What worked and did not in 2012
This is where we get to reminisce, celebrate, and constructively criticize the 2012 event.
- 1 What worked?
- 2 What could we do better?
- 3 What did you learn?
- 4 Incidents
What did we do that went well (as planned, or unexpectedly well)? Was there something you particularly enjoyed or appreciated?
The Twin Logistical High Priestesses of Platform Construction, Kristy and Candace, did an amazing job. Our platform design scaled well, and construction and disassembly were very rapid. Lots of people pitched in to help with the construction process. The Jellypuss was a bold imposition of artistic will upon the world, and the result was a lovely multisensory immersion. Jellypus + dubstep dance party was glorious. The improved anchoring quality was the only reason we survived that rather epic storm. The cuddle dome was an incredibly welcoming and inviting place, especially with Ping/Helen/Joanna's jellyfish hanging in the middle. There were lots of people I cared about in the same place. Given the weather issues we had, I'm glad the distance between north and west, as well as the distance between west and south ended up being enough to prevent an expensive and nasty collision. The north swung by a good 250 feet when the current shifted. The 800-ft rope barge was really nice the day it ran. It would have been better if it were only 400 ft, but I'm impressed we could get it to work over such vast distances. I learned a *lot* about real-time management, crisis management, and mediation. I got to see some awesome people take on some big challenges. The L-shaped city + platform was nice. It's much more social than a linear city, and easier to put together and anchor than the giant U.
Community spirit around the difficulties was strong. The islands developed independent cultures. Boats were individually self-reliant - taking care of themselves when they had to detach. People were very responsive to helping with emergency situations. While things didn't work perfectly, considering how challenging the environment was (water + high winds), we did pretty damn well. Wider variety of vessels than in previous years. Docking was done pretty well this year, I saw far fewer houseboat or speedboats dock bangily or need many approaches. I think the community is gaining greater piloting skill. I found SMS very effective for communications.
I read all the stuff Patri put up here, and I concur with all of it. I would also add:
Very Strong Volunteer Support – I’m not sure so many people jumped at opportunities in the planning phase, but when anything was needed, people jumped at it. My boat, The Borealis, was pretty well prepared. We had a lot of coordination to plan meals, sleeping places, entertainment and costs beforehand. So far as I know, nobody was shorted, we backed each other up pretty solidly, theft wasn’t a concern, and as things came up we worked together to resolve them. Everybody contributed and everybody was supported in anything we wanted / needed (sometimes too much). We had a diverse set of skills that never left us looking for anyone to get things done. I left a kayak sitting out all weekend and it didn’t once paddle off without my permission. The houseboats were better stocked than I had imagined. New Stuff – People got opportunities to learn and grow, and I saw them do it.
The platforms were awesome. it was so great to have so many of them this year! When comms did work they were excellent using marine VHF The default state of people is awesome On the whole, things were really cool.
Having multiple islands was a mixed bag. From the weather it seems clear that the anchors would not have held a larger flotilla and the city would have been destroyed had it been all together. Also, it seemed like a very positive thing that the island developed different cultures and atmospheres. The downside was a big one -- it was very difficult for most people to get from island to island, and some of them never saw anything beyond where their boat was. Next year the community definitely needs to solve the transportation problem.
What could we do better?
What decisions, in hindsight, would you now make differently? What made the event less enjoyable for you? What would you do to improve it?
transportation between islands w/in archipelago. emerging dictatorships Communication and PA system and awareness about it.
I saw a hell of a lot more irresponsible drug use this year. I have nothing against *responsible* drug use, but if I have to attend to your stupidity because you thought a floating city in the middle of a windstorm is a great place to take too much LSD, I'm not going to be happy. The Sean Frenzy adventure was hilarious in retrospect but could easily have ended in him dying or in the coast guard searching everyone's boats and sending my responsible drug-using friends to prison along with the irresponsible ones. This outweighs every other concern by an order of magnitude. City sections should have been 400ft apart in a triangle instead of 800ft apart in a line. This should be far enough apart to prevent collisions but close enough to make transport easier. Given that the city was in multiple sections, we didn't have nearly enough craft for going between sections. We need a clearly designated docking area with a good bit of room for both hard and inflatable craft in each section.
striking while the iron is hot, I have the following thoughts:
First off, for as many smart people as we have, and all of the participants are borderline genius, I saw some vastly stupid shit. Most of this has to do with the inability to anticipate failure modes and to optimize and plan processes.
