This past winter was one of the mildest ever. There was very little snow and the bay where we have the boat only froze once in early December. It was like a prolonged autumn. Not uncommon in the west coast of Sweden. This is due to the Gulf Stream that brings warm water from the Gulf of Mexico to Scandinavia. This stream also brings mild and rainy weather over the British isles and then continues to Scandinavia. The winter comes from the north east. Normally we have a few weeks in January and February with temperatures below Zero degrees Celsius. Then the bays in the fjord freezes and with the wind and stream ice will press on any pontoons or bridges until they break.
So to save our bridge pontoon we towed it across the bay and pulled it up on shore where the ice will not reach. Normally but not this year. Some heavy storms and low pressure weather systems made the water raise far over the normal level. At some point, even if we attached the pontoon well it came loose and floated away. So in the spring when we put the boat in the water we went to get the pontoon just to find it GONE! The first trip with the boat was to slowly seek out the shores in the fjord to find the pontoon. Hoping that it did no damage to something or floated out to the sea.
After about one hour we found it far up on a rocky beach. It was intact and not far from the anchoring point but on an island. It was too far up on the beach to be pulled into the water by boat. Me and my son started to try jerk and snitch with ropes and planks to move it into the water. We tried using planks and stones to create a lever to move the almost 200 kilo pontoon. We got it to move but some large stones stopped us and finally my back said. “Stop, you foolish old man” with a snap. We had to surrender for now. And it took more than a week for my back to heal.
Before we could try again a new storm hit, moving the pontoon back up on the shore. So now we had lost all meters we managed last attempt. Fortunately it moved sideways away from the large stones. This time we came more prepared with more planks to use as lever and with more manpower. In the future I might write a blog on all Swedish swearwords because I think we used them all before we got the pontoon into the water. But we did it, YEAH!
Now the wind had picked up and we got a strong head wind as we towed the pontoon to its anchoring point at the bridge. It is quite hard to steer a small boat alone in strong winds. So you can imagine the challenge towing a rectangular pontoon bridge. Now the challenge is to get the pontoon to the anchoring point without running into the rock or run the propeller into the seabed as the water is quite shallow. But with skill and MUCH luck we managed to steer clear and maneuver the pontoon to its anchoring point at the first attempt. Next year we will secure the pontoon better.
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