We had a public holiday today which was rather nice, it was a very relaxing gap in a hectic week. We got the bike out and went for an early ride to the local Wimpy for a good breakfast, it wasn't a very long ride but it did blow the cobwebs out of the exhaust pipe and as usual the breakfast was great - as far as I'm concerned you can't beat a Wimpy breakfast.
Things are getting seriously hectic on the mussel farm now as the demand hots up in the weeks before Christmas. I am under serious pressure to meet customer's orders and get the truck loaded and on it's way to Capetown by one o'clock, if the mussel ropes are not good this can be a difficult and stressful morning.
The video shows the "Mussel Cat" assisting with harvesting mussels from the same raft as the barge, these are then run through the vessel's deck equipment which cleans and separates the mussels, grading the small ones out, they are then brought around to the barge in a 400kg tub and added to the barge's production just to speed things up. On one of these busy days the orders can be anything up to 500 bags of mussels, each weighing 5kg which must be completed before 12pm so that we can head in to load the truck. The trip from the farm to the jetty takes 15 minutes, so this also has to be taken into account.
On the barge the mussels are fed onto an incline conveyor which delivers them into the brush "declumper", this has two counter rotating brush beds which break up the clumps, separate the mussels and gives them a clean. They then pass over a grid which take out those too small for market and then they drop into another conveyor which delivers them to the grading table, there any broken ones are removed before they are fed into bins for loading into the automatic scale/bagger. On a busy day this is a non stop operation from 07h00 to 12h00 with a half hour tea break at 10h00 - as I said; hectic! I still enjoy my job though, and I think this makes me a lucky guy even though it interferes with my riding time.