Outpost Caretaker's Week 37 ~ What a Season It's Been!
May 27, 2012 | 1865 Views
Where to begin? How about at the start. It was 280 days ago that Mike and I flew into the Outpost for our 2nd season as caretakers. Our eyes were open as to what to expect living in this remote & isolated location, after all we are seasoned. How naive.
What I learned this year, and simply put….”shit” happens. Who could have foretold that the furnace was going to break down only a week after the summer crew left, leaving us without heat or hot water. Who could have foreseen that the weather would play havoc with the barge’s ability to make the voyage to the OP until March 5th , a mere 5 months late. Can anyone predict how cold a winter will be? Who knew that it would plummet to -16 C and turn our water tanks into a gigantic ice cube. Not having hot water is one thing but now no water at all! Did I mention that the washing machine bit the dust?
We persevered because that is a caretaker’s nature. If you can’t go with the flow than you’re in the wrong occupation. Looking on the bright side we spent numerous hours outdoors in the fantastic fall weather chopping wood for our nightly fire, and it was a blessing in disguise that the furnace did stop working for it saved us 100’s of liters of diesel. As December approached and our Christmas plane was being scheduled, Ken, our boss, the manager of the OP and our ‘go to’ guy made sure that not only was the new part for the furnace going to be on that plane but a whole new motor just in case the fates had something else in store for us. With the furnace back in working order we kept our fingers crossed that the barge would make it down in December and filled the tank, cranked up the heat, had an extraordinary long HOT shower and had a very merry warm Christmas.
I can’t say we were all that surprised to learn that the barge would not be making the December trip and don’t hold your breath for one in January or February either. Hey it’s totally understandable, I wouldn’t want to be in a vessel coming down the west side of the island in the middle of winter either. No problem we reported back, if we conserve what diesel we have left we’ll be fine, besides Ken sent the best Christmas present of all … 3 electric heaters.
With the new year came our new challenge. Somewhat ironic since now that the furnace was working we no longer could afford use fuel to run it. Life can be like that.
Heating up water on the stove – again – became second nature and bucket showers again…well I just can’t find an upside to bucket showers. Our wood supply is long gone and everything is now so wet we just stick to our heaters and by stick I mean we each carry one around wherever we go in the lodge. We see the humorous side of the situation as we sit bundled up in comforters with our heaters strategically placed to get the maximum amount of heat blowing on you. Just to mix things up a cold snap froze everything solid…..except for the runoff which amazingly continued to flow. Crawling under the crew shack and chipping away the ice so I could fill containers are some of my fondest memories from this past year. The bright side – it only lasted for 8 days and I did get some unusual pictures.
March 5th is circled in red on my calendar. The barge arrives! In 4 short hours our 4 5000 L tanks were filled and life became a whole lot sweeter. Before the guys had even coiled up their hoses we had the furnace tank full and the furnace fired up. Time again for a long hot shower. I have since retired the bucket for other menial jobs.
The rest of the season flew by with several visits from Silver Dawn and her crew and a fresh produce run by Roger and Beau from the Clubhouse up in Langara in April.
It’s been a year that will definitely linger in my mind and one that will make for great story telling. I can picture years from now Mike and I lounging somewhere tropical and you can be sure one of us will say, “Remember that season at the Outpost…..”
This will not be the end of the story though for come late August Mike and I will be taking that helicopter ride back in for another season.
See you then,
Heather & Mike
As I write this I can hear laughter, conversations and the click of balls hitting one another as someone plays pool. A door closing, feet stomping and chop chop chop of a knife against the cutting board. Ken, Justine, Jordan, Mark, Andrew, Brian and Ronne arrived on Thursday. Company!
The lure of the water beckons and that evening after dinner Ken and Jordan took to the sea to try their luck.
First catch of the season!
Happy 22nd Birthday Andrew!
It’s ‘Northarm’ barge with all the summer supplies, goodies, new equipment and toys.The crew is fresh and ready for the day which will test their strength, endurance and ability to look on the bright side.
Three hours and counting
Five hours….time for a lunch break
Once again the weather throws a wrench into some well made plans. The plane that was suppose to arrive around 8am with 5 extra bodies to help with the unloading seems to be stuck in Prince Rupert due to fog. It’s this plane that Mike and I will be flying out on so we are also scanning the skies and tuning our ears for the sound of engines. As so often happens we had just begun lunch when our ride arrived. We grab our coats, say a quick good-bye, give hugs and we’re on our way.
There’s no room on the heli pad for the plane to tie up so we go out in a boat to board.
Close quarters in the cockpit
Masset and our first view of civilization in 9 months
Our last week at the Outpost provided some amazing evenings which I just wanted to share with you one last time.
Goodnight from the Outpost