takao47 (takao47) wrote,


On two occasions in 2002 and 2003 (July and September) Takao47 visited Pacific Rim National Park [1] on the westcoast of Vancouver Island, British Columbia with the intention of surfing and visiting ruins of first nation totem poles [2], and took photographs of the beaches.

Although Takao47 has been visiting this area in 2001, at that time, Takao47 had only seen the hand-built driftwood structures on Wickaninnish Beach [3] and Long Beach as forest and places to play. Now Takao47 see that many of structures have similarities to indigenous architecture, not only of the westcoast but also further afield.

Driftwoods are Western red cedar [4], yellow cedar [5], yew [6], fir [7] and spruce [8] trees that have either been eroded from the shoreline [9] or are the result of logging, swept to sea and deposited back on the beach. The accumulated driftwood makes a seawall that halts erosion at the shoreline and provides a massive amount of raw materials for beachcombers, tourists and park visitors and locals to build things with.

From observation, in a typical structure, a roof beam with logs propped against it forms a lean-to with a wall on the seaward side. Some sheds are left open to the side facing east towards the woods, while in others the roof extends around both sides with an opening either on the north or south end. Some have the appearance of log houses, they are rectilinear, have a post and beam frame, and a roof that is only slightly pitched with a center peak, or at other times essentially flat.

When dry, seaweed such as bull kelp [10] becomes a resilient rope-like fabric, ideal for lashing posts and beam together. Other seaweeds, such as fir needle, seem to be used more decoratively. The diversity of these driftwood structure comes not only from their builders, but from each driftwood log, uniquely fashioned by nature through the force of wind, frost, sunlight, waves, rain, and the individuality of the original tree.

When Takao47 returned to Long Beach after a heavy rainstorm on October 2006, all of the driftwood and the structures south of Incinerator Rock and north towards the First Nation village of Esowista [11] had disappeared, swept to sea or silted over with small dunes. However, driftwood and seaweed characterize these westcoast beaches, providing an endless supply of material for a next generation of imaginative builders.

Yet these raw and unprocessed materials, Takao47 recalled that he overheard something about the energy state of construction materials and archaeological life cycle on CBC radio. One geologist was talking about these low energy state materials likes of wood, stones and certain stable metals earth last longer than energized materials likes of high-strength concrete [12] or high tensile steels [13]. If so, the impact of climate change wiped the civilization from this planet and again wildlife will dominate Manhattan Island, probably the Statue of Liberty [14] will stand at least few hundred years even deformed because she’s made from cupper [15]. Assumingly the concrete buildings cannot withstand direct impact of airplanes loaded with jet fuel, but cupper statue will stand hundred of years to come.

[1] http://www.pc.gc.ca/pn-np/bc/pacificrim/index_e.asp
[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Totem_pole
[3] http://tofinoeh.com/parks/wick/index.htm
[4] http://www.bcadventure.com/adventure/wilderness/forest/westred.htm
[5] http://www.bcadventure.com/adventure/wilderness/forest/yelcedar.htm
[6] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canadian_Yew
[7] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fir
[8] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spruce
[9] http://chl.erdc.usace.army.mil/section227
[10] http://www.localharvest.org/store/item.jsp?id=4300
[11] http://www.tofinotime.com/main.htm?maps/MP-Pfrm.htm~BDfrm
[12] http://www.concretecentre.com/main.asp?page=131
[13] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HSLA_steel
[14] https://engineering.purdue.edu/MSE/AboutUs/GotMaterials/Parks/thomas.html
[15] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bronze_Age
Tags: driftwood
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