Monday, June 25, 2012
June 24: Is that an almond?
The phone rang early, overcoming my reluctance to brave the cold cabin. It was Maeve who had been up for a while, watching the skiffs being tossed around in the 25-35 MPH winds and she was worried about how the Bathtub was riding. So I got up to take a look. They seemed OK, but after pushing my way through the strong winds
to the edge of the cliff, I saw that the tide, slowly going down now, had had quite an effect while it had been in.
It had come up over the berm, and swept the beach around our stairs clean - clean of our work, supplies and equipment. It had either removed or covered the gravel path the crew had made a couple of days before (back when it was hot), taken away the supply of gas cans under the stairs, broken off the end of the wash-down system, picked up Skook and left her upside down in the water-filled trough, swamped the Porta-bote, threatened the four-wheeler and swamped the Bathtub's powerpack. (That powerpack has taken a beating so far this year, and the season hasn't really started yet.)
As I looked up the beach, I saw a truck in front of the Williams' place, unsure at first whether it had arrived there recently, or whether it too had been swamped. It turned out to be the latter.
Steve, the truck's owner, was glad to be able to say that the water hadn't reached the passenger's seat. Only living on a slanted beach would that be a comfort. The tide had come up around and into it, not only introducing water where we'd like to keep it out, but also partially burying it. I guess that is how the snow machines that found their way to the beach a few years ago just eventually disappeared. I think if we dug down, we might find them. So, do they settle lower and lower? Or does the beach rise? And if the beach rises, why hasn't it reached the top of the cliff by now?
I spoke with Sam and found that they dug Steve's truck out and then towed it. Steve was able to get it started and took it into town to flush and otherwise revive. Steve wasn't out there yet when Chris returned from church with the truck, but I wish we had gone to their cabin to see if they wanted our help (or more to the point, our truck's help) while we were still on the beach. I think that's what they would have done for us, but we had been in such a hurry to get the powerpack in to be de-swamped that I didn't think of it.
Jeff and Roger and I went in to de-swamp the powerpack. I had called Roy and he said to bring it in and spray it down and then... the phone reception went all static-y, so I decided to just head in for that step and ask him for the next step in person. Harry was also standing by to offer assistance.
Harry said to pour out the fluids, remove the sparkplug, pour in a little diesel or kerosene (I think because it's not so volatile but it is kind to engines). I think he gave me additional instructions but I am pretty dense about things mechanical. Roy kindly observes that I'm just not wired that way. We sprayed water on the outside and air on the inside, and vacuumed out all the tundra we could find (here is Jeff vacuuming with KC’s shop-made crevice device), making some mistakes in the process, but none that were awfully expensive. We drained the remaining hydraulic fluid from the reservoir and saw something partially occluding a hole in the bottom. It _was_ an almond. How did it get there? One of setnetting’s mysteries. After their diligent work, and under KC's, Roy's, and Harry's combined supervision, we started it up...and it ran!!
Then we did the rest of the town errands, which included parts for a pump system to get water from the bin outside into the kitchen, and I was desperate to get back to the cabin.
While we were in town, the rest of the crew checked the boats to be sure they didn’t need bailing (they didn’t) but they did find that the buoy lights had been sheared off just above the pole. Groan. We have two plans: 1) to create a protective cage around the whole light apparatus; or 2) to remove the lights and store them in the boats except for those times when we need them. The problem with #2 is that they will almost certainly be trampled and broken when we need them next. If we leave them on shore, they will almost certainly be forgotten when we need them next. That may be the best answer.
Once back here, I tried to catch up on blog entries but the Internet was down - I guess because of the high winds. I decided I needed to eat so I heated a can of chicken noodle soup...and poured some quantity of it over my keyboard. Aieee! After pouring out what I could, I tried removing the keyboard but my screwdriver was too big for some of the crucial screws. So I replaced the screws I was able to remove and started it up. It started, anyway. Then I shut it down and stored it in a box of rice for the night. So far, the impact of my swamped computer is that the backspace and enter keys are reluctant but most difficult is that the spacebar acts like an enter key and between that and Word's eagerness to capitalize anything after a paragraph mark, this is slow going. I am finally learning to use a different character (asterisk) to stand in for the space bar with a global find and replace at the end. Still slow.
Just got a call from Harry. His subsistence net is loaded. My stomach is on active alert.