The Last Load

For weeks now I have been digging. Pickaxe, shovel, wheelbarrow, hard manual labor, and it just gets harder.

One last load of dirt and rock to remove from the work zone.

I am digging away at the slope behind the garage, solving longstanding drainage issues, creating a nice level walkway, building a small retaining wall.

The first stage was digging out all along my garage, reworking the slope, pulling the soil away from the foundation, giving the water somewhere to go other than right along the wall. This involved a couple dozen wheelbarrow loads of soil and rock removed and about thirty feet of two foot retaining wall… Done!

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Ripple Rock

Seymour Narrows is a bit of water one approaches with caution. This narrow passage north of Campbell River provides the shortest route between Vancouver Island and the mainland for transiting vessels. This passage is also subject to dramatic tidal currents of up to fifteen knots.

The strong currents create large areas where the water seems to boil, dotted with whirlpools and debris swept along by the rushing water. The result is what explorer Captain George Vancouver described in his logs as “one of the vilest stretches of water in the world.”

The remains of Ripple Rock well beneath the surface in Seymour Narrows
The remains of Ripple Rock well beneath the surface in Seymour Narrows
As usual we had anchored and waited a couple hours for the tide to change, waiting for the worst of the currents to slack. While small, fast boats can pass by during high current, most vessels wait for the tide here. We were not alone, when we pulled anchor and nosed into the narrows we joined a parade of boats that had waited.

The passage was once much worse, a large rock named Ripple Rock lurked just under the surface at low tide. This mid channel rock created huge standing waves and vicious eddies as the current ran over it.

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An Unusual Breed

I have often noted how much many of the boulders around Waikoloa look like animals. There is one rock along the upper road that looks precisely like a cow when seen from the side at any distance. Just a natural remnant of these old Mauna Kea lava flows.

It is no surprise that most folks have the same observation, some of these rocks just look like cattle, all they need is horns?

A serious laugh-out-loud, try not to drive off the road, moment when I first saw them. Someone had indeed added some horns to the rocks. Not little horns either, but big Texas longhorn style horns. Halfway from Waikoloa Village to the Mamalahoa Highway, you can see a herd of a truly unusual breed. Perhaps the rare Waikoloa Basalt Angus?

Closer examination of the horns reveals that they are well made. Heat worked PVC pipe for the horns, tightly wrapped with rope and painted at the center. The horns are held on with heavy cable neatly crimped around the boulders.

Another surprise, the artists have signed their work, the names Ed Vasquez and Bill Bezona melted into the plastic. We have seen Ed’s art before, birds and other odd creatures appearing along local roads. We had seen nothing for a while, this is the first installation I have seen in about a year.

Nice job guys! A little fun along my morning commute.

Waikoloa Basalt Angus
A unique breed, the Waikoloa Basalt Angus at pasture, an artwork by Ed Vasquez and Bill Bezona