After months ashore, the “Whale’s Way” left Oak Bay waters on Monday.
The derelict blue and white trimaran has been aground near the Oak Bay Marina since Feb. 9, when a wind storm dislodged the boat from its chain and pushed it to shore.
Whale’s Way owner Doug Prentice told Black Press Media in early March that he was undertaking the job of cleaning up his “old friend” – a boat he had used to sail thousands of kilometres across the Atlantic ocean before docking in Oak Bay in the early 2000s.
“It was my mistake that put her on the rocks, it’s my responsibility to clean her up,” he said.
— Nina Grossman (@NinaGrossman) June 17, 2019
On Monday morning, the Cold Water Divers were on scene with their salvage response unit preparing the boat to be floated out of the harbour.
“First we do a structural integrity test of the vessel to see what’s good and what’s not good – basically, ‘how can we float this thing?’” explained Adam Coolidge, owner of Cold Water Divers. “Then we come up with a game plan of how this thing should be tied and rigged.”
With 70,000 pounds of flotation devices on the boat, the Whale’s Way was floating by 3 p.m., more than three hours before high tide.
The next step was to get the boat towed and craned up to the barge, before it shipped to the Salish Sea Industrial Services shipyard.
Coolidge said the biggest challenge with removing the Whale’s Way is the “compromised structural integrity” of the boat. The port side is almost completely gone, he noted.
Monday’s removal mission went off without a hitch.
“We do a lot of work for the Dead Boat Removal Society, so salvaging a vessel like this is second nature for us,” Coolidge said. “It’s gone really smooth. There’s no hydrocarbons on board…there’s not a lot of pollution left except for the vessel itself.”
Neighbours in the area aren’t sad to see the boat leave.
“We had a ship wreck in our front yard, but the novelty wore off,” said Hudson Janisch, who lives in an apartment building nearby. “It’s a great relief to see it go, ‘cause the danger was it would start deteriorating and it already has of course… it took a real beating when it came in.”