Monday, August 29, 2005

Heron Lake marina, New Mexico Sailing Club, Aug. 28

B and C dock boats, Heron Lake Marina on Sunday, Aug. 28, 2005. View from end of A.
Needed: just a few more good boats.

Sunset over Heron Lake, New Mexico. August 28, 2005; view of B and C docks with the Narrows leading to the main body of the lake.

C Dock, sunset, Sunday, August 28, 2005

Friday, August 26, 2005

New Mexico Sailing Club, August 26, 2005, slip priority

$155.24 looks like the net amount that most folks will wind up paying for their slips after they receive their refund. $155.24 is the amount that people should pay if they haven't paid for a slip yet and don't have any special circumstances, such as work credits carried over from 2003.

Also, during Labor Day Weekend, Rich & Sue Strasia plan to set up a “poker rally” sailing race – it should be a bunch of fun. There might also be a semi-long-race if someone also wants to set that up. And, we should have another semi-potluck dinner on the Saturday, August 3, before labor day (you bring dessert or something yummy to share), and maybe a surprise the evening of Sunday, August 4. So, come! Stay!


Some people may misunderstand how sublets and the priority list work. Here’s my try at explaining it; if I’m wrong (it wouldn’t be the first time this week or even today!) please let me know. This system was originally set up back when there was a long waiting list for slips and every slip was occupied. It was designed so that a member who couldn’t put his or her boat in its regular slip could find [corrected] someone to “sublet” the slip (or buoy) for a season. The member was responsible for making sure that the slip (or buoy) fee got paid to the club and could not sublet for more than two seasons. The system gave new members a chance to experience the pleasure and convenience of having a boat in the slip and participating fully in our seasonal community.

If a person couldn’t be found to sublet the slip or the sublet arrangement fell through for any reason, the regular slip renter had to pony up the full rental fee or surrender all rights to the slip or buoy in question. Either the slip renter paid up and retained his or her spot on the slip priority list, or gave up the slip and was removed from the slip priority list (if desired, back onto the waiting list of people who didn’t have any rights to a slip or buoy).

With the drought and damage to the marina, some changes have been forced upon the club. The “grace period” for maintaining slip rights was extended because of the drought. Some members have been moved to allow for disassembly of part of A dock and repairs to other parts of the marina, and the slip and buoy committee may have to move more boats to optimize marina usage and allow for safety during future marina repairs. Several slips have been lost, for now, with the partial closure of A dock. However, the club lost more members than slips, and we do not at the moment have the luxury of a long list of would-be sub-letters waiting to rent slips. For the moment, we have more slips than boats.

In spite of all this, the basic rules have remained the same. Long-term slip tenants are still responsible for their slip fees. Because the club does not have a list of people willing to step forward to sublet, slip users face the choice of either arranging to pay their fees or risk losing their right to a slip.

Any changes to this existing policy would need to be approved by the board. The board does have the option of giving extensions or providing some form of relief where true, unavoidable hardship exists and to try to take the action that its members deem to be in the best interests of the club. So, if you don’t like the rules, be prepared to bend the ears of your board members with a polite, well-reasoned argument to support your solution. Or, volunteer to serve on our committees and board so you can help write the rules! It’s your club and your leaders are waiting to hear your voice with your suggestions, your solutions, your plans, and your offers of help. As they say, “Lead, Follow, or yield to those boats on Starboard Tack!”

It is understandable that some members may have made other plans for the remainder of the season or be engaged with other activities and conflicts now that summer is winding down and the school year has begun. Still, many weeks of fine weather remain for sailing. The area usually enjoys mild, “Indian summer” conditions in the late summer and early fall, followed by a period of crisp mornings and mild days as fall colors begin to emerge in the mountains. If at all possible, please join us; launch your boats if you haven’t already and join the rest of us in appreciating the beauty and peace of this special time of year. If not, please send your slip fee or buoy fee (NMSC, PO Box 1795, Bernalillo, NM 87004) if you haven’t already so that you can retain your place on the slip and buoy permanent priority list. And, please show up for our events, with or without boat. That way, you’ll be doing your part to support the club and the people who have worked so hard to salvage a sailing experience for you out of the devastation of the drought and its damages.

