Saturday, August 13, 2011

Two Nighter

Last Thursday  Christopher, Shaun, Tanya and myself made a last minute decision that we would go to the Goose Green two nighter.  Two nighters are held on the larger farms, normally at the end of the shearing season or for a championship dog trials but sometimes they are just a social event for people to get together and have a few drinks, dance and socialise.  This two nighter was held at Goose Green a 152,000 hectare farm with 42 inhabitants.  We rented a house for the weekend but many people stay with farm residents whose houses bulge at the seams with friends, family and weekend revellers needing a bed or a space on the floor for the two nights.  Although we do not attend many these days I believe they are a social event that the Falklands can be truly proud of.  Despite the consumption of alcohol, in some cases quite copious amounts they are family occasions. 
I was working until 4:30pm on Friday and because we had made the decision late on Thursday we were not ready to leave straight after work.  By Friday lunch time it had started to snow and by 4:30 it was freezing.  Shaun and Tanya got away by 4:30 and rang us to say that the tarmac on the Mount Pleasant road was starting to get slippery.  We eventually got away from Stanley at 6:50pm.  The snow had set in by then and an hour into the trip I was beginning to  wish we hadn't left.  The snow had turned to a blizzard.  We had taken my Pajero an automatic 2.5 litre diesel.   It was quite nice to be passed by one of our friends on the MPA road and lucky that we recognised his vehicle in the dark.  Still being in mobile rang we were able to give him a ring and he slowed down and stayed with us for the rest of the trip.  The biggest problem with the automatic in the snow and ice is the lack of gears to use as control on the hills when you can't use your brakes.  We finally arrived at Goose Green around about 9pm.
As adults, quick stepped, samba'd or in some cases just did their own thing there were children taking turns on a skateboard and scooter in amongst the dancers.  I love the fact that these are family events.  The dancers do their best to avoid the kids and the kids do their best to avoid the adults their is total tolerance towards the children they are not viewed as being in the way or a nuisance, it is an occasion for them to enjoy to.  The youngest reveller last weekend was 5 month old Connor Joe, he arrived in the hall around about 7pm with his mum, brother and grandparents and left for home about 5 minutes before us which was approximately 2:30 am, despite the loud music  and just the general high noise level of a large group of people talking, laughing and generally having fun he sleep the whole evening through under the watchful eye of his family.
Saturday afternoon started with camel racing for the children. This was followed by horse racing for the adults, there was even a tote.  The horse racing was on the tele.  A proper programme for such occasions where you can back your preferred horse and collect your winnings if you are lucky.  All money made by the tote was then given to a local charity.  This was followed by a mixed doubles darts competition.  Again this was a super family event.  Christopher's partner was a lovely young lady called Lucianne.  I'm not sure how old she is but I would think she is 11 or 12.  Christopher and Lucianne won their first game but then came up against Lucianne's grandmother who is quite a darts player and they went out in the second round to Luciannes grandmother and partner.  They had a good game though and it could have went either way.  I was drawn with a young man named Leo who is about 10 years old.  You probably think this is too young to be able to play darts effectively but that is not the case.  All Leo's darts landed in the board and although we did not win our game we were down to our double and had our chances.  The weekend was then rounded of by another evening of dancing, socialising, putting the world to rights, farming stories and a few more beers.
Sunday morning saw Christopher, Shaun & Tanya up and away by 7 am to go to Speedwell for a day trip to move sheep leaving me to make my way back to Stanley on the still snowy roads.  I waited until midday and then made the decision to leave for Stanley but I decided if I found the road too slippery then I would go back and wait for Christopher at Goose Green.  I met with my sister and her children who were also at Goose Green and equally as nervous about driving back in with snow still on the roads.  It turned out that the roads had cleared significantly, we both had little skids, me when I braked at a cattle grid and I saw Stephanie doing a bit of a zig zag in my mirror when she was stopping behind me to give me a message from Christopher.  Two of the valleys had very snowy slopes which I wouldn't have chosen to drive through myself but we had gone too far to go back so it was a case of you know what to do so do it.  It took us two and a half hours to drive back to Stanley.  I guess that is about an hour longer then it would usually take but we were pretty pleased with ourselves.  An end to a great weekend.
Next time. Tiphs dissertation and trip to London.  The day trip to Speedwell and perhaps you could check those bolts dad.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

The lifting of Theo with photos

Christopher and Toby Poole

Theo being lifted

Theo sitting on her cradle

Protogat (fisheries protection vessel)

Concordia Bay (local supply vessel) carries animals for the abattoir, wool, fuel and general cargo around the settlements in the Falklands.

