Friday, May 13, 2016

About that dock...

Dock in place at the Seagull Republic.
SO: we had a house built to finished lock-up ( huge milestone), but no dock. There were a number of heart-stopping moments during our application, but it was finally approved. By then the concrete platform was ready, the raft had been built of local cedar on top of fully enclosed foam floats. We had to add floats to support the weight of the lower end of the ramp. It was temporarily installed to check it would float on a 1' tide. The process took months, however, the luxury of being able to pull up to a working dock and offload materials without slipping and sliding over the rocks (and suffering many wounds along the way in the case of Nev, who did a lot of the precarious lugging), had to be experienced to be fully understood.

'Tis indeed a thing of beauty and yet another milestone.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

I was so excited, I forgot to blog.

I note with horror that the last post on my blog is... er... let's just say it's old and out-of-date. An update might be in order.
The helicopter lift from barge to lot.

You see, in 2013 we took the bull by the horns (read: maxed the mortgage) and built our house on the Seagull Republic. It was hugely exciting. And not a bit like the last post of 2012 suggested it might be. Or where. I wrote about it in Cottage Magazine at the time.

There was a barge. There was a helicopter. There was a fantastic bunch of amazing carpenters and assistants and a very high tide at exactly the right moment. Let's start at the new beginning.

Initially we were planning to build on the southern tip of our 10 acres, but in truth a seasonal dock was not what we wanted: too much work and not exactly conducive to all-year island living. We did in fact have an A-frame fabricated to go with our 50' aluminum ramp, but on a specific visit to the western side, where the bunky is, we had the aha moment looking at our channel: why aren't we building here? By that time, we had discovered the cute cabins made by Ajia in North Vancouver - pre-panelised and a lot more affordable in many ways because of that. Plus they know what they're doing when it comes to boat access properties (although by then I'd done all the homework and had all the local logistics sorted out).

I tweaked the floorplan, flipping it so the front door was where it should be, and adjusting the windows for heat gain in winter and cross ventilation in summer. And after much bobbing about in the boat taking bearings with our iPhones, and plenty of sketches and drawings and writing a management plan, and, and, and, we submitted our dock permit.

Anyone who has a dock in BC waters knows that the waiting period for the permit is long. Exceptionally long. So it was that we started building without a dock. Our old clothesline was all the crew had. With all the hard, sweaty labour that had gone into building, by hand, our little bunky, we just didn't have the heart to take it down. It got moved to a new spot instead.

Moving the bunky.
Given that I wanted to fell as few trees as possible, our laydown area was limited and it was decided to build the foundations and floor so that crates could be delivered onto the subfloor. It was early March, it was wet as only our Wet Coast can be, and often it was around 3 degrees first thing in the morning. There was a lot of mud.

If you're wondering how the little machine arrived, it was dropped off by a smaller barge from a neighbouring island. It also delivered other building materials for the foundations and floor. The winch broke at one point which almost - so almost! - resulted in a pallet of concrete landing in the ocean. On another delivery, it was so overloaded that its wake damaged a neighbour's bullrails on their dock...

The morning of the main delivery by big barge/helicopter (we did the cost analysis and this worked out the cheapest way to get 'er done) was cold and clear, the Thursday before Good Friday, in fact.

Exactly 2 hours of buzz later, and we had crates of everything from metal roof to wall panels and construction adhesive planted all over. We left after an early first lunch perched on what is now our living room.

Wall panels standing.The crew must've worked liked demons, because when we went back the next morning, we had walls! The joys of pre-panelised building. The guys had also put together a great storage area under the floor to get things out of the rain.

For those three months I was so busy managing the budget, deliveries, orders and whatever else, not to mention being permanently cold and wet, I generally forgot all else, including blogging.

By then we had a house, completed to finished lock-up - looks finished from the outside, but nothing is done on the inside. Plenty more posts about all that to follow.