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Report from Ice Station Glasco

River ice can be recreational as in the ice-sailing photo above, or treacherous as in the story below.

River ice can be recreational as in the ice-sailing photo above, or treacherous as in the story below.

Captain I.R. Dangerous brings a tale of a different sort of ice boating:

As some of you may know,
the chief bottle washer of Ice Station Glasco is also a bored member
of the Saugerties Lighthouse, & holds the prestigious title
Chairman of the Dock Committee. Some of you may also have heard
rumors, that the LH 40′ floating dock & the 20′ barge, Yuck
Finn, were struck by vandals, causing the flotilla (the mighty Finn &
dock were tied together & had been chained to a tree) to go walkabout,
or more correctly floatabout. The good news is the vandal has been
identified, in fact, it’s the same perpetrator that recently attacked
the LH fixed dock! The bad news, she has yet to be brought to
justice, so beware of this dangerous perp, Mother Nature!
Before Patrick the Lighthouse Keeper returned from his vacation in
Honduras, he received a call from the Coast Guard telling him the LH
flotilla was 5 mi. N. of the LH. The CG asked us to please retrieve
it, as they were being bothered by calls of a downed aircraft 5 mi.N.
of the LH. When Patrick asked for their assitance, they replied that
they weren’t equipted for that. As some of you may know, the C.G.
station is located 1/2 mile from the LH & usually has atleast one
small 40′ icebreaker on station. Dick Duncan & Dock were quickly
dispatched to the LH on the outgoing tide. An attempt was made with
official LH gear, far superior to the CG’s (a borrowed alum skiff &
4hp outboard), but they had to watch helplessly, as the flotilla
floated by surrounded by pack ice, not more than 40′ from the LH. The
whole sheet locked in once again, between Tivoli & Turkey Point,
leaving the LH flotilla on the W side of the river in front of the
Dominican Sisters, where it sat for several days, but at least it was
in holy water, & observable from Ice Station Glasco & the LH tower.
While waiting for the ice to get moving again, the Duncan made
inquiries to obtain the services of a Rondout tug, while Dock wanted
to increase his expense acct. just a smidgen, & get a ride in a heavy
lift helicopter.
A few days later the crew of Ice Station Glasco returned from a late
afternoon outing, & were expecting another boring night, when it was
noticed that the ice was again on the move! Things didn’t move much,
but it was observed that there might be an open lead, from the nun’s
to the flotilla. Scout Kate quickly dispatched herself in an 8′
kayak, from Ice Station Glasco to the holy land then overland, back
into semi open water & out to the flotilla. Dock was busy with gear
preparations & assembling the other members of the Dock Committee
(Chairman Dock, the Dock Committee Under Chairman, Kate’s husband, & the
bottle washer). Once Chairman Dock saw the Scout enroute by soft
water to the flotilla, the Keeper was called. Being the sensible
fellow that he is, he jumped at the chance of dying by hypothermia at
night! You can’t do that in Honduras! The Scout & Keeper (toting the
mighty 4hp outboard) converged back at Ice Station Glasco, where the
Crusader’s kayak assault fleet had been assembled. One kayak was
loaded with the mighty Yamaha & a chopper bar, which was towed with a
tandem yak by the Dock Chairman & the Keeper. The Crusaders traversed
the ice choked cove to the holy land, where they went overland, yaks
in tow, over the snow. The Crusaders reconverged at the beginning of
the open lead & made their way thru the bergy bits to the wayward
flotilla. It required some chopping & pulling with hatchet to reach
our goal, but a landing on the beloved Yuck was achieved. Then the
chopping of ice began in earnest, so we could mount the mighty Yamaha.
The anchor was still deployed with shackle & chain & couldn’t be
retrieved. The mighty Yamaha was also gulping fuel at a prodigious
rate in the 32 deg. waters. The Scout had to return to I.S.G. to
make up for the lack of preparations of the Dock Committee. The Scout
returned with the needed supplies, tools & with a report that the tide
had changed & the ice near shore appeared to be closing back in. The
Yamaha was quickly refueled, the anchor was dispatched, & we were off.
Then the Yamaha died. It looked like it might be a very long night.
Despite the Yamaha’s recalcitrance it was convinced to cooperate
after a stern lecture from the Dock Chair. In short order the
Crusaders were able to regain the holy land, along with the attack
yaks, dock, & Yuck Finn intact, where it is hoped they will remain
vandal free until spring.

Ice Station Glasco over & out.

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Saugerties Lighthouse
Phone: (845) 247-0656


Saugerties Lighthouse Conservancy
PO Box 654
Saugerties, NY 12477