Start of the lift

The 80 ton crane used to lift Theo out of the water.
It's been a busy week.  Theo is at last out of the water.  She was lifted out last Sunday.  There was snow on the dock.  Shaun was out stevedoring moving squid when at 9 am the call came that the lift was going to happen in the next half hour.  It was a rush to get everything ready.  The tug and trailer had to be taken down onto the floating dock.  We couldn't have it on the dock ready because with the oil exploration it gets pretty busy down there.  We ended up purchasing the tug earlier in the year because it is the only vehicle that fits onto the trailer that the boats cradle is attached too.  The road from the yard where it was being kept was very icy and the vehicle has no four wheel drive but it was a case of doing it because we didn't know how long it would be before another opportunity arose to get Theo out.  I had the job of ringing around friends to get help as Shaun wasn't available.  First I tried my brother but he was leaving for work at MPA.  Then I tried Steven Poole but he was just off to fix his sons heating.  I was wracking my brain thinking who else could I ask when I remembered Shaun Jaffray had offered to give a hand when she was lifted out, he in turn asked Toby Poole to come and help so I managed to cobble together a crew to help with ropes and stropes.  Everything was ready in time but then the digger on the dock belonging to the person lifting the boat out wouldn't start because it was frozen up.  This was needed to clear the snow of the lifting area so that metal sheets could be put down for the feet of the crane.  Apparently if you don't clear the snow first the sheets will aquaplane making it all highly dangerous.  Several hours later the snow was cleared but then the crane had the same problem with frozen filters etc.  Christopher helped get the vehicles running and I think it was about half past four in the afternoon when the boat was finally out of the water and sitting in its cradle.  She then spent the night on the dock because the road up from the dock was just to icy to get her back to the yard.
Theo is looking pretty rough top side but the hull is in good condition and doesn't need sand blasting.  Unfortunately she has a slight bit of damage to the prop.  This we believe probably happened when she drug her temporary moorings last year and ended up on the beach.  Quite unbelievable she went out of the Speedwell Bay one very rough night, missed the island that is situated in the bay, across Eagle Passage and beached herself right next to a wreck that had done the same thing many, many years ago.  I've got to say, I don't know much about boats and moorings but when I saw the temporary anchor he was putting down I did say that wont hold her.  I think my words were I could tow that away myself!!!!  She was too grounded to get off the beach ourselves but we were very lucky that where she went up was sheet rock.  It is very unfortunate that the area has virtually no tidal variance.  In any other circumstance you would wait for the high tide and probably have floated her off but 3 feet makes little or no difference.  We were fortunate that two days later the Concordia Bay was coming up through Eagle Passage  and she pulled her off.  We are now taking advice on whether the dent needs taking out of the propeller.  The consensus seems to be that if we haven't noticed any increased vibration, which we haven't then because it is only slight it would be best to leave it well along because apparently propellers are made in casts and are easily broken when you start hammering them.  We are just waiting for a final opinion from an old friend of Christopher's who has spent his life doing metal work on lathes etc.  If he says it is okay we will leave it if he says it needs straightening we will try and straighten it.  Of course the big deal is if we break it there isn't a replacement one down the road.
Work wise on the boat Shaun has been needling inside the wheel house.  Christopher said he didn't clear the benches first just shoved the stuff aside so it is now all covered in rust and paint chippings.  He has also been needling in the hold.  Theo has cement in the bottom and she was showing a bit of rust at the top of the cement so that is being sorted.  Christopher has been changing pipes in the engine room, this is proving very difficult because the pipe work was put in before the engine.  He knew this but the job needed doing so he will have to find a way around it.  He also has the stack off.  The outer of the stack was knackered when we bought her.  Christopher replaced it then but it is gone again so it has to be done again.  The last couple of weeks have been a bit in limbo because none of the big jobs could be started because she needed to be running to move her around the dock for the lift out.
Well lots more news, Goose Green two nighter, dancing, darts oh and drinking!!   More on Tiphs dissertation and a trip to London for her but I'm fed up writing for now.