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July 26th 2017 - 03:41
July 6th, 2007
July 6th, 2007

Robertson II Aground

Saturna Is. BC

Robertson II Aground off Winter Cove near Saturna Is.
Robertson II Aground off Winter Cove near Saturna Is.
Iīm very sorry to report this - but the Robertson II grounded on Minx Reef off Winter Cove near Saturna Island on Sunday July 1st 2007. Iīm updating this post as news comes in so check near the bottom for the latest information.



From the photos it doesnīt look good. I am very thankful to Patricia E. for notifying me about an hour ago and sending along these photos... They had seen the ship underway the previous afternoon (Saturday) off Tumbo Island and all looked well. They went by the rocks about 9:45 pm Saturday and didnīt see it. But by 10 am Sunday morning it was there on its side, high and dry.

The Robertson II has been a privately owned vessel for quite a while now. Back in June 2003, the Robertson II was sold to Atlantic and Pacific Fisheries of Victoria, represented by Roy Boudreau and Tom Nimbly. The sale marked the end of an era for the heritage schooner. I had sailed on the Robby many times prior to that sale and there is literally some of my own blood sweat and tears in her - seeing these photos fills me with a great sense of loss. I will follow this story and collect information from as many sources as I can and keep everyone up to date.

UPDATE 2007-07-02-1600h:
I recently got off the phone with A Channel News in Victoria - I know they will be doing a story on this today. The person I spoke with also noted that a salvage operation was intended and they were going to be sending out a reporter to try and get more information.

UPDATE 2007-07-02-1750h:
I can confirm that the location of the grounding is the far end of Mink Reef (visible in the chart) and that the grounding occurred at 0300h Sunday July 1st. Aerial footage from Global TV shows an oil slick and as yet, there are no signs of a salvage operation.

UPDATE 2007-07-02-2030h:
I know a bit more about what happened now: It seems that they hey were attempting to enter Winter Cove at about 0200 on Sunday.  From the look of it, they made the turn to starboard clear of the end of Minx Reef, but completed the turn too soon and grounded on the end of the reef.  This was close to the lower high tide of the day, around 8.5ī (vs higher high of 10.9ī around 2000). We are experiencing fairly extreme tides in the region at the moment. Although Iīm not sure what the norms are for that area yet.

UPDATE 2007-07-03-0600h:
The newspapers are starting to pick up the story now and I see one from the Times Colonist in Victoria. I also received an email from Ryan C. (one of the current Robertson II crew - who added these comments: We will continue to make salvage efforts with the intent to fully resurrect her[...]  We are gathering all of the means today to make this all possible.  The current owner is fully versed in the matter of salvage and has been on the water his whole life.  We have the full capability to make this happen in every aspect and if all goes well the Robertson II will be afloat once again.

UPDATE 2007-07-03-0900h:
There is some video online at the CH News site from Victoria - Iīm not sure how long this link will be valid but you can get some aerial video.
The Times Colonist also has an article
Looking at the video you can see some pretty severe buckling of the deck - from my own recollection of the state of the Robbyīs hull back when she was sold I canīt imagine that she is doing too well. There was so much dry-rot back then that I could stick my finger right into the planking. That said I have no idea what restoration work may have been done over the last 4 years - the whole thing doesnīt look promising though.

UPDATE 2007-07-03-1200h:
The Notice to shipping that had been issued requesting a minimum wash for the area where the Robby went aground has been canceled - Iīm not sure what that implies but Iīll try to find out.

UPDATE 2007-07-03-1945h:
Another new article from the Times Colonist

UPDATE 2007-07-04-1200h:
As new photos come in I have elected to create a Robertson II Aground photo album dedicated to this incident. This will allow people an easy way to survey the damage and also to contribute any photos of their own. I will also be creating an album for photos of the Robby happily afloat to try and offset some of the heartache. The video link from CH news in Victoria has also bee updated - so if you watched it before - you may want to have a look again.

