Katherine and take in some of the California seacoast. In my post, Santa Cruz - Day Two I had made mention that I was curious about the odd-shaped cement breakers that surrounded the Walton Lighthouse as they all seemed to be numbered and yet placed helter-skelter on the breakwater.
An anonymous commenter on that post had left me the information that "The pieces are numbered to assist the engineers in how they wear in the pounding of the surf and if they fail what was the composition and date and shift they were formed". That sounded like a great explanation to me as previously neither I nor Katherine knew why they were numbered like they were and I'd had no luck with an internet search I'd done while trying to find the answer.
"I saw your article about the Santa Cruz Harbor and you were curious about the “odd-shaped cement breakers”. I found this article about how and when they were built and wanted to share it with you. This file is over 18Mb so it could take a while to download, but it is worth it.
You can click on the link, “Building the Santa Cruz Harbor by George N. Wagner, Branch Manager (retired), Granite Construction Company” located at this web site, http://www.santacruzharbor.org/education/."Wayne was right, it did take awhile for it download but the article explained not just about the tetrapods - the official name of those odd-shaped cement pieces - but also just how the Santa Cruz Harbor was constructed. The article was written by Mr. Wagner in response to questions from his grandson, Abe, who asked, "Grandpa, how was this harbor built? Where did the stone come from? Where did the jacks (tetrapods) come from? Did you build them?" In order to answer those questions, Mr. Wagner wrote a 152-page article - complete with pictures - detailing the building of the Santa Cruz Harbor and even though it's pretty technical in places, it's a very interesting read.
Turns out that there are a total of 900 tetrapods, each weighing 28 tons, that were constructed at the rate of 40 a week. In addition to the time it took to pour the giant cement jacks and for them to set, it then took another 24 to 25 days for the cement to cure before the tetrapods could be placed around the jetty. It took 2-1/2 months to properly place them all and even though they look like they've been laid out pell-mell they were carefully placed to keep the ocean waves at bay. To us it may look like a giant child just got tired of playing with her jacks and tossed them down near the edge of the water but there's definitely a reason for them being the way they are.
Thank you so much, Wayne, for sending me the link to that article; I truly appreciate it! In addition, Wayne also sent me a link to a photo that he had taken of the tetrapods as he, too, found them interesting. You can check his picture out at this link and if you've got a little time and want to see some other lovely photos of California, I urge you to browse through Wayne's photo gallery as he's got some beautiful stuff there! Some of them make me yearn for another trip West to take some pictures of my own - especially those of the ghost-town Bodie, a place I've always wanted to go. Maybe someday ...
Several days after getting Wayne's email, I received another email, this time from Bob who wrote:
"I've often visited Yantic Falls throughout the past 30 odd years. I understood a "Leaping" legend existed, but never quite got beyond my slack-jawed trance upon each visit following a particularly significant rainfall. Wishing to get the legend straight in my mind, I happened upon your blog. WOW! What a beautiful webpage! The images of the Falls are magnificent. Now I've got a link to send to my son away at college in VT. He & I visited the Falls over his holiday break this month and were blown away yet again by the sheer force of the water, and majestic ice formations on the adjacent cliff. Thanks again for fleshing out this legend for me."I'm going to guess that Bob was referring to my post The Legend of Chief Uncas and Indian Leap that I wrote in December of 2008 though I have written about and posted many pictures of the Indian Leap Falls area. If you had something that looked like this practically in your backyard, I bet you'd go there a lot, too!
Thank you, Bob, for taking the time to send me an email and I am beyond delighted that I was able to tell you the story of Chief Uncas of the Mohegans and his leap across the chasm in his pursuit of rival Chief Miantonomo of the Narragansetts. As someone who often finds herself wishing she had chosen to teach history rather than dispatch ambulances for a living, it means a lot to me to know that I told a story that someone wanted to learn. I guess in some small way it sort of makes me a history teacher after all!