So, the next day………….
We arrived at the site from having spent the night at the farm stay on the other island. The farm stay is a B&B on a small hobby farm that raises sheep and keeps chickens and teaches English to Japanese students. It’s a lovely little place and the owners are characters fitting to the scene and endemic to the area. Completely mad in an entertaining kind of way.
When we got to the site, the box was – just as planned – lying just below the high water mark and approximately 6o feet from where it should eventually be situated. And, of course, it lay amongst the poor footing of slimy boulders, kelp and barnacles at the bottom of a steep incline.
I rigged a block and tackle to a tree up the hill and lashed a heavy nylon belt around the box. My neighbour came over to assist us and, after hooking it up, we began to pull. Sally and J were at the ‘dry’ mid-station pulling for all they were worth and I was at the tail end – just into the high water area – with the rope wrapped around my waist to ensure purchase. And we pulled.
The block and tackle was rigged for four-to-one and so with roughly 100 pounds of pull, the box would move. We aided the progress by placing little rollers (short log bits) under the box wherever it hit the rocky surface. In theory, it should have been easy. In fact, it was not.
The box caught up on a rocky outcropping every five or so feet and so one of the upper helpers would leave their post and lever it back up and place a roller. The little logs, of course, would eventually roll out from under and so the same helper had to go fetch them and put them under again. Each time, I would hold the weight – which was not hard as I was substantial enough and I also had at least one assistant helping me. It went slowly but it went. And we were in a good mood.
At one point the box held up and both assistants went about trying to make it free again. I relaxed somewhat and laid back on the rope that was wrapped around my waist. I was leaning at about a 45 degree angle over the beach rocks below. By then I was about ten or so feet up the beach on the ‘dry’ side.
The rope parted.
I fell downhill over big boulders to the even bigger boulders on the beach. I somersaulted actually. Backwards. Two complete rolls. And then I smacked the back of my head heavily into the biggest rock which immediately haulted any further movement on my part. In any way. I think I was knocked out for a few seconds.
But I came to quickly and, except for a smashed and bleeding elbow and a completely whacked out state of consciousness, I was fairly intact. J and Sally helped me to the deck and I just lay there for about half an hour while Sal fussed and made me tea and stuff. I always love those times.
After I recovered somewhat, we used the cabled come-along to get the box into position and now we had a box on a beach that would hold tools and keep them dry from the weather. Never has so much effort been expended nor danger and injury suffered for so pathetically little. We were very proud.
That little inflatable boat did yeoman’s work. I carried everything from bags of concrete to wheelbarrows, from luggage to drinking water, from food to building supplies and much much more over the two years we used it as our main supply vessel.
My single biggest load was when I brought up a few weeks of supplies and luggage for six and the boat was completely filled. The load was like a small mountain. But I was also running short of fuel so I didn’t want to do a second trip. The water was dead calm so I suggested that the members of the family (with the luggage) who was coming to visit stand along the outside pontoons of the boat and lean into the middle against the pile of stuff. In that way, they could accompany their luggage and we could all make it in one trip.
As we were leaving the loading area (about three miles from our beach) and everyone was standing aboard while I asked for directions (’cause I couldn’t see over the pile), the wife asked me, “Is this really necessary?”
“Not usually. But I am very low on fuel (I was exaggerating. I had enough to get home but not enough to do two trips). I am hoping we make it before we run dry. I’d hate to be floating around out here in the dark. It’s already raining slightly and it gets bitterly cold at night. And even if we should eventually drift ashore……well, then there are the wolves and bears to contend with. And I don’t have my gun.”
They were European city folk. That was enough to keep everyone quiet for the rest of the trip. The visit went well but they have not been back since.
I once brought a huge water tank to the property using the boat. It wasn’t heavy, it was just big. But the cost of the barge was still prohibitive. I figured that if it was good enough to keep water in, it should be good enough to keep water out. So I fitted a few bungs for the holes and put a towing hook in one of them. Then I slowly towed the whole thing by way of the little inflatable tug-that-could.
Now that really looked like a submarine!