Sunday, March 02, 2008

Walking on the ferry, no guard rails, just wood.

Two separate interesting incidents have happened in the last while. We took the ferry into Puntaranes. Barry marveled at the simplicity of the loading of the cars onto the ferry. They would put a wooded gangplank from the dock onto the ferry and the cars would drive across this. This wooden gangplank had no side guard rails. When they attached it to the ferry there were about 7 or 8 planks at the end of the plank that were not attached and they would just spread them out to cover the distance from the dock to the ferry. The plank had to have a way of going up and down because the tide levels would fluctuate and when the ferry would arrive it would be higher and lower than the last time it had gotten there. The gangplank was raised and lowered by a system of pulleys that could be manipulated by hand, a big come along system, no fancy hydraulic push button system down here.
The loading of the ferry when we got on was not a problem, the gangplank was lowered, the extra planks at the end were distributed evenly and cars and people went off and on without a problem. The same thing at the other end in Puntaranes, no problem. When we returned to where we had originally got on the ferry, there was A PROBLEM. As we got closer we noticed that the gangplank was at a very odd angle, one side was really high and the other was way too low. The whole thing was sitting at about a 90 degree angle. There were three guys standing on the dock trying to get it to work. It looked like one side of the come along had failed. A big hook on the end of the gangplank had to reattached to the end and then they had to haul up the one side of the dock. These poor guys, one was in bare feet, had to haul the side that was down.
Something is wrong with this picture!
It took them about ¾ of an hour of brute strength hauling to get the dock even. Meanwhile on the ferry everyone just waited patiently for the gangplank to get fixed. Once they got it even they attached it to the ferry and off the cars drove. No engineers to certify that it was correct, no beaurocrats to sign off on the work, nothing to ensure it was safe. I wonder how the first guy to drive off felt!!!