The outlook for the 2006 season will not be assured for some months to come, but already the prognosis is brighter than at the beginning of this year. Unlike the last two years, we expect to retain some water in Willow Creek Cove during the coming winter and spriing [corrected]. Perhaps even it will be enough to keep the marina floating freely or else it will be enough to minimize damage and make it much easier to get the marina set up next year than it was this year. With this year’s surplus of close to 40,000 acre feet of water, the club and marina face a brighter season than a year ago. We are assured of a reasonable sailing season even if we get as little as 25 to 50% of the normal 96,200 acre-foot “firm yield” through the tunnel to fill the lake. If we are so fortunate as to get another excellent snowmelt year such as this one, then we would have a guarantee of sailing through 2007 as well as 2006. Also, we have insurance coverage in place through most of next summer (with grace period, essentially through all the summer), so that will be one less obstacle with which to contend.

Wind and water await you, along with friendly sailors and a snug port (the harbor, not the wine, though that or maybe even some free beer could probably be arranged if you say the right thing to the right “old salt”).

So – come, play, eat, drink, visit, help, talk, play, explore, race, cruise, paddle, and… SAIL.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

New Mexico Sailing Club, Heron Lake Marina Details

Overall plan of Heron Lake marina in northern New Mexico, home of the New Mexico Sailing Club.

Main body of marina, showing three long piers and most finger piers.

Details of pier connections.

Flotation unit (finger piers)

Notes on construction diagram.

New Mexico Sailing Club - marina, August 2005, Heron Lake

Heron Lake is a cold-water, high-altitude lake in northern New Mexico near the mountains of southern Colorado. It is the home of the New Mexico Sailing Club. Much of the shoreline is part of Heron Lake State Park. Southwestern anglers have a unique opportunity here to fish for kokanee salmon and lake trout. Heron Lake is a no-wake lake, a quiet and peaceful retreat from so-called "civilization" and all its stresses. The New Mexico Sailing Club marina is a special place for southwestern sailors to gather and call their own.

The New Mexico Sailing Club marina at Heron Lake looks much better with boats starting to move in and fill the slips. Just add water -- the results are truly wonderful. When full, Heron Lake has about 400,000 acre feet, 6,000 surface acres, and an elevation of about 7,184 feet above sea level.

What's up there?
A bird? A plane?
Cat Woman?

Not every club has this level and quality of masthead service.

Other clubs' marinas may have piers that stay in one place all the time, but things are on the move at the New Mexico Sailing Club!

A new way to re-position our marina: kayak power!

Panorama looking west over the New Mexico Sailing Club marina toward the Narrows and the main body of Heron Lake, August 20, 2005.

Then: Heron Lake marina in mid-April 2005, New Mexico Sailing Club

By mid-April of 2005, Heron Lake was still about three feet below the level of the marina. In a week it would touch the marina, starting a new chapter in the fight to revive it and the New Mexico Sailing Club.

Marina shelter (bottom left) is used during happier times for cookouts and social gatherings.

View is to west, toward main body of Heron Lake. Willow Creek enters from top right. Boat ramp is about 900 feet to the left (south).

B-C connecting walkway bent because of grounding over a small ridge.

Uneveness of the bottom caused flexing and some damage to delicate substructures, including sheared connectors, bolts pulled through steel webbing, and reinforcing structures swallowed down into the silt.

End of C south looking toward Willow Creek channel.

Repeated drying and partial re-filling of Willow Creek cove buried some of the trusses, especially the west end of A south, deep under the silt. Other trusses were partially bent or deformed, making them very difficult to re-attach to the floating part of the marina. Some replacement parts such as truss braces had to be fabricated to replace damaged or missing parts. The work would not have gotten very far without the help of some dedicated volunteers, including our diver, Ray.

The once-desolate scene has since become lively as the New Mexico Sailing Club has re-opened its marina, which in July and August of 2005 was floating in 27 to 28 feet of water.

Monday, August 22, 2005

NMSC Heron Lake Marina Weekend of August 19--21

What a gorgeous, wonderful weekend!

It started with the Heron Lake Town Hall meeting, where we got some good information about the lake and made the Powers That Be more aware of our sailors' situation and needs.

A small board and member meeting set the slip refund amount at 65%. Several folks went sailing on Saturday, plus we had young people and dogs and kayaks and things happening.

The potluck dinner on Saturday evening worked out very well -- burgers and dogs, Greek salad, beans, shish-ka-bob, cake, cookies, watermelon, and a pie heated on the grill, plus plenty of beverages. We'll do something like that again for Labor Day weekend. No one went hungry.

