Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Rolling on the river...

Last Friday, we took a harbor cruise on the steamboat Natchez.
It's a fun little three-hour tour with an excellent lunch included, and if you ever come to New Orleans and want to go on it, shout me up, because I never tire of it.

We left the French Quarter dock and headed about five miles down river, getting a narrated tour of the history of the area and descriptions of various ships and shore facilities that we passed.

Here are two Ready Reserve RO-RO (Roll Of, Roll Off) fast transports that are berthed at the Poland Street wharf. They are the Cape Knox (inside) and Cape Kennedy (outside).
Info on the ships. Part of the Ready Reserve Fleet, they're permanently manned with ten-man skeleton crews and can be made ready for departure in four days if needed.
Sometimes late at night I've been known to ride my bike down to the wharf to look at them from dockside, but the sentry on the gate always watches me like I'm an unattended fat kid in his candy shop.

Towboat with barge, heading upriver.

Towboat coming out of the Industrial Canal. Note how little freeboard these river craft all have. Flat-bottomed, too. Great in calm shallow waters but on the open sea? Forget it. And that applies to Natchez, too. Flat-bottomed Natchez only draws five feet.

Another shot up the Industrial Canal. This canal and locks links the river with Lake Ponchartrain and allows ships and barges access to numerous docks in between. It was a levee on this canal that gave way after Hurricane Katrina and caused the city to flood. (The water was two feet deep at my house two and a half miles away, and that's why my house, built on the footprint of the one that was destroyed then, is 2.5 feet off the ground per city code.)

It's the MV Chicago Harmony, a bulk carrier built here in the US in 2015 and flagged in Panama.
I think they're serious about not smoking.
Looks kinda rough for only being two years old, eh?

Big towboat along shore, little towboat heading down, and stern of a freighter at anchor awaiting a dock space or immigration clearance. Some of these ships could sit at anchor here in mid-river for days or weeks waiting, and the Port of New Orleans is one of the few major ports that doesn't charge for anchorage.

One of the many mailboats that delivers groceries, transfers crew members and even handles the mail. They meet the big ships in transit and transfer goods and personnel while underway.

Freighter heading upriver, clearing Algiers Point across from downtown New Orleans. They sure come in close to shore, don't they? I might want to go over there with my camera sometime and spend a day.

The Crescent City Connector, with two more ships about to meet. Lots of ship traffic on this river. But then the Port of New Orleans is the sixth largest port in the united states.


  1. Thank you for the tour. I feel as if I was there standing on deck, next to you.

  2. Nice, and the pilots that work the Mississippi are truly class acts both in knowledge of the river, and expertise at handling ALL sizes of ships.

  3. Yup, it sure is rough for being only 2 years old. I wonder what it is carrying to need the big no smoking signs? I'm used to seeing them on tankers (oil or flammable chemicals) and LNG carriers; I would not expect dry bulk or break bulk to need smoking precautions.