R/V Arctic Discoverer
1958 - 2013


Salvaging the Salvager

The last days of the R/V Arctic Discoverer

1st Salvage Trip, August, 2013

I arrived in Yulee Florida the second week of August to meet with the new owner of the Arctic Discoverer. I had already acquired a mast head light from the ship, and I was there to purchase more items, and if possible, visit the ship to take some pictures and video. Little did I know I would spend the next month traveling back and forth between North Carolina and Florida transporting truck and trailer loads of artifacts from this historic vessel. I was offered an opportunity to work on the ship and remove as much of the history and artifacts as I wanted before the ship was scrapped, I jumped at the chance!

The ship had been auctioned off in May, 2013 to the highest bidder, that bidder was a local salvage company that planned to scrap the ship for the metal value. The ship was purchased for $50,000. I thought to myself, I would have bought it for that and lived on it.

The Arctic Discoverer is a 180' Canadian icebreaker/fishing research vessel that had been converted into a high tech research and recovery vessel. Something I thought was unusual, was that it looked like the people that had manned the ship had left without taking any of their personal items? The ship was loaded with all types of official documents, personal items, photographs and equipment. Everything was for sale, and there was a lot of history to go through and a lot of work to be done. I met two new friends, Penny and Dan who took an interest in the ship as well. We worked 10-12 hours a day in 100 degree heat to remove the items from the ship.

Forward mast

A view of the bridge

One thing that was disturbing, was the crew that had started dismantling the ship had ripped through a bunch of nice mahogany wood, and had thrown all kinds of electronic equipment out onto the deck from the bridge above. I was able to salvage the captains chair and several nice pieces of electronic equipment.

View of the main deck from the bridge.

Inside the bridge, some electronic equipment still mounted on the walls.

Sperry Gyro Compass

Kent Windscreen rain repellent

1950's intercom control box from the bridge.

Old Loran system

Inside one of the upper cabins, with mahogany furniture.

The door of the safe had been removed, nothing was in it...

I really wish this AC had been working!

And this too...

Porthole in the Captains cabin.

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