by David Irving
(This article appears
in the Fall 2005 issue of Bone Yard Boats)
Well, she sure looks
like one with barnacles growing on her masts and sea weed hanging
from her booms. While maybe not a ghost ship, she was, in fact,
recently raised from what could have been her watery grave.
The BIG T is a 51-foot,
steel-hulled ketch that was moored in Charleston, SC’s Ashley
River opposite the City Marina and visible to all as they traveled
over the Connector bridge to James Island.
The 2004 hurricane season
was a busy one. After a string of storms, I noticed that the only
part of the BIG T still visible from the bridge was the top of her
mast sticking several feet out of the water and perfectly vertical.
I assumed that she sank in a storm, but rumor has it that a leaking
hose proved to be her undoing. [Note to self: check all thru-hull
hoses – again!!]
For nearly nine months
the BIG T’s mast poked out of the water just outside of the
channel. I was sure that if I looked up the phrase “hazard
to navigation” in a nautical glossary I would see a picture
of the BIG T’s mast top, yet there she sat, unmarked, in 30
feet of water since October ’04. Apparently the boat’s
owner could not afford the salvage, and for various reasons the
BIG T lay further outside of any agency’s jurisdiction than
she lay outside of the channel.
In May or June of ’05,
the BIG T was raised by new owners. Her hull appears intact, although
a bit rust-streaked. She sat on the bank of the Ashley River for
a few months of drying out, and now floats once again at her mooring
opposite the City Marina and visible to drivers crossing the James
BIG T also lays claim to one other noteworthy distinction. Believe
it or not, while she sat at the bottom of the Ashley River, the
BIG T was awarded the honor “Best Shipwreck” by the
readers of the Charleston City Paper, an arts & entertainment
weekly. Now that’s an award I hope to avoid!
© 2005 Bone Yard Boats. All rights reserved.
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