Monday, April 12, 2010

April 12, 2010,
Had a very nice weekend working on a variety of things. Whipped out a series of small scratchboards. Here's the Gila chugging along on the Colorado River near the Needles:

And here's the Gila going up stream near El Dorado Canyon:

And here are the deckhands with their long poles gauging the depth of the current near Parker:

The deckhands, usually of Mexican and, or, In-din blood, would call out "Four!" (as in four feet deep), then "Three!" "Two!" "Two light!" "Quarter less two!" And, in the case of Martha Summerhaye's, when she wrote the deckhands on her trip yelled out, "No alli agua!" (No water there). In these situations captains like Jack Mellon would either "grasshopper" the boat over a sandbar with poles and spars, or, if the water over the bar was too shallow, the captain would turn the boat around and "crawfish" the boat over, cutting a channel with the stern wheels. Simply amazing.

"Pure Yankee!"
—A Swiss traveler remarking at Captain Mellon's ingeniousness for getting over sandbars

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