Think every possible aspect of your process through. Do sub-scale testing. Design things to be multiply fault tolerant. Anticipate that your neighbor is going to be less prepared than you are. Plan your motions to consolidate operations. Keep things flowing. Always have multiple parallel paths, never plan for things to be done in series.
We could be a houseboat party or we could be Ephemerisle. It is up to each participant to decide which he or she wants to be at. If you want ephemerisle, it means you have to put in a fair bit of work at the event.
Operations folks, operations. Be prepared to carry out quick, succinct operations.
1. Communications was horrible this year. I am working some angles to have a more robust radio based comms system. The use of internet or social media based comms is an incorrect application of that technology. Mario radios are known devices and exist for a reason. At the very least, each boat captain needs a radio, and I would prefer that certain command ships and mobile boats have more powerful 25 watt units. different cell networks reacted differently to the event.
2. General construction expediency. Things didn't happen nearly as quickly as they could have.
3. Mooring/anchoring: For next year, I would love to set and test main anchors for the event about two or three days before the main fleet deploys. I am willing to head up this mission, but I will need skilled nautical people to tell me what I am doing.
4. An anyalytical approach to city design should be followed. I used to write fluid sims for a living so this also is kinda up my alley, but this could be the perfect opportunity for someone at TSI to do some research into fluid dynamics of structures at sea.
5. Some form of hierarchical organizational structure would be beneficial through the construction and deconstruction phases of the event. This structure would be dissolved during the course of the event.
6. Anchoring, anchoring, anchoring, and lines. I was a complete idiot and fought against the wiser folks at the start of this whole process and pushed for a single-flotilla city. What a fool I was. We need to determine our options vis-vi anchors and moors.
A small number of organizers like Paul Grasshoff on South seemed to take the brunt of coordination work. I'd like to see shifts of "central coordinator" (8 hours, maybe?) (and would happily do a few of them. There was far too little supply of ferries for the demand. Just not enough ski boats. Michael Katsevman & I discussed introducing capitalism by having a paid ferry (maybe 3\$ inter-island, \$5 to H&H, \$10 to PP?). Then instead of needing people to donate ski boat rental time & energy, it would be paid by use. There are a lot of things we could do to improve this - use a patio boat for inter-island shuttling (greater cargo capacity), blow a "ferry horn" on docking rather than ad-hoc gathering people, use a whiteboard (or bidding!) to determine who gets the seats. We could pre-sell wristbands that entitle people to unlimited ferry rides (public transit!). Lots of ways to solve this, and I think that bringing some markets (paid services) in rather than the Burning Man anti-commerce spirit will scale a lot better. I'm potentially willing to organize this. I felt that most of the downsides of the multiple island setup that was dictated by the anchoring and weather conditions came from lack of ferries and from unclear initial expectations. Having a shared understanding before the event that there will be multiple islands with unreliable transport would help people form islands based on shared culture, and have it be a benefit (unique aspect of the event) rather than an issue. Many of my friends were unhappy the islands were split. Rope barge! (or canoe). It's an inter-island transport method that can deal with changes in the relative distance between islands due to shifting, unlike a solid bridge or hand-rope for swimmers. You just tighten/loosen the ropes periodically. And you don't get wet. And it doesn't need a pilot. If the barge is seaworthy, it's safe and you don't get wet. We need to do a basic intro course in how to tie boats together. I am happy to teach this. The unexpected breakoff of two boats from South appears to have been due to a poorly tied houseboat-houseboat connection, plus the massive wind forces. One cleat-to-cleat tie loosened, the wind grabbed and turned the 2 boats, and the pressure snapped a cleat on the other end. I saw a lot of poorly tied cleats, and retied many throughout the event. It would only take 5-10 minutes to teach a small group the basic principles. We clearly need to think about safety policies for kayakers, swimmers, etc, and how to balance individual freedom with risk to the event. I saw problems both ways - group concern with things being handled fine individually, and individuals imposing group risk. Again, a few volunteers (particularly those with small vessels and/or radios) took the brunt of making the event safer by going and checking on swimmers, making sure small boats going long distances arrived safely, that sort of thing. The base anchors need to be given lots of time to be set, with speedboat help, well in advance of anyone coming to anchor to them. It is a slow process to set good anchors, and it limits the formation of any island. Get the root vessels set up the day before anyone else shows up. Maybe they could start in the morning and others could show up at sunset, but no smaller gap seems workable. If there is consensus on a single island being better than trying to make rope barges & ferries, we could consider getting a professional to make us a solid mooring point in advance, rather than trying to do it ourselves. This seems to be the single most key & most difficult infrastructure element for the event.
