Wednesday, June 25, 2008

New and improved! Now concrete dust free!

Last weekend I headed up to Kaslo for family wedding. I had a grand time. We've been so busy for so many years that I haven't seen some of the relatives in eons. Actually, I think it has been since I've been living on the coast which is now eight years and far too long to not see these people. So busy that it is hard for both of us to get away and some of the rellies Greig has not yet even met. They just know him from the news, lol.

We put a call to Greig about 2 hours out of Vancouver to let him know our "guesstimated" time of arrival. He was on the river pulling my boat to its new local and was taking advantage of the slack tide. So I had no where to go until he pulled my boat around to New Westminster. I had to go to Mitchell Island first to see what was going on and grab a couple of things and headed up to the new marina to which he hadn't arrived. A couple of the residents there urged me to take them to the swing bridge as he was close and they feared Greig might miss being able to go through. I knew the boat would be moving at sometime before the first of the month but not on the heels of that long road trip.

As luck would have it, the attended was getting ready to leave for the evening and stayed just a few minutes longer so he was able to pull the floathouse through! That was about 11:20pm and by about 1am we had my floathouse tied up and secure. That's my new view. Note the swan in the lower left of the image. I think I finally got to sleep at about 3:30am.

One more chapter in the many adventures with Greig, where stuff always happens in the dark, with no light.

Here is one of my new neighbours. Tobi and I were a bit leary of it as I know how mean swans can be. Still it seems friendly enough and clearly was looking for a handout. He's a bruiser, that's for sure.

Anyhow, I am liking it all much better already.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Social Experiments 101

I keep thinking of how terrified I was on the day I first saw the Bowie. I was scared to death - scared for a very long time, actually and still am in so many ways. Greig and I had only been together for a year. We had been living in my one bedroom apartment with a mattress in the living room for the kids (we had them on weekends) and his job was part-time and seasonal. At the time he hadn't even got enough hours from the previous summer to even collect employment insurance. That alone was all the motivation he needed to push for a better example for his children.

was in January of 2002 that he spotted the ad in the Buy and Sell. "136' subchaser, need lots of work." It was only his first year at Accent and it was seasonal work. Where I am from "seasonal" is just that; one season and you generally never go back. He was beyond excited in ways I truly never understood or fathomed. I couldn't grasp how that this ship was better option than the apartment, such as it was. Without seeing it, I knew it wasn't clean and at least the apartment wouldn't sink, at least not in the boat-y sense. I had a difficult time grasping his vision as it was so darn rose-coloured that surely he wasn't that niave.

He was, and I was doomed.

I didn't go on the first trip up to Saltery Bay where it was anchored, I think some deadline at worked loomed and it didn't really occur to me he was so serious about it and that he would get it for the whopping deal of $1. I got home and the deal was done. I am sure I said "darn" at least once along with the other colourful expletives. He had this Utopian vision, if you will, that surely everyone could see and would jump on board fall in love with it all as he had. "Don't they see, it DOES take a village. We are all stronger collectively that we are singularly. It is in their (the man, Bildeburgers, "they") best interest that we don't give a shit about each other - divide and conquer. It is fascism and everyone has their head in the sand!"

In theory we are all stronger together but to get beyond the individual's self serving agenda has proven to be quite insurmountable. As egalitarian as one tries to be (and Greig truly has), it is perpetually viewed as inherently suspicious. People just don't want to believe it. It is far easier to believe that underneath we are all inherently shitty and self serving even when one strives to be the antithesis of it. So, in that, really it was that Greig was doomed. No matter what cheek he turned when I was screaming at him to cut someone loose, he still believed that there was an inherent goodness in this person or that. He always intrinsically believed that they were always entitled to a bit of dignity in a world where there was so little of it to go around.

Yes, he is a bit of a conspiracy theorist; a non-conformist; unconventional to the core. Maybe it is the Viking/Scottish ancestry. Maybe the Gulf Island hippies just were far and away a just more interesting an example than the WASP-y, right wing-minded conformity of his home life. "I've always had a bigger vision than that which was permitted." Either way he was most determined and convincing and I just couldn't not help.

Something I've never talked about is the TV Pilot we filmed about two years ago. You see, we don't really own it, Greig's friend Kate Green does. I've asked her if we could finally put it up on YouTube or Vimeo. It just doesn't seem right that it never will be seen unless you come visit us.*

It is about 10 minutes long and was filmed back in September of 2006. We had a film crew from Paperny Films down volunteering their time and it could been a reality TV show. Anyone I've shown it too since always wants to see the next installment. In the year from when we first did that day of filming to the presentation of Kate's final edit we had been through a lot. It blew me away and it still does.

