The Tale of an Old Dock

Farm country, we’ve all driven by farms with old machinery, cars, trucks, even buildings abandoned at a respectable distance from the house.  Cottage country isn’t immune to this event, the dead whatever-it-is that’s to big for the boat, car, van, or small truck.  Any of us that have cottaged for a length of time have had to confront disposing of something bigger  than the green garbage bag or recycling bin. Frequently the solution is, next time we’re up, and so the pile of junk safely out of view begins.

Depending on the township you’re in there may be a fee at the local dump for disposal, or  if you’re lucky, for a small fee an annual dock pickup.  Many of us would rather just pay to have that thing just go away.  This is one of those stories.

The dock that came with purchase of a near by island was getting old and rather decrepit.  Possibly even unsafe to use.  The owner of property has summer staff paid to look after such things.  From the owners point of view, when instructions are given, things just happen.  With every command structure there develops a bureaucracy.  The supervisor tells members of the crew, look after this and that.  Eventually things get done, depending on priorities of course.  There is always the chance for that, out of sight, out of mind phenomenon.

My first encounter with this dock was while out kayaking.  I have a route, mostly a loop that I like to travel.  More sheltered on the return for when I’m worn out.  While returning I rounded a point into a sheltered cove.  Two large commercial contractor boats and maybe half a dozen workers spread around on a substantial three section dock.  One of the workers spotted me and called out in a voice just loud enough, “kayaker”.  All work stopped.  Imagine a small group of men caught in the act, standing around looking at the sky whistling nonchalantly.

They’d spent the morning towing the sections from the south end to the north end of the property, where it was now nicely out of sight of the owner’s cottage.  The afternoon had been spent chainsawing the dock sections into small pieces.  Then pieces were further broken down to planks and stacked in a couple of large piles.  The intention appeared to be, to burn the wood remnants in a nice hollow in the rocky shoreline.  Of course the end of the day came before they had finished.

The pictures below show the conditions over roughly a 4 year period, starting in 2008.  In late summer 2008, work ends with the end of the day.  Pieces held together by design and ropes.  The next spring, 2009 when pieces had spread out from the influence of winter storms.  Including a piece that washed ashore on our property, some 500 meters away and not in a line-of-site location.  The 2010 season was uneventful, in that nothing moved or changed.  In the following spring, 2011, and the steel remnants are spread around after a burning in location event.  Storm action further spreads debris, as now the wood that held some pieces in place was now gone.  Finally an escapee found 1 kilometer in July of 2011.




This entry was posted in Environment, Hall of Shame. Bookmark the permalink.