Tuesday 16 July 2024

Hanging out with astronauts

One more time, a phone call changes everything. Also the phone call comes from a repeat source, Tug boat captain, Don MacKenzie of MacKenzie Sea Services. Don called to see if I was interested in going out with him to the Chaudierre dive site with some very special guests and cargo. The Chaudierre is a 366 ft warship that was sunk in Sechelt Inlet to provide a great dive site and artificial reef. The guests were underwater technical wizard Phil Nuytten with his NewtSuit dive systems and two of Canada's astronauts Steve MacLean and Julie Payette.
Julie Payette getting prepped for a dive in a Newtsuit    Phil Nuytten in the black dry suit

 It was easy to decide to skip out of work to go on this adventure, I mean really , what a collection of Canadian technical firepower, all in one spot.
 The idea was to have the astronauts dive the Newtsuits  down to the Chaudierre to get the feeling of working in space. The Newtsuits are hard-shell, one atmosphere, self contained  dive machines. The one atmosphere part is critical because it keeps the stress of underwater pressures from affecting the diver. Instead of risking the "bends" or various embolisms and other nasty side-effects of deep water diving, the Newtsuit diver is only ever exposed to sea level pressures, even at depths of 1000 to 2000 ft and beyond.
Getting lifted by a deck crane into the water
 And seriously, I've got to say that Julie Payette was a charmer, very friendly and outgoing, cute as all get out in her ripped jeans and scuffed work boots. She also packs more brains in her baby toe than I'll ever have, even if I studied from now until Jesus gets back from holidays. If you have a look at her Wiki site you'll see what I mean, that's one very accomplished woman.
Prepping the Newtsuit   as close to a Robo-Space suit as they come

 Steve MacLean was a tad more serious, but still talked openly and freely when he wasn't involved in getting the gear setup, it could be that he got the vibe that he just wasn't as cute and charming as Julie. He was more "engineer" like in his demeanor, totally immersed in the technical side of things. This must have worked well for him, as far as I know he is the president of the Canadian Space Agency these days....and Julie is the CSA Chief astronaut....good work if you can get it. I put my resume in, but haven't heard back yet.
 One more time, a corner store disposable camera recorded this day, without which , this marvelous day would be lost to the dusty corners of memory. I was so lucky to be on deck with one of my underwater heroes, in Can-Dive's Phil Nuytten and two of Canada's most accomplished astronauts. ( are there any astronauts that aren't accomplished? no I don't think so....moving on now ).
Astronaut Steve McLean in light blue jacket with Can-Dive techs

Steve McLean in light blue jacket and Julie Payette on the right at lunchtime  Chaudierre dive sight

Camera guy, Can-dive worker, Phil Nuytten in black dive suit and Julie Payette in the Newtsuit

 Don MacKenzie had done a ton of work with Phil in the past on the testing and deployment of some of his underwater inventions. This gig was a perfect blend of the man whose life was made on top of the ocean and the other who flourished under the waves, both very good at what they do.
 The dives went well, with several scuba divers in the water to shadow the Newtsuit astronauts and to video the excursions. I'm not sure if the video part worked out that well, I saw several flooded camera cases returning to the surface at various times.
 All in all, it was a great outing and one for my personal record books. A few years in the future involved shuttle flights for the two astronauts, Don would be salvaging the "Golden Cell" and making west coast maritime history....and me, well I went on to more unusual and unlikely adventures.
Always work to do, prepping complex gear

Drill Bits and Dynamite Part Ten...Photos of the working Machines

Segment one...769 haul truck, hired helicopter for photography, 345 Cat hoe...in between Cut 6 and Cut 7

6x6 truck on Eagleridge overpass, coming into Cut 4 with roots and stumps from another site...the wood material was later hauled away by contractors. Note the drivers use of special hand signals...the Segment One wave

Concrete pour using a company truck instead of contractor units

Davey-Kent drill installing anchors on a retaining wall

Spreading finish gravels on a large MSE wall

Rock crushing operation

The lumbering 365 Cat hoe at Doodson's Corner

Doodson's Corner ...365 hoe and Hoe-drill

365 hoe

Gravel stockpile beside the highway

PKS concrete batch plant

Breaking up old bridge beams, just South of Darrell Bay

Rented long reach on Black Mountain Trail

NO, I don't know how he got there

Drilling a trim shot on top of Cut 14

Maintenance on the Grove between Cut 5 and Larsen Creek

Above Wall 76..below Cut 9. The excavators are removing material that gets tossed down from the Cut 9 bench. The wheel loader is patching the existing highway to repair the damage done by casting material down.... directly to the road surface in closures...either at night or in brief daytime road closures

