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Old 07-10-2018, 12:58   #1
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Skookum

Some time ago I happened to use the word "skookum" and someone, I think it was John61, asked what it meant. I explained then that it is the word in one of our First Nations languages for "great" or "powerful", and that we have a rapids called "Skookumchuck" meaning "powerful water".

This ayem I found this video showing some rather nifty seamanship in Skookumchuck Narrows: not far north of Vancouver, B.C.

Listen to the little tug's engine noise. His job is not to tow his barge through the narrows in the sense we normally think of towing, but rather to position the barge correctly in the narrows so that the powerful current will take it through. I admit to being afraid of Skookumchuck, but years ago when I was on a tight schedule I would often take a 65 foot ketch through lesser, deeper narrows, such as Doods near Nanaimo, by stemming a fair tide and using this technique of positioning myself and letting the current do the work. That way you always have steerage way but can minimize you speed over the ground.

Hope you enjoy the clip :-)



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Old 08-10-2018, 09:01   #2
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Re: Skookum

I'd be afraid of Skookumchuck, too. There's nothing in that video that suggests (to me) the tug is under control. That's crazy wild! Wouldn't another tug at the bag of the barge be a good idea?
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Old 08-10-2018, 09:32   #3
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Re: Skookum

I don't know the people involved, so I have no idea whether the skipper thot he was under control or not. But he made it though on an ebb flow, which implies that he was.

Entering Skookumchuck is dicing with death at the best of times. Here is what happens if you drop your bottle:




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Old 08-10-2018, 09:39   #4
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Re: Skookum

Quote:
Originally Posted by TrentePieds View Post
I explained then that it is the word in one of our First Nations languages for "great" or "powerful", and that we have a rapids called "Skookumchuck" meaning "powerful water".

TrentePieds
Coincidentally enough, BBC News had an article which included the word "Skookum" from the Chinook Wawa language. You can read it here: BBC - Travel - North America’s nearly forgotten language

The vid makes that run look like barely controlled chaos. Must be a killer adrenaline rush tho'!
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Old 08-10-2018, 11:22   #5
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Re: Skookum

Hello Teknish - haven't heard from you in while :-)!


Glad to see that you are friends with Auntie BBC. The article you cite is very much on point for anyone who would understand this singular corner of the world. Cultus Lake is not many miles from my home. Slesse Mountain = also Wawa for "Fang" Mountain ("fang" as in the fangs of a wolf or a bear) - is right next door and is aptly named. In 1956, IIRC, the Fang claimed an aircraft, a Canadair North Star (Canadian built DC4) belonging to Trans Canada Airlines, carrying 62 passengers. All died, and, AFAIK, the remains of the victims are still on the mountain along with the remains of the aircraft. You can hike in to a memorial park established there.

The article is correct in saying that "Boston" Bar, really means "American" Bar, although "bar" really does mean bar as in "gravel bar" where "placer" gold was found during the 1858 Fraser Gold Rush that attracted so many American miners manqué from the 1849 California Gold Rush. Some 40 miles downstream there is an American Bar, but as that name was taken already, the upstream bar had to be called "Boston" Bar. In between them you will find Kanaka Bar, that was, as the name sez, worked principally by Hawaiians

But I'm letting my love for the history of this place run away with me :-). And, yes, Skookumchuck is a rush in more ways than one. FWIW my opinion is that the skipper of the tug that you see capsizing in the second video I posted made a VERY fundamental error - he kept his scope too short! You absolutely HAVE to be able to get away from the barge if you've misjudged what the current and the whirlpools are gonna do to it. You need a long scope to be able to do that. You must either be able to slack the scope while you reposition youself so you can convince the barge to go where you want it to go, or, if you blow it, you must have time enuff to slip the hawser and get out from under before the barge runs over you or rolls you over as was the case here.


Even for us who are not tugboat men there are lessons to be learned from these clips!


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