Very few people signed up for Memocracy micro-talks. Last year, someone circulated physically with a whiteboard and got people to sign up. That worked very well. This year, there was a Google Docs spreadsheet that only a few people saw. There's a lot of knowledge on diverse topics spread among Ephemerislers, and everyone can speak on something without much prep. Water wasn't that cold, yet people didn't really play in much, compared to 2010. Moving the event later in the year, when the water is warmer, could encourage more water play.
I came in late and wound up sick, so have a limited exposure this year. That doesn't prevent me from having Opinions.
Transport island/shore: There were a lot more people looking to get ferried out this year than we had ferries for. I see this as a positive sign of growth. It sounds like a growth industry to me. Were people who ran the ferry able to come out even or ahead? If not, we need more work on the ferry system than I thought.
Transport between islands: I never managed to make it from island to island this year. Although much of this was my own fault, it was tricky to manage transport between. Also, there were a number of people who I think got stranded because of misunderstandings of ferry service. It'd be great get this worked out so there's a more solid plan to address.
More defined roles: This crowd is full of volunteer spirit. Without better understood/defined roles, people were having a p-persistence problem. (You know where you step right and left in sync with the person you're trying to pass?) I think we can work things out so that people can volunteer to do tasks/shifts in a timely and efficient manner without imposing too much structure.
Suggested provisions: Communications could be improved if there were recommended radio make/models. Everyone would have good rope if there was some solid advice on what "good rope" is and how much of it would be good to bring. I'm betting all the captains would be sure to have everything if they knew what everything they should have entailed.
Adam's Anchoring Debrief
1) Paul W. and I were the Harbor Master team members on the scene as the first houseboats started arriving. No one seemed to know which boats were holding which anchoring supplies or when they'd be arriving. It took hours to find the coil of 600' of rope, and we didn't find one bucket of chain until Thursday midday.
For next year the Harbor masters for each section _need_ to be on the first boat out for their section, and make sure that all of the anchoring supplies for their section are on that boat.
Had harbor masters been on those first boats, with all necessary supplies, anchoring would have happened much faster and the city would have been put together Wednesday instead of Thursday.
2) The tides are a bigger factor than we thought. As such, Paul Wheeler decided that for safety sake we would have to move the city sections further apart. The other harbor masters were not involved in this decision as they were not present.
3) Paradise Point upgraded their anchors from last year. 14lb danforth anchors are a joke for boats this size. This year, most of the anchors were 25lb which are still not sized appropriately for these boats, but are a BIG step in the right direction. We spent \$140 for 3x25lb Danforth which we didn't need, but we could not have guessed the marina would upgrade their gear.
4) Paradise Point also got new anchor lines, but these new thicker lines are polypropylene, which degrades in UV light. We used this line all over the place, but it should not be trusted for anything nautical. If possible we really should use other lines for anything "mission critical". Before next year's festival, we should call Paradise Point and ask if they're still using polypropylene anchor lines.
5) The 60lb anchors with chain and bridle performed magnificently. A single 60lb anchor is not spec'd to hold 8 houseboats, and we should not expect that it will do so again. But it did this year. The bridle also worked as designed, and no cleats were pulled out even when a single anchor was holding the entire South flotilla.
6) Houseboats are crap. I was horrified to see that most of the cleats are not even through-bolted, they're simply welded to the deck. I am really surprised that only one cleat was ripped off. Also a lot of these cleats have sharp edges to them, so they're going to gradually cut through the lines. We may want to consider wrapping a bit of towel or hose around the lines to protect them from these sharp edges.
