Friday, December 29, 2006

The "docks"

It is not unheard of for us to have visitors come to the top of the ramp, look down at the flotilla of boats here and be overcome with fear at the idea of navigating them. Some won't even come down.

OK, I admit that I think they are pansies, but I can relate as I used to be one of them who now takes it all in stride. I've SO been there.

My pal Brooke ripped her fingernail last night navigating the ramp in her three-inch-tangerine-patent-leather-superhero- Go-Go boots. She walked on the non-ribbed side of the ramp. How was she to know the subtle difference being the two sides? This landlubber-come-floathome wannabee is gonna have to learn the intracacies of tidal fluctuations and the perils of doing so in high heels when she comes to slum with her pal down here at the yacht club.

What? A pretty blonde in heels all covered in mud? Is she OK? Does she need help?
Settle, boys, settle. The blonde and the boots are just fine now. Stand down...

The top picture is the dock running along the starboard side of the Bowie running to my new floathouse. (Yes, my "new" float house. What a girl's gotta do to get an ensuite bathroom.) More on that on a future post.

Notice the pile of firewood on the back deck? Yes, I did split most of myself. We are doing so, right there on the dock beside, and it is here where we haul out the logs and buck them up. All that sawdust piled on the docks tracks everywhere. (docks + chicken wire = watery grave see link).

The sawdust does help against the slipperiness tho.

This next series of pictures is of Greig putting new boomsticks into place. It is really up to us to make our own docks. And we can't just pull the pick and go anywhere so we make do so with whatever we can salvage. There is a huge amount of crap that comes down this river. Log booms and docks come apart all the time and eventually, float by. Greig knows the log salvage guys and we will either tie logs off for them to come and get at their convenience or they let us utilize some stuff for ourselves.

We've had one of these in place since the grounding in October. The inside one came in last week and on Boxing Day the outer one offered itself for the cause.

So here, we have the early makings of a new dock. These logs are pretty big and grunty and Greig will put cross pieces into place and build this up. Hopefully, far more substantial one than the top picture. We have the remenants of another semi-destroyed dock and he'll recycle bits of that onto this one. It is sure to be a far better platform for processing the firewood.

It isn't all about actually fixing boats. Just getting to and from the boats can change in a moment, as the right tug, pulling the right kind of barge, at the right kind of tide will pull it all asunder.

You just never know. He's determined to make me a river rat yet!

Monday, December 25, 2006

Happy Christmas!

Happy Christmas Everyone! Rock and Roll!

Ours is very loud as we are all playing with Bui's new drums.

Much love, Greig, Tana, Dosha and Bui

Thursday, December 21, 2006

The Firewood God

Carpenter Greg, the other Greg who lives here, has decided that he is now our resident firewood God. Not to be confused with my Greig (spelt with an "i").

He has been working like mad on our stash of firewood and cleaning up the lagoon. He has installed a neat trick from his early days of working for a tree trimming firm up on the Sunshine Coast.

By placing a several pieces of wood inside the tire he can split a bunch without having to pick up the log everytime he swings the axe. No needless chasing after the chunk of wood--usually you have to fish them out of the river.

As Martha would say, "It's a good thing."

BTW, he is single and looking...females only need apply. Single dad (16 year old son), non-smoker, carpenter. Yup he can build stuff. Apply within.

Sunday, December 17, 2006


It was a fairly sleepless night from the howling, shuddering and rattling.

The only real damage to the complex was that one of the pins on the ramp sheared off from all the stress of the boats pulling at the dock. A jack-all to the railing and Russian Mike and Greig had that fixed lickety-split.

We got lucky I think. Lynwood Marina over in North Vancouver got nailed as boat houses collapse onto boats. No boats sunk from what I have heard, thankfully.

Another is coming I hear.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Batten the hatches

I couldn't get anyone on the phone yesterday. Greig is exceptionally good about calling me at least once during the day so I knew something was amiss.

It was an exciting day.

So at 4:30 in the afternoon when I arrived home, I was suprised to even see him as I knew he had to be at work for 5:30pm.

