I arrived in Yulee Florida the second week of August, 2013, 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 purchase price was $50,000. I thought to myself, I would have bought it for that and lived on it.
The Arctic Discoverer is a 180 ft. 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 sorts of official documents, photographs and equipment. Everything was for sale, and there was a lot 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.
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 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. Kent Windscreen rain repellent. (Right)
Old Loran system and forward mast.
The door of the safe had been removed. Nothing was in it.
Inside one of the upper cabins, with mahogany furniture.
Sperry Gyro Compass. (This item is for sale. Contact me if interested.)
I really wish this AC had been working! Had to settle for a few open portholes.