Building a Dock Across a Cypress Swamp // Expanded Living Space // Sanity During Quarantine

Building a Dock Across a Cypress Swamp Covid-19 Sanity, Building a Dock Across a Cypress Swamp // Expanded Living Space // Sanity During Quarantine

Hurricanes Matthew and Irma were the final blows to our dock. We gathered information, priced out supplies, and decided to have professionals build for us. Our savings by doing it “DIY” would be offset greatly by the time it would take us to build it, our aching backs, and lack of specialized equipment. We didn’t even realize the dock would save our sanity during quarantine.

Building a Dock Across a Cypress Swamp Covid-19 Sanity, Building a Dock Across a Cypress Swamp // Expanded Living Space // Sanity During Quarantine

Project Begins

So, mid-January, the project began and was finished mid-March, the day before our 12-week quarantine at home began. Perfect timing. Right when we needed more living space, it was completed.

Building a Dock Across a Cypress Swamp Covid-19 Sanity, Building a Dock Across a Cypress Swamp // Expanded Living Space // Sanity During Quarantine

We solicited one estimate. I told the company owner, Mr. Kenneth Webb of Webb Marine Construction, that we did not mind if the construction was in spurts. There was no emergency necessitating immediate completion. My hope was that by being flexible, maybe they could work on it between jobs.

Something sure was right, because the estimate was comparable to two estimates we had from five years prior. With no hesitation, we accepted the bid. And then the supplies started arriving in our yard.

Building a Dock Across a Cypress Swamp Covid-19 Sanity, Building a Dock Across a Cypress Swamp // Expanded Living Space // Sanity During Quarantine
Building a Dock Across a Cypress Swamp Covid-19 Sanity, Building a Dock Across a Cypress Swamp // Expanded Living Space // Sanity During Quarantine

First Stages of Construction

The initial task was setting string to mark the line for jetting in pilings. Once that was complete, piling setting began.

Building a Dock Across a Cypress Swamp Covid-19 Sanity, Building a Dock Across a Cypress Swamp // Expanded Living Space // Sanity During Quarantine

Starting to Look Like a Dock

Once the pilings were set, decking began. That stage went amazingly quickly over the cypress swamp.

At this point, we really began to notice how having tons of dock-building experience made for a much more efficient installation.

Building a Dock Across a Cypress Swamp Covid-19 Sanity, Building a Dock Across a Cypress Swamp // Expanded Living Space // Sanity During Quarantine

Knowing every step meant the builders were extremely economical with their efforts. There was no back-tracking, undo- and redo-ing, only forward progress.

Had we chosen to build the dock, we definitely would have experienced some do-overs and inefficiencies due to learning on the job.

Building a Dock Across a Cypress Swamp Covid-19 Sanity, Building a Dock Across a Cypress Swamp // Expanded Living Space // Sanity During Quarantine

Cypress Swamp Stage Complete

The decking in the swamp went relatively quickly. We anticipated that the next stage, over the water, would take longer. It actually was about the same time-wise!

At this point, I think we did not yet truly realize how much more efficient the team of workers were. We checked on the progress every morning, and sometimes it was hard to even tell what progress had been made.

Building a Dock Across a Cypress Swamp Covid-19 Sanity, Building a Dock Across a Cypress Swamp // Expanded Living Space // Sanity During Quarantine

The thousands of deck screws and hundreds of bolts underneath were not apparent from our topsides morning strolls.

Building a Dock Across a Cypress Swamp Covid-19 Sanity, Building a Dock Across a Cypress Swamp // Expanded Living Space // Sanity During Quarantine

Next Stage; Working Toward the Water

Now was the time for the over-the-water part of the cypress swamp dock. A huge impediment was in our path; a piece of marine debris, a floating structure that had destroyed part of the old dock and did not qualify for derelict vessel removal status.

The photo above is around our wedding day – I know, because we walked to the end of what was built that morning and greeted the sunrise as usual.

Building a Dock Across a Cypress Swamp Covid-19 Sanity, Building a Dock Across a Cypress Swamp // Expanded Living Space // Sanity During Quarantine

Derelict Floating/Sunken Structure

Would the dock miss it? Was it in the way? Once we got out there, could we dismantle the structure? It was a complicated situation with a deceased owner and no will. Here’s my article on that: Abandoned Houseboat on the St. Johns River // Derelict Vessel Woes // It Sunk at Our Dock.

Building a Dock Across a Cypress Swamp Covid-19 Sanity, Building a Dock Across a Cypress Swamp // Expanded Living Space // Sanity During Quarantine

Getting Closer!

Everyone, even the cats wondered if the new dock would clear the debris. The new dock had to be built exactly in the footsteps of the old dock, as it was plotted on all surveys and legal documents.

Building a Dock Across a Cypress Swamp Covid-19 Sanity, Building a Dock Across a Cypress Swamp // Expanded Living Space // Sanity During Quarantine

Cats and dogs – they all did a lot of exploring on the new part of the “yard.”

Building a Dock Across a Cypress Swamp Covid-19 Sanity, Building a Dock Across a Cypress Swamp // Expanded Living Space // Sanity During Quarantine

Clear!

The new dock missed the derelict houseboat/floating/sunken structure by inches. The end closer to shore is a couple feet away from the dock, and the end further from shore actually lies an inch or two under the dock.

