Wednesday, December 29, 2010
An abandoned sailboat that had become something of a tourist attraction was finally removed from Bodega Bay harbor this week.
“Hapi” had been stuck at a tilt in the mudflats since fall 2007, when her owner fell behind in mooring fees at nearby Spud Point Marina and was evicted. The owner tried to move the boat, but the Coast Guard intercepted him and said the boat was not seaworthy. He then anchored it in the channel, and a storm blew it onto the tidelands.
The boat was too badly damaged to save. The keel, which has a ferroconcrete hull, became firmly lodged in the mud; the sail was shredded and flapping in the wind.
Hapi became a great conversation starter and in fact, our local wine bar Gourmet au Bay produced a private wine label in her honor called Tilted Cellars. We enjoyed kayaking around Hapi, people told tales of her being haunted, or a pirate ship.
But while some found the abandoned boat charming, others said it was a hazard that should be removed. A spokesman from Sonoma County said “In reality they blow around, they can be come potential hazards to navigation, they leak toxics into the water, kids go out and play on them, they can get hurt."
This week, according to a press release, Hapi was among five abandoned commercial vessels that state and local agencies removed from the Bodega Bay area. The coordinated effort involved the Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle), Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office Marine Services Unit, and the Department of Fish and Game.
They said, “Abandoned and derelict vessels along California’s coastal and inland waterways are a threat to public health and safety and the environment. They can harm water quality due to the hazardous pollutants they contain, including oil, PCBs, antifreeze, gasoline, diesel, asbestos, paints, and sewage. As vessels deteriorate, they become sources of debris that wash onto the shore or remain a water hazard. In addition, vessels are typically abandoned on or very near shorelines where they present ‘attractive nuisances’ for additional dumping from the shore.
“The five commercial vessels--the Elizabeth Ann, Ocean Star, Loretta G, Bonnie, and Hapi--were designated for removal because they have no identifiable responsible parties and they pose environmental and navigational hazards to the public. Measures have been taken to prevent a release of hazardous materials during the salvage operations. As a precaution, spill cleanup equipment has been pre-deployed in the event of a release. Fish and Game’s Office of Spill Prevention and Response is overseeing operations to ensure there are no impacts to state waters.
“Funding for this project was provided through CalRecycle’s Solid Waste Disposal and Co-disposal Site Cleanup Program. CalRecycle, which manages the project on-site, contracted with Pacific States Environmental to remove, dismantle, and recycle or dispose of non-hazardous solid waste and hazardous materials from the vessels.”
Surprisingly, no locals seem to have seen or heard a thing during the removal process. Knowing it was controversial, did they quietly haul Hapi out in the black of night? If you saw anything, or took photos or video, please share in the comments section!
Please note, when leaving a comment, if you get an error message, just click to submit again and it should go through. Weird quirk with Blogger templates. Thank you!
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
I love it when blog readers share their wildlife photos with me, and I recently received some whale shots from Dr. Michael Trapani, veterinary practitioner & surgeon. After chatting back and forth, I found out that he is opening a new veterinary hospital here in Bodega Bay! I'm so excited, BB can really use a vet. He's setting up his full service pet hospital in the old laundromat, in the Pelican Plaza shopping center, and hopes to be open by March 1, 2011.
I read more about him on his Facebook page "Bodega Bay Veterinary Hospital." Look through their photos, you'll love the story about the Pied-Billed Grebe that he rescued at Salmon Creek Beach. And check out the video of the deer and kitten---sooo cute!
But back to the whale photos. As you may have heard, it's been a banner year for whale watching here along the Sonoma coast due to an unusually high amount of krill in the water. Here are some images Dr. Trapani took from Bodega Head this fall. He saw four California Grey Whales that day, feeding in the near shore channel northwest of Bodega Rock.
This whale seemed to pay absolutely no attention when fishing boats came through the channel. He'd been underwater when the New Sea Angler approached, then surfaced within ten yards of the craft, which came to a dead stop. The whale took his time moving away, still feeding. (This picture has been adjusted to bring out boat details.)
Whale watching season out here is traditionally January through May, when thousands of California Gray Whales pass right by Bodega Head. I wrote a little about it here. Stewards of the Coast and Redwoods are looking for docents to help out every weekend for the five months to help the public spot the whales and to answer questions about them. For more information, please contact Ruby Herrick, Programs Manager, at email@example.com or (707) 869-9177 ext. 1# or visit Stewards of the Redwood Coast.