Friday, May 13, 2011

The demise of a sailboat

On Wed. evening around 6 p.m. my husband and I could barely could make out the sail of a small craft "in the vicinity" of the interior reef between our house and Southwest Cay. I had noticed the boat earlier in the afternoon anchored off the Red Cliff area which is just south of our home. This is a bad area to anchor as there are a lot of hidden boulders and small corral reefs. Evidently the Captain of the boat had decided to lift anchor late in the day and by the time they reached the area in front of our house evening was falling. It's sails were up and we could not ascertain the exact position of the boat as it was too dark.

When we arose in the morning we saw that the boat had gone aground on the reef trapped there all night. Shortly thereafter a larger boat came from Bonnaca to try and pull it off the reef. The photo above was of an attempt to haul the boat off the reef that day. After much maneuvering, tugging and pulling, the tow line snapped and this photo was taken just before that happened. Several more attempts were made during the day until, finally at about 4:30 p.m., the captain apparently decided to abandon any hope of freeing the vessel and loaded his orange dingy into a cabin cruiser; presumably with other possessions - and rode away.

Just before noon on Friday, Mike and I got in our boat when we noticed that the standing rigging was now gone so as to take photos before the rest of the boat was torn apart for scrap. Evidently the Captain did not have the funds to make any further rescue attempts at a rescue, which would have proven very costly, nor did he have insurance on the boat. He gave up and left the boat to anyone who wanted to salvage her.

My husband managed to take a couple of photos of the boat as it sat forlornly on the reef awaiting its destiny. It was already being stripped of re-usable parts and, we expect, in a very short time there will be little left to mark its passing.

I don't know who the owner is, what country the boat is registered in, how old it is, how long it had been at sea or even the name of the boat. All we know is that someone's home is gone, sitting on the reef as a temporary marker to others to be aware of the dangers when approaching an unknown island and to travel when it is light enough to see what may lie ahead.

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