A brief rain squall was the set-up for a fantastic double/double arch rainbow to the east of the marina. The sunset to the west bathed boats and shore with a wonderful soft glow that reflected from the harbor waters.

Back at our cabin, I played with my blocks (moving 75-pound landscaping blocks).

By Sunday, several more boats had moved into the marina, so we're probably up to 25 or some such. Some potential new members came by during the weekend and received applications; one even left a check for membership and sublet fees.

The lake level is fairly steady these days; it went down three inches and lost 1250 acre feet in three days due to a weekend release of about 1500 acre feet. The lake is about 10 inches below this summer's highest elevation.

Looking forward...
The VHF radio will probably be working soon; this week's dockmasters will be working on it.
Several tasks still need to be done in the marina, such as attaching the short truss between C29/C31 and the connecting walkway, and removing a few finger piers from the west part of A south. These might be used to make a temporary walkway/gangway to the "isthmus" until a heavy-duty floating gangway can be set up to receive the big, heavy, 64-foot fixed gangway next spring.

The normal, "firm yield" for the annual diversions of water into Heron is 96,200 acre feet in a season. If we get 25% of the firm yield, that should suffice to get us most of the way through the summer of 2006. With 50%, we should pretty much be assured of a full season. If we get another good year with around 120% or more, that would pretty much guarantee that the club would have a 2007 sailing season.

Quote from Carol Anne (Five O'Clock Somewhere):

This has been a good year for rainbows

We've now had the third utterly awesome multiple rainbow this summer. This time, we were at the marina, celebrating its official opening, after a long drought that had left the marina grounded, and then major work to rebuild the marina and also to get insurance so we could reopen. Pat, who is the vice-commodore of the sailing club that runs the marina, volunteered WCMIK and me to make a Greek salad, and the commodore volunteered to grill up burgers and dogs. All members were invited to bring potluck side dishes to join in the feast.

As we were finishing up dinner, a small rain squall blew up. And then the sun came out, and we were looking at a full-arch double rainbow, and then a third rainbow emerged beneath the first. And the sun was shining on the clouds as well, so there were shifting hues of rosy gold reflecting from the clouds onto the water and the boats. And the camera was up on shore in the truck, but even if we did have the camera, it couldn't possibly capture the whole awesome light that surrounded everything and everyone.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Chama Valley services

sort of a comment following up on Carol Anne's about service and hotels and such....

Roger & Barbara at the Shamrock Hotel / Chama Choo Choo. Roger can also tell you all about trains and they have a gift shop / art / t-shirt / coin-sculpture / fine/train art sort of gallery that's just plain fun to wander through. Of course, if you want to get into the hotel business and want to live right next to where the coal-burning steam locomotives start and end their day, they'll make you a deal on a hotel of your own... it's officially for sale, though things happen slowly in the Chama Valley. Oh, and there's an ice cream and fudge shop right next door.

The danish rolls for breakfast take-out are also good at the Stone House Lodge. And then there's the chocolate cake they baked yesterday morning ... with a little bit of a soft-serve ice cream accent. Mariln and her family are very much a local institution. The cabins overlook El Vado Lake. The Stone House is a place to have a campfire, take a break from fishing or hunting, rent a boat, duck into the store & restaurant for a bit of ice cream or some essential item, or just vegetate.

Carol Anne learned that she enjoyed cooking a lot more when she was on vacation and free of big-city and job stresses when we rented cabins at the Stone House Lodge. The ability to cook there led Carol Anne to insist that we get a decent kitchen when we shopped for our cabin.
Which segues somehow into next Saturday's dessert potluck following the New Mexico Sailing Club dinner at the Heron Lake Marina (Sat. Aug. 20th, 2005).

Other places we've enjoyed in the Chama Valley include

The Guest Cottages at Tierra Wools in Los Ojos -- nicely furnished and sited in a very old-timey northern New Mexico village.

High Country restaurant, lounge, package store -- some of the best food in Chama and a meeting room and patio in back; also a nice Sunday brunch with a chef on hand for custom omelettes. Probably the best place around for music and Jerry (Muddled Ramblings) was able to give the bar a good recommendation.

