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Monday, October 16, 2017

The Rosary of Balloons

On Sunday 15 October,
the third day of the celebrations
in honour of the 100th anniversary of the apparition of Our Lady at Fatima,
a Rosary made of balloons was launched in a park near the Oratory in Christchurch. 
The beautiful photos that follow were kindly taken by Mr. Daniel Lim.  

This devotional celebration had been well prepared. 

 If we said our prayers and prayed our Rosaries
with faith the size of these blue balloons
the world would be a different place!

 The Rosary Procession was over
its Litanies had been sung
the Holy Mass had been chanted
the day was sunny 
and the celebration was blessed with joy.

Moment of wonder.

Before the Rosary of balloons could be launched
it was necessary to obtain permission from the
Christchurch International Airport Control Tower:
"Go ahead Rosary Balloons!"

 It slowly lifted off.
Polyphonic hymns accompanied it.

 What a sight!
The crucifix gleamed in the sunlight.
The air was still.

We watched what we had launched. 

And indeed it was a beautiful sight
thanks to the care and precision with which it was organised.

For each balloon could lift only 1 gram of weight
and the balloons together had to lift the Rosary's 
golden Crucifix and Miraculous Medal.
Well done! 

Up and up it went until it was out of sight.
May our humble prayers pierce the clouds
and not depart until the Most High hears them
through the intercession of Holy Mary.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Building a Cradle Trailer for the "Saint Alphonsus"

Removing the "Saint Alphonsus" from the water

It is a relatively simple task to remove our two fishing boats out of the water when they need cleaning and repairs. But it was not the same story with our landing craft the "Saint Alphonsus". This boat weighs over 21 metric tons. However like any other boat it needs painting and repairs. So far we managed without removing it from the water. However leaks started appearing in the hull of the boat requiring out of water repairs. Thus the project of building a trailer that would support 21 tons.

Steel which was pre-cut was ordered from Kirkwall and shipped in. It weighed over a ton.

However it still needed certain beams to be cut to fit for welding.

In between welding, two concrete "roads" were built to withstand the weight.

The first load of the final leg.

The mixing was done in a pan mixer. Stone chips and sand had been pre-mixed.
Then 10 buckets of water and 7 or 8 bags of cement added.

The mixing took on a good average, 6 minutes from one pour to the next.

Here the JCB is used to load the sand and stone mix into the pan.

On arrival it is ejected out the back chute and raked flat.
Steel reinforcing is added mid section.

It is vibrated to increase density and then leveled.

Breathing masks are not enough for the dust. Full head gear helps.

Meanwhile the trailer gradually is joined and takes form.

The finished pathway looks impressive.

God was good, in that the rain only fell much later.

The mixer is power washed clean.

Two trailer axles able to support the weight are cut in half and welded in place.

Br Romuald showing his expertise with the new mig welder.

Some of the welds were in not such easy reach.

The axles weigh over 100kgs so machinery is needed to place them.

Our master welder.

A trailer hitch is attached for the back of the tractor.

It was dark when the top side had been welded. Turning it over . . .

. . . was only possible outside our fifteen foot shed.

Amazing what hydraulics can do!

And back into the shed.

The end product is put to the test on Tuesday 9th October.

It has no steering so has to be well aligned to enter the water straight.

Going for her first dip.

Carefully loading the "Saint Alphonsus" on the trailer

Precision movements to ensure a safe positioning.

The moment of truth.

The first part was no trouble for the one tractor.

The gravel ground did not provide sufficient traction.

Just making sure the craft is sitting well.

Surveying the horizon.

A second tractor to the rescue.

There she is, safely out the water.

Discussing the pros and cons of the operation.

Here we see the need for repairs and painting.

Four super single wheels support the boat.

All happy with the successful operation.

After many weeks of labour, all are very happy!!

It is good to have the "Saint Alphonsus" out the water.

Thanks be to God and Our Lady for making this all happen.

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