Harbor watch

Late this afternoon, I stood at the pivot point of the swing-span bridge that connects New Bedford and Fairhaven, one of the best places to watch the harbor.

Out in the distance, I could see a blue fishing boat coming into the harbor  through the hurricane barrier. She kept to starboard, and a small recreational boat darted past her out into Buzzard’s Bay. The lighthouse on Palmer’s Island was stunningly white in the bright late afternoon sun.

Over at State Pier, the Kent Explorer was docked [her picture on a Dutch shipping blog]. At a little over 400 feet (123 meters) length overall, this is one of the larger ships I’ve seen in the harbor. The bridge was eight or nine stories from the deck, and so the ship towered over the ferry terminal building; even the open hatch covers were taller than the ferry terminal. The two cranes, one fore and one aft, were unloading what looked to be plywood or other sheet goods.

Next to the Kent Explorer, the fishing boats and the ferries looked tiny. New England Fast Ferry has brought in their other fast ferry and it is now docked at the State Pier; the summer schedule starts up again on May 15th, only two weeks away.

On the other side of the bridge, over at the Maritime Terminal, the Silver Fjord (320 feet/ 97.6 meters LOA) was taking on cargo. Two days ago, Carol and I tried to figure out what they were loading. It was something packed in white cardboard boxes, and I thought perhaps it was some kind of frozen seafood. MarineLink.com reported on March 20 of this year that Green Reefers shipping line has purchased Silver Fjord, and will rename it Green Tromso. Since Green Reefers ships call here regularly, there’s a chance we will be seeing Green Tromso, a.k.a. Silver Fjord, sometime again.

Over on the south end of Fish Island, I saw a boat I hadn’t seen before. Barbara Joan, out of Montauk, is sitting on one of the old piers up out of the water, and presumably she’s being stripped; a large dumpster sat on the pier beside her. She looked like she once was a small fishing boat, but once a boat gets over to that end of Fish Island, it pretty much means it’s now scrap.

I began walking back. It was a fine day, so there were a fair number of idlers like me: a man fishing off the swing-span bridge, a cocky young man strolling along the other side of Route 6; once I got back down on MacArthur Drive, three young men came out from behind Crystal Ice whooping and hollering; as I climbed up the stairs for the pedestrian overpass over Route 18, I could hear some teenaged girls laughing and giggling on the observation deck above.

Just before I started across the overpass, I glanced out and saw that blue fishing boat I had seen coming through the hurricane barrier was now waiting for the swing-span bridge to open up for it. A cloud of gulls swarmed around it, waiting for scraps of fish to hit the water.