Elkhorn Cafe -- south edge of Chama, good sandwiches and such as reasonable prices. Small staff, so we do sometimes avoid it if it looks too overrun with turistas. The Law eats there and some of the dishes are named after various branches of the Law.

Cooks and Books -- next to the Chama Valley Mart. Order sandwiches or ribs or whatever they have that's special. Shelves of books to browse and friendly staff.

Osier Cafeteria (just over the Colorado line, and driving there isn't easy). Where the train stops. Steve knows how to run a cafeteria and we could probably devote a whole posting to the desserts there. The meal is included with a ticket on the train (the Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad).

A sadder, different example -- Viva Vera's Mexican restaurant died when its owner, a longtime Chama institution passed away. My impression was that Vera Alcon's descendents who were involved with the restaurant didn't have nearly the commitment to service or friendliness to customers that she'd had. I remember encountering a son or nephew or some such who seemed to be a little annoyed by the nuisance of having to bother with customers, even semi-regulars.

A different kind of example -- The Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad (, ). Very much one of a kind, even among scenic railroads. It, along with the Durango and Silverton in Colorado, are remnants of the old Denver & Rio Grande narrow-gauge line into the mountains and mining country. The railroad reached Chama by Christmas of 1880 and has been a vital part of the local economy and history ever since. The ancient engines give new meaning to "takes a licking and keeps on ticking" though an enormous amount of work, including volunteer work, is needed to keep the line open and the trains running. The C&TSRR bills itself as the longest and highest, with more than 60 miles to ride and reaching an elevation of just over 10,000 feet above sea level. Also spectacular is the scenery, with its seasonal changes and variations. Particularly special to use are the friendly train crews and volunteer docents. Gerald also once has a lot of fun getting to make some comments on Colorado's "Rail Journeys" program, which showed on their public television station.

Obviously, we're going to have to start posting some pictures of trains and local scenery.

New Mexico Sailing Club, Heron Lake marina update

Monday, August 15
Heron is holding pretty steady at 7152.66' elevation, 230,928 acre feet. Rain in southern Colorado and northern New Mexico has sent about 1000 acre feet into the lake in the last 72 hours. Modest releases from the lake have let out a net 700 acre feet in the last 72 hours but the lake is even for the past week.

The marina is open, our second set of dockmasters has gone on duty, and yesterday we were up to 17 boats in the marina. Several tasks still need to be done. Perhaps our most urgent tasks are figuring out a way to hook up the short truss at the east end of C south and getting the gangway working. However, things are gradually coming together; the grills are running (grills inside were scrubbed) and the area under the pavillion has been cleared. This weekend's crews reported some good sailing and a gorgeous double rainbow.

Don't forget the "Heron Lake Town Hall" Meeting on Friday, August 19th, 6:00 to 8:00 P.M. at the state park visitors center, sponsored by the Friends of El Vado and Heron Lakes. State Parks director Dave Simon and his boss, Energy, Minerals, & Natural Resources cabinet secretary Joanna Prukop, plan to be there. So, what are your plans?

This Saturday morning (August 20, starting about 10 AM) we will have a board and member meeting, then perhaps a fun race if there's someone to organize it, then a dinner (salad and meat provided; bring a dessert or something yummy to share).

Letter sent to one New Mexico Sailing Club member with concerns....
The refund amount will be the topic of this coming Saturday morning's NMSC board meeting (about 10 AM), which will be followed by a general meeting, possibly a fun race if there's someone to organize it, then a dinner (meat & salad will be provided; bring a dessert or something yummy to share). Also this weekend will be the Heron Lake town hall meeting, Friday 6 to 8 PM at the state park visitor center.

I sure hope you can get to the lake soon. Please come, with or without Cacti in tow. Our own teenager is busy with school, scout, and orchestra stuff (and went to Philmont this summer) but he plans to be on the lake most of the coming weekends and would like to have some buddies for kayaking and sailing. It was fun watching the double rainbow this weekend and seeing boats coming in and out of the marina; I think we're up to 17 boats so far.

something sent out to someone else who had some concerns....

Hi , I can't speak for everyone, but I'm just grateful to see some boats in the marina and people going out sailing and using the marina. There's a potential for at least a couple of months of sailing through October, depending upon weather, and any chance to get on the water feels wonderful after the long drought. .... The income statement is not really an issue, since this isn't anything like a normal year. Depending on how much of a refund the board votes for, the club is extremely likely to have more expenses that we will receive from dues and slip income. (Insurance, for example, costs around 25 to 30% more than it used to and is spread among fewer people than in years past. However, we do have the "cushion" of the insurance settlement that we hope to save and grow so we can eventually replace the marina with something more grounding-resistant.)

