Casa de Tortugas - Stories

Repairing our dock

We are rebuilding our dock because the old one is pretty tattered.

When we purchased the property, it already had a dock on it. We were lucky that one already existed because the initial process of getting a dock built is complex and expensive. We knew that this old dock would need to be replaced before we could start living there.

We have started the process of getting the dock repaired. The pillars are in good shape but, all of the wood is going to be removed and we are going to extend it so it is easier to get in and out when the tides are extra low. On a day-to-day basis, we should be able to get our boat in and out all year long without extending the dock, but in February-April the tides are at their lowest and getting all the way up to the front of the dock can be difficult without hitting the bottom of the boat on the sand. Also, there is no way we will get the heavy construction boats to the dock when we build the foundation for the house in late 2023 and the main portion of the house in early 2024.

You can see in the early pictures from 2019 that the dock is fairly old. At this stage it is pretty safe but we already know it needs to be replaced.

As we start the permitting process in early 2023, our construction manager took fresh pictures showing how degraded the dock has become in the past four years. With many of the boards pulled up you can see that this dock is no longer safe.  

While the permit was in the approval process, the builder started the creation of the pilings that were needed to replace a few of the old ones that were degraded and the few new ones needed to extend the dock a little. They create these in their shop back on Isla Colon. They will be transported to the site and set in place when the actual build happens. This is a very efficient process.

The pillars are shaped like an upside down cross and sunk slightly into the sand. This gives the dock the support it needs and does the minimum amount of damage to the sea floor. No special equipment is needed to install these. A small jet of water is applied to the bottom as the pillars are installed which allows them to sink into the sand. The weight of the concrete adds structure to the dock and lasts much longer than wood pillars. 

The work was completed in the first week of May 2023. They did a great job and even connected the dock to our sidewalk with a small patch of concrete. The repaired dock and that new concrete strip will make loading and unloading the boats so much easier. As long as we keep an eye on the dock and make any minor repairs when they are first needed, this should last for many decades.

We are so happy with the way this turned out!

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