UPDATE 2007-07-04-1500h:
According to a source on Saturna Is. There is a crew out right now pumping out the Robby - so a salvage effort seems to be underway. Thatīs all I have for the moment.

UPDATE 2007-07-05-0500h:
Two new news articles one article from the Globe and Mail and one article from the Vancouver Sun have been published. These are basically more of the same information from different sources.

UPDATE 2007-07-05-1010h:
The most recent email from my source on Saturna Is is fairly limited - He notes that rumors abound (as would be expected and I wonīt precipitate them) but that he did pass by the site yesterday and saw a Vessel Assist boat on-scene as well as several other Coast Guard boats. In cases such as this the Coast Guard is responsible for pollution control so they are likely there to check up on the pollution control booms and ensure all efforts are being made to prevent environmental damage. The salvage operations will be conducted by some commercial company and at this point who that is and what they intend to do is the real question.

UPDATE 2007-07-05-1938h:
The latest article from the Times Colonist paints a fairly dreary picture with remaining hopes of refloating the Robby, but includes what seems to be quite a bit of frustration. Quite a few sources are quoted including the Coast Guard, Transport Canada, the Transportation Safety Board, and the vesselīs owner. To summarize some key points:
  • The marine salvage company hired by the owner on Monday didnīt complete the job of refloating the vessel, as it may have required specialized equipment or been too costly.
  • The owner has been focusing on saving his boat instead of returning phone calls.
  • If the owner can not or does not remove the Robby from the reef Transport Canada will arrange for itīs removal, but there is no firm deadline.
  • The extent of the damage is still unknown because the results of a marine survey have not been made public.
  • One of the directors of the Merchant Marine Sail and Steam Society stated that she was floated a bit on Tuesday - but not enough to float her free
UPDATE 2007-07-06-0430h:
I woke early to an email from Ryan Czyz, the crew member that had emailed me previously. He passed along a Press Release and an open letter in the hope that they would be passed along. This is exactly what I have done through two separate news articles on this site. To summarize, the current owners are looking for help with the salvage project. The also reveal the some of the Robbyīs ribs are cracked and water can flow through the hull.
In addition to these two items a new article from the Globe and Mail is online with a pretty damming quote from a Coast Guard environmental response spokesperson:
"We now have a marine surveyorīs report ... and the ship is in pretty bad shape," Don Rodden, Coast Guard superintendent for environmental response, said yesterday. "Very generally, the bulk head that is ruptured has sprung the deck. The stress on the vessel is causing separation of planks and joints ... Itīs not one specific area; itīs throughout the length of the vessel. The planking is separated, damaged, sprung and broken."
This explains the beam that appears to be poking through the deck in some of the video footage. From itīs location and my knowledge of the Robby - it looks like the bulkhead that separates the engine room from the hold.

UPDATE 2007-07-06-0945h:
Thew Oak Bay News has released an article with an interview from a couple that was nearby when she grounded.

UPDATE 2007-07-06-1430h:
Two new articles including an interview with Dr. Phillip Ney who initially purchased the Robertson in Nova Scotia and brought it around to the West Coast. One article is from the Times Colonist and the other from Vive Le Canada (in English)

UPDATE 2007-07-07-0800h:
Another new article from the Times Colonist also, Iīve had a couple of questions emailed to me asking what I know about the Merchant Marine Sail and Steam group that keeps coming up associated with the Robertson II. There seems to be some confusion in this area so I think itīs important to note that the Robby is currently owned by Atlantic and Pacific Fisheries of Victoria, represented by Roy Boudreau. The Merchant Marine Sail and Steam group has use of the vessel - they do not own it. They are also not a registered society nor registered charity federally  - as has been incorrectly indicated by some news articles (I checked on the CRA web site) I only mention this because there is the request for donations in letters and some of the news articles and I think itīs important that people know they are donating to a private group/party and not a charity. That said I wish the current owner the best of luck in saving the Robby and do not mean to dissuade anyone from contributing to that effort.

