In a Coral Bay twist, The African Queen came ashore with the hull of the indomitable JAWS which sank earlier this year in the harbor and which Erica brought up from the depths of its nearby mooring. A Coral Harbor double feature of sorts.
CORAL BAY — Mother Nature appeared to be impartial to the competing Coral Harbor marina plans as Tropical Storm Erika in late August managed to strand vessels on the planned sites of both projects.
A new sailboat joined the landmark collection of wrecked live-aboard vessels in the northwest corner of the bay behind the Moravian Church ball field during Tropical Storm Erika — it ended up in the corner near a collection of deflated dinghies and other maritime debris.
“I saw that boat before the storm and put out extra fenders one harbor denizen told St. John Tradewinds.
The southwest corner of Coral Harbor saw two iconic member of the boating community washed ashore on the planned site of the Coral Bay “mega-yacht” marina with similar classic cinematic monikers.
Local legend David Wegman’s African Queen broke loose from its mooring in the outer harbor and rested against the edge of Route 107 with the empty hull of the infamous JAWS which sank near Penn Point earlier this year.
Community members and friends of the artist quickly organized behind Coral Harbor legend Elliott Hoper to refloat African Queen within days of the storm.
JAWS Is Back!
“JAWS is back,” joked owner commercial fisherman Andy Greaux, who was hard at work salvaging the remains of his gear and pother pieces from the ironically still-intact hull that washed up nose to nose with African Queen along the roadway.
Sharon Coldren of CBCC said she was thankful for help as she prepared to utilize a federal grant to remove a number of vessels that have been advertised by authorities as abandoned and slated for removal.
“We only have enough money in the grant to take care of a few of the boats,” Coldren admitted. “And only the ones that have been posted.”
The community leader is cautious about the process of removing the hulks, many of which have been on the bottom for years, and the recovery of the surrounding habitat.
“The areas (around some of the wrecks) are thriving habitats,” Coldren explained. “There are lots of fish and lots of seagrass.”
“That’s one of our concerns,” Coldren admitted.
CBCC has already employed a UVI marine biology graduate student to study the recovery of the areas abandoned vessels are removed from, Coldren emphasized.