Friday, April 3, 2015

I'll Be Log Gone

Washed up sailboats on Sunset Beach - photo by Tracey Welsford
Unlike the rest of Canada we enjoyed an unusually mild winter here in Vancouver, without even our usual quota of stormy northwesters. For the most part all the boats at anchor in English Bay had a relatively easy go of things until last week when some nasty winds came up and sent a few of them crashing into the beach at Sunset.  A log boom also got broken up somewhere further out with a good portion of it getting washed up on the beach in English Bay near the Inukshuk.

Logs on English Bay beach - photo by Junie Quiroga
Once upon a time logs like these were prized by beachcombers who would cruise along the shoreline salvaging them for resale to the forest companies that had lost them. But poor pricing from the forest companies and better booming practices to reduce lost logs nearly put an end to the business until some of the operators got together and formed their own log salvage co-operative. It's been a tough go with a seemingly endless litany of problems ranging from the softwood lumber dispute, the huge volume of pine beetle logs and the depressed U.S. housing market, but business continues to grow and last year they processed more than 25,000 cubic metres of wood which is equal to 600 logging truckloads.

Going for my morning swim I had to keep out of the way of Night Stalker as it took advantage of the high tide to float the logs off the beach and tie them together into a boom of sorts. It took a lot of manoeuvring once the "dogs" had been pounded into each log with a rope fastened to the end before they could all be joined together. After a few hours the mission was accomplished and the logs were all off the beach.

As the log salvager motored away I was happy knowing the wood was going to be used for something productive and wouldn't be out in the ocean floating around waiting to be hit by a boat. Every year thousands of dollars of damage to pleasure boats is caused by these unseen logs and without an incentive to pick them up they would just continue to be a hazard to navigation.  I've hit a few myself over the years and had to suffer the cost of repairing a damaged shaft, prop and rudder so I'm glad to see they are log gone.

Log salvaging photos by Junie Quiroga