Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Another Ode to a Rustbucket

Really, that same old rustbucket.

The Sammi Crystal is at anchor a few hundred yards outside my front door and once again (really twice again… long story) I was out photographing it.

With the Lavadara

An ant and a Snickers bar… a fly and… OK we won’t go there.  Whatever.  There’s an attraction.  At first it wasn’t one that I was even conscious of.  When I first started photographing the transient traffic on the river, I thought there must be at least several ships that look something like “that one”.  After all, in the Navy, we had whole classes of ships that you couldn’t tell apart except for the hull numbers

She couldn’t possibly be unique.  Could she?

I still don’t know that.  I checked the roster of her parent company (STX) and didn’t find another that looked like her.  So, does she have other siblings separated at birth?  Don’t know yet, and maybe I never will, but I do know that for the almost four years I’ve lived here, she’s THE ONLY ONE that looks like that.

Like what?

Hmmm… how about a beat-to-death shade of orange and iron oxide for openers?  STX ships are almost always orange, but it looks like the Sammi Crystal has been wearing the same overcoat for all of her 31 years.  It’s worn, tattered… and it fits her.

Her rigging looks positively 19th Century.  I mean, really… cables, pulleys and king posts hauling those low-slung booms around?  You’d half expect to find that she’s still steam-powered with gear like that.

I’ve regularly wondered if there isn’t some not-fully-realized similarity between this old tub and the log ships that used to ply the Willapa River on their way to the long-gone log dock at Raymond.  My grandparents’ house was situated so that even though we couldn’t see the river from the property, when the ships came up the river, it looked like they were going to tie up at the front porch.  Those things fascinated and scared me… we could hear the “swoosh” of the screw blades in the water, slow and somehow menacing.

Those memories are 40 years old and older now, but the no-nonsense, nothing fancy lines of the ship just north of me bring them back sometimes.

She just looks old.  But strong.  Too stubborn to scrap.

Swinging on the tide

Both photos with the old 70-300 Minolta zoom, 300mm, f/8.  Monopod used on the last shot.  I counted five crewmembers visible in the lower shot.  Don’t know if they’ll show up at web resolution.  You’ll have to click and see.

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