Saturday night brought heavy rainfall and high winds. Add to that a full moon, and what you get is very high tides which means lots of damage to trees, docks, whatever. And whatever hits the waterway upstream comes down to us. That can be a scavenger's bonanza. One year I scored a 60' concrete dock, rather new and reeking of fancy marina. The boat PortSide uses for Operation Christmas Cheer is attached to that. (That boats needs a mechanic for small, gasoline boat engine, please email portsidenewyork(at)gmail.com if you have leads).
Such rains also overwhelm our own CSOs which then discharge street litter and sewage into the waterways.
This morning at 0820, at about high of the high tide, past all the messy flotsam, I spotted a little float across the way banging into the rag-tag shoreline that is the sad remains of the Hamilton Avenue Ferry. Quick inspection via binoculars: a float sized to 4x8' sheet of plywood with nice inset corner posts, through-drilled for docklines, bevelled tops to the posts even, a perfect little thing for working on the side of the hull. I called to Army Corps drift boats to see if they were in the area. Nope. No answer on the Gelberman. The Hayward was dispatched to Gravesend Bay.
A little while later, the purr of a small engine caused me to get up and look out the porthhole. A Miller's Launch boat was tending to the area that has a CSO, and I think the gate to the Gowanus Canal Flushing Tunnel. They have a contract with the DEP to tend the CSO discharge areas. Maybe they could bring the float over...
I watched them score a very large double ended fender. I waved them over as they came by. They didn't have a boat hook, so I lent them mine and they nabbed the float for us.
About an hour and half latter, another engine sound outside. This time it was a DEP skimmer boat picking up the floatables. It reminds me of a baleen whale in that it opens its gullet and take all the little stuff into its gut.
|Gullet end to the right, down and skimming|
They cleaned up all the yuck that was floating around, a clog of twigs, branches and plastic unmentionables.
|Gullet closed and up, stern to the right showing mass of collected wood|
Later in the day, the tide was headed out and you could trace the line of the current, an arc of litter spread from the crotch of pier and bulkhead, out past the Mary Whalen into the stream of the Buttermilk.
2000 hrs, I talked to a tug captain southbound on the Hudson from Albany off Haverstraw. He said "I don't know what you got for Saturday night rains, but up here it was incredible. It's like somebody flushed up in Albany, we're southbound at 13 knots."