For Sparky and myself, curiosity drives passion which in turn fuels our life's engine. Our passion was capturing the story of both unbuilding the Grace (1929 - 2007) and Pearman (1966 - 2007) Bridges and discovering the unbuilders. It takes a lot of passion to track a project from July 2005 until April 2007 - rain, shine, hurricanes or moving to Singapore. We discovered the joy of discovery learning. Ken Canty opened the front door for us - then Steve Testa, Ponch Billingsley and Mickey Rogers opened many side doors. Below are the highlights of what we discovered, who we met and what we learned.
And a reminder from T.S. Eliot (East Coker from the Four Quartets)
Home is where one starts from. As we grow older The world becomes stranger, the pattern more complicated Of dead and living. Not the intense moment Isolated, with no before and after, But a lifetime burning in every moment And not the lifetime of one man only But of old stones that cannot be deciphered.
The worksite - the west section of the Pearman Bridge that projected into the ship channel (the cantilever section)
The context - the east section of the Graceless piers, C-4 I think, Michael working away at unbuilding P-10 and a bit of cousin Arthur looking on
Michael and his 1250, whacking away on the Grace pier (P-10?)
Another view of Michael - with Richie in Boston, Jackie somewhere and me in Singapore, it just is plain lonely looking at what Sparky sees but half a world away. For me meeting the unbuilders is up there high on my list of fortunate opportunities
Maybe Jackie is on this barge doing a bit of Grace fishing
The worksite - with the crane / elevator in place and our acrobats ready to do their thing
This looks like David
A couple of detonator assemblies
and the shaped charges
Oscar riding a floor girder after wrapping a charge with kevlar
A group of wrapped girders
Transport of acrobats and supplies is a continuous challenge. Here is the elevator bringing something
for the acrobats
A detonator / fuse assembly prior to wrapping
Wrapping a charge assembly - how to keep the sheet of kevlar from flapping in the breeze while wrapping it around the girder
and Sparky, the photo artist - shooting through the crane boom
Wrapping a charge with kevlar sheets
Another wrapping exercise
The shock tubes that transfer the detonation process from button to explosives
Another view of the ignition system
Here you can see the cut through the base of the girder with two of the DD acrobats chillin' a bit.
To the right is a piece of conveyor belt - a large rubber band with a steel grid inside. These are places on the Ravenel side of the charges to contain the distribution of debris. To the left is a piece of kevlar being wrapped around the girder.
Note the ignition line above the charge with splices leading to each charge.
Oscar and David doing something
and Oscar doing another something
A charge and the initial wrap
The ignition system
Coupling the charge assemblies to the ignition system
Wrapping another charge - with the usual prelude of kevlar flapping in the breeze
The charges placed inside the girder with a sheet of kevlar doing its thing
and let the wrapping begin
Oscar on the left - doing some wrapping while someone else is practicing another acrobatic position on the right
Continued wrapping with new acrobatic positions
It just gets better. Reality TV has nothing on these guys
Cousin Arthur watching the wrapping process
One completed, one to go
Enough is enough - time for a break
A good view of the charge in the middle, the kevlar wrapping and on the backside is the conveyor belt shield
Coupling charges to the ignition line
Lots of coupling to do
Looking up through the superstructure with Cousin Arthur in the background
A good view of the elevator
and Sparky's artistic touch
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.
C. Frank Starmer