelson

Houma moving a barge. Photo by John Skelson

Eric McAllister. Photo by John Skelson

Until next week… John Skelson
All photos taken on 21 April 2015 by John Skelson, generously shared with the Working Harbor Committee


There is still a lot of active industry on the Gowanus Canal. Photo by Mai Armstrong


Yesterday, I went to watch clean water advocate Chris Swain’s earth day swim in the heavily polluted Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn. Word was he would swim the entire toxic length.


All the major news outlets were present. Photo by Mai Armstrong


Heading for the 3rd Street Bridge, I set myself up in the Whole Foods Market parking lot pocket-park – coffee and restrooms close by! – along with dozens of news media outlets, buzzing helicopters overhead, and a few bewildered local shoppers with their dogs.

Warning signs show the location of Combined Sewer Outfalls in NYC where untreated sewage releases into area waterways when it rains. NYC DEP photo


It had rained the previous day, and I wondered how much raw sewage had been freshly discharged into the waterway.


What’s in that soup? Photo by Mai Armstrong


We waited for a looong time. The reporters started to thin out, and eventually the helicopters left. My companion started to fidget so we abandoned the effort, and decided lunch on the outdoor roof deck at Whole Foods was in order.


There he is! The tiny yellow blob! Photo by Mai Armstrong


At some point, the swimmer came into view, and I snapped a couple of shots of him splashing in the water before he climbed ashore. I was kind of glad not to be too close, I didn’t want any of that water on me!


Chris Swain swims the Gowanus Canal. Photo by Mai Armstrong


I gathered from my fellow gawkers, that the swim had been cut short by the impending weather, and sure enough the skies darkened and the wind picked up as I wound my way home.

Did he accomplish his goal to raise awareness? The media were there… but I got the impression they were there to see a guy swim in poop. What do you think?  Noble or reckless? Irresponsible or dedicated? Brave or stupid? Let me know in the comments.


by Mai Armstrong for the Working Harbor Committee


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