Wednesday, April 25
Dawn was cool and clear. Timmy had a meeting with Wildlife and Fisheries at 10 so we headed to the dredge at first light to work on the overhead winch that had died last week after only 28 hours of strenuous use. We couldn’t fix the winch last week because the pump was suspended and could not be raised or lowered to get the tension off the cable. Timmy had to wait for a low, low tide over the weekend for the pump to hit bottom and allow slack in the cable. Then he could pull the cable brake release, and the pump stayed on the bottom of the canal.
The overhead winch was mounted on the traveling support that allowed no room to get the case off to access the motor we intended to replace. The entire winch needed to be taken off of its support. This involved Timmy on a ladder and me on a chair to remove the bolts holding it on, then supporting the whole thing while we disconnected power lines. The cable was stripped out of that winch ready to re-spool on the replacement. Since it is much easier to work on the winches in the workshop, he had mounted the replacement motor on one of the old winches and was ready to trade it out. However, when he hooked the reconstructed winch to power on the dredge, it wouldn’t work. We brought both winches back to the shop to puzzle together a working winch, but had another appointment to keep first.
Since I couldn’t dredge, I rode along with Timmy to meet with Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries personnel and a Ducks Unlimited representative. The state is proposing a million dollar project to replace several water control structures around their holdings, and add a new one on Tom Bayou which is capturing the flow of an enormous area causing interior marsh degradation on state land as well as on Rainey.
We gathered together inside their camp to go over maps and discussed the proposed projects. A group of technicians was working on a boat under the shed and asked to borrow a tool from Timmy, so he headed back to camp (Timmy was jealous – they had four technicians for their management unit that is half the size of Rainey, and we have only him). The rest of us boarded the LDWF boat and went as a group to a weir on Vermilion Bay. Erosion of the bay shoreline was exposing the weir to increasing wave action and it was getting dangerously close to breaching. After meeting Timmy back at the Fisheries camp, I switched over to the flat and Timmy led them over to Tom’s Bayou. The agents measured the depth of the waterways involved. The next and last stop was at the northwest side of Fearman Lake where the canal had eroded away from an old weir that helped control the flow into the north part of Rainey. It was a very interesting and educational trip for me.
We returned to the Rainey headquarters after noon. In the workshop, Timmy took the winches apart and put the new motor on the newest winch (the one that just quit), and tested it using the lawnmower battery. Success! Then it was back to the dredge to reassemble it and get it all working again. This took several hours, losing a few pieces and tools through the grate and both of us stretching over our heads to work.
It was 4:30 by the time the winch was in place and the pump was retrieved. We washed the pump off and pumped long enough to clear the line, then shut everything down for the evening.
Timmy discovered a killdeer nest just south of the workshop, on top of an old burn pile. The parent bird would stand up, run off and flare – feigning injury, every time we would come to the door of the shop.