Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Aquarium is...Gardening? Intertidal Gardening, that is!

It’s a cold, dark and stormy Saturday night and we are dressed to the nines in our rain gear waiting for the tide to drop.

The foreshore of the aquarium is lit up by floodlights and a mighty beacon of white light from the helpful fishing vessel, Frosti, who were also giving us the Canucks updates on their booming loudspeaker. As we were waiting for the water to recede we were preparing our plywood forms, cement mixer, filling sandbags, and getting all the tools necessary.

The time schedule we were on was not ours but the mighty oceans. Our team consisted of Phillip Bruecker (founder), Dave Hurwitz (curator), Mark Cunnington (engineer), Chris Zamora (R.P. Biologist), his wife Brenda & their 2 children, Hedley Crowther, Deane Crowther, Kane Edwards, Danielle Hiscock, Ashlie Zuck & Kat McGlynn.

Finally the time had arrived… With tools in hand we approached the rocky outcrop that was soon to be Ucluelet`s first man-made tide pools. We quickly set to work; some of us clearing the rock and silt out of the tide pool area, others cutting and placing the concrete forms.

To prevent any seepage of concrete we lined the forms with a geo-textile and braced them with dozens of sandbags, while up above on the road the concrete was being prepared. In the concrete we were adding polyfibers in lieu of rebar for internal support. Instead of a regular cold water cement mix we added hot water to speed up the setting of the concrete walls.

Once all the forms and our textiles were in place we started hauling the freshly prepared cement down to the beach. We knew we only had a small window of time before the tides started to rise and our work would be halted whether we were finished or not. Everything ran smoothly and before we knew it all six walls were poured and the Canucks won!

The finished products!