UPDATE 2007-07-07-1115h:
Another new article this time from Nova Scotia Now it provides some good insights into the history of the Robby. "Local historian Louis Jackson said the vessel was one of several built in the area that have survived, and he noted the Robertson II had been
pulled off reefs in the past and had been refloated, including after a 1956 norīeaster storm that left dozens of ships in Shelburne County on the shore."

A local radio station CFAX has an article as well. It looks like most of the media are sticking with the marine surveyors report and condemning the Robby to a watery grave. I would like to think that they are just writing it off as the story looses interested for the non-mariners, but it really doesnīt look or sound too good. I donīt think anyone wants to admit defeat and be the first to say sheīs doomed.

UPDATE 2007-07-08-0700h:
In a new article from the Times Colonist we hear that an attempt was made to winch the Robby off the reef on Friday July 6th night using a barge but that the attempt failed.

UPDATE 2007-07-08-1630h:
From my contact on Saturna Is. "Swung by on my way to a pickup at Hope Bay - no one there (highish tide), and the stern appears to have been spray painted over with black paint.  Only about a  third of the transom out of the water so hard to tell." Iīm not sure what to make of that - hopefully more info will be forthcoming.

UPDATE 2007-07-09-0600h:
Another update from my contact on Saturna Is and some new photos. "... a friend who works in the pub on Saturna heard someone looking for a Phillips screwdriver so they could remove the nameplate on the stern!  I took another swing by on the return trip this afternoon and noticed the wheel is gone... Letīs hope they were salvaged by the owner." I too hope it was the owner either way this is all getting increasingly sad as the story unfolds. If it wasnīt the owner, that I truly hope whomever would steal a piece of Canadian Heritage like that will think twice. If it was the owner that I hope we get an updated statement as to their intentions soon.
I also found a YouTube Video from the day after I believe.

UPDATE 2007-07-09-1745h:
No news is... no news! It seems that the fate of our dear schooner has fallen off the radar of the major news media to some extent with no significant new articles today. I was somewhat afraid of this as it takes a lot to keep the media going for more then a week. Thankfully we still have the one source on Saturna Is. who has promised to keep me posted with any developments that he can. At this point, the lack of news is probably somewhat telling in itself. When combined with this morningīs unanswered questions surrounding the removal of the wheel and the stern nameplate itīs hard not to conclude that the fate of the Robby is getting more and more bleak. In any respect we shall continue to scope for news and try to collect whatever we can as soon as we can. Iīll be out of the office most of tomorrow - so look for a possible morning update and then probably little until the late evening.

UPDATE 2007-07-10-0600h:
Sorry for the hiatus yesterday - several new events. There are a few Articles like this with the headline īStubborn Cape Bretonersī to the rescue however the headline appears to only refer to the fact the some of the crew are originally from there and still have plans to raise her. There are several mentions of plans to use tire inner tubes as flotation. A New article from the Times Colonist also reports that a Salvage Company from Washington State has offered assistance but notes both that nothing might happen until nearer the end of the month where the tides are more favorable and quotes the owner of the salvage company as saying "Whether he can help raise the Robertson II depends on the vesselīs condition and appropriate remuneration"

UPDATE 2007-07-10-1000h:
Just got a detailed and informative email from one of the crew - Iīll include it here in itīs entirety:
I have just had time to read the excellent updates you have added on the Robbieīs fate, and just wanted to confirm the shipīs wheel and name plate was removed by ourselves and are in safe keeping.
We also managed, over the last week, to retrieve some items from the boat which had been īcommandeeredī by locals.
We are still making arrangements to get her upright, as we had some problems about the permission for use of certain fundamental aids we had hired, namely the air bags, but we hope it is now only a matter of time before this happens. She will not go to a watery grave.
As one who has had the opportunity to dive on her, she is sitting on a crushed shell/ sand bar, the buckling of the deck caused by a small rock, midships. I did not see any holes in the  hull on the starboard side, but the deck is split away from the bulwarks, along the caulk line, just below the current low tide waterline, which, along with the vents on deck, allowed a lot of water to enter.
These have now been plugged to the best of our ability.
We will keep you updated as time allows, thanks for your understanding and assistance.


