And back to work on the Egabrag, which in reality never stopped as we kept adding
equipment, modifying existing gear for every job required something different. We
lived aboard, the quarters were small, after all, this was a workboat, not a pleasure
yacht. Note that we added a cabin behind the wheelhouse...
And when the Egabrag was painted and we started contemplating the voyage to the
South Seas, I got married.
As we prepared for the long trip, man from the telephone company walked down the
gangway and asked if we are for hire. The crane on deck and shiny white hull probably
got his attention. Of course we were available to earn some money, the reconstruction
drained the bank. Every so often, section of San Diego Bay has to be dredged so the
aircraft carriers and very large ships can dock at the Navy Coronado site. There are
submarine cables from San Diego to the base and they have to be moved in order to
allow the dredging. And that where we came in. The phone company was not happy with
the previous large tug and crane barge company and were looking for new contractor.
We inherited pile of stuff from the previous operation, mainly the modified oil drums
used to lift the very heavy armored cables. The communication cable has a lead shield
and that is protected with steel armor, it weighs close to 46 pounds per foot. Unfortunately,
the cable does not run in a nice line. Since they had to have extra length to accommodate the
moving, there were many kinks and loops from previous jobs which complicated the job.
In some places we had to cut sections out, so twisted they were.
And then there was the dredging barge
When they grabbed by mistake the phone cable, we had to stop what we were doing and go
to the rescue. Lots of headaches. Where we had advantage over the previous company,
was that we gave up their oil drums after first couple days of working the cables because
they were very difficult to move in the currents. we replaced them with lift bags and
instead of using umbilical hard hat divers, we did all work on scuba. Single diver could
place all the bags by swimming along the cable and place it every ten feet, take out the
regulator out of his/ her mouth and add just enough air for bag to flap above the cable,
their yellow color made it easier to see in the murky harbor waters too. Another diver then
followed with air hose from the low pressure compressor aboard the Egabrag and filled
the lift bags. As the bags lifted desired section of the cable to the surface, our 21' Boston
Whaler with 200 HP outboard tied to the cable and started pulling. Surveyor on the
shore called on the radio when we were far enough. Scuba divers then deflated the
bags, and repeated the process at the next section ...
Not only we moved the old cables, we also laid a new one.
After moving all the cables back to the original area, we buried the cables in a trench
using a air lift and jetting with stream of water. The shallow ends were covered with
concrete "coffins". I don't have many underwater pictures since the visibility was almost
always bad because of the dredging and also my hands were always full of tools and
stuff. BTW, my buddy Helena worked on this job as other of my scuba diving friends