He said he "I woke up in the morning and the ship was wallowing, I had water up to the deck plates in the engine room. I loosened off the bow line to reset the boom stick and then the wind came up and we started drifting 45 degrees out into the river. Then I couldn't get the speed boat started and the cable also parted up forward. I only just got the shore power reconnected again. Put on another 20 feet to that. I haven't had a chance to even look at the phone line. It's been a day from hell. Oh yah, watch yourself on the stairs. They are all ripped apart."

As directed I went to check the bilges in the engine room and electrical room. He had had a pump in the lazarette and it looked done. My first pump in the engine room was running but not actually pumping. I have never seen that much water in the engine room and it was getting up to the deck plates. Enough water from about four or five hot tubs I think.

I rounded up another pump and got it going only to not have had the hose pop back out, dousing myself in bilge water. Yumm. I secured it off and got it going again, wondering if I should add another. I had it pumping from about 5:45 until 10pm last night when it was finally emptied.

I could hear a trickle coming in from somewhere and so I got on my hands and knees with a flashlight and looked behind a tool cabinet in the engine room. I could see where a pipe has become corroded or perhaps it burst during the last freeze and it's leaking close to the valve. Still, it didn't seem enough to have the engine room fill up with that much water so Greig is going to trace that back and find where another valve is to perhaps shut it off. I have no idea how there is even water in that pipe. More for the learning curve. That engine room is such a dog's breakfast!

So he has lots to do today. He has to retrieve that cable on the low tide and secure it back up. Reset that bow line and stern anchors. A trip to the scrap metal dealer is in order for some metal treads for the stairs to weld some the stairs back together. Then we both have to work on a charter tonight. Wish I was there to help him today.

And that storm is just a teaser. The "real" one is supposed to be coming Thursday though we are slated for more tonight.

Bring it on.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

the bubble maker

Ok is the hot tub in all its full on glory, just to give you some perspective. Be mindful that we have an extra 78 feet on you and just under 26' across.

Greig has been thinking about putting it up on the bow but I think it is better there for the time being. See...lots of room. There is a better view from the bow but the deck up there needs some more work. Plus as well people would be going by our bedroom all the time to get to it.

We'd like to put a canopy or something over it but the winds can get ripping pretty hard down here sometimes - especially lately.

Greig is has also filled our unused fuel tanks with water for extra ballast. He is quick to drain it if we get a low tide and come out of the water which has been the case lately with these stupidly low tides.

There you have it. One crazy floating treefort, come the new Ark.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Mum always said the worst things always happen past midnight.

Greig and I had worked a charter Friday evening and our usual post-cruise, wind-down technique is to go for a soak in the hot tub. It is usually calm, peaceful and quiet. It is rare time that we spend relaxing and connecting 'cos we're working flat out so much. It was about 12:30am.

Greig looked over toward shore at our neighbour Dave's boat, the Sand Castle. Dave is one of the resident bachelor/hermits. He has this wierd looking ferrous cement sailboat, sans mast with strange super structure. Greig thought it was sitting a bit funny and realized something was amiss and that Dave was sinking. So out of the hot tub he bolts to get dressed to go help Dave.

(Knock, knock, knock)

G: "Dave, your sinking!"

Dave sitting is sitting inside his boat watching TV.

Dave: " Yah, I know. I'm thinking I'd better get out of here and abandon ship."

G:"What and just let your boat sink?"

D: "Yup."

G: "No, Dave, I am going to get pumps. You are not going to let this just sink and make this into a bigger problem."

And with that Dave packed up a couple of bins of his stuff and Greig rounded up four pumps off the Bowie. He set about to keeping the Sand Castle from sinking and making a bigger headache for our landlord. He stayed up until 11am Saturday morning to ensure the pumps would stay ahead and keep it from sinking further.

With more finangling and moving, as of this morning it is now on the outside of the Bowie. Greig and one of our tenents Steve, managed to roll it over enough to patch the hole where a log had staved it in. It seems to be holding.

The fate of the Sand Castle is unknown.