Restoring the Tower Through the Eyes of A Volunteer (part 3 of 4)
Dan continues his thoughts about his adventure on the Frying Pan Tower…
I found my room eventually in the labyrinth of hallways inside the tower. A steady wind blew a cool breeze into my room. I laid in the bed and wrote the story of the day, then waited impatiently for it to upload.
Sleep came in an instant. Sometime during the night, I woke in a haze and heard increased wind noise and saw lightning. I heard pelting rain and felt a few splashes through the open windows. I dreamily worried about whether or not to close the windows, but sleep quickly pulled me back into oblivion.
Dawn finally emerged out of the darkness and I clanked up to the helicopter deck. Mary was there and we marveled at the way the sun was illuminating various cloud formations on the horizon.
Eventually, we went downstairs and started cooking breakfast. Mary prepared bacon caramelized with brown sugar and pepper and I grilled onions and peppers. We scrambled some eggs and cooked some toast. The sleepy crew emerged and ate what we served.
Eventually, I lowered myself back into the enormous water tank and went to work grinding the ever-present rust barnacles. When a hole appeared, we would clean to bare metal and Matt would fit a patch, ready for Vance to weld it in place.
I would emerge from time to time to cool off, get a drink, and stare at the never-ending blue ocean. Looking down, I could see enormous barracuda watching their next meal.
Soon it was lunchtime and Mary and I made a concoction of the leftover spaghetti baked with chorizo, onions, and black beans. Some of us ate in the dining room; the others were up on top of the light tower adding two wind turbines.
I took a break from grinding and went to work painting a thin layer of rust converter on hallway walls that had been wire- brushed by Kevin. I finished that and went back to the tank.
Kevin and I swept piles of debris into a bucket and little by little got the tank clean. We went back with a vacuum and finished the job. Later, Vance went down and finished the last of the welding.
I went by the kitchen and found Mary thinking about dinner. We decided on a rosemary chicken casserole with roasted potatoes and onions. The smells of the roasting rosemary mixed with the smoke from Vance’s welding alternately wafted through the windy hallways.
Richard emerged from the tank and declared it ready for rust treatment in the morning.
We ate dinner together and told stories from our various work details. Eventually, we retired to the helicopter deck and watched what was left of the sunset. Richard pulled a burn barrel out and we burned our paper trash.
As the fire burned itself out, the stars came out, obscured by splotches of clouds. We watched ships in the distance and wondered about their destinations and missions.
One by one, the crew disappeared to their beds. Kevin and I went down last, feeling a little melancholy that it was probably our last night on the tower.
A volunteer trip gives you enough time to work, relax and gather in the crazy, beautiful, amazing place you are helping to restore and save from falling into the ocean!
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