Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The Great Shrimp Boat Project


One of the earliest entries in this journal was about an abandoned shrimp boat that had sunk in the Wilmington River.  It was near our marina right on the Intracoastal Waterway.  In the original entry, I commented about how sad it was that people could just abandon their boats like this when they are wrecked.  Click here for a link to that original post if you care to read it and see all the early pictures.

To my surprise, something has been done about this and other wrecks in our area.  One enterprising individual decided to contact his local state senator and state representatives to lobby for funding and action to remove theses hazards and eyesores from our waterways.  Here is a link to an article in the Savannah Morning News about this man and his efforts.  $180,000 Proposal


Imagine my delight one January morning as I observed a tug and barge with a crane positioning itself adjacent to the wreck of the “Treasure D.”  I knew immediately what it was there for and was happy that the funds were finally released to remove this wreck.  I also knew it would be interesting to watch this process fromstart to finish.


The wreck was almost a mile away from me, so I had to rely on my telephoto lens to capture what action I could during the removal operations.  In the PIC above, two men have been lifted over to the wreck by the crane and are cutting the boom arms that hold the trawling nets off with torches.  After they are cut into pieces, the crane lifts them up and deposits them on the barge to be hauled away.


After the big metal parts on deck are cut and removed, the scoop bucket on the crane is used to scoop up portions of the wreck from below the surface of the water.  In the above picture, it appears that parts of the engine, drive shaft, and transmission were being lifted with other huge chunks of debris.

Within the space of about ten working days, all that was left was the barge and crane and a pile of debris that was once a sea worthy and working shrimp trawler, plying the waters of our coast.  It was hard to imagine the men that worked this ship and the life of this vessel as I gazed upon this heap of timber and steel.  I had to get a closer look before it was carted off to be dumped in some unknown location, possibly in a landfill, or even far offshore somewhere.  I coaxed a friend at the marina to carry me over in his boat while I took some final shots of this nautical autopsy and the remains of the recently departed.


At one end of the barge I could still make out what used to be the ship’s fuel tanks.


Shooting into the sun, I was still able to make out the ship’s planking that was once her hull and decking.

A working ship is a living, breathing system of engineering and equipment that takes on a life itself.  It serves as a means to make a living and a lifestyle to those who choose to adopt it as their own.  The hundreds of independent mechanisms and systems that work in concert to keep the boat afloat and in motion thrive with a pulse-like rhythm, unique in itself, that can be distinguished from other ships even of the same build.  It has its own personality and traits and is life-like to those who work these ships.

I thought about the life of this ship as I watched the silhouette of this once proud vessel fade in the background.  It was a sad ending, in a poetic kind of way.  But lest we mire ourselves too much in the romantic notions of a time gone by for this ship, it was a good thing that was done here this past, cold January. 

For, as romantic as this last picture is of the wreck that once was, it was a danger to shipping and boating interests in the region.  We can now be assured that this wreck will not capture another hapless vessel in the middle of the night and pull it down with her.  And that is the end of the story of the Wreck of the “Treasure D.”



Just a note to my family and friends and readers:  I know I have been absent from these pages for too long of a time now.  I thank those who have sent Emails and comments checking up to see if all was well.  As it turns out, I have been well, but busy.  Spring always kicks us into high gear as we get ready for the heavy boating season Memorial Day Weekend always brings. 

This year they tore down my dock shack about the same time this tugand barge showed up.  I have pictures and will share them next post.  At any rate, I was moved into a temporary office like you see on construction sites while they built me a new and modern Dock Master’s Office and Ship’s Store.  I only had ten days before the holiday weekend to move into the office and get set up and only five days before the weekend to stock, merchandise, price, and display my wares in the Ship’s Store.  Remember, we never had a Ship’s Store before, so I was starting from scratch.  I even had to design my own inventory sheets and systems of tracking inventory and sales.  No fancy professional sales software or equipment was provided.  I made it, but perhaps I’ll save details for the next post.

I keep this journal because I have come to love it and the people I interact with here in the AOL J-Land community.  I was never one to state a commitment to posting something every day.  I understand those that do try to keep a daily commitment for posting and enjoy that for them and with them.

For me, it was a way to let my Grandson have some sort of sense of who I was while I was here when he gets older and also to have fun with it.  I am still having fun with it, and will continue for the foreseeable future.  But, I have to put all my energies into my family and profession as needed and, from time to time, drift away as life happens.  For those of you who still drop by and read here as I post, my deepest thanks for hanging in there with me.  I still cannot promise a more regular post schedule but I do promise I will return as I can each time and share a little more with you.