Thursday, April 22, 2010

Issuma: Northbound

XPlot position map
Issuma's current position.  Richard has been at sea since about April 10 when he departed Cajalba, Brazil where they build these great boats from wood.

Ahab of the tramp tugboats

Burkhard Bilger has a great profile of Latham Smith, pater familias of a tugboat family.  He's a Shakespearean sort - lives large in a small world.  If you want to tow a dredge up the Congo River where you'll find the spirit of Joseph Conrad he's your man.  If you  want to bring a bargeload of anything to any unlikley place call Latham Smith first - if his rival and son Dominque hasn't gotten there first to take the load.

You've gotta pay for it at  The New Yorker (April 19, 2010) unless you already have a subscription.  And don't all wives who live in Manhattan or who went to Barnard have one?  Borrow hers.  There is at least one freebie: a video of Allen Ginsberg aboard Ellsbeth - the first of the tugs Latham designed and built and named after his ex-wife the mother of his five kids.

It's a great read in the John McPhee genre - and of course Bilger does get a memorable ride on a tugboat.