Saturday, February 27, 2010

The Salvage Scene

Wow! What can I say!
This morning, as my son said, looked like the set of a ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ production. These blokes at the Vintage Car Club in Mt Gambier are what I call genuine ‘movers and shakers’.
Not only did they build a replica of the pontoon used in the salvage in 1937 (16x44gall drums lashed together under a large origan crate that held a cast iron winch) in two and a half hours, but here we were about to launch it and re-enact the salvage of John Dutton’s car.
We lined up at the gate to the Valley Lake and waited for the council to open it. We were there before 7am. Morry turned up in the ‘South West Freight’ prime mover with the front end loader sitting on the trailer and lined up. I had Frankie’s clinker built dingy in tow and then Barry Williams lined up with his support boat and 250hp outboard. After the council arrived and opened up, the support team and actors were all in position at the boat loading ramp in no time. We had heard that Murray Langford was bringing the pontoon on his low loader behind the 1979 fully restored Kenworth of which, I am told, there are only 5 left in the world. We were all pretty excited to see (and hear) the Kenworth make its starry entry. The blokes waisted no time in getting the pontoon unloaded; ropes spliced and attached by Barry and we loaded into the water. Collin Thompson kept kicking himself that he hadn’t brought a bottle of champagne to break over the rig. A few more laughs as we watched Murray try to get back on land off the pontoon. He ended up coming with us out into position. A few minutes later and we were on the water, in position, just under the limestone cliff face that resembles the actual spot in the Blue Lake where John Dutton lost his car.
Allan got some great shots on his camera as did Margarit from the car club, and Jesh kept the handy cam rolling hoping to catch some behind the scenes comedy.
The only issue we had was with the wind. It was a little bit strong for Frankie to keep the pontoon in position using only oars. Barry manoeuvred the support boat brilliantly; towing here and there and moving in and out so Rob could vary his shots. Rob rang and told me just now that the footage he got looked really good. We acted out the salvage scene up to where the blokes hooked on to the car and started winching it up. From there we will jump to the actual photos of the car coming out of the water. Because the papers of the day didn’t have a lot of detail on how the salvage was carried out, I had to think things though practically and work it out logically. Things like, what was the dingy in the photos used for? Where did the rope from the winch actually go? Under? Over?
We then took Rob back to shore so he could drive to the top of the cliff and film the last bit looking down.
Anyway, we had a very successful filming session and quite a few laughs in the process.
Special thanks to the City Council for their prompt processing of our event application, for looking after us in terms of the fees and for their well wishes. Another special thanks to the Limestone Coast Rowing Club for allowing us to share the lake with them on their special day.
Once again, thanks to everybody! Fantastic job!!

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