Confucius said, "May you live in interesting times." Greig is vilified as much as he is celebrated and more often completely misunderstood - even by me at times. At the end of the day he had courage to try something different even though "the odds are completely stacked against me but I am doing it anyway. I'd rather seek forgiveness than seek permission for they'd never grant it."

Truly, if we did it my way I'd have never have ever created this blog, nor have met the people I have. Financially I'm are in a pretty big hole at the moment. I know that will pass as all things eventually do. I've learned a lot about myself and about people. I've been forced out of my bubble kicking and screaming. I've gotten over fears I never thought I'd be able to, petty as they sometimes were.

I've met a whole bunch of interesting people and met some lovely friends along the way.
These next posts will mark the beginning of the end for Waterlogged as this story is coming to a close. The great social experiment is over. Maybe it will be Waterlogged Part II, now concrete dust free! or something like it.

Anyhow who am I kidding? I will always have something to say. T
hanks for listening.

Loveyoulongtime. Tana

*Since maintaining her copyright over the video is of prime importance, Kate is going to be posting the video up on her own site in the hopefully near future.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Next time I will listen more to the dog

This is Floyd, Terry's dog, who is a total love pig. I was sitting on the back deck of the Bowie having a cup of Neo Critran nursing yet another sore throat and bug that I caught when the dog start barking like crazy. He wouldn't stop when we told him too as he kept looking down the dock along side the floathouse.

Terry rousted him to take him up to their room and I walked the dock just in case there really was something to be concerned about. The docks were creaking like they usually do and it has been a very busy night in the slough for some reason. We've had lots of tugs pulling barges and some at substantial speed so things are getting pulled and yanked quite a bit.

I just sat back down to drink the rest of it when I saw some of the planks on the dock lifting and something coming up beside the floathouse.

It came up really quick and Terry was right there watching how fast the thing came up. He pulled on one of the planks to get it out of the way. Kat, Terry and I pushed against the floathouse to give the log some room. I was lucky it didn't come up higher as you can see here.

The our good Husquvarna chainsaw is without its pull cord at the moment and our other gas saw is useless. Rhianna let me borrow her wee electric and Greig arrived home just in time to have at it. Presently it is still high tide and we will be on watch this evening as I expect more of this beast to rise up. I am just glad it didn't go all the way up the wall and into the ceiling. Oh ya, and that is the last of the outside lights I've not had a chance to replace yet too.

So when Floyd barks I promise to listen more. He warned us something was up. Good dog.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Flotsam illustrated

This first picture* clearly illustrates the volume of debris that we contend with at this marina. I should mention that I woke up the other day and on the previous evening there was only half as much. Yes it showed up overnight. (That is not to mention the pile of stuff that got hung up on the docks just up forward of the Bowie's bow.)

*The white thing in the top right corner is a set of wind chimes, with the stern of the light ship on the left side.

In behind these chimes is a barge that the Mad Canadian brought in to resurface which now looks close to being done. The problem there is yet another dock under construction beside it and all this is jamming up against my freshly painted hull. Oh and there is all the stuff that has become wedged under the space between the pontoons on the catamaran. OYI!

How much time do you think would it take to clear all this stuff out? Guesses anyone? Whose responsibility is it to do so? Legally speaking it is actually against the law to take it without a salvage license. However, any call to any salvage guy to take it would be ignored. It is pollution pure and simple and with the freshet running as hard as it is often the smallest of logs is a real chore to manoeuver. Largely it is all the small bits of twigs and bark that is the hardest to contend with. It is an omni-present, on-going assault.

In past years we've tried to put out wayward boom sticks** to deflect the bulk of the material but it it doesn't prevent it from wedging under the boom sticks anyway. We've got a bit of an open channel between shore and the docks to push the stuff through and certainly can do so if there isn't a freaking half constructed dock in the way. You also have to wait to be at just below the top of the falling tide or you can't push this stuff under the ramp and get it out. If you don't time it just right it hangs up on the mud flats just past us and it all comes back in when the tide comes up again. It is so unbelievably labour intensive it isn't funny.

