Wednesday, August 17, 2011
Timmy was expecting visitors today, so cleaning up the camp was the first order of business. The bimini was next and we managed to install it on the new boat with no instructions. It completely changed the look of the boat and made a big difference in the perceived temperature.
We took both the new boat and flat boat to the dredge site. Last week, the dredge had reached the limit of the canal-side discharge hose, so we used both boats to move the dredge to the east and even with the landing to start dredging the north side of the canal.
Timmy took the flat then to meet the expected guests back at the camp for 10 am, and I got the dredge setup and started dredging around 10:30. The water level in the canal was so low that access to the pond wasn’t possible with the small boats, so I could not see what water level we were working with.
Three airboats arrived a while later and made use of our airboat route to tour the restoration area. The tour of the area was for a Mr. Koh who owns a tannery in Singapore and a couple of French leather merchants that together buy a large portion of the Louisiana farm-raised alligator hides for watchbands. They came to see the whole process from egg to watchband to make sure the treatment of the animals was humane; and to learn about the habitat, how it is managed and what the Rainey Alliance partners are doing to restore and enhance it. Vermilion Gator Farm led the tour and released several young gators in another area as part of the 17% return.
The water pump that sprays water from the base of the pump to break up the bottom, and that we use for washdown, runs for about 2 hours on one tank of fuel. We had not brought fuel out with us this morning, so I had to head back to camp before I could continue dredging. Timmy had been dropped off from the tour and was in the midst of Audubon email migration, so I stayed to help. The daily heat index was building to “highly uncomfortable,” so I went back to the dredge only to fuel it up and do a shut-down.
That evening, I went to St Martinville to attend Atchafalaya Basin Program public meeting. Timmy dropped me off and had intended to pick me up that evening, but the meeting ran too long (10:00 pm) so I stayed in Abbeville at the Extended Stay Inn & Suites for the night.