‘Without these repairs, it’d be the end of the cove’ says fisherman
With major repairs to a severely damaged wharf completed, Sam Hoddinott has helped ensure a future for Spirity Cove’s fishing community.
Located past a long stretch of dirt road between River of Ponds and Hawke’s Bay, the extensive wharf in Spirity Cove services eight boats and about 16 fishermen.
The cove has a history of struggling with strong northeast wind and northern ice. A particularly rough storm with harsh wind and hammering beach rock knocked an entire wall of the wharf down into the sea.
Now into their tenth week of a Job Creation Partnership (JCP) program with the Department of Advanced Education, Skills and Labour, harvesters and nearby residents have repaired the wall with doublestacked logs and bolted braces.
The wharf is now in its best and strongest state to deal with any future storms.
“If not for these repairs, with the first gust of northeast wind, this wharf would’ve been gone,” said Hoddinott.
Robert Diamond, a Spirity Cove harvester and vice-chair of the Spirity Cove Fishermen’s Committee, says it’s been wonderful to see the project go ahead with such success.
“The wharf was in really rough shape,” Diamond said. “Without these repairs, it’d be the end of the cove.”
Hoddinott, as chair of the committee, spearheaded the project with help from Chatal Doyle, career development specialist with the department, and Jeanann Biggin, the department’s client service manager for the Northern Peninsula.
Hoddinott is particularly grateful for their input and help in getting this repair work into action.
“Chatal and Jeanann and they work they’ve done has been priceless,” he said. “We wouldn’t be able to do it without their advice and guidance.”
The wharf was also damaged by loss of beach rock underneath it, due to swaying currents. As part of the repair, the committee members and JCP workers brought in barrels of new beach rock to drop underneath the boards.
“This beach is what we call a live beach,” said Diamond. “When you have storms, the rock is always moving. The rock gets sucked out of the bottom of the wharf, and it chops into the side of the wharf, but we’ve given it some extra protection now.”
Another major facet of the JCP project is doing clean up around the Spirity Cove area. Plenty of old cod and lobster traps, herring nets, and even some of the old infrastructure like out-of-use cabins have been taken down and burnt.
As well, repairs and paintwork were completed on all harvesters’ stores along the coast. When the weather was too rough to go at the wharf repair, the workers would focus on these areas.
While the JCP project helped secure funds for excavation and timber, Hoddinott says the group has cut down on costs by applying their skills and lending their own gear, as well as equipment provided by area harvesters.
“We need our own equipment to really make it work, and they’re all experienced people with wood and power saws,” said Hoddinott. “The community really came together to work on the project.”
Doyle visited the area and was pleased with the successful and productive work being done in Spirity Cove. She says it couldn’t have come together without people like Hoddinott taking the lead.
The small community of cabins, stores and long liner boats has become a year round home for Hoddinott. While he spent much of his life living in Hawke’s Bay, Hoddinott married in the area when he was 19, and his wife bore three children there. He says it was a very prosperous community at one time, with a sawmill in the nearby woods.
Now seeing all the cleanliness and repair work unfolding in Spirity Cove, Hoddinott is thankful to know the harvesters will be able to keep both the wharf and the cove in high use.
“Everyone who comes here seeing it cleaned up is very proud,” he said. “It’s the proudest job I’ve ever been a part of.”
For the past 10 weeks these workers in Spirity Cove have repaired the cove’s wharf, repainted the stores, re-shingled, and done plenty of clean-up. The JCP project ends Dec.1.
Sam Hoddinott stands next to the wharf wall that had collapsed due to rough, stormy northeast winds. The wharf wall has been repaired with double-stacked logs and bolted braces.
Todd House works from Spirity Cove’s wharf with his father. Now that the cod season has come to an end for their enterprise, he is tying up their gear. Fishermen in Spirity Cove are pleased to see the repairs to the wharf and their stores repainted and re-shingled.
Sam Hoddinott watches over his fish drying in a warm, late October sun.