UPDATE 2007-07-11-1400h:
Another new Article from the Oak Bay News that is basically just a rehash of the same information presented before.

UPDATE 2007-07-13-0500h:
There has been no news of late, thus the lack of updates. Iīm still tracking this story but it seems most of the rest of the media have stopped. I havenīt had an update from my source on Saturna recently so Iīll give him a prod and see if he has anything new from there.

UPDATE 2007-07-14-1100h:
A new article from the Times Colonist raises hopes again that the Robby can be re-floated. It sounds like another attempt is underway for the high tides tonight or tomorrow with the help of a salvage company from Washington State. We had head rumblings of this over the last week and I expect everyone has their collective fingers crossed that it will work. The plan, as had been previously discussed, is to use air bags and strong winches to try to right the Robby so that they can plug the hole and get her to a location where repairs can begin. Iīll keep this thread updated as soon as I have news.

UPDATE 2007-07-16-0700h:
The latest update from the Times Colonist makes it clear that Saturday night was "sink or swim" but as of yet there is no news this morning as to the result of the attempt. The plan was to make the attempt to re-float and haul the Robby off the reef at the high tide that night.

UPDATE 2007-07-16-2140h:
A fairly significant update from my source on Saturna Is. Iīll quote him directly: "...it looks as if something is happening.  They have the mainmast
out with the base of the mast under the hull roughly abeam the foremast.  The two masts are parallel to one another.  Thereīs a small tug (sort of!) with an A-frame type construction forward nosed into the reef on the east (Robbieīs keel) side.  A cable runs from a winch on the tug over the A-frame to roughly the middle of the foremast.  Thereīs also a bridle joining the foremast and mainmast.  It appears theyīre going to attempt to right the Robbie using the leverage of the foremast (still stepped) and the mainmast (against the hull).

I was by about 1700; there were a couple of divers and some flotation bags and one or two other people working on the vessel.  High tide is around 2000, a couple of feet higher than when she went aground.  We wonīt have as high again until the 31st."
He didnīt have his camera at the time - but was going to go out again tomorrow and see if there is anything to get photos of.

UPDATE 2007-07-17-0800h:
The latest article from the Times Colonist explains more about what we learned last night from Saturna Is. The salvage crews have managed to partially right the Robby and have slid it further down the reef - making it possible to float her smaller high tides. They now need to complete repairs so that they can get the water pumped out. This is all pretty exciting news - Iīm sure Iīm not the only one keeping my fingers crossed.

UPDATE 2007-07-18-0715h:
Some updates from Saturna Is. this time with photos (latest in the gallery). "From the photos it appears that the force was sufficient to snap the mainmast off right at the foot of the topmast.

The pollution boom has pretty well broken up and disappeared apart from a few odd segments floating about.  It never was particularly effective.  Thereīs a sheen on the water and a distinct smell of diesel in the immediate vicinity.

I noticed a variety of different boats anchored more of less together in Irish Bay just N of the Robertson II, and some Zodiac traffic between there and the Robbie.  One of them looks to be Greybeard, presumably providing accommodation for the salvage crew."


UPDATE 2007-07-20-0715h:
While there are a few new news articles out there - there isnīt much new information. They have been able to raise the Robby upright several times - but havenīt yet been able to hold it there sue to the strain. They are still trying.
Here is the most complete, an article from the Times Colonist

UPDATE 2007-07-25-0525h:
It has been very quiet of late but finally some new detail. From my source on Saturna Is. it seems the latest attempt to refloat will occur at about 1600h today (a similar tide to when she went aground is at 1630h) - This comes from speaking with some of the crew working on the salvage operation at the fuel dock. A recent article from the Cape Breton Post again has very optimistic quotes from the salvage crews but adds frustration to the scene with additional conflicting reports about how much damage has actually occurred. The real question seems to be is there or is there not hull damage. Past reports indicate that there is yet this most recent article quotes a crew members as stating “Below the waterline she is like a new boat.” so who knows... Weīll see what happens today at 1600h and hopefully weīll get some news updates very shortly after the attempt.

