Saturday, April 17, 2010

Wet Weekend at the High Lake

Today was forecast to be a continuation of last night's soggy experience, when the hillside rills and rivulets turned into roaring cataracts as torrential rains soaked the high country of far northern New Mexico. Those of us who planned to participate in the work party for the New Mexico Sailing Club's Heron Lake Marina expected to be working in the rain and prepared accordingly. For example, I appeared in rubber boots.

As it turned out, the heavens had essentially emptied themselves out overnight and today was almost entirely free of rain and even saw a bit of sunshine and blue sky in the afternoon. Last night's rain (and almost an inch of snow as well) was replaced by a mild spring day.

That let the crew get plenty of work done, including unlocking gates; setting out fire extinguishers, life rings, and solar lights; screwing down loose deck boards; cleaning and putting three club dinghies in the water; moving the work barge; re-marking numbers for the slips; installing the VHF radio; and mounting a nice new sign on one side of the marine pavilion.

Moving the work barge turned into a bit of a workout because it's motor wouldn't stay running; it might have an issue with something clogged in the carburetor or perhaps a fuel filter or some such. The engine would run, but quit after from a few seconds to perhaps a minute. So, we wound up doing some paddling.

One other measure of recent rains was found in a metal garbage can located under the eaves of the roof of the vault toilet above the marina. The cover had blown off and the metal can had collected water until it was overflowing... about 40 or more gallons. The little creek that we cross en route to our cabin was also running high, reaching a flow rate of perhaps a thousand cubic feet per second and even now running at probably 800 cfs or thereabouts.

As I write this, the season's first dockmaster has probably just put his boat into its slip. Mark will have one other boat to look after; while we were setting up the marina the first boat of the season arrived, a Hunter 240 named "Desert Bleu".

It's also good that I wasn't running too late because it turned out that I was the first volunteer to get there with keys!

After the work party, there was a short board meeting to make decisions about ongoing marina renovation and projects. It looks like the sailing club will be purchasing a truckload of encased foam "Rhino" floats to replace all of the floats in "C" dock and the connecting walkway. C dock should get done this season, perhaps even early in the season, though the connecting walkway might take longer to re-float.

One other novelty for this year is that cell phone service has been improved with the addition of a tower in south Tierra Amarilla. The marina has 2 to 3 bars (out of 5) for Alltel/Verizon customers and our cabin has 4 bars. That's a big improvement; last year we couldn't get any voice signal and could barely get text messages at our cabin.

We've been enjoying what might be the last fire of the season in our cabin's fireplace. Much of the wood is aromatic juniper and some is also the aromatic pin~yon. Dulce, the cat (or leopard in her mind perhaps) doesn't mind the warm fire at all.


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