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Saturday, November 12, 2005
$30 Million Dollar Yacht Damaged & Aground in Key West
Now that Hurricane season is over (it's over right...twitch, twitch), and Key West is cleaned up and again looking like the idyllic island it is known to be, I took a ride up to the backcountry with one of the best Key West flats fishing guide for some flats fishing and a post-storm look around. The mangrove islands north of Key West were no longer lush green. The lashing they withstood has left their leaves the Burgundy color of autumn, as if autumn actually occurs in the Keys. These islands saw a storm surge of 8+ feet, submerging much of their branches, browning their leaves and scouring the bark. Mangroves are built for this environment - able to tolerate a salt water environment, and anchored to the soft bottom with a network of aerial roots. So it is no surprise to see the new green leaves starting to sprout.The water is still a little bit silty, although some of it is due to the breezy conditions we have had lately. Plenty of seabirds were chasing the pilchards, mullet, and other small fish schooling near the islands, and mangrove snapper and jack crevalles were ambushing them in the pockets of deeper water, especially next to the complex mangrove roots.Next, we moved on to get a closer look at a 162 foot yacht that had been torn from it anchorage during the hurricane and pushed far onto the flats. During the storm, many boats at anchor were damaged, sunk, or destroyed. But this boat is of a caliber that usually takes great precaution when a storm nears. The boat is estimated to be worth more than 30 million dollars. She is a beauty, and appears to have been built with no expense spared. Having survived the rest of the hurricane season where it was, just northwest of Key West harbor, she tempted the storm gods one more time. Two crew members were onboard, and I can only imagine the ride they had. The contract to remove the boat from the shallows is said to be 1.5 million dollars. The damage is severe, with both masts snapped, and the keel (probably at least 10-15 feet tall) stuck in the bottom. To get a sense of the scale of this massive luxury vessel, notice the man standing in the 1 foot deep water under the bow. Ouchey.
Posted by Cayo Dave at 9:43 AM