Wednesday, June 6
At dawn, Timmy was out ripping plywood for today’s containment installation. It was already 82°, humid, and no breeze at all. Paul and I helped him load the bigger boat, the Goose, and I followed them in the 17-ft boat, the Avocet, over to the dredge site at 7:30am.
We installed plywood along the partial walkway that LSU had constructed, with Paul and Timmy on the walkway and Karen in the pirogue. The next section of containment required the airboat for construction, as there was no walkway there yet. This went fairly quickly. Then it was time to move the hose.
Timmy and Paul left me at the site while they took the Goose back to headquarters and traded it for the airboat. I managed to get all of the rope and the single section of hose pulled off the pontoon.
Water level was at -6” ML. I watched as schools of fish tried to find a way around the new barrier. 4 inch mullet kept trying to jump it, but in the low water they kept hitting it a good 6 inches short.
I tried to tow the pontoon over to the other side with the pirogue but the water level was too low and it hung up midway.
About that time, Timmy and Paul arrived in the airboat. We used it to tow the pontoon to the end of the hose, and hauled it up on shore. We retied the end of the hose on the pontoon, and capped it just in case anything happened. Paul stayed on shore to help guide it into the water; Karen went with Timmy on the airboat to help manage the ropes. We tied the airboat onto the hose section close to the dock and attempted to pull the pontoon/hose assembly off of the marsh. Unfortunately, the leading edge of the pontoon caught on a healthy stand of marsh, Paul was unable to help it, and the whole contraption flipped upside down. We towed it that way anyway, but when we tried to pull it around one of the marsh islands, the pontoon started to submarine right into the pond bottom. Timmy untied from the pontoon and retied the airboat onto the hose to pull the pontoon out of the mud (but it was still upside down).
We retrieved Paul from the island. Paul stepped out on the pontoon and soon found out why I had left a strap tied around it as he slid around on the muddy surface, with only the strap for stabilization. He managed to cut all the ropes off to release the hose.
Together, from the high bow of the airboat, we managed to pull the pontoon up and flip it right-side up.
We towed the pontoon out of the way then went back for the hose. Eventually, we managed to get it back together in the proper orientation.
By this time (10am), we were all exhausted by the heat (I was “seeing little monkeys,” as Timmy says). It was time for cool water and a short break.
Timmy brought us and the airboat back to the levee, and he and Paul installed one last part of the containment, right at the dock. We finished at 11:30 and headed back to the house in the Avocet, leaving the airboat on the levee. The temperature in Abbeville was at 95° with heat index of 105°. The camp weather station was showing 91° with heat index of 114° and humidity of 76%.
We all sucked down water, took showers, ate lunch and caught a nap or two trying to recover. We had planned to return to the dredge, but the temperature and heat index remained high. With little chance of a cool down anytime soon, Paul decided to head back to the dock early, so he and I took the Avocet and got to the public boat ramp at 3:00. I stopped at Shell Morgan to fuel up on the way back, and got back to the house right at 4:00. There was still a heat index of 117°, and I still felt drained. Thunderstorms moved in around 5:00, which finally brought some heat relief.
No dredging today.