The refund/pro-rating/slip fee adjustment issue has been discussed at the last couple of board meetings, but couldn't be handled very well at all until we finally got the insurance a week ago and knew when we'd really open. Until then, and especially earlier in the season, we were "flying blind" with way too many unknowns and too little information. Would the actual lake level come anywhere near predictions? Could we get the marina patched up? Would any of the buoys be usable? Would we get insurance, and when, and what kind, and at what price? Would there be any problems with the state parks folks? Would we be able to dredge up the buried trusses? Could we free one of the reinforcing cables and fabricate and install replacement truss braces? On and on it went; a relatively small group of people has been very gradually getting answers, failing at some things and succeeding at others.

Until very recently, we could do little more than speculate, hope, and do our darndest to rattle the cages of the insurance folks and keep plugging away at fixing the marina, sometimes with very few volunteers, especially as the season wore on. When a couple of people brought up the issue of slip refunds, I told them what I knew and passed their email on so the board would know about it. Where there was real information of some sort or another, it was put on the website (mostly in the "blog" section of "community exchange", since we don't yet have "forums" set up). So, you could have read all about marina re-construction and lake levels, and wonderful things like that, along with occasional updates on the frustrating hunt for insurance. I think the willingness to work with members has been there all along, but it's been hard to proceed until the club succeeded with its near-life-or-death issues.

Late Saturday afternoon there was a glorious rainbow to the east of the marina. It was a treat to see Raph hold up his young daughter so she could see the spectacle.

Please show up this coming weekend, with or without your boat in tow. Alan and I helped each other launch our Macs the other day, so it ought to be snap to launch your boat if you think there might be any chance at all for you to get on the water and have some fun. There will be the Heron Lake town hall meeting Friday at 6, then a board and member meeting around 10-ish Saturday morning, and then dinner on Saturday evening; the gas grills are now at the marina and their grills are the cleanest they've been in a while.

something sent out to a marina making company

Hi Roger,
Thanks for your quick e-mail and your interest in our marina and what could be done about it by you and the Shoreline/Galvafoam folks.

The marina is in a protected cove near the head of Heron Lake, in northern New Mexico about 300 miles upstream from Elephant Butte and only about 15 miles south of the Colorado border. Our family's boat is migratory and we sail in Elephant Butte during the early spring and fall, so we're quite familiar with the Butte and the marinas there as well as with our New Mexico Sailing Club marina at Heron.

The creek that feeds the lake comes into Willow Creek cove, then proceeds through a half-mile-long canyon called "The Narrows" before going into the main body of the lake, which has 6,000 surface acres and 400,000 acre feet when full. The cove typically freezes in the depths of winter along with a portion of the main lake, with the ice disappearing in late winter or early spring. The cove acts as a silt trap for the lake and has accumulated about 25 feet of silt since the lake was first filled back in 1973. So, the bottom under the marina is relatively level and soft, except for a small ridge rising near one corner and the deeper creek bed about 30 to 40 yards beyond the end of the marina.

The marina is now floating in 28 feet of water. The lake is now 58% full and its surface elevation is about 7,153 feet above sea level/benchmark. If the lake were at spillway level, the marina would be in 61 feet of water. Because the cove bottom is fairly level, horizontal movement of the marina would not have much effect on the depth it floats in except near the shoreline. Also, the need to keep clear of the creek channel and maintain a channel for the nearby boat ramp somewhat limit movement of the marina within the cove, though there could well be room to add on to the existing structure.

During the first 30 years of the lake's history, water levels fluctuated within a relatively narrow band, with the lake remaining predictably between 50% and 100% full. Various municipalities are entitled to empty about 1/4 of the lake each year, which is replenished annually through southern Colorado snowmelt water diverted through the Azotea Tunnel under the Continental Divide.

Water was in good supply throughout much of the lake's history, until a severe drought hit the southwest about five years ago. At its low point, the lake was down to 27% of capacity and the marina was about 7 feet _above_ the water level. (Without the silt accumulation, we'd never have grounded.) The lake has to be about 38 to 40 percent full for the marina to float and about 70 percent full for the normal gangway connection to shore to be safe and effective. (A temporary path is now being used that limits marina accessibility.)