Service truck and rock crusher at Cut 11

Cut 10

South interchange Seg 1 concrete pump

Beside the highway at Cut 11, rock hammer and excavator to feed the crusher

Cut 10 and 11

Davey-Kent drill

Doodson's corner

Doodson's corner, two Ranger 800's

Bridge entering Squamish from the south side

Eagleridge parking lot...769 haul trucks and 1250 Komatsu being assembled


Komatsu 1250

Seg 1 below the Upper Levels highway

Above Cut 10 beside the old highway

Placing blast mats

In the middle of the ferry lanes, blasting for a traffic sign base

Day one of Ranger rock drill number one delivered to the Sea to Sky project....this is at Segment two, with Jim McBrides crew
Drill No.1 paddling south on the Squamish highway to go and find some rock to test drill

Setting up to drill holes for rock anchors at Segment one, below the Upper Levels Highway

Segment two hoe-drill and crew came down to help us at the beginning of Cut4
Cut 4, Segment one

Cut 4, right above the Eagleridge parking lot

Eagleridge parking lot, drills working on Cut 4

Backside of Cut 4, setting up for drilling the pre-shear holes

Drilling through the concrete footing to install 10 meter long anchor bolts. If you are an engineer, planning to build one of these walls...could you please not have drillers try to drill through 10 feet of rebar steel. Rock drills and rock drillers don't really like fighting with reinforcing steel. It tears the machine up and irritates the shit out of the drillers.Design in some plastic sleeves where ever you want the anchors. Please and thank-you

This guy is the eyeballs for the driller, who can't see whats going on when the mast is in this position.
the team...blaster and hoe operator lifting the blast mats

Drilling the pre-shear line....Cut 4

Drilling 4 inch blast holes for an 11,000 cubic meter blast in Cut 4
Drilling for rock anchors on top of Cut 10

Big machine/small machine. The guy with his back to the camera is Silas O'Brien...his story is important. He was killed by a hit and run driver with 60 driving convictions....Today ( July 5 2012 ) the driver Brent Parent is appealing his sentence and charges. Here is a short post about that. I would recommend that you Google Silas O'Brien to get the story of how he was killed...http://adventuresinmikeslife.blogspot.ca/2012/05/silas-obrian.html

The blasters getting a shot ready on a rock outcropping in one of the large fill sites
Hoe-drill at Cut 10 in the early days

Two Ranger drills on Cut 5 above the ferry ticket booths

Rock drill working up on the cut at Darrell Bay, Segment 3....across from the Woodfibre ferry terminal
Darrell Bay cut

Lonely little air-track drill plunking away at the pre-shear line....what that antique was doing there...I have no idea.

Blocky, seamy and hard rock made for some spectacular fly-rock shots...I'm glad I wasn't there, to have to fight with that stuff
Rock hammer attached to an excavator to reduce the boulders down to size

Rock drill just off the highway at the north end of Brittania

South end of the Darrell Bay cut

A beautiful day at Cut 10, Segment one

Drilling and blasting between lanes of traffic at the south interchange of Segment one

This is Seg two or three...hanging an air-track drill from a crane to drill anchor bolts

The guys on the ground are wondering who is in the helicopter, while they are doing this "unique" maneuver  

Old tank drill with a 123 hammer!! belonging to a contractor on the project

Long view, the tank drill is up on the bench, other side of highway...hoe and rock-truck below the highway....railroad tracks below them

Drill and powder truck on top of a pioneering trail

Segment one blasters getting ready to fix up some ditch-line at Cut 5

Segment two, drilling , digging and hauling

Seg two hoe-drill at bottom of a big cut

Segment one, north end of the Cut 10 area...above the retaining wall and railroad tracks

One of the big fills going in....a lift at a time....Segment one

Same fill site, Robin MacGregor ( Goldwing Helicopters )taking off

Cluster of machines beside a gravel fill/grading operation

Seg one, north end of Cut 10...maybe technically Cut 11
Long view of same area Cut 10/11...below highway and above the tracks

Cut 8...385 Cat hoe loading to a Cat 769 haul truck

Cut 8 loading out

Concrete pour Seg 2 or three...below the highway

Rock drills at Seg two
Secret test site for MSE wall construction....pretty much the construction equivalent of Area 51

Randy C...not afraid of heights...stripping overburden off of the top of Cut 8