Repositioning a shifted dock

By Pat Lynch

How one cottager used his canoe to correct an errant dock


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Rein Pajo sat at the water’s edge of his Spring Lake cottage, beer in one hand, chin in the other. His nine-metre dock, one end of which rests, unfixed, on the rocky shoreline, had shifted landward over winter, sliding with the ice off three of the four slotted posts that support its lakeside reach. The far end now sagged over the water, clinging to one of the outermost posts. He sipped his beer. He stared at the dock. The dock stared back. And genius, in the form of a boat, materialized before his eyes.

“I’d tried using a heavy pry bar to lever the dock onto the posts from shore, and I tried lifting it from the water, but it was too heavy. I didn’t have the right jack to lift it, and the lake bottom is mushy anyway, so I had to improvise.”

His 4.5-metre aluminum canoe, which had borne the brunt of many a weighted-down paddling adventure, floated nearby, just waiting to be put to work. Pajo capsized the canoe, then slid it, right-side up and full of water, underneath the section of dock that needed a hoist. From his dockside perch, he began to bail out the boat and the trusty old Grumman slowly but surely rose out of the lake, lifting the dock just enough for him to step on shore and lever it into position with his pry bar. Treading back onto the boards, he refilled the canoe with his bucket, and simply slid it out from underneath his newly repositioned dock.

“I do consider this idea an advance in civilization and technology,” says Pajo, laughing. “You’ve got to improvise when you’re at the lake!”

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Pat Lynch