** These are the large heavy logs that make the frame work of a log boom which become part of the flotsam.

I just want to prevent this from happening. But in reality I just can't. We can't. Stuff will happen. Anyone's guess to how long this log actually is however. Gee it sure is a nice piece of wood and what a lovely bunch of two x fours it would make. Wish I had a portable sawmill...

This came through the dock a couple of weeks ago but tonight was the first chance I've had to see it. Chances are there is a nice and juicy root ball attached to it too. It looks to be nicely sawed off on the business end you see here.

I don't know why I feel that I should be always out there pushing the stuff through and the other people who moor their boat though certainly don't feel as inclined. But I feel as though I have to be vigilant about it. I really, really don't like it when boats sink. S.E.P. - someone else's problem. I am exhausted from caring and I can't do it anymore and I am but a humble human who pales in the strength and endurance of Mother Nature. It is the responsibility of the leaseholder to do so and well, that isn't us.

I can't be so magnanimous any longer. WE can't. It is costing us everything and at the end of the day nobody gives a shit. Certainly not the Port Authority. Certainly not the landlord.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Baby Beluga at the Aquarium

Quila gave birth to her first baby yesterday. Back in February I purchased a family pass to the Aquarium. Normally so expensive and I figured that three visits over the course of the year would pay for it. Now we just HAVE to go see the baby and take advantage of that membership. Click here to visit the Vancouver Aquarium and here for their beluga cam. ( doesn't appear to be working...oh look SEA OTTERS!)

How wet is it?

It has been such a wet and miserable spring that even the Pot growers are bitching.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


In light of Steve's comments from the previous post, I will translate some of the terms. I've made mention of some of these things is much older posts but the newbies need some clarification. I realized after I started writing it was a whole post of its own. So no, Steve, you aren't ignorant.

'mercury went into retrograde'
Astrological phenomenon that happens usually signifying things breaking down and chaos running amok. Flaky as it sounds, it seems to run true for us. So 'when it leaves" retrograde again I will celebrate. Probably margaritas will be in order. Full moons are also cause for us to be on Red Alert too.

The 'freshet' refers to the spring run off from the mountains. Click the link for the Wikipedia translation.

When the freshet is running and the tide is ripping out it is really difficult to move anything. Over the years when we have to do something, we wait until the tide comes back in. We have that small window of time where the river is slack between the incoming tide and the river's outflow and it doesn't take as much energy to complete the task.

This usually occurs always at the optimum time when you would just as soon be in bed sleeping as it is dark and you can't see anything and there are hurricane force winds. Also, Greig will often decide to move something and not think ahead to have the necessary tools and fasteners and has me scrambling around over hell's half acre looking for them. He will usually does it in his bathrobe too. Usually when I find that specific requested object, he has "made do" and I've wasted my time in the mad dash to find it. Fun times.

'The horrible dust from Allied.'
Our neighbour is a concrete plant, approximately 200 feet away. I think is one of the filthiest in the city. In fact I think it IS the filthiest in the GVRD (Greater Vancouver Regional District). The clouds of dust that waft over us is a bit relentless. Though we are all whining here about the very cold and damp spring we've been having, it does tend to keep the dust down just a little bit. I only have to vacuum every other day, versus every day on a hot sunny day. I anticipate only having to vacuum once a week at the new location.

'logs...from the booms on the north channel' and 'where is Mitchell Island'
Here is a picture of Vancouver, Richmond, New Westminster, Surrey and other communities that make up part of the GVRD. The little 'A' on the map is where Mitchell Island is and it "belongs" to Richmond. This island is industrial with a couple of sawmills, concrete facilities, auto wreckers, large shipping containers and metal recyclers. Many people here have never heard of Mitchell Island nor do they know where it is even though they drive over it on the way to Ikea. The body of water splitting through is the Fraser River which empties into the Straight of Georgia (Pacific).
From its headwaters on the Pacific slope of the continental divide within Mount Robson Provincial Park, it flows along a remarkable 1375 km course to the ocean in the southwest corner of the province. The entire basin drains one third of the area of the province and is home to 2.4 million people – 63% of British Columbia’s population.
We will buzz down the North arm of the river out to UBC/Wreck Beach and around the tip into English Bay. We've got the sailboat anchored out in English Bay on the off chance we have a moment and the planets align just so as to actually use it.

Much of the river bank along the Fraser river is 'littered' with log booms. If you were to pull up Google earth and look at the satellite imagery you'd easily see great rafts of logs tied together. These are also called Davis rafts though much more commonly know as a log boom. Several can be lashed together and pulled on the river via tugs. Some of the booms can be a great length and have half a dozen tugs on either side of the boom at intervals to assist in navigating it up the channel.

