Tuesday, 26 May 2009

The Marine Park

I am now working at the Fort McMurray Marine Park.

If you're in Fort Mac, don't bother looking for it. It's not open to the public yet. Oh, you can see through the chain-link fence, but you can't go in. (It's behind the Rona if you really want to know.) I'm cleaning the boats up to prepare it for a few private tours.

The Marine Park is owned by the Fort McMurray Historical Society, which also owns Heritage Park, where I worked previously. Yet again I am an Assistant Curator, and yet again I've been given an utterly different job.

Right now I am try to clean up the decks. They've got drifts of grit on them from the sandblasting that took place last summer. I need to sweep the grit up into garbage bags and throw them in the dumpster. I can't vacuum because there's too much of it; the bags would fill too quickly and the motor would burn out, because the stuff is coarse. However, it's been raining, and the grit is now all water-logged. I can only clean out that which is dry, so it's been tough going. All this morning I've had to do indoor work, so I vacuumed a lot of the navigation booth and captain's quarters of the Miskanaw. It took me an hour to get set up for that, though, as I had to drag the vacuum cleaner up narrow staircases and had to carry it around scaffolding. By the latter I mean that there is a thin walkway between a set of scaffolding and the railing along the edge of the boat. To get through it normally you need to turn and walk sideways through it. I had to hold the vacuum cleaner up and over the railing and shuffle sideways across. About halfway the lid came off the vacuum and the bottom fell down the side of the boat. The hose is attached to the bottom of it and since I had the hose wrapped around my arm and held between my torso and the railing, the bottom of the cleaner was hanging against the side of the boat by the hose. I had to get the lid somewhere so it would fall (without letting go of the hose) and then haul the bottom back up without accidentally pulling the hose out of the vacuum itself. That was a monster. And then I had to run my numerous supplies back and forth between the galley of one boat (the 250 Dredge) to the navigation booth of the Miskanaw, which involves scaffolds and ladders on both ends. However, working in some of these rooms and on the decks are cool. It a little tiny bit like I'm working on real operational boats at sea, what with river next to the boats. Also, looking at the wheel and dials and stuff is fun.

It can get a bit lonely working there. Every so often I interact with someone, and I do alone pretty well, but the time can drag. On the one hand I enjoy it a lot when I do get to talk to somebody; on the other hand I usually freak out whenever I think I hear someone coming. I think it's because I'm so used to working there alone that the very idea of someone else being on the boat is terrifying. It's like when you think you're alone in a room and then suddenly someone comes out from behind the couch or something. It's not that they shouted "Boo!," but that no one should be there. It's uncanny.

There are lots of swallows there, and a dog named Max. Max is big, and he's not 100% comfortable with me being there yet. In time I hope he will be.

I think that should be all for now.


Cait said...

Glad that the job is alright. I hope that Max gets comfortable with you too!! What kind of dog is he?

skatej said...

Do they not have a shop vac where you work? It would get the grit up even wet. It drains into a big bucket.
When I have lonely work to do I tell stories in my head or go off in a reverie while my body does the work (this especially works with manual labor). When I worked in the College of Nursing at my university I would jump when someone talked to me, and I was in the middle of a busy room with people coming and going all day!

Christian H said...

1) I do not know what breed Max is. He's fairly large, though.

2) There is a shop vac at the real park, but there isn't much at the Marine Park. My Dad lent me a shovel, scraper, and a bucket, though, which helped.

Blog Widget by LinkWithin