Thursday, April 24, 2014

Wide Barge, Narrow Fairway

A lot of traffic transits Discovery Passage each day, ranging in size from kayaks and small skiffs to massive vessels like ferry boats and cruise ships. This passing parade offers distraction and entertainment, especially at high tide when we can see over the rock breakwater. Today it seemed routine when a barge with a tall derrick moved slowly south along the breakwater, until I realized it was inside the harbor. What?

Discovery Harbor's fairways are generous in size with plenty of room for us to pivot (carefully), but a barge?! The captain was accomplished, maneuvering his wide barge into position well inside the fairway without incident or any excitement for the viewing audience.

Tall spud poles held the barge in place for some piledriving activity. He made it look easy, but check out the photo below to see the tight quarters involved.

Piledriving action was just beginning when the downpour began, soaking me and spotting the camera lens. It was heavy enough to drive me back inside but the crew kept on smiling and working. 

I settled for watching from a distance, inside the pilothouse, while the new piling were installed at the ends of several finger piers. Modern piledrivers are surprisingly quiet. I certainly didn't miss the bone-rattling, headache-inducing pounding of older equipment.

Hmmm, I wonder what excitement tomorrow will bring?

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