Sunday, July 15, 2012

Name That Bird

The BV reopened this morning, after being closed for dredging for the last few weeks. It's nice to be back, to have my space back, and to know what a day is going to bring, instead of not knowing what I'll be doing from one moment to the next.

I noticed a new bird today. A BIG bird, larger than a duck, the size of a goose almost. There are two of them, obviously a male and a female. I looked through a bird book and my bird book app, and I have no clue what these two are! Any ideas?

They have webbed feet, are awkward fliers, and have a hoarse honk for a call. They hung out on shore, not very scared of people, all day, sleeping out in the open. I really want to know what they are!

In other news, last thursday, I helped get the WL Ferry into the water. If you remember, the ferry was pulled out of the water for it's every-5-year check by the Coast Guard, where we also did a huge amount of repairs. It was pretty incredible watching such a huge ferry be manhandled by two heavy duty bulldozers. And the noises it made! The ferry is sitting on steel beams, which were sitting on steel plates, which sat on the concrete or dirt. The ground 30 feet away where I stood shook when it moved.

The bulldozers, as you can see in that video, picked up the steel beams, and pushed them forward, shoving the ferry along with it. At one point when they stopped, I was stunned to see how much weight and pressure was on the 'dozer tires:

I took several steps backwards when I saw that front tire.

We worked an extremely long day on Thursday. Once the ferry was actually in the water, we still had to hook up the baloney, steering cables and low water line. Plus we had to make sure everything worked, get the tools back on board, and everything in it's place as much as possible.

UPDATE! Almost as soon as I posted, a friend suggested that the birds are Muscovy Ducks. Which, after looking at several pictures of the various colors of Muscovies, I think she's right! So cool! Thanks Karen!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Heat Stroke Sucks

Right now, both boats are closed. I closed the BV about 2 weeks ago for low water. Since then, they've had to finish dredging at the WL, then haul everything down to the BV and dredge there, which isn't yet finished. I took all of last week off, and had a wonderful time visiting my sister, brother in law, and super wonderful niece and nephew.

This week, I've been helping out in the final push to get the WL in the water. If you remember from a previous post, the WL was hauled out of the water for an every 5 year inspection by the coast guard. While it's out of the river, both motors were rebuilt, the aprons got some serious repair work, and the whole boat was cleaned and painted. This week, on Thursday, the boat is going to be pushed back into the river, with the goal of reopening by Friday. So there's a big push to get everything finished. I spent most of the day today and yesterday painting. The boat as a whole has been painted, but there's a lot of touch up to do. In addition to that, I'm helping out wherever else I can.

This afternoon, we were painting on this very thick, asphalt-like non-slip material that makes up the entire deck. It's the same stuff that's on the BV, and I love it. I didn't slip or lose my footing once all winter, no matter the ice or rain. Throughout the day today, I hadn't realized that I was getting a sunburn. I had reapplied sunscreen around lunch, but managed to miss my shoulders, most of my face, back of legs, and back of hands. The non-slip paint dried very quickly, so we were in a rush and working fast and hard. We were painting metal which was reflecting the hot sunshine right back up at us. It was a bad combination.

Suddenly I realized I was too hot, too sweaty, too exhausted. I told my coworkers, and went and sat in the shade. I was really dizzy. I drank the last of my pop, which by that point was warm. My water bottle, also next to me, was empty. My coworkers kept coming by to check on me, since my face was very red. I stopped sweating, even though I was super hot. My pulse was racing. Someone refilled my water bottle, and I poured some on my head and drank the rest. I felt like I was going to pass out or vomit, or both. My fingers were tingly and my hands were shaking, and I realized I was breathing so rapidly I was hyperventilating. It was really scary. My coworkers realized what was going on before I did, and were very protective and helpful. After about 15 or 20 scary minutes, I felt well enough to stand up without too much dizziness, and at the demand of a coworker (who has had heat stroke before), took my shoes and socks off and waded up to my knees in the river, and splashed water on my arms and neck. That made a huge difference.

I left the WL earlier than my coworkers, who decided to stay a bit late to finish painting the non-slip texture so it would be dry by morning. It was a very slow drive back to the shops, and then home. First off, I took a long shower, to really cool me down. Even when the water was quite warm, it was weird, I got full body shivers. The heat stroke happened around 4, and I don't think I really felt like myself until close to 9pm.

I'm really fortunate that it wasn't more severe heat stroke. I'm very lucky to have coworkers who were looking out for me. This could have been so much worse. Heat stroke is serious business. I learned a big lesson today.

And I'm very grateful that I'll be in the shops tomorrow, not out in the sun.