These photos were
taken when the ship was docked in the Wicomico River in a little town called
Whitehaven on the Eastern Shore of Chesapeake