A week into the new year, sunken Squamish boats still underwater

Darrell Bay vessels that sank during Dec. 20 windstorm have yet to be removed

Aging boats that sank during the Dec. 20 windstorm are still below the water at Darrell Bay south of Squamish, according to a local conservationist.

John Buchanan says the J.S. Polhemus is still underwater. The 79-foot vessel sank about 100 feet to the bottom of Howe Sound after being battered by 111-kilometre-per-hour winds last month.

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Shortly after the storm, the Coast Guard said this boat was leaking fuel. Aircrews spotted an oily sheen on the water.

A containment boom was then set up in an effort to prevent the spread of hydrocarbons – a compound commonly found in gas and fuel.

A sailboat that plunged about 20 feet underwater still remains submerged beside the Darrell Bay ferry terminal. It’s been tied to a nearby tree.

Buchanan says the Zena, a former fishing boat, appears to be in dire condition. The vessel was partially submerged after the storm cast it onto the rocks. At least 10 feet of the vessel’s bow is split open, with miscellaneous items strewn along the boat, he says.

A strong fuel smell was still in the air as of Jan. 6, Buchanan told The Chief. He noted that the port side fuel tank appears to be three-quarters full.

Another boat, La Rata Bastarda, has been tied up with a single rope and rests on the seafloor at low tide, says Buchanan. He expressed concern that another big storm could set the vessel adrift.

The Coast Guard was contacted for information on the cleanup.

No information was provided by press time, but a spokesperson said the organization would be doing “significant work” in Darrell Bay in the near future.

Squamish resident Steen Larsen previously told The Chief he owns the sailboat and the La Rata Bastarda. He also said he is not the owner of the Zena and the Polhemus – rather, he was looking after the boats on behalf of his friends.

In late December, Larsen said that he’d have the sailboat lifted out before New Year’s, though as of Jan. 7 it’s still underwater.

He also said at the time he’d bring in one of his large vessels from the U.S. to help remove the Zena, though that would take about a month.

The Chief contacted Larsen on Jan. 7, but he said he wouldn’t be able to comment before press time.

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