Dredging The Marina

One day, about four months after taking up residence on the boat, I received in the mail a notice that the marina was to be dredged during the month of August. The writer of said letter was polite enough to ask if anyone in the marina had any problems with their boat(s) being temporarily moved around to accommodate such an undertaking. However, the same writer went on to say that despite any objections to the dredging, not only would the boats be moved, but rents would be going up from $8.00/foot to $8.50/foot. What a nice, polite notice.

Needless to say, the dredging was done over the course of two weeks, and I often watched in fascination as the digger pictured above scooped up tons of watery earth and deposited the silty treasure in to the hopper-like device on the left. The earth was then pumped through an 8" flexible hose approximately 1/4 mile to a barge floating just outside the marina. Quite a project.

The engineers in charge of the project had enough kindness to cover everyone's boats while dredging near them, as it was a pretty messy process. Even with the cover over my boat as pictured above, there was still more a bit of bottom mud spattered about the boat. No matter, it was easily washed off.

The coolest thing about the entire process was every time the digger began its upward stroke, scoop full of earth, the weight would cause the leading edge of the barge on which the digger sat to become completely submerged, sometimes nearly halfway up the digger's tracks. No kidding. Imagine being the driver of that digger. I wouldn't do it. I mean ... what if the damned thing slipped off in to the water? Not only would you (the driver) die a horrible death of drowning, crushing, fire, disease and diesel poisoning, the fishes who live beneath might nibble on your toes.

THEN, once or twice I watched as the driver actually MANEUVERED digger on the barge. No, not just pivoting the cab. Actually driving the digger back and forth and turning with the tracks. Talk about tight quarters in which to move....

In the end the marina was dredged to a depth of nine feet at low tide in any slip. Considering it was around four feet before the dredging, that's a LOT of earth removed and dumped outside the Golden Gate Bridge.

I have a magnificent boyish love for large earth-moving machinery, and watching this operation up close (sometimes within six feet of the scoop as it worked) rates WAY up on the excitement ladder.

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