Monday, April 11, 2011

What the hell is that thing?


I’ll come back to it later.

We had great seats today for an SAR exercise.  While we were eating lunch we noticed a big yellow plane circling overhead.  Then came a very large helicopter in the same bilious yellow.  It hovered over the entrance to the bay for a long time, slowly settling lower until it was maybe 50 feet over the big green derelict in front of the marina.  It was around for so long that we stopped paying close attention to it.

I wasn’t paying close attention so I didn’t have my camera handy when I realized that they were lifting a guy off the deck of the derelict but I had my camera out a while later when they dunked this guy in the ocean.  They lowered him down to the water, dangled him with his feet in the water for a while, dropped him completely underwater and then eventually winched him back onboard.  That seemed to satisfy whatever they were doing so shortly afterward they buggered off.

Marilyn was in a cleaning frenzy so now the flybridge looks much better.  While she did that I was cleaning the fish we caught this morning and deheading the prawns.  We weren’t intending to fish but one foolishly wandered into one of our traps and I wasn’t inclined to release him since he was clearly too stupid to live.  We’ll see how stupid-fish tastes tonight. 

The mysterious device on top of our anchor windlass is my latest invention – a homebuilt trap puller.  They want anywhere from $700 to $1400 for trap pullers online and if past experience is any indicator the prices in the Canadian retails will be at least 20% higher than US online pricing.  There’s no way in hell I was going to pay $1000 or more to avoid pulling traps up by hand but at the same time its damn hard work.  It also takes a really long time and sometimes we just don’t have a long time with the wind trying to alternately blow us onto the rocks or into another fisherman’s crab floats. 

Being fundamentally a cheap SOB I didn’t want to spend anything on my creation but I compromised and spent just under $20 on galvanized fittings.  Then I epoxied them into some of the plywood left over from the fridge replacement project.  (I seriously love West System epoxy)  I had to do a little math to arrive at a realistic winding speed which was ultimately determined by the diameter of the circle that I located the fittings on. 


The shot above is approaching the end of a pot pull.  Marilyn’s job at this point is to shriek when she first sights the crab trap and my job is to shut the winch off.  If this continues to work as well as it did today I think I’ll rig up a remote control for the windlass switch.  The bonus of my system compared to one of the commercial systems is that mine leaves our lines neatly coiled ready to store with the traps whereas the commercial systems would leave the line in a tangled heap on the deck waiting to be coiled by hand.  Once we’re done winding up the line we take a couple of double sided velcro straps, tie off the coil of line, slip it off the “drum” and store it inside whatever trap it belongs to.  QED.

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