Building a Dock Across a Cypress Swamp Covid-19 Sanity, Building a Dock Across a Cypress Swamp // Expanded Living Space // Sanity During Quarantine

Landing Pad at End

The usual permitted size of the pad at the end is 10 by 20 feet, which mirrored our previous dock. That meant all systems go for finishing.

Building a Dock Across a Cypress Swamp Covid-19 Sanity, Building a Dock Across a Cypress Swamp // Expanded Living Space // Sanity During Quarantine

Shallow Water

Lucky for the dock builders, the water is fairly shallow. So, the crew was able to stand on the bottom while working the entire length of the dock.

The pad at the end is angled to parallel the banks of the river.

Building a Dock Across a Cypress Swamp Covid-19 Sanity, Building a Dock Across a Cypress Swamp // Expanded Living Space // Sanity During Quarantine

Still in Disbelief

After living for years without access to the river, I think it took a couple weeks for us to calm down about the dock. We walked to the end every morning, evening, and a couple times in between, pinching ourselves that it was “real.”

Building a Dock Across a Cypress Swamp Covid-19 Sanity, Building a Dock Across a Cypress Swamp // Expanded Living Space // Sanity During Quarantine

Back to the Derelict Vessel

Once we reached it, we were able to start emptying the derelict houseboat.

Building a Dock Across a Cypress Swamp Covid-19 Sanity, Building a Dock Across a Cypress Swamp // Expanded Living Space // Sanity During Quarantine

It took two days to move all the loose items down the dock, one wheelbarrow load at a time, transiting the 200 or more feet from the houseboat to our berm.

From there, we could move items to the road to be picked up with the weekly trash collection.

Building a Dock Across a Cypress Swamp Covid-19 Sanity, Building a Dock Across a Cypress Swamp // Expanded Living Space // Sanity During Quarantine

Kayak Launch

Now we have a way to launch kayaks from our property.

We had a couple good exploratory runs, and whetted everyone’s appetite for smooth-water paddling.

Building a Dock Across a Cypress Swamp Covid-19 Sanity, Building a Dock Across a Cypress Swamp // Expanded Living Space // Sanity During Quarantine
Building a Dock Across a Cypress Swamp Covid-19 Sanity, Building a Dock Across a Cypress Swamp // Expanded Living Space // Sanity During Quarantine

The Day after Final Completion

The dock was finished on March 12. On March 13, we began twelve weeks of quarantine, working from home due to the Covid-19 virus.

We knew we were so fortunate to have expanded our living space. The new area was quite safe, far from neighbors, and opened up our livable area. On that day, we really had no idea how much of a relief it would be to have safe areas for resting and contemplation.

Building a Dock Across a Cypress Swamp Covid-19 Sanity, Building a Dock Across a Cypress Swamp // Expanded Living Space // Sanity During Quarantine

Contemplative Mornings

Greeting the sun daily became a ritual. Those first few weeks of Covid-19 quarantine are a blur of figures and learning new computer programs, longer work hours and charts and statistics.

Building a Dock Across a Cypress Swamp Covid-19 Sanity, Building a Dock Across a Cypress Swamp // Expanded Living Space // Sanity During Quarantine

Value of Outdoor Living Space

What initially seemed like a frivolous expenditure ended up contributing to our sanity. Sure, we would have survived quarantine with the house alone. But, having an outlet, having somewhere to pace and go look at the good in the world gave such release.

On days when graphs and numbers and death counts were climbing out of control, we could walk down the dock and the river was calm. It reminded us that it’s possible to go on, to rebound, and that nature continued to be in control.

The derelict houseboat? We work on it about 20 hours a week, dismantling it so it does not destroy our new dock during hurricane season.

Building a Dock Across a Cypress Swamp Covid-19 Sanity, Building a Dock Across a Cypress Swamp // Expanded Living Space // Sanity During Quarantine

I Don’t Go Anywhere Without

  • Stream2Sea Reef Safe SPF 20 or 30 mineral, regular or tinted sunscreen, mask defog, shampoo, conditioner, rash guards and more reef-safe supplies. Use my code “DeepWH” for 10% off.
  • Crisis Medicine Tactical Casualty Care Course knowledge so we can help ourselves. With code “DeepWH” you save 20% on the TC2 course
  • MyMedic Individual Bleeding Control Kits, this link and my code “DeepWH15” will save you 15% on your purchase. We take ours everywhere.
  • North American Rescue CAT tourniquets. Use code “MAY25” for 20% off through midnight on 5/31/20. This is a huge savings!
  • Airbnb, “Kimberly gave you up to $55 off your first trip.”
  • Airbnb says, “Deep gave you up to $415 off your first adventure.
  • Uber gives you $2 off your first three rides.
  • Travelex is our trip insurer – click for a free quote.
  • Girls That Scuba – members discount card for all things diving.
  • REI Co-op for great sports equipment and travel clothes.
  • Sailo for $100 off your next boat rental! Discount Code: “KimWa1”
  • PierShare to rent your dock out or rent a dock.
  • BoatUS for your boat towing insurance! Code: “HEWAF88”
  • RoadId for $5 off your cycling/running/kayaking/travel id.
  • Thank you for using my links – your price does not change, but they may gift me a small percentage of your sale in return for my mention, which allows me to continue to bring to you fun content.
  • AD: affiliate links used.

Building a Dock Across a Cypress Swamp Covid-19 Sanity, Building a Dock Across a Cypress Swamp // Expanded Living Space // Sanity During Quarantine

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