Aurora Restoration Project Part 14
by Christopher Wilson - Published February 17, 2016
Let's back up a bit. Several months prior to this part of the story, I was just a guy surfing Craigslist. I didn't have a bunch of money saved up for a project of this scale. I was in no way a boat person and I certainly didn't see myself as a ship owner.
Life changes pretty fast.... Take advantage of every second.
As I laid in bed after nearly 60 solid hours of hard work with no sleep I heard someone banging on the side of the Aurora. I was at my end. The adrenaline rush that I carried with me for all of these hours was finally wearing down. Now I had to answer to someone banging on the side of the ship.
I got dressed while I was grinding my teeth and cursing to myself. This had better be important. Finally, after a few minutes I walked to the deck to see nine Coast Guard standing on the dock. This can't be good, I thought to myself.
Lucky for me, I was now sharing a property line with a Coast Guard training center. Literally right next door housed at any given time were hundreds of Coast Guard members in training no further than one tenth on a mile away.
The nine Coast Guard at my dock were all curious and wanted to do a training inspection. I welcomed them aboard and did my best to answer questions. They could see that I was tired and chose to do the basics for the time being. They searched the bilges for water intrusion and looked for contaminants.
I passed with flying colors. No issues found over the couple of hours on board. I bid them good bye and offered them to come back anytime.
Finally, I could sleep. I was out fairly quickly after that event. It took me three or four days being back at home to get back to normal after working for so long with no sleep. I don't recommend it.
After arriving, the people of this small community were very curious. For the next four days while I was home recovering, the property was much like the Wonka factory. Everyone stood at the gate talking about who brought in the mega yacht to their small community to refit. No little orange men could be seen, but they just knew they were onboard.
Finally, what I had worked so hard for was now a reality. With little funds I had landed a deal on a 300-foot ship. Ya don't do that every day.
I grabbed a lawn chair and pulled it to the dock and sat for hours staring and thinking about my accomplishment and what to do next. I was not a professional ship contractor. I was just an average guy.
Really, if I could pull this off, I feel any of my readers could have done the same. You just have to get over the fear of leaving your comfort zone.
I had just saved a ship that for many years had lost her identity. She was known as The Faithful for the past fifteen years or so. A derelict ship rusting away with a checkered past and many legal issues. No one knew that under the layers of her recent past that she was the first ship Germany was allowed to build post WWII and she had the most innovative technology of any this in the world for her time. She was Germany's pride. The Wappen von Hamburg (Coat of Arms Hamburg). Germany's flag ship.
After her run in Germany, she became a ship known around the globe for her size and luxury. She was known as many different names. That's another story.
A ship so dear to German culture now sat at a dock in a small city in the California Delta.
Time to get to work....
For days prior to arriving at the new dock I had filled a massive amount of garbage bags that were ready to go to the dump. I took what dollars I had and rented a U-Haul truck. I made a total of three large dump runs that day and cleared years of garbage that had graced this ship for many years. I felt a great accomplishment.
Jeff would come out on a regular basis during the next few weeks and help clean and organize. He took his boat from its slip at the nearby Marina and brought it next to the Aurora so he could spend more time helping me to get the ship more presentable.
I had an idea for the ship that would both preserve her history and allow anyone who wanted to be a part of this great adventure to join in. This is also yet another story. I would use my skill set to try and make my idea happen.
Prior to jumping into this venture I had worn many hats. I have always had a high level of being mechanically inclined. I have always been a good talker and great with selling an idea, but at the top of that list was negotiation. My job then was corporate web developer / Graphic Designer. I had accomplished great things in my skills as a web developer and I was at the top of my game. I of course made money selling stuff on eBay as well.
If I could use the skills that I had to bring this ship back to life, then I could do something worth doing. Something amazing.
Unfortunately, things never work out as you plan in this life. You have to take it all as is comes.
Soon I would begin scouting for volunteers to help with this project. There had to be more people around like myself that wanted to do things for the adventure. People who loved ships.
So I went back to Craigslist. I had posted an ad asking for volunteers.
What I found on Craigslist for volunteers was not what I had expected....
More to come.