Floating Bag lady

Captain of the garbage barge? Must-stink Sally? Dumpster diva?

You’ve heard of being keel-hauled…right? Well, this is us being clean-hauled. Spring cleaning OTG.

We have not made a garbage run for eight years. Occasionally, we take in a small bag of stinky stuff (one small one white bag) but, for the most part of this special Covid time, we haven’t gone anywhere to take anything with us. I think I have been in town maybe four times over this past year….which is 3 times too many. (Sal’s knee op was worth every excruciating day there.)

Eight years of living gathers garbage regardless of how ‘green’ one tries to be. We have 40 cases of empty wine bottles to return, for example, and they are NOT shown in the pictures. Wine bottles are for another day. Garbage, garbage, garbage is today’s agenda.

For us, garbage mostly falls into one of six categories. Safe burnables (nothing plastic or chemical – i.e cardboard, old wood), compostable organics, glass, non-compostable organics, plastic/chemical derivatives and metals.

We do a safe burn every couple of years – usually in the winter or during heavy rains. We compost every day. The non-coms (bones, cooked meat, etc) get handled by the gulls and the crabs. And I save much of the metal but recycle some of it. The big ugly is plastic. And the worst-smelling of the plastic is the wrapping for meat products – they just don’t get clean enough NOT to attract bugs. That stuff has to be sealed. What do we seal it in? Well, more damn plastic, of course.

white water tank is NOT garbage

Today, we took three heaping boatloads over to the other island. An enterprising local lad offered to do a dump run for a fee and a couple of us took him up on it. But the chore ain’t easy even if our Lad takes it to the dump for us.

The proscribed method for this chore is to first gather all the crap and debris on the deck by the beach. Then, at the exact right tide, we load it on Sal’s beachable little skiff and take it over to the landing beach. While Sal does that, I load up the funicular cart at our end for another run. Sal throws all the garbage on the other-island beach and comes back (turnaround time 30-40 minutes). And we repeat that until the deck is clear.

funicular cart waiting for boat pick-up

Then I go over in our other boat, get the truck, drive it to the beach and start to take the garbage up the 250-300 foot other island hill rising from the landing. Lad’s big truck can’t get down with two-wheel drive. When Sal had completed her three runs, I would estimate we had the equivalent of 50 large black plastic bags chock-o-block full of crap and two extra ones that stunk. Plus we had some metal recyclables and dead equipment. Two heaping pick-up trucks full.

But Murphy showed up and, when I went to get the truck, it would not start. Not even a click. Dead battery. Not to worry….we have a mini-jump starter and I whipped it out and hooked it up. Nada. Zip. Dead Polly. Sal brought our second mini-starter (we keep one in the boat) and we got the same result – nothing. A neighbour drove by and stopped and offered her jump starter kit. Much bigger. Same result.

So, I removed the battery and put it in the boat for charging at home. In the meantime, our garbage guy went down to the beach in a smaller, borrowed 4X4 and picked it all up. Took him four trips up and down to get it all. Maybe five. I stopped counting.

He took it to the top of the hill and dumped it all in a heap. Then he took the last load to his big truck at home (he borrowed the smaller truck because his bigger one got Murphy’d the day before). After that, he came back and did it again. And again. And again. And maybe five times. Each trip is about 90 minutes.

If he had his big truck working, it would be one trip. Not an easy day for him, either.

We paid him extra.

11 thoughts on “Floating Bag lady

  1. even on grid we have the same battery issues sometimes. I have a car that I don’t use often. Last week, I started it….also not even a click. Hooked up the jump starter and also did not work….if voltage is too low, jump starter won’t kick in. Hooked it up starter cables to my other car, and that did the job. But these things always happen at the worst possible moment. At least now you have the place cleaned up for another few years. Can’t you convince the local government to put 1 big garbage container for the whole island and they pick it up like once every month? You could split costs with the other people on the island?I wonder how the owners of Coast Mountain expeditions handle this if they have a lot of visitors?


    • Because of distance, logging roads, ferries, number of trips (2) to do it, dumping fees, bin-day-fee, the local waste management companies want a LOT of money ($12-1500?) to do the job. So we kept putting it off until enough people stepped up. And, they just never did. But neighbours R&S eventually ‘cracked’ and couldn’t take it anymore so they set up the local guy. But the local guy had, originally, more capacity than they had garbage so efficiency suggested sharing. We went with it. Proportionately, it is way more expensive but, in actual dollars I paid maybe double what I might have paid with a community effort. I paid $220.00 not including buying another battery maybe. Had we done the ‘big bin thing’ with the community, it might have been $100.00. But the money is not as important as ridding ourselves of all that crap. It was well worth it.


      • No rats on the island? We used to have them until a wily white weasel (ermine, if you’re seasonally inclined) moved in. Viola! no more rats! But there are some vermin that chew the bark off my immature fruit trees under the cover of snow. No more fruit tree!
        Your garbage run weather looks similar to ours. Only 1mm of precip in the whole of March. Similar in April, so far!


      • Oh, no question, there WILL be fire. I just hope the Fire Service is on the ball and they do NOT have to come in our area or anywhere near. This is shaping up to be another weird year. My daughter in Alberta complained of the heat recently only to call last night to tell us it was snowing and a full 15cm is expected. Sunburnt face one day, toque and scarf the next!


  2. No Bears on Read Island.

    I’m amazed and discouraged at the endless amounts of plastic wrap on our food, packages, whatever.
    When aliens finally land on this empty desolate planet 1000’s of years from now…… the only things left will be plastic milk crates and jellyfish……


  3. “Captain of the garbage barge? Must-stink Sally? Dumpster diva?”

    Or captain of the Excess Express, the Crud Commuter or Smells Fargo?


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