7) People please learn your knots. A good knot will not only hold securely, but will also untie quickly and easily. Tying knot upon knot upon knot, will probably hold things, but it's a mess to untie. And in an emergency, it's important to be able to quickly release a line (see the next note).
8) Steak knives from the houseboat kitchens do a good job of cutting through line.
9) The VHF radios worked great. It's hard to imagine how we would have done all of this without them.
10) We want to keep the Coast Guard happy with us. The one request I heard from them (2nd hand) was "anchor floats should be white". Let's make that happen!
I suggest next year we take up the safest off-shore option ("One big long raft" discussed here: http://ephemerisle.org/wiki/Ideas_for_2012#Layout_Discussion), on the theory that it's better to build out community from a stable base.
We could modify the single raft line by adding platforms on either end on the leeward side, and adding a sheltering houseboat or two on either side of them to protect from the wind. These could serve as social center-points, ferry points for expedited travel, and (AFAIK) won't significantly increase anchoring difficulty.
I agree that communication was key and a key failure mode. Our boat had a marine radio for much of the time. I'd tried to pass it off to the north for anchoring, but then it was lost for a pretty much all days. I got it back during unloading. Labeling personal equipment in a durable way is a good idea, especially since a tea light fire damaged the one that was returned to me as mine, but was not actually mine. (Strap caught fire, also damaged the housing; and Michael, let me know if you want me to replace that unit....)
As for lessons learned, our boat, South #1 Big Boat, held the main anchor. We had to move it once, which was a major ordeal for everyone on board. Upon leaving, we learned a cool new way to "unstick" a set anchor, and I will definitely remember this for next year. The real question will be whether or not I (or another captain) can successfully reproduce those actions.
I am in favor of a pre-event knot-tying event. One of the risks of quickly detaching the boats in high winds was that some of the figure eight cinches on the cleats were actually clusters of knots. Everyone should learn that one, and I also recommend a bowline as a good general knot to learn. Having one representative from each boat is a good way to ensure all boats will be safely and securely cleated, while still being easy and quick to detach.
Stupidity or -- more kindly -- over-confidence, was a problem. I was alarmed at the number of rescues that had to be performed after the initial two, the two that prompted city-wide announcements. I realize we will be discussing better transportation systems for next year; but my one rule is absolutely no dying. We came scarily close to violating that.
The emergence of different cultures across the city was fascinating. It might be a good idea to implement a slightly different method for organizing the sections of the city well in advance. Harbormasters should be involved earlier, and perhaps boat captains can coordinate to ensure they are in the section of the city that would make all their guests happiest. This might result in interesting imbalances, if more people want to be near the dancing or near the quiet. Hey, we all like a challenge.
I don't believe anyone has suggested the possibility of a different venue. Mandeville Point is quite accessible, but the weather this year was more of an issue. It might have been the result of hosting the event a month earlier, but perhaps there are options with more predictable environmental conditions. Brad Templeton suggested a couple of locations, one of which was Shasta Lake. Should we consider alternatives? I would love to travel someplace new, especially if there is greater access to houseboats.
The trouble with most of my suggestions is that they require order, structure and a leadership command. I think one is necessary, though.
People were unprepared. As an organization- On water, you’re on your own. Basically, that means that every boat should be able to deal with any expected situation on their own. Other people might not be able to reach them to do those things or provide resources. Before we left, every boat should have had people who knew how to pilot and anchor the boat, basic first aid training, a fire extinguisher that would put out a class A (C02) and B (PKP) fire (and know how to use it) I don’t know where those were or how to de-energize anything or disconnect the gas and I’ve already been there and come home. How to correct that: First Aid Training is Easy. Let the individual boats figure themselves out. Two people can be the shipboard medics. Take a class from the red cross, join a CERT. Give a class to everyone else…. Whatever works. Frankly, my opinion is that everyone should have some basic training. I would push to add in training for rescuing a drowning person, CPR, dealing with high persons and the use of a SAM splint. Firefighting Training May be a Little More Tricky. We could do a few classes before, probably. I’d bet I could work something out, or even teach informally. It’s another basic life skill. Piloting, Anchoring and that: Someone mentioned a dry run. Someone else mentioned a pre-weekend trip. I like that.
