Intern Journal-Sydney

The Squam Conservation Internship provides skills and experience for future conservation professionals while working as the driving force behind the SLA’s conservation mission.  This unpaid volunteer internship provides hands-on conservation work experience and certifications over a broad range of activities.  Interns serve as campsite hosts and caretakers at our backcountry campsites, work toward the eradication of variable milfoil, engage both youth and adults in environmental education, and perform other conservation duties such as shoreline restoration and trail maintenance and construction. Learn more about the internship program here. Squam Conservation Interns also regularly write about their experiences in the Squam Watershed.

This past weekend I spent my first weekend camping on Moon Island. The scheduled campers for the weekend head out Friday afternoon packed for the weekend with a list of duties to accomplish before returning Monday morning. Prepared to spend the majority of my time alone with not much to do, I packed my hammock, multiple books, a pen and some paper. However, I didn’t find myself becoming bored at all. Instead, I filled most of my time doing my chores, and catching up on sleep.
One of the tasks for the weekend was raising all the docks. Due to the amount of rain in the past week and the rain that came while I was out camping the docks were almost underwater and were getting hit with waves, adding wear and tear. It was windy, cloudy, and cold when Julian, who was camping on Bowman Island, and I went out to raise the docks. Due to the weather neither of us wanted to get into the water to lift the docks, therefore leaving us with no other option than to use the chains. The chains, as we refer to them, are odd contraptions that hook to the top of a dock post with a chain that loops around beneath the hinge between the dock and a post. If one were come across one without any context they’d have no idea what to use it for, not to mention you’d also have grease all over your hands. Once this at first complicated system is set up on a dock post, there is a crank at the top that is spun it until slowly the dock is lifted up. Sometimes this can get pretty difficult, requiring lots of muscle power. The first dock at Moon wasn’t too hard, but the Bowman docks were a different story.
We arrived at Bowman Island after Calypso, the large pontoon boat us interns drive around, notoriously stalled out three times in the short distance over to Bowman Island, which was stressful regarding the weather conditions. One of the Bowman docks was getting hit hard with waves that splashed over the top of the dock. Julian and I each chose a post and started to crank them up, and then moved to the next two, when one of the ones we’d just pulled up fell back down. We continued with the next two posts anyways, until the other one we’d first pulled up also fell with a thud. We realized that as we raise the dock on posts it changes the angle that the dock is lined up with other posts which means the bolt is looser so the dock falls back down.
Finally we’d made it to the last set of poles on the dock, but as soon as I stepped toward the end of the dock, it fell down, but not just the usual couple of inches. I was now had water up to my ankles, while still standing on the dock. I looked at Julian, who’d turned to see which post had fallen this time when he heard the noise, and we laughed. We admitted that even though this was frustrating it was also hilarious.

Once all the posts of the dock were raised at the same time, we jumped on Calypso and left as quickly as possible, afraid a post would collapse on us again. As we drove away we admired our hard work and the fact that the waves no longer splashed over the dock, or even hit the bottom of the dock. We joked that the whole thing would collapse and that if it did we look away and pretend we didn’t see it happen, but as far as I know the dock is still standing, above the waves.

Read more Intern Journal entries here.