Thursday, November 01, 2012

Sandy's aftermath 2 - Sebago Canoe Club, Canarsie, Brooklyn

One thing I can say for Sandy is that she at least gave me plenty of time to get over the cold I got late last week. Monday, the day of Sandy, I was feeling like the worst girlfriend in the world because I was at home, TQ works for parks and was out sandbagging things in the Rockaways all day and under ordinary circumstances I would have gone over there before things got too nasty, fixed him some dinner to come home to, and holed up with him for the night, but I just didn't have the energy and I was coughing a lot. Tuesday, I made that turkey-leg soup, came out great & I took him some for dinner, yesterday I got more ambitious, went to his place and fixed him a proper hard-working park worker dinner, pernil (Cuban-style roast pork shoulder, a mutual favorite especially when done in TQ's Dutch oven), baked potatoes (stuck in the dutch oven with the pork, that was good) and broccoli. Better, but still a lot of sitting around inside!

Today I finally had enough energy to actually decide I was BORED (yay!), so I figured I'd head out to the club and see if I could be useful. There's an official all-hands work weekend Saturday and Sunday but I wanted to get a few licks in at the cleanup effort today if I could, just in case power comes back in SoHo tomorrow and the bosses decide to ask us to work the weekend to catch up. Plus I was bored (yay).

B103 bus got me there without too much difficulty. I'd seen pictures of the club, so I was ready for that - the tough part was actually walking through the neighborhood near the club and seeing the heaps and heaps of ruined personal belongings piled up on the curb in front of each home, waiting for sanitation to come collect them. I guess a lot of the neighborhood had flooded basements & ground floors - the houses looked OK outside but the piles of stuff told another story. Again, I feel lucky to live where I do - my neighborhood, it was just piles of tree branches waiting to be taken, not people's things. Certainly put the visit to the club in perspective - it's not pretty, but the club and all the boats are just for fun - plus I bet we'll have the grounds pretty much back in order after a few work days (the clubhouse interior may take a little more doing, and our  dreams of winter gatherings watching kayaking and sailing DVD's on the big-screen TV a member donated are shot, the waterline was about a foot up the screen).

There were a few people at the club when I got there but not a lot of cleaning going on. Turned out that the plan today was mostly for some of our clubs leaders to discuss how to approach the cleanup on Saturday & Sunday - they should have a lot of man and woman power, the trick is how to direct it to accomplish as much as possible. As you can see above, there's much to be done. 

There were a couple of exceptions to the "today is for planning" plan. The gentleman above is the club's archivist, Charles Eggleston. The on-site archives got soaked and he's now in a race against time and mold. Wet papers will grow mold, and he said that once's it's begun it's all over. The only hope for these turns out to be freezing - if the papers can be put in plastic bags and put in freezers soon enough, they might be saved. There are professional services that do this but since speed is crucial, for the moment he's just going to ask people who come for the cleanup to bring some papers home to freeze. 

Sad to think we might lose the on-site archives - there's some neat stuff in there (like this old picture of a team of intense women paddling the war canoe, damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!). Fortunately, though, these are actually the less-important part of the archives - the bulk of the more genuinely historical stuff is with the American Canoe Association archives up at Mystic Seaport in Connecticut, where they were fortunately moved a few years ago. 

Looking around a bit more at the damage - our walkway is made of that gray imitation lumber that they make out of recycled soda bottles. The water floated them right up out of their beds and left them strewn about at random. Be nice if we could just pick these up and lay them back in their beds, but I've helped move a SHORT section of walkway and that thing was very heavy. May actually have to do some deconstruction and reconstruction, and one of the things that the folks who were gathered there today were discussing was whether there would be an effective way to stake them down so that future floods don't do the same thing again. 

Here are a couple of the kayak racks. Fortunately, we did have warning that this was coming, so a bunch of people did go to the club on Sunday and lashed down most of the outside boats. We've had windstorms much smaller than this leave boats scattered all over the grounds & that's when they really get beaten up.

Look at the wrack that piled up in that corner. And the dock flotation! 

Fortunately, not from our dock - ours weathered the storm quite beautifully! 

Could be from our neighbors to the north, though - big sections of their dock are riding pretty low.

Neighbors to the south have the opposite problem - looks like they had a finger pier out at the end there that floated right off its spud, and then got hung up during the descent. 

Clubhouse was the biggest mess - people have already done considerable work on this, a photo on Tuesday showed our gas barbecue lying on its side on the floor with the refrigerator lying on its side on top of it, and the cabinets on the floor had floated around - water was 5' deep inside the clubhouse. Still a mess, though - very sad, too, the cabinets were a real find from a former vice-commodore who was a contractor, he was installing some new cabinets at a dentist's office and these old ones were just going to be thrown away, so he salvaged them for the club & they've been great, but they're pressboard & just didn't stand up to the soaking. There was a good bit of discussion as to whether they get replaced - they'd been installed here on pedestals that raised them a few inches, in deference to the fact that we do get some flooding in the clubhouse - but between Irene last year & now Sandy, people were thinking maybe it would be better to just do the repairs with higher waters in mind.

Fortunately the containers are up a couple of feet from here, so anyone whose boats were inside containers and not on the floor were fine (my Romany & TQ's Sparrowhawk fall into that category). Boats that were on the floor floated around a bit or if they were stored on their sides got filled with water - those will get emptied & aired out over the weekend. I didn't do a great deal of work today but there was one other person who was there for the same reason I was - bored & itching to do something useful - he'd done some work in the garden container earlier, and we did find one container where someone had put in thick, plush, pink carpet remnants - they  were sodden, they already weren't smelling too good and they weren't going to be pink much longer either, so we moved a couple of boats, took the soggy carpets out and then swept out as much more of the water as we could. Wasn't a lot but it seemed like a useful thing to do. 

And here's the garden. Sigh. We'll see what happens with this - at least it's at the end of the season. I picked the last green tomatoes and jalapenos today, and I'll probably pull the vines & plants out and call it a year this weekend (if I can go for the cleanup) - it will be interesting to see whether the tough plants that usually make it through the winter will recover from this beating. Have to say, the rosemary bush looks pretty darned perky for a plant that got a salt-water bath. For next year, well, we've got a few months before it's time to plant again - maybe if we get some good rains, it'll rinse out the salt? I guess I'll find out!


Douglas said...

Ahoy Bonnie , T Y for the update and your blog .

I enjoy reading your blog , often . My wife "Lang" and I have many similar interests to your's .
She has a Cape Dory Typhoon , and a sit-on-top Ocean kayak.
Currently we are located in Singapore , planning our voyage return to Seattle . Douglas , BCC , S/V Calliste , Singapore .

bonnie said...

Thanks, Douglas! Fortunately, we had a fantastic clean-up day on Saturday and to look at it, the club is almost back to normal. There's damage to the clubhouse that will need professional attention - fortunately some of the members are experienced contractors of various sorts so they'll take charge of things now. Even the cabinetry might be salvageable - the doors were all warped and soggy but the cabinets themselves held, and a clubmate was taking the old ones to his shop to measure & make replacements.

I'm hoping to get out on the water next weekend - I have some friends with a boat in the next basin over that they haven't been able to check on yet although they're told it survived; if they can't get in by land to check this week (which I hope they can) I've offered to let them paddle over with me to see how things look. If not, I'm still curious about how things look out there. No rolling of course, the water is full of terrible stuff right now, but I am hoping to get out there. Glad TQ and I had that nice little paddle on the Friday before.