UPDATE 2007-07-26-0500h:
I know you were hoping for more news then this - but my source on Saturna reports that at 1600h yesterday (the time of the last reported attempt to re-float the Robby) there was no activity there. Just a sailboat heading into Winter Cove and a crab boat west of Kind Is. Not really very exciting news - nothing new from the media nor the crew - so again, we wait...

UPDATE 2007-07-26-0500h:
I feel a bit like a broken record here - another weekend, another attempt. Nothing seems to ever come of the supposed attempt on the 26th - I guess that was called off. However in a new article from the Times Colonist there is a new attempt scheduled for this weekend. There are very few details apart from the fact that they will have additional flotation bags this time. As always, I will keep you posted if any news comes my way.

UPDATE 2007-07-26-1031h:
I have confirmation from another source that the attempt today is certainly going to happen starting at about 1300h with the goal of having her alfoat by about 1800h. I canīt promise anything but I might have a line on some photos of the event as well. I have asked my source to let me know as soon as they have more information - again - Iīll keep everyone posted.

UPDATE 2007-07-26-1900h:
Well the news is confusing to say the least - this is coming from several sources on Saturna (some 3rd person) and there is nothing available from the mainstream media at this point - but so far...
One Source says "after another survey and meeting of potential salvors, it has been decided that the Robertson II cannot be salvaged" but at the same time another source says that he was told by someone who was going to go out to help and canceled the trip: "oh theyīve already got the Robbie floating, guess I donīt need to go after all." and from someone who had a look it seems she is still on the reef. Confused? I know I am! Itīs all very confusing and Iīd personally take a lot of it as mere guesses until we have something a bit more concrete - however Iīm guessing now, reading between the lines, that perhaps they did get her floating again and on inspection found the damage too great to continue with the attempt - if that dooms the effort altogether or not remains to be seen... As always, Iīll keep you posted.

UPDATE 2007-07-30-1000h:
The latest news seems to keep getting worse - it looks as though even the salvors are starting to speak more about a negative outcome. The latest article from the Times Colonist pains a fairly dreary picture. Iīm still waiting for some recent photos from my source on Saturna Is. (I hope to get these today) but apart from that I have nothing more to report.

UPDATE 2007-07-31-1800h:
In a quote from the ownerīs web site here is the latest and very sad news "The final chapter for The Robbie has been written. When refloated it was found that there was considerable damage to her hull. Pulling her off the reef resulted in further damage. So, she was allowed to go to her final resting place. She will be missed by all those that came into contact with her. But hopefully divers will be able to explore her."
Currently there is nothing in the mainstream media nor any new information from Saturna Is. so Iīll try to confirm exactly what has happened and follow-up on this.

UPDATE 2007-08-01-1050h:
Just got an update from my source on Saturna and the Robby is STILL on the reef. Iīm not sure what the ownerīs site is referring to, apart from the fact that it sounds as though they are going to walk away from her. But as of 1030h today she is still in exactly the same spot.

UPDATE 2007-08-01-2100h:
With the mainstream media starting to lose interest in the story of the Robby - itīs getting harder for many to get up-to-date information. Iīd like to personally thank everyone that has sent emails with information, photos, and just kind wishes - all your input is most welcome and appreciated! On that note, Iīve just imported 12 new photos taken today into the Robertson II Aground Photo Album that show the current state of affairs - the spray painted message being the most interesting. From the person that sent the photos it seems another group has/is forming that again wants to try and salvage the Robby - I donīt have much information at present apart from a name "The Robertson II Heritage Society" (although I doubt anyone could have actually registered a society this quickly. Their latest plan is for another attempt Friday through Sunday with Pheonix Marine Salvage (as indicated in the spray paint)... Iīm beginning to feel a bit like Alice - falling down the rabbit hole! As always, Iīll keep you posted.  