You can see some of these booms along River Road here. Although this is a very old satellite image here, you can see where the Bowie is tied up on the river just near the orange A marker here on the map.

This post from last July shows where there where there was one log boom coming up Mitchell Slough (where we are) and almost colliding with another boom coming up the river on the other side of the Island. It is dangerous work as these are all lashed together with steel cables and often come apart. Smallish but curiously strong men scramble along the moving rafts of logs with a pike pole, life jacket wearing caulk boots (pronounced corks) with little spiky things to keep them from slipping into the very cold water. You can't be a tall burly guy to do that kind of work.

It is from the booms that we have so much logs and detritus coming down the river at us. We try too keep up with shoving it all through our wee marina to prevent stray logs from punching through boats or docks which they do from time to time. It is relentless and I spend more time pushing logs out than I do fixing any of the boats. Often it is all the little bits of stuff of twigs and bark that is the most difficult to deal with. Sometimes, the logs get so water logged they are semi-submerged beneath the surface. It is a real pain if that other end actually has a root on it and is dragging along the mud at the bottom. It isn't unusual for us to pull one of these suckers out, only to have it come back around and in again on another tide.

We have really noticed a big decline in the amount of log booms traveling up and down the river. Sawmills are closing all over the place, much in part due to the US housing market decline. All along the river are large depositories for these booms. No shortage of crap still coming at us however. Where we are going (marked by the 'B') is in between a couple of bridges and though there have been booms there in the past it is a bit off the main channel and there isn't the same volume of material to contend with. It is really quite staggering to see the amount of waste wood that comes down that river at us, and that is with a huge debris trap in place up the river near Hope.

Sandheads is the mouth of the main arm of the Fraser River. During this time of year there are regular soundings of the bottom for the river pilots taking the ships out the river. The freshet brings down so much silt the reading can change by 6-10 feet a day I have been told which is staggering to my imagination. They do regularly dredge this part of the channel to the Surrey port just across the river from New Westminster . By in large, they have done an abysmal job of maintaining the river overall for over 20 years. It is a very contentious issue and always becomes talked about during spring run off and then they ignore it until the next year. Bottom line argument is fish over people and it seems neither fish or people are winning that fight. The bureaucrats howver get paid regardless of whether they do their job or not.

Monday, June 09, 2008

The short of it.

I don't know where to even begin with all the crazy stuff happening these days, but it has been just relentless. Mercury went into retrograde and it has been perpetually nutty ever since. When it goes out, I am throwing a big a** party let me tell you! (I know you like it when I get all ranty Jamie and I will promise I will rant more soon...)

The freshet is ripping through, chaos is running amok and we're moving some of the boats away from Mitchell Island. We've actually got a spot to go to thanks to Grieg's benevolent employer, Ken Milne, who has been a greatly, no, scratch that, HUGELY, supportive of us over the years. I have often felt that Mitchell Island is a bit of a toxic vortex on a plethora of levels and am very much looking forward to being removed from it and none too soon either!

I am crying tears of joy at not having to breathe all that horrible dust from Allied anymore. I will be closer to work so I can get my backside on a bike and bike it on a regular basis and not burn fuel. When I first got my old Benz, it cost me $45-50 to fill it and within the course of the last year now costs me $70 to fill. Combining a workout and commute has my toes curling in anticipation. W-h-e-e!! Oh how I love biking! I seem to forget how much until I notice my cheeks cramping up 'cos I am smiling so damn much from it.

Our friend Len, whom I got the dresser-come-vanity for the float house bathroom also lives at this marina and does carpentry on the charter boats when Mr. Milne needs it. Now I can get him to re-configure the drawers in it so I can finally put a sink in it and put that wee project to bed. Len and I are kindred spirits in our affections for fixing up and stripping furniture and all things second-hand and used. It has always been a bit of a pipe dream to have a second hand furniture biz but this boat thing and well WORK keeps interfering.

The other thing that has me jazzed about the new local...less logs and detritus! There is so many logs that seem to split off from the booms on the north channel into Mitchell Slough that I could easily spend an hour each day on the pike pole keeping the water clear. I don't think we'll have to do near as much of that chore at the new spot. Wow. Maybe I can actually finish the projects I start without the perpetual interruptions.