Unprepared individuals – It’s been acknowledged already. I am concerned that the people who came for the party will expect that it is the people who throw the party’s job to take care of them if they need to get off the island or do something stupid. It is our fault / responsibility if they get hurt. Some thoughts on solutions: 1. I saw Patri’s proposal to charge for boat rides. That would help 2. I was thinking of a sliding scale cost for boat rides from the Marina, that goes up significantly after the event starts, and even more for pickups after 5PM. 3. Establish formal charters of the people on each boat, and only if a person is on a charter, then they can come?
1. Those lines that failed on North may have saved us more than we realize. They may have protected our arrangement much the same as a fuse protects an electrical circuit. Going to a higher strength of line for that boat-to-boat docking function might lead us into larger problems (like snapping cleats off).
2. Anyone that operates a ferry service needs to be licensed by the State of California to do so. I believe the license is required when "three or more passengers" are being transported and there is a fee involved.
3. Transportation between islands sucked, but lashing into one big raft would probably have been disasterous. Assuming that "rope barge" lines are placed at future events, something needs to be done to make them more visible. I was afraid that the Sheriff was going to foul their propeller when they drove their boat between North island ans West island.
4. The event should have a "fall back plan" for the City Design. Once boats were cut loose from North, we didn't know where to go.
5. Cutting anchor lines may be expedient, but it proved problematic for us afterwards. We were not able to splice an eye loop into the end of the line after the loop was cut.
6. Dave W. made the comment that it would have been usefull to have a climbing rig, to secure him safely when he was 'over the rail', trying to deal with mooring lines and anchor lines. Not sure that each boat should have one, but I think it makes sense to have one good climbing rig for at least each island. It's hard to work dexterously when one hand is busy securing you to the rail.
7. If you need to rely on a knife in an emergency, DO NOT rely on a folding knife. For our purposes, we should have been carrying "Dive Knives".
What did you learn?
Is there any data you observed, or were there hard-won lessons you gained, that will be useful in future years?
Dynamic geography works, except when it doesn't :). Module size really matters - I ended up renting a small vessel for my family because my 20-month old needed more quiet for naps and bedtime than was available on any island. Mobility really matters - one of my most fun times at the event was motoring off in our little shipstead to have family dinner and quiet time for the kids to fall asleep. Baron Hilton's groundskeeper gave us permission to MOOP sweep after we docked. Let's get it in advance next time. Anchoring is hard. Scaling is hard. Small boats get really wet in choppy weather. Having small kids at Ephemerisle is hard. In 2011 they came out Fri night. That was fine. Bringing them Wed afternoon was too much. Lots more thoughts but I have lots of Ephemerisle laundry to do...
Paradise Point's literature states that the houseboats each come with a hammer, but they actually don't. This was a surprise to us, and would be useful information to distribute next year so people know to bring their own hammers. My boat seriously failed at bringing enough rope. Rope seemed to be constantly in short supply, and even our "good" rope ended up breaking. The wiki should include links to good rope (and/or nylon webbing?), both something heavy duty for tying boats together, and also something lighter duty for tying up small inflatables and platforms. We should try to make it really easy for boats to show up with lots of good quality rope. Attaching the bins to the main platform with nylon webbing seemed to work really well. I wish we had used nylon webbing for Lemonade and Lasers -- our platform started sinking a bit Saturday evening due to a couple of bins popping off. The canopy we used for Lemonade and Lasers is fantastic and I recommend it highly. It survived the event unscathed, including people leaning on it for support and tying up craft to it, and eventually being pried off the platform with a hammer when the screws stripped. Good stuff: http://www.rei.com/product/782087/caddis-aluminum-rapid-shelter-8-x-8 I'd like to put some more effort into sustainability/recycling/MOOP/cleanup next year. Our boat didn't recycle any of our trash, simply because we failed to think about it beforehand so we didn't have separate receptacles for recycle or compost. We also would've happily participated in a trash sweep of the surrounding shores to pick up any debris that floated away during the event, but again, we just didn't think about it in time.