In the summer of 2003, concerns about possible changes in the application of water laws combined with the drought to cause a faster and greater than usual lowering of the lake. Before the marina grounded, the club took the precaution of disconnecting the cable-and-truss substructure from the main pier and finger pier structures so that the weight of the piers wouldn't crush and buckle the substructure.

However, the substructure trusses were delicate enough that even slight unevenness of the bottom, combined with repeated floodings and dryings and inundation by silt, caused warping and distortion of some of the truss structures, and localized failures in a couple of instances. Also, a few braces and assorted bits of hardware disappeared into the silt. On one of the piers, a couple of truss segments were buried in at least three feet of silt and were not feasible to recover.

Most of the marina has been repaired, with one area that will not be used because of the missing truss segments. However, the grounding has accelerated the aging of the marina and so the club needs to plan for its replacement. The club and its previous insuror settled a claim for damage and business interruption and the club now has funds to pay for partial replacement of the marina. The club paid off its loan for the exisitng marina just after the drought forced the marina's closure.

Among the several options open to the club are (1) trying to stay in the cove, and (2) moving to the main lake.

(1) The cove is in a beautiful location that provides good natural protection and is near a mast-up boat storage lot and boat ramp. The cove is also relatively quiet and private. However, continued silting of the cove, more intensive use of water resources in the region, and future droughts could cause repeated groundings, which would eventually degrade and destroy the existing marina and shorten or cancel future sailing seasons.

(2) Moving to the main lake would incur many expenses, including assembly and installation of a floating wave attenuator (tire wall). The existing marina may not be in good enough condition to survive partial disassembly and re-assembly without major, costly repairs. Permits, paperwork, road access, parking, mast-up storage lot, and boat ramp improvements are examples of issues that would have to be addressed with Heron Lake State Park. Aside from the difficulty of moving the existing delicate structure, and the need to partially disassemble the marina to get it through "the narrows", movement would be made easier because we have no utilities to worry about other than a simple pump out hose that goes to a sewage tank on land.

The state parks people know that we might have to move someday and do have a few sites in mind. An advantage of a main lake location would be access to deep water so that the marina could be repositioned to accomodate changes in lake level (though we would need to develop a more extensive ramp/gangway/path from the marina to the shore than we now have).

I think that the club members hope to hang on for at least a little longer in our existing site. That would give us time to recover from the demoralization of our two-year closure, fatten our bank account, and replace part of the marina with something that's more grounding-resistant and easy to live with, then replace more parts of the marina. If in a couple of years or so we have to move into the main lake, by then the club would have experience with the new design and perhaps funds to replace the whole marina. A possible advantage of a new design might perhaps be more variety of slip sizes; right now we have a few 20' slips with all the rest being identical 25' slips, yet we have had boat lengths from 15' to 30' to accomodate.

I could also send you some pictures (compressed jpeg format) of the marina in its cove. I hope this gives you a better picture of our situation and whether it might be something for which you'd have a solution. We will have volunteer "dockmasters" on duty at the marina until October 22. Usually a few of the club officers or board members are there on weekends; I will be there about half the weekends. I would be happy to provide you with detailed driving directions to the marina or any information you might need about travel and area accomodations. Some good club members for you to talk with might be

Gary ------ -- professional engineer, very familiar with our existing marina, one of the people interested in buying and installing a partial marina replacement for evaluations;
Ray ------ -- professional in a metal fabrication company, SCUBA diver who has very hands-on knowledge of the marina structure and its condition, also one of the people to talk to about marina replacement;

Also, Al -----, who was very active in disassembly of the marina two years ago and past commodore of the club; Lisa ------, club commodore; Roger -------, club treasurer and webmaster; Gary -------, who is very familiar with the marina; and Pete -------, who led a work crew to "excavate" buried trusses. Also, quite a few club members have served on marina volunteer work crews at one time or another and know the marina very well and several also have memories of the construction of the present marina.

Disclaimer -- Of course, what I've given you are my interpretations and opinions; other folks may have better knowledge of what's what and what needs to be done or what can or should be done by the club about our marina. I will gladly defer to the experts and of course to the judgement and decisions of our club board and officers.

Again thanks, and thanks also for your patience in reading this long explanation. Let me know what you think.