UPDATE 2007-08-04-0700h:
The most recent article from the Oak Bay News paints the current picture from the crewīs perspective - I think itīs fairly clear now they they have given up on any more salvage attempts. I have no idea how this relates to this supposed "new society" that is planning to make an attempt - nothing more has been heard from them at this point. Quoting the article “Weīre going to sink it unless some billionaire wants to pay to take it out of the water,” said Ryan Czyz, 22, a crew member for the last six years. An interesting statement in itself since the Robby was sold in 2003, itīs 2007 now and Ryan could only have become a crew member after it was sold (my math makes that 4 years max) but itīs a needling point. The key point from the article is this “Itīs too far gone, we canīt save it,” admitted Czyz. “The hull has significant damage.” Which is what a lot of us have suspected from the start. Her hull was always too īfar alongī to really expect much else.

UPDATE 2007-08-06-1600h:
My Source on Saturna Is. has confirmed a few things, and I quote: "The Robertson II now has a new owner and they will we be reinforcing the keel during low tide next Saturday morning and expect to have her floating either later on Saturday or on Sunday (11th or 12th) and then tow her to Shelter Island on the Fraser for lifting." "Also, the new owner is wondering about the location of a missing mast. He has heard it may have been towed to Lyall Harbour and tied up there..." Of course Iīve asked for photos - but that wonīt be possible until after those dates. I assume the "New Owner" is referring to the "The Robertson II Heritage Society" that we found out about on Aug 1st - but thatīs just a guess. So it seems the saga continues and therefore Iīll continue to do my best to keep track.

UPDATE 2007-08-09-0600h:
Two new articles have popped up this morning one from the Globe and Mail and the other from the Chronicle Herald of Nova Scotia - Iīm glad to see these two reporters managed to find out some facts. I spoke with the reporter from the Globe yesterday morning and at that point he hadnīt found out much - so what came of the second half of the day is very impressive. We now have a name for the new owners: Drew Clarke, a former commercial fisherman, who runs Blue Angel Towing on Salt Spring Is. To summarize what the two articles have uncovered it looks like the current plan is to try and refloat the Robby this weekend (hopefully with some government funding) haul her our and repair the damage and then finally sail her back to Nova Scotia as a gift to that province. It all sounds fairly grand and expensive and is still hinging on government funding which, as yet, is not confirmed. The article also mentions that they are currently working on creating the society and as yet, are not asking for public funding. "He said a group of volunteers, including tug operators as well as professional salvors and divers, will join him in a major effort to refloat the old schooner on the weekend."
Weīre all back to "wait and see" mode for the time being - but I know we all wish them luck and look forward to hearing what happens with the attempt.

UPDATE 2007-08-10-0530h:
Two new articles in both the Vancouver Sun and Times Colonist reaffirm what we reported yesterday. There isnīt really anything new - just more of the same with some expositions by the new owner of his confidence that the attempt tomorrow will be successful."The new owner of the Robertson II says he is "100 per cent confident" the historic schooner will float tomorrow off the reef where itīs been aground for more than five weeks."

UPDATE 2007-08-11-1715h:
No news yet on the current attempt to refloat the Robby today - except that I have it confirmed that it is currently underway and they are still working on it as of 1715h.

UPDATE 2007-08-11-2045h:
Thanks yet again to my source on Saturna Is. I have an update - although there isnīt too much to report just yet: "About a zillion boats of all sizes hanging about watching.  I left about 1830; they didnīt have the foremast out yet, but apparently plan to take it out before they attempt to lift. Evidently the keel is hung up on something, and the leverage of the mast was preventing it from clearing the obstruction...They located and restored the main boom (in Irish Bay) and a gaff (in Lyall Harbour).  Rumour has it that the mainmast may have found its way over to Mayne Island somewhere. The latest word when I left was that they would make an attempt on the 0300 (closer to 0400?) high tide." - So thatīs it for tonightīs news - itīs still a wait and see situation and we wonīt be able to know now until the wee hours - and even then probably not until slightly later in the day.

UPDATE 2007-08-13-0430h:
From all that I can tell - they didnīt succeed in raising the Robby yesterday - but gave it a valiant effort and are still planning to continue to try. Thanks to many contributions coming in by email, we have several photos of this weekendīs attempts now in the Photo Gallery as well as a photo of the new owner getting interviewed by some Nova Scotia TV station. The latest article in the Times Colonist states that on Sunday night the keel was still stuck, and looking at the photos we have from Sunday afternoon, itīs clear she was still on the reef at that time. I did get a phone message from a friend that heard operations were still underway on Sunday late in the afternoon - so itīs possible more has happened but doubtful.

UPDATE 2007-08-13-1015h:
Just a small update - we have report that as of 1000h today the Robby is still on the reef and that the salvors are currently still working on it.

UPDATE 2007-08-13-1715h:
I just received a phone call with information (third hand) that they have made a significant step in the refloating process and it looks good that they will have her off the reef presently. Iīve been assured of a call back as soon as more is known. I donīt normally go with the third party info - but I know there are a lot of you waiting for information and this is from one of the many people that have emailed and sent photos - fingers crossed...

UPDATE 2007-08-14-1700h:
Iīve heard now from several of the people in the area that have been keeping me informed (thanks to all of you - you know who you are) that they have managed to right the Robby There are a lot of air-bags in use and there seems to be some obvious damage - but that was to be expected. "As of 1620 they have her up right and the water line is relatively even, no red bottom paint showing.  Spars are all out/off and seem all to have been recovered from their various resting places about the area.The tide has another six feet to rise and should be high at about 2000." said one source in the area. Itīs not entirely clear if she is actually floating or just sitting upright - but this is a fairly significant step forward none the less. Iīm hoping for some new photos from a couple of different people and those will be posted as soon as we receive them. If everything goes well I understand the intent is to tow her to Saltspring Is.
I also understand from one source that the new owner was very thankful to many of the volunteers who were missing work yesterday and keep at the effort - so I thought I would pass along his thanks to all of those people here as well.

UPDATE 2007-08-16-0900h:
Information has been rolling in from all manner of different sources and this update is my best attempt to consolidate all of it. Iīve heard everything from the Robby being all upright and under tow through to it still being stuck on the reef. So here is what I think I can say for certain: She is most certainly still sitting on the reef as the latest photos from Aug 15th clearly show in our Photo Gallery - however I believe a fair bit of progress has been made and that she is no longer wedged there, merely sitting there. They have collected all the spars and are hoping to get together enough volunteers to complete sufficient repairs in order to tow the Robby to Ganges on Sapt Spring Is. for further repair. The only news article I have was forwarded to me from the local Saltspring Is. newspaper īThe Driftwoodī I find all of this quite intriguing because I used to live on Saltspring for about 3 years - so I know a lot of the area and itīs bringing back loads of memories. So, what comes next, well the weather is not cooperating with fairly stormy conditions forecast for the next few days - itīs all a matter of "if" they can get the Robby shored up sufficiently for a tow all the way to Ganges - a distance of about 13nm.

UPDATE 2007-08-17-1400h:
I just got off the phone with Drew, the new owner of the Robby. It was great to speak with him directly and get some first hand information about the current status of the salvage effort for the Robby. Drew provided a huge amount of information to me in a very short time and Iīll do my best to summarize it here for everyone. Basically it all comes down to this weekend. They have done a lot of prep work in anticipation for the main attempt to get the Robby off the reef and over to Irish Bay this weekend. There have been setbacks and many of the volunteers have given far more then just their time to the cause. The Dive team will be back tonight and they need to readjust the air-bags. They have already patched a plank on the port side and she still has another on the starboard side that is sprung. The have trussed up the Robby and prepped her as much as they can for the coming attempt. The plan is the put the barge alongside and gently float her somewhat starboard-side down, then position her over in Irish Bay until they can get more work done patching and getting her to a point where the pumps can keep up and they can dry her out. He suggested they may even use some expanding foam in the garboard area where the keel was damaged if necessary.
I think that sums up the current plan, but itīs really going to come down to a certain amount of luck. What the whole effort really needs now is the weather to cooperate and for no further set-backs to occur.
It was very clear from my brief talk with Drew that he has a tremendous amount of passion for the Robby. He wants to see this through and he expressed without any doubt that there are a lot of people dedicating their lives to the effort at the moment that are also willing to give their all to achieve the best possible end. There has been a lot of support already as itīs been reported before, itīs even been set to music with the song "Welcome Back Robby II" by Bill Henderson of Chilliwack fame which I canīt wait to hear. According to Drew "This is History" he views this entire saga as the stuff stories are made of and his enthusiasm is infectious. He give me a smile when he said "I didnīt like the ending, so I thought Iīd re-write it" Iīm sure the thoughts of many go with those making the attempt this weekend - as always Iīll do my best to keep everyone appraised of the situation as it happens.
Recent articles from the media include one from the Victoria News which is republished from the Oak Bay News

UPDATE 2007-08-21-0600h:
Over the last two days since the weekend attempt I have received quite a few emails with third party information about what happened, but I wanted to wait a bit and be sure before posting anything. It is clear from all the information I have received that the attempt last weekend was not successful. Perhaps the Robby is tired now and just wants to rest. They tried yet again, but simply couldnīt get her off the reef. There are some new photos in the gallery from the attempt taken on the 18th. From what I have been told in the past that was going to be the final attempt, and from what others have told me since the current group of volunteers has exhausted their abilities in trying to refloat her. There are several articles but the Times Colonist One quotes Drew as saying "We threw everything we had at her. Iīm sorry, we couldnīt get her. It looks like that reef owns that boat." there is also an article in the Chronicle Herald from Nova Scotia
So the question for most everyone is now probably - what now? from the governments point of view: "A spokeswoman for Transport Canada said earlier that as long as the wreck doesnīt pose a navigational hazard, there are no plans for the government to step in and remove it." So it sounds like she isnīt going anywhere anytime soon. My personal fear is that people will now go an pillage what they can adding insult to her indignity. There is a part of me that hopes someone from a maritime historic group like a museum will collect a few of her treasures and keep them safe so that her story will live on. My plan is to do my best to collect as much information as possible on my Robertson II page and keep some of her memory alive in the way I currently know best.

In reading some of the articles I guess I have one thought Iīm going to put forward. There has been a lot of call in some of the articles for more reef markers, stating that this reef wasnīt marked well enough and the grounding could have been prevented... We need to face the fact that it is impossible both logistically and financially to mark every reef on the BC Coast with a physical structure. Most coast communities have at least one unmarked reef that claims vessels every year. This reef was clearly charted as are the majority of them and that will have to suffice. Even the most experienced professional mariners end up aground sometimes, for whatever reason. Perhaps this is just another of the many really good lessons to all of us who ply the waters to keep an even tighter grip on our charts while underway. The Robby is still teaching - right up until the end. This time, as for many of us from her past days with SALTS, she is teaching about safe boating - perhaps the best way to honour her last memory is for all of the mariners out there who see her and read her tale to pause and consider their vessel, their safety equipment, and their training. Perhaps take a safe boating course or update your charts. Sometimes we can all grow through adversity and disappointment.
The Robertson II was old and tired back in 2002 when I last saw her up close, and while a fresh young vessel may have been able to withstand this whole ordeal, Iīm not surprised that is has been too much for her. I think everyone that gave their all and tried to save her deserve a heartfelt thanks. You didnīt fail, you gave it your best shot - and that is the most anyone can ever ask of anyone else, itīs also the most you can ask from yourself.

I think that updates to this article will probably happen less frequently as news of the Robbyīs fate is wrapping up. However, I will continue to post updates if new information becomes available.



Google Maps - Location of the grounding

More Images

Chart of the area
Chart of the area
Showing missing nameplate & Wheel (July 8th)
Showing missing nameplate & Wheel (July 8th)
Showing missing nameplate (July 8th)
Showing missing nameplate (July 8th)

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