My Army tent *can* rip. It is not bulletproof. It is not even waterproof anymore. Sad face. Setting up a rain fly to keep warmth in a tent so that there is an opening which is consistent with the flow of the wind will only work as long as the boat does not change directions. Tying tent poles to various things to keep them from bowing in the wind was vital and I beleive prevented my poles from becoming damaged. I needed more reflective thingies to prevent people from tripping. I worried about that. Boats change directions, even when anchored. I learned more nautical stuff in the Navy than I thought I did. Climbing gyms give away old rope for free and it's in really handy lengths. Boobs will not fix everything. I need a new drill. I think I know how to drop an anchor. I should have brought a spare air pump and patch kit for inflatable rafts. Darryl gets pouty when I'm goofing off and his kayak is sinking. I should take sinking more seriously. Do not position paddles between boats or they will break. A once maimed, now straightened paddle seems to work okay.
Our boats are fueled with gas and not diesel Wind loads are really bad People are amazing and will step up when they need to Sometimes a softer touch is needed Bacon is tasty Crappy ropes are crappy
Bacon is my salvation; I shall not want. It maketh me to lie down below levee roads. It leadeth me to anchor in howling wind. It restoreth my mellow. It leadeth me into unusual adventures for adventure’s sake.
Yea, though I boat through the delta of windy death,
I will fear no starvation for thou art with me. Thy smell and thy taste, they comfort me. Thou augment my breakfast before me in the presence of toast; Thou surmount my sandwich with condiments; my a ju cup runneth over.
Surely applewood and hickory smoked will succor me all the days of my life
and I will dwell in the house of Hormel forever.
Notional loadout for all houseboats for 2013
This is a concept of a list of required items for each boat captain to display before being allowed to raft up with the main floatilla. we can hem and haw over it all year. Start by adding what you wish we could have then we can slice it down to reality.
Each house boat/ static vessel
Marine Radio, proven functional - (this means VHF, ideally one that floats) 5 watts Binoculars [Decent knife http://www.knivesplus.com/spydercoknifesp-c118syl.html]- serrated a plus, Copy of the ABCs of boating, captain proves at least that she skimmed it once. 100' of actual decent line Power drill of some sort Flood or spotlight. High-powered lights can be run off of 12VDC cigarette lighters. 12VDC cigarette lighter 'extension cords' would be needed for the houseboats. Name, phone number, and boat number added to an event-wide spreadsheet
Each mobile unit (speed boat/bus boat)
Marine radio, 25 watt Life ring (These, also known as Type IV PFDs by the USCG, are required by law, and all rented boats will have one. - Patri) Spotlight Very loud klaxon or megaphone
Command ships (one to three vessels depending on city design)
Same as houseboats BUT Marine radio, 25 watts FLIR system. I am working on a line for FLIR rentals (Clive) rental night vision goggles Pointing laser Very loud PA/megaphone Anemometer Long range WIFI nodes Zodiac or similar fast mobile vehicle At least three crew members with their whole shit together willing to execute in shifts. Mountain climbing sling, to secure workers that need to go "over the rail"
Matt's ideas for 2013
OK... I'm going to propose some radical changes to the event. I'd be interested in your feedback.
I think Ephemerisle should stop being a single event in almost every way, and instead become a federation of independent events. It's true to the spirit of decentralized government and self-reliance.
Thus the city becomes multiple villages. Each village starts in its planning stages as a seed -- the seed consists of a single boat or a small group of boats, and the groups in the seed decide who can join the village. Each seed establishes a set of rules and required supplies for others who want to add themselves -- some villages may require knot-tying skills and certain amounts of rope; others may require contributions to a DJ booth, still others may require a commitment to pay some fair share of communal anchoring supplies. The seeds will grow with distinct cultures, and villages will take on different personalities.
Villages might get together to organize relative locations, rope barges, radios, or ferries between cities, but they would be more like nations in the UN than states in the US. Autonomy would prevail, and the global governing body would be weak. We'd have to find a fair way of dividing up the community supplies that have been funded with kickstarter so far, but I don't think that's a huge challenge.
I think the main alternative to this is to return to the centrally managed U shape of 2011, make it large enough to accommodate everyone, and then tie it to the poles for safety. It's a known option and could make for a nice 2013, but it's kind of boring.
