Tuesday, March 02, 2010

The Nehalem Still Not Rescued

On Monday morning the West-Quillayute web cam appeared to show the sunken barge about to be winched up onto her mother ship, the Eland. But by noon something had plainly gone wrong, Eland backed out of camera range and Nehalem in the drink again. This was the real reason I abandoned my post at the tribal library as soon as J. arrived to cover, and hurried west.

The same gray windy conditions obtained as in the previous post— well, yeah, it was the same place, just looking west instead of SSW along the beach. I hung out a long time in the weather, taking pictures and sometimes adjourning to the other side of the point to look at the surf on First Beach. Lots of watchers came and went.

The dredging operation's mother ship, Eland (Click for larger image.)

It was high tide. A little runabout boat, Bar Fly, left the mother ship and Did Things With Cables and Anchors over by Nehalem.

Nehalem and Bar Fly (Click for larger image.)

The tide came in more, and things looked worse.

Not Looking At All Good (Click for larger image.)

There were a couple of guys sittin' in a pickup watching. They fish together on the older man's 40-footer (but only in calmer weather than yesterday)(and when there's not a sad little barge sunk in the channel). The younger one lived there on the Rez. He told me that salvage divers had filled Nehalem with inflated balloons, that's what got her afloat and upright (like a sick horse that had been laying in a field and then suddenly got up and was going to live, was how he described it), and they attempted to winch her on board Eland. But there was still too much water in her, apparently, they just ran out of power.

His son had been working on the dredging operation so he knows stuff. He said they weren't done, had about 24 more hours of dredging/pumping to go when they messed up. The story he tells is full of guys thinking one thing and bosses saying another. Long series of bad decisions all bosses's fault. Not clear to me which boss. The captain, the owner, the Coast Guard, the Army Corps of Engineers who let the contract???

When I left, Coast Guard guys and salvage diver guys were standing around on shore where I was parked, waving their arms. I left thinking poor Nehalem was toast, the coasties wanting it Out Of The Channel and were going to have it pulled willynilly to the shore.

But in fact, nothing whatsoever happened today that you could see on the cam. Nehalem nearly vanished under the waves when the tide was high, but by 5:30 PM (when they freeze the webcam), the tide was halfway out again and she was looking Definitely Still There.

West--Quillayute River Cam, 5:29PM, pretty much the same as yesterday (Click for larger image.)

PS. I did a lot of web searching without learning much. A nice picture of Eland, with Nehalem aboard, in happier days.

PPS. A lot of logging trucks on the highway, one carrying HUGE logs, where could they possibly be harvesting trees that large?

PPS. Eagles, and a sea lion.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Well... that's amazing but frankly i have a hard time understanding it... wonder how others think about this..