At that point the fish were struggling because the remaining water was just too muddy and the pump clogged with litter continually. More water (mud and leaves) was bucketed out. A delicate task as each bucket contained a fish or two. These were popped into buckets of clean water.
Eventually the water level fell below the last crack and the extent of the damage exposed. Seeing as how we now had a job that would extend over a number of days the fish were transferred into an unused wine fermentation vat which made them happy especially when they were fed in the larger space.
The first step was to dry the cracks with a paint stripping heat gun then gouge out the loose material with a screw driver and buff up and remove mossy growth with a wire brush.
The problem is obvious. The pond is splitting open like a newly opening flower on the unsupported sides and wherever it is attached to the pergola uprights. This is going to be an ongoing problem.
In the short term a few patches will stem the flow of water and allow us time to conjure a permanent solution.
In the Shed of Inventions some filler is found. Two different tubes of products (in two different colours) which according to the blurb on the back are suitable - at least in the short term. And fortunately there is just enough to do all the cracks. This doesn't take long but then there is the threat of a thunder storm and various pieces of plastic are found to cover the drying compounds.
The next stage, tomorrow, is to apply a number of coats of sealing compound and refill the pond, weather permitting. From memory every time we have commenced work on the pond rain has arrived.
Over a cup of Green Tea we discuss various final solutions including dramatically re-landscaping the entire side of the house. Green Tea does that. But eventually common sense prevails and a economical solution comes forth. A little research on the net confirms it's feasibility and minimal cost.
We will use the concrete pond as a mould and line it with fibreglass matting and resin forming a new pond. The fibreglass will not be adhered to the concrete securely and being more flexible will tolerate the movements. In addition a binding ring of reinforced cement will be placed around the outer edge to limit the splitting activity.
All the rock edging will be removed to accommodate the work which will provide an opportunity to redo the landscaping around the pond. The earlier design looked good initially but became excessively high maintenance as weeds invaded. We will incorporate some spare pavers and bury pots in the ground to hold plants and reduce the weed problem.
The best time to do the fibre glassing is July/August when theoretically there is little rains - huh! Between now and then the fish can stay in the repaired pond while we remove the rock border and complete the ground work for the fibre glass coating.
And of course it rained overnight and more water needed removal.