Several miles into our bicycle ride last weekend I remembered the headlamp was still back in the car. Oops. The second old tunnel along our route was truly abyssal, we dismounted (that makes us sound like flexible gymnasts, which couldn’t be further from the truth) for the descent into clammy darkness until the distant light at the other end of the curving hole in the ground was slowly revealed, backlighting basketball-sized basalt which would surely have caused any number of disasters-on-wheels. The frame below depicts the eastern entrance of that tunnel.
This morning the boys and I sojourned to the beach at Discovery Park for the third time in four days. They’d been pleading to attempt an excavation of a small, coast guard-issue row boat which was buried keel-up in thick sand and clay, several hundred feet out from shore. Adam’s truly a lad after my own heart, he thought that doggone little boat would be a splendid addition to the rust garden and last night as I attempted to fall asleep I was tossing and turning with excitement. Could we really do it? Am I corrupting the boys with bananas shenanigans like this? In the event we were actually successfully, the matter of transporting the boat home was of slightly-more-than-mild concern and with no bungee or rope, we scrounged several faded, thirty foot extensions cords. We hauled along my small, old kayak carrier. This was going to be interesting, to say the least.
Armed with two shovels and a hoe, we labored for four hours to unearth the rowboat, working knee-deep in murky Puget Sound stew. The boys did most of the hard work. Although I stuck mainly to hoeing sand away from their dig, my arthritis will be screamingly bad tomorrow. When it looked as though we’d been defeated by the flooding tide, had started patting each other on the back for a job well-done and don’t worry that was still really fun! lo and behold, Adam discovered our excavation was having the effect of floating the upside-down boat! Furious and frantic levering enabled us to flip the boat which was revealed inside to be a moldy, stripped-down-to-the-fiberglass mess, fit for only the hardiest barnacles. The boys had a bit of fun in the flood tide before it got too deep, floating the boat (more of a soggy, ripped-open burrito) around in circles. Adam was convinced to the end that the thing could still be sunk and filled for a charming raised-bed but it looked far better buried the way we found it. In the end we had to let it go, the tide was coming on too strong.
I’m proud of the boys, they worked furiously without complaint, refused to give up. This was even after I’d thrown my hands up with exhausted bemusement and tried to entice them with visions of huge bowls of ice cream at home. We’ve found some pretty cool treasures over the years. A couple of summers ago, Adam wheeled a humongous tractor trailer tire a mile down the beach, to the mouth of the Elwha. It’s in the backyard now, leaned against the Hawthorne tree, framed by English ivy. The S.S. Moldy has probably found another resting home at the foot of the south bluffs in Discovery Park, at least until the next storm in November.
postscript: Wrote this on Thursday.