Sunday, 31 January 2010

Douglas Island

Working from home and alone most of the time I miss out on the 'What did you do this weekend?' conversations that echo around workplaces up and down the country on a Monday morning. It's a shame as its not often you get to reply 'Oh, you know the usual, stuff with the kids, housework, oh and nearly forgot I helped build an island.'
The chance meeting last week with ex-NWT legend Ian Douglas resulted in an invitation to join a celebrity island building team on Saturday morning at Druridge Pool. The last island had lasted the best part of 25 years but has now seen better days, half of it ripped from it's moorings and washed up on the south shore.
So after 6cm of overnight snow I slid to a halt on the Druridge road a little before Alex Lister of NWT arrived to cast an eye over the plans and ages before the 'celebs' turned up.

Alex Lister (left) and Ian Douglas discuss Island Plans
Once again dressed for the catwalk rather than the boardwalk 'lucky' Andy slid in around 09:30 having jammed a ringtail Hen Harrier over the Drift Inn at Cresswell. Work began apace as we moved the island 'kit' to the south bay ready for construction. The main body of the island was created using polystryene boards generously donated by local company Smith & Blakey.

Island Taking Shape

Inclined Edges for Easier Duck Access
Celeb number two in the form of 'Bono' Fisher soon joined us after an interesting journey in the snow and straight to work, you just can't knock that Irish work ethic can you.

'Bono' Fisher - Even Better Than the Real Thing

After a little delay over the anchors, involving some blocked up breeze blocks and a slippy baffle bank the team cracked on. The red carpet laid out for the celebs came in handy as a wick and the first sods were laid

With the 'seaward' side sodded up it was time to launch and check the floatability before we got too heavy so on came the waders, the only ones we saw all morning, a little heave ho and she floats.

The Celebs Working Up How to Recover the Champagne Post-Launch
With a very brisk Northwesterly we decided not to risk a full launch into position as we would have had to paddle against the wind. So the island will have to wait a few days for better weather conditions before being sited.
Islands should have names, so I'd quite like to see the planner, coordinator and designer honoured in future bulletins and bird reports, so when you report the next Glossy Ibis/Roseate Tern/Buff-breasted Sandpiper et al from the island make sure you get the name right 'Douglas Island' has a certain ring to it.

1 comment:

Stewart said...

Ian Douglas 'Eco Terrorist' used to be a hero with a strimmer at Cresswell, sneaking down, like a Ninja, in the early am to clear a viewing space for Water Rails etc in front of the hide. Great stuff....He's like a wildlife 'Milk Tray man'...