I like that Ephemerisle is pushing people's limits. This year was the first (somewhat accidental) experiment in competitive governance, and I'd love to see it made official. We can experiment with the social aspects of seasteading even in the small sandbox of Ephemerisle. Let a thousand (floating) nations bloom... it's going to be a fun ride!
Multiple paddler rescue near the rocks, Thursday afternoon
Location: Near rocks on the east side.
Time: Thursday afternoon (?)
People affected or rescued: One person paddling an inflatable dinghy, and two people paddling an inflatable kayak.
Level of personal or property risk: The paddlers were stuck and couldn't get to where they wanted to go, but no one was at risk of injury.
How the situation occurred: Wind blew the inflatable crafts east toward the rocks, and the paddlers were not strong enough to keep themselves from drifting aground. All paddlers were wearing life vests.
How folks responded: The paddlers waited at the rocks for others to come get them. A powered craft towed one of the inflatables back to the north raft. The other inflatable with two paddlers tied on behind another, stronger kayaker with a faster kayak, and the three people paddled together to get back to the north raft.
How the situation could have been prevented:
How the response could have been better:
Houseboats break away from the south raft, Saturday
Location: Eastern side of south raft.
Time: Saturday (more precise time?)
People affected or rescued: \~10 people on Chaos Legion and one other houseboat
Level of personal or property risk:
How the situation occurred: (Someone please provide a detailed account.)
Unclear what precipitated incident. Walking along the line of houseboats, Pablo (me) noticed that bow (upwind) cleats of Chaos was not attached to the rest of the raft, and a two-foot gap had already opened. There was no obvious failed line on either of the boats - it was as though someone had just removed it. The gap between the boats opened rapidly with no time for reaction, with leverage from the bow snapping off the rear cleat and letting the two easternmost boats peel off. Three people at the stern (bhayes, paulg and ?) had just enough time to leap between railings from the departing boats back to the main raft.
Patri: I had noticed earlier that several of the boats in the raftup were not tied together properly at the cleats, they did have the the usual loop-and-fold-under figure eights, but rather the rope was loosely circled around the set of cleats. I retied a couple of the boats, but had not gotten to that one yet :(.
How folks responded:
How the situation could have been prevented:
How the response could have been better:
Kayaker rescue near breakaway boats, Saturday afternoon
Location: Near the two houseboats that broke away from the south raft.
Time: Saturday, about 4pm
People affected or rescued: One kayaker wearing a life vest.
Level of personal or property risk: No risk of drowning, but he could have lost the kayak, drifted into the rocks, gotten stuck there, been cold etc.
How the situation occurred: The kayaker departed from the breakaway houseboats intending to head toward the north raft. Encountering stronger than expected wind, he turned toward the south raft instead. The wind and waves caught the kayak and it overturned, leaving the kayaker in the water wearing the life vest and holding onto the paddle and kayak. The kayaker was unable to climb back into the kayak after several attempts, and began to drift east toward the rocks.
How folks responded: The kayaker tried to swim back toward the houseboats, towing the kayak behind him, making slow but uncertain progress. He called for help. Someone from the houseboats jumped into the water with a line and passed him the line, and they pulled themselves back to the two breakaway boats.
How the situation could have been prevented:
How the response could have been better:
Location: Singapore Cut (between N Mandeville Tip and S Mandeville Tip)
Time: Saturday morning/evening
People affected or rescued: Crew of Radio FMerisle
Level of personal or property risk: Minimal
How the situation occurred: Approaching a piling with intent to moor, lost way & steering, wind pushed the houseboat around and grounded the left front pontoon in the mud.
How folks responded: Evaluated situation, concluded that we were stuck by the descending tide but there was little immediate risk. ("We're not going anywhere for a while. In these conditions, there's something to be said for that.") Determined that next high tides were approx. at dark and early next AM. Placed a line from bow of houseboat to piling in hopes of avoiding having the wind blow the boat farther up the bank as the tide came back up. Contacted marina personnel who attempted to tow the houseboat loose (unsuccessful) and eventually set out an anchor from stern of houseboat. Eventually freed houseboat from bank about dark on Saturday, secured it a little farther offshore to avoid getting stuck. Sunday morning, we pulled the boat farther from the bank and managed eventually to depart under power.