The story starts with a million dollar 60 ft charter catamaran
coming into Canouan harbor for the night with a professional female captain on board. Rather than anchor they picked up a mooring, probably one of the old Moorings Charter fleet moorings.
During the night in light wind conditions the mooring failed and the catamaran finished up on the reef where the port hull was damaged.
It is alleged that the Captain turned off the automatic drag alarm after false alarms had repeatedly woken the charter guests. It is also alledged that the charter company immediately fired the captain.
Mike and Julie are fellow liveaboards but rather than choosing a sensible 44 ft monohull like Elephants Child they bought a Clyde built steam tug. Flying Buzzard is a 105ft ocean-going ex-steam tug. She was built on the Clyde in 1951 by Ferguson Brothers of Port Glasgow and was one of the last rivetted steam ships to be commissioned. They finished off the job of removing the dead boilers and the 36 ton steam engine replacing it with a Callesen 5-cylinder 575hp diesel driving a variable pitch propeller. The diesel engine was found in Denmark at a ship-breaker's yard.
The initial plan was take her across the Atlantic, through the Caribbean, the Panama Canal and up to Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. But like so many of us they fell in love with the Eastern Caribbean and when word got around that there was a 105ft ocean going tug available for the odd job he became the go to guy for salvage jobs.
Now there are many stories flying about but one suggests that he bought the catamaran on the reef for one dollar.
It was full of sand as well as being mostly sunk.
Using the simplest of tools and some considerable ingenuity they got it ashore, dug out the sand, retrieved the engine that had dropped out the bottom of the port hull and started thinking about how they would move it to Grenada.
They made it down to Grenada supported by lots of barrels and every flotation device that Mike could beg borrow or steal. [ temporarily ]
Here it is on the hard in Clarks Court Bay boatyard.
It gave me a chance to see just how lightly built a modern catamaran is. No wonder the hull was shredded by a simple reef grounding, it is 1 inch of foam with about 1/8th skins inner and outer.
OH YES all that sargassum well it got flushed out the next day much to the relief of all who might have been afflicted by the stench of rotting sargassum.