Saturday, April 30, 2011

My Lake Runneth Over

When we brought That Tartan home we started out sitting in the mud at the bottom of the launch pit, then we bumped mud again near the entrance to the marina. I complained that the Corps had let all the water out of the lake, but they clearly know more about their business than I do.

Unrelenting rain has filled the lake to overflowing. Slips that normally have 5 to 6 feet between the keels and the bottom now show nearly 20. The east side breakwater is under water, the west side has but a couple of feet still poking out of the waves, the launch ramp is too short to use, the pump-out station is within inches of floating off its pilings, and it remains an open question if the docks will follow it onto the bank. Should that become a real possibility Nomad and The Tartan will motor out around the corner, set hooks, and stand by while Mother Earth figures out just how much water she has to drop on the mid-west this spring. The nice thing about floods and boats is that floods unfold rather slowly (usually) thus giving people time to figure out what to do with their boats. (Unlike, say, tornados and houses.)

Some figure this out better than others. With the breakwaters submerged and the winds touching the mid to high 30s in the gusts, our marina is more like an East Coast mooring field, open to enough wave and wind action to have the boats bouncing and tugging at the ends of their lines with marked enthusiasm. More enthusiasm than some boat owners have shown in prepping for the conditions. Work on The Tartan, while going pretty well today, was frequently interrupted. Knots came free on one boat allowing its fenders to blow right past us as worked on the deck. They were gathered up, a quick search spotted the boat that had only lengths of rope protecting the hull from the dock. (And not, as one might imagine, doing a very good job of it.) We tied the fenders back in place. And then walked around moving a bunch of other fenders that were not actually doing much in protecting the hulls from the piers.

Another boat, backed into its slip, was shredding its spring line. The cover of the outboard was quickly pounded into fiberglass shards as the wind and waves forced it back against the dock. Attempts to resecure the boat were thwarted by a Methuselah like pile of dock line knots so badly stressed that I could not clear the line from the cleat even with a screwdriver to use as a marlin spike. Nor could I figure out how in Titan's watery world they had tangled up the spring and two forward dock lines. In the end we looped another spring line over the old one, pulled the boat as far forward as we could, secured the line to an unused cleat across the dock, and went back about our business.

Tonight we sit on The Tartan as it rocks gently in the diminishing winds. The lake is still rising though, up probably a foot just today. At least it isn't raining...yet.


Bill K said...

If the COE control's the lake level I don't understand why the excess water isn't going over a spillway.

Bill Kelleher

TJ said...

As I understand it we are just shy of the spillway at right now. Thoug that may change since it has been raining all night and is raining again as I type. My guess is they are trying to hold as much water here as they possibly can to try and help the folks south, who are really taking a pounding. It looks like we are going to be okay. The rate of rise is slowing and we have a couple of feet left before the docks float free.