The Sunken Boat Sanctuary? The title of this article is a bit misleading. These boats? They were just HALF sunken. That’s right. Right off the right side of the 79th Street Causeway heading East. Did you see them? Well, they weren’t there for too long. Word is they were removed in a sweep of the waters by some city or county agency or another. Great reporting, Travis. This is what I can tell you. There were five vessels. And it seemed they floated in fixed positions. They didn’t appear to drift away with the tides. Anchored. Probably from a hurricane. And their captains never returned to salvage what remains.
I don’t know if that’s true. I could find out. But I like making up the story. That’s kind of the thing. The magic of it. These fiberglass mausoleums. Left there in honor of all those lost at sea. Least that’s what I like thinking. They laid right under our city’s skyline. Some on their side. Others only up to their waists. You wouldn’t see them there driving by at night. Only with the sunrise do our capsized crafts appear. See, with all things South Florida, there comes a particular vibe and a unique shine. But too many times something different goes on the rise then swiftly gets swept up in an undertow, never to be heard from again.
I bring you, The Sunken Boat Sanctuary. For a limited time only.
Only a little while ago, one of our treasured Stiltsville houses caught fire and was destroyed. But just like this city on the sea, our Sunken Boat Sanctuary was man made. And where Stiltsville is a world renowned landmark, our, well I should say MY landmark, was unfortunately viewed as an eyesore by many. I understand. Really I do. I get why we can’t keep them. I know, I know, I know. Our bay will glisten so pristine once clear of these wreckages. Those standing proper and upright again exercising their exclusive rights to occupy these waters alone. But my five ships, neglected and battered, readied for termination, are rusty in its Art, not its pipes.
Rust means transformation. And these semi buoyant sculptures have transformed this small area of lazy current into an aquatic garden of glass and wood. What will we call our next historical site? They just don’t pop up everyday. I mean, no wait, this town is full of pop ups. There’s a reason for that. They turn up out of nowhere then drive away never to be seen again. Over and over. Now that’s not a knock against those mobile entrepreneurs. It just means sometimes our history must be anchored. Or put on stilts. Or built from coral.
I got sad when these vessels stopped greeting me at the door. That drive over that bridge. Seeing them. They’re ghosts now. Memories in the wind. But I remember them. And I remember a time when the bay wasn’t just about the boats that sail, but the ones of waves once conquered, with both dreams and stars, steering these ships to shore… The Sunken Boat Sanctuary, nevermore.