Roger S----- writes:

We would be very interested in working with you on a plan to avoid damage in low water conditions. How much damage did you sustain during the low water. I assume you are on Elephant Butte Reservoir? I was at the lake during the low water. It was unbelievable.
What is your timetable for doing this? Are there any bathometric data available to know how far the marina would move to stay floating in those conditions? I would prefer to schedule an on site visit to know for sure how to develop your design. Every marina and condition is different and custom. There are no two that need the exact same thing.

Thank you for the inquiry. I look forward to working with you.
Roger S------ Shoremaster, Inc.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

New Mexico Sailing Club marina at Heron Lake, New Mexico

The New Mexico Sailing Club marina at Lake Heron is now open.

Boats are moving in, though we still have some jobs to work on to get the marina shipshape.

There should be plenty of folks around who can help with launching or docking this weekend.

On Friday, August 19 from 6 to 8 p.m., the Friends of El Vado and Heron Lakes will host the Heron Lake Town Hall meeting at the Heron Lake State Park Visitor's Center. NMSP director Dave Simon and EMNRD cabinet secretary Joanna Prukop plan to attend along with leaders and folks from the Friends and the New Mexico Sailing Club. So, where will you be? This is your chance to make suggestions and be heard.

On Saturday, August 20, 2005, the New Mexico Sailing Club will have a brief board meeting followed by a general membership meeting. Later that day, we hope to have some sort of "fun race" to celebrate the re-opening of the Heron Lake marina. Late that afternoon, we plan to have a dinner for all members and friends. The club and hosts will provide meat for grilling and salad; members and guests are asked to bring a potluck dessert or something yummy to share.

Questions? Let someone know.

Rumor has it that the festival cut of Pirates would emerge from the editing suite this afternoon (Thursday), ready to hop onto a plane with Jerry to San Diego.

Friday Aug. 19, 6--8 p.m., will be the Heron Lake Town Hall meeting at the State Park visitor center.

Saturday, Aug. 20, will be an NMSC board meeting, then general meeting, followed by a fun race, and then dinner. Club will provide meat and salad; members are asked to bring a favorite dessert or other goodies to share.

Monday, August 08, 2005

2005, August 8, Monday; El Presidente Bush plus boat in water

By now the President has left my workplace so things should be getting back to normal. Okay, so he was at an auditorium a few blocks away, but the visit by him and our senators and other high muckety-mucks did create a bit of a stir.

Meanwhile, Philee and Jerry are back in Albu-turkey to do some serious film editing and this afternoon they plan to bring a serious weapon into the editing suite; Gerald will accompany them.

We launched and put our boat into the Heron marina yesterday -- the insurance coverage became effective Friday and we look forward to lots of sailing and boating out of there in the coming weekends. Heron Lake is of course one of our favorite places in the world. The surrounding trees, cliffs, and mountains are gorgeous of course, and the lake itself has many moods, from lazy warm calm summer hours and clear cold crystalline nights with diamond-hard-bright stars to the roar of tempest-tossed winds and waves.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Thursday update, August 4

Gerald plans to go camping the weekend after next with his troop.

Carol Anne and I might be busy with the opening of the Heron Lake marina. We now have a definite quote for marina insurance for the club; if we accept it and get a binder and policy then the marina could be open very soon. On the other hand, that Saturday, in the middle of the campout, is the court of honor, and Gerald will have earned some badges. It may be another busy weekend.

This weekend may feature marina work, running up probably to Pagosa Springs for heavy wall blocks, then a Shroyer Center ice cream social, all on Saturday. Plan to make cabin mortgage payment tomorrow, bring up firewood and maybe beer for Carol Anne. Probably will leave chainsaw behind; could use a break.

I volunteered to understudy the troop "popcorn kernel". That was very much a lesser evil since Gerald's troop is also looking for a new Scoutmaster. Monday Aug. 29 is the popcorn kickoff. Gerald will also be selling wreaths/poinsettias for AYO, luminarias for the Scout troop, and maybe stuff for school orchestra. Gerald needs to work on swimming for his Scouts so he can finish his last 1st class requirement; he also got elected assistant senior patrol leader tonight.

Not a single direct word or call from or sighting of Philee or Jerry. I was hoping to reach Jerry so I could return a couple of movie props to their owners. The hotelsmobile is here, but ne bratri Seeger. Kdo Philee? Kdo Jerry? Hmmm, are they still in the film editing suite or did the aliens get them?

Gerald had a good Hummingbird experience with the youth orchestra and felt well prepared. The only big downside was the food poisoning/food bug that hit maybe half of the orchestra on Tuesday night; for some members it was serious enough to make them miss some rehearsals.

Philmont photo with Gerald

Gerald (front row left) and part of his Scout troop after their Philmont trek. The trek covered 64 miles (102 km) of rugged country -- one day they gained 3,000 feet (900 m) uphill and then went 1,000 feet down a very steep hill to arrive at their campsite. Gerald received a couple of blisters on his feet along with some scratches incurred while managing a stubborn burro, but had a great time and is ready to return to Philmont.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Praha -- svatebni' fotos z Phil & Barbara

Jerry & Philee (dvoje Seeger bratři?)

Barbara & Phil, mother & father of the groom
(mataka & otec při novomanžel)

Marianna & Philee with wedding cake -- dort je nakrajen!

Marianna & Philee
(hloupy' u'smĕv)

"New" town hall (Novome'stska radnice), Praha -- Karlovo namesti 1 )

Philee & Marianna, květy u'smĕv
Philee & Marianna, svatebni' polevka -- wedding soup (Novome'stska Restaurace, Praha)

Monday, August 01, 2005

Marina at Lake Heron

One of the volunteer jobs I do is help out with the New Mexico Sailing Club.
After many hours of work, we've pretty well repaired its marina at Heron Lake in far northern New Mexico. It was damaged by grounding during the drought, but now is in twenty-eight feet of water, and would be ready to re-open if we could just get liability insurance (which is required of us). Sadly, getting that insurance has turned out to be more complicated than expected. The marina is placed in a cove that is almost landlocked from the rest of the lake, giving the marina quite a lot of protection from storms. Access from the cove to the main lake is via a half-mile-long passage called "The Narrows", through which sailboats often must make several tacks en route to the lake, and which really is rather narrow.

Heron Lake is a beautiful place in the high country, with views of trees, meadows, hills, cliffs, and mountains. Its current elevation is 7153' feet, and the lake and surrounding areas are refreshingly cool compared to lower elevation areas of the state. Heron is roughly oval-shaped, unlike some long, skinny lakes, and has about 10 square miles when it is all the way full. Anglers can catch cold-water fish such as lake trout and kokanee salmon. Heron is a no-visible-wake lake, so it remains relatively quiet and peaceful. The state park there is also relatively uncrowded. It's a great place for fishing, sailing, kayaking, and just plain enjoying nature.

End of July, 2005

Worked on the lumberjack thing some during the week and took some firewood north. Checked on marina, brought family south, got CA a ticket for the Duke City Shoot-Out Digital Film Festival, which we all attended.

Philee & Jerry and the editing crew overcame a huge MacIntosh--computer-related disaster well enough to win the audience favorite film and best actor prizes for Pirates. We saw plenty of nifty short films. There was some disorganization or some technical problems, so the show started about a half hour late and organizers gave up on reserved seating.

One gripe: Flanking the lectern to either side of the announcers were freakin' fake Saguaro cacti. Where did whoever did this think they were, Tucson? I can't imagine a native New Mexican set dresser doing something so dumb. Sure, someone might come up with the lamebrain lazy-butt excuse, "We were trying for a general southwest ambience" and it doesn't matter that saguaros don't grow within a few hundred miles of Albuquerque.

Yeah, right. And when we dress the motion picture academy set at the next Academy Awards, we'll be sure to include the coast redwoods illustrated in their native San Diego habitat, photos of Joshua trees digitally superimposed on Melrose Avenue, the giant Sequoias shown in their home of Catalina Island, eucalyptus trees growing on Half Dome, and Monterey Cypress trees pictured thriving in Palm Springs for a "General California ambience" and see how folks like it. Freakin' 'zonie saguaros.

We also went to the party after the film and awards ceremony but that was excruciatingly painful. Bought overpriced drinks, stood around for an hour an a half waiting to see if anyone we knew would show up while feeling utterly out of place and mentally kicking ourselves for being idiotic enough to go there. (Not to mention hungry, since we hadn't had anything to eat since lunch -- we gave up on the party at midnight and went to the Frontier, where we saw some folks who'd been at the film ceremony among the large crowd there.)