Salvaging a cruise ship? We can only imagine

I’m not surprised it will take months to salvage the Costa Concordia, the cruise ship that sunk off the coast of Giglio, Italy. Even moving small boats is a major ordeal.

Stranded sailboat Aurora on Shell Key

Lina and I saw this firsthand in late December when we happened upon a sailboat that had washed ashore on Shell Key in St. Petersburg, Fla. We’d kayaked from Fort De Soto State Park over to the island, and for the longest time we’d seen in the distance what looked like a large pavilion, which made no sense. Then Lina realized it was a boat that had washed ashore.

A four-man crew was doing the salvage work

We pulled up onto the island for a picnic and a stroll, and passed by the work area. The head of the four-man crew doing the salvage work told us the owner hadn’t had the money to rescue the boat right away, so it sank deeper and deeper in the sand. The men had been there all day digging and pulling and using all sorts of winch contraptions to get it out. Then they were going to take a chain saw and cut it up and haul it away. Of course they’d had to bring over all their equipment in their boats, which were anchored nearby. I don’t know if they finished the job that day, but it was quite the project.

After we got home, Lina did a little digging of her own and discovered others had photographed and written about the boat, named The Aurora, and that it had been there maybe six months. No wonder it was so buried! (It was registered in Laurel, Fla., just north of Venice.) Some other photos had been posted online here and here in August, and then a photographer, Ron Masters, wrote about it and posted many more photos. As you can see between earlier photos and our recent ones, the boat had been stripped of all its equipment, accessories, and more. It was nothing but a shell when we encountered it.  Avoiding such scenarios is one of the many reasons that Lina and I are happy to stick with kayaks!

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