Dredging at Sunset

If you read the histories of beach towns along the West Coast of our State of Michigan you will discover that many started as lumber mills on an outlet along the bank of a meandering river/stream/marsh that emptied into Lake Michigan. Among the first things mill owners did was set about dredging channels to create ports for the big lumber schooners of the 19th Century. From these ‘harbors’ the lumber went out to Chicago, Milwaukee, Detroit then by rails and canals to other cities and towns to build our nation.  Throughout these centuries one constant has remained; sand bars. Often times a channel mouth can be silted in by it’s river. In Muskegon we can have a 3 day gale re-arrange the great sandbars that run parallel to our shores blocking the entrance to our man made harbor. The scouring action of the waves is an awesome power. I tried hard to find a photo I had of 3 big lake freighters run aground on our sandbars after such a gale in 2012 to illustrate the need for dredging. Practice safe backup, friends. Those photos are lost to an external drive crash.

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As I understand it this is a vacuum dredger and that ‘hose’ leading off the barge in the photo above runs several football field lengths away from the channel mouth dumping the sand into it’s own sandbar.

Our sunsets are quite vivid and seem to last longer than sunsets in places closer to the equator. The light and color changes are spectacular. Same night, same scene about 10 minutes later:

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For look! Within my hollow hand,
While round the earth careens,
I hold a single grain of sand
And wonder what it means.
Ah! If I had the eyes to see,
And brain to understand,
I think Life’s mystery might be
Solved in this grain of sand.

The above was part of a Robert William Service poem. I hope to use it in full some time when I do a full post on sand. Sand figures large in our lives around her.

More about dredging from Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dredging

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dredging

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6 thoughts on “Dredging at Sunset

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