Ditch Digging in Paradise

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We both agree that one project we want to compete while we are here is clearing the drains along the lighthouse track. This track is about 2.5 kms long and climbs 305 m. There are several steep sections and when it rains, as it has over the past few days, we get an inch at a time, water comes cascading down the hill and the track. Since the lighthouse was built, more than 150 years ago, there have been various drainage schemes installed. The most basic is a ditch along the side of the road, with various places for water to run off the road into the ditch. That’s where we worked yesterday, clearing sheoke needles from the drain and digging deeper where it overflows. The road is a macadam surface and there are culverts across it, some concrete lined. There are culverts under the road made of steel, cement and most recently PVC. Our mission if successful, will be to clear all those drains, dig deep when needed and do our bit to prevent the road from eroding further.

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I would like to say I was there merely as the official photographer but I wasn’t. We raked and carried and dug. I have the aching back to show for it. We were able to clear two sections of switchbacks and build up the ditch in a couple of areas.

At one point, Tim cleared an area and revealed a huge jack jumper ant colony. I steered clear of that and we avoided getting bitten.

One day we have to go up the track when it’s raining to see the weak spots. But I had a hard enough time going outside today in the rain to get our drinking water from the tank.

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We have had several boats and visitors ashore despite the rain and wind. The kayakers are still here but may get a weather window tomorrow to head southeast to Flinders Island. I can’t even convey what it must be like to kayak across the Bass Strait. Big seas, wind and currents. One man’s kayak was sinking on the way from Hogan Island to here because water was getting in via a through hull for a rudder cable and he wasn’t sure it would make Erith Island. He said he can now tick “Terror” off the emotions experienced during the trip.

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