Or is it a fight with water? The construction crews have to work around the ebb and flow of the tides. Despite how far along they are with the work they are doing, or how focused they may be, if the tide is coming in, they either have to leave their tasks or experience wash out! That’s right, the crew is back at it, in the deep, dark, dank bed of the river, working really hard to repair and replace pilings under the Cannery.
The 600 pilings below the Cannery are a defining element of this building’s structure, built beyond the dyke and over the river. The Seismic 2000 team has been given the important task of keeping the Cannery afloat, so to speak, by pulling out rotting pilings and replacing them with new ones. The process is similar to the work they did under the oil drum shed, except this project is lower down the river bank, closer to the water line. It’s wetter, smellier, slipperier, and in my opinion, more thrilling (this coming from the woman who has the luxury of siting at her desk all day).
Since I started working here, one of the great mysteries has always been to see what it is like under the Cannery. Kim, our maintenance officer, has the privilege (I say privilege, he may have another word for it) of going down there on a regular basis for upkeep purposes. I’ve heard many (tall) tales of people wandering around in the daunting underworld of the Cannery and getting stuck up to their hips in the soft, squishy river mud. To be honest, for my first venture down yesterday, I was a little apprehensive (this is the first time I am openly admitting this). What if I got stuck in the mud? Who would rescue me? Valid questions for someone who was looking through the doorway, below the Cannery, and staring into complete darkness… Once I had spotted what looked like a miner’s light far in the distance, I brushed my fear aside and dove right in (mental note, next time: take a flash light, bring gloves, wear a mud suit, put the hair up, and cover the camera in plastic wrap). I did make it around to document the hard working crew in these challenging conditions. I know it’s their job to do this work, but these guys are AMAZING, when you think about what they are faced with day in and day out (despite their lingering scent of eau de rivière)! Hats off to them!
At the start of they day, they go under wearing their bright fluorescent yellows and when the river tide rises, they emerge wearing river mud greys. This can only mean one thing – it’s wash down time (or time for a water fight, depending upon who is handling the hose)!