Thursday, April 8, 2010

A GRAND PORTAGE - The American way ?

Remember back in the day, when your history teacher would talk about "portage" and how Lewis & Clark struggled to get their canoes between bodies of water? Well "fast forward" to 2010 and lets have another look at that concept.
Portage or portaging refers to the practice of carrying watercraft or cargo over land to avoid river obstacles, or between two bodies of water. A place where this carrying occurs is also called a portage; a person doing the carrying is called a porter.
The English word portage is derived from the French noun "portage" and verb "porter" : to carry. Early French explorers who ventured in to New France and French Louisiana encountered many rapids and cascades. The American indians carried their canoes over land to avoid river obstacles. The French coureurs des bois (or voyageurs) and trappers used the french word "portage".
Lets just say you have purchased a brand new SUNSEEKER Manhattan 60 Yacht from the UK and you need to get it to the LAKE OF THE OZARKS?? - yeah, you heard right - we ain't just hillbilly's out here.  Your "Portage" begins by placing this pricy little gem on a container ship bound for Galveston Texas, Nearly 65 ft long, 16.5 ft wide and weighing in at around 68,000 lbs, the Yacht begins its long journey to the "states".  It arrives a little over a month ago in Galveston, where it is picked up by our "porter", one of the Lake areas best Marine haulers.  Loaded on a "stretched" out lowboy trailer with barely 3 inches of ground clearance and "boxed" up to protect it from scrapes and scratches (like tree limbs and power lines), escort vehicles are ready to go and  a long list of other road support arrangements are made, Including "bucket" trucks for power lines and occasional police escorts and so on.  A long list of "permits" are required, which poses a bit of a problem.  After nearly a month in transit, (including a two + week stay in Casino parking lot in Oklahoma) the "Grand Lady" arrives in Osage Beach on April 1st.  Less than 300 yards from its final stop at the Marina where it will be hoisted and placed in the water - the trailer "high centers" causing yet another minor delay, while two local big wreckers are summoned to pull it across the "high" spot which is barely perceptible to the naked eye - -.  The cost of the "portage" from Galveston to Osage Beach would buy you a 2010 Corvette Convertible (without very many options) - Finally after some "on-shore work, yesterday the Great Lady was offloaded and placed in the water - - (Note:  Lake level rose about a foot from her displacement, got calls from the guys at the dam, fearing water might breach over the top! - - - :)  
I'll never look at "portage" in the same way again - - 
Moments after her arrival at Marina April 1st  Note trailer ground clearance

The lady is unwrapped and begins to see light of day, awaiting install of Radar arch
Transfer from trailer to lift


1 comment:

matt said...

That is a pretty incredible story. It is events like that that make a boat or other purchase memorable. And now you got a great story to tell over drinks.

I would love to share this story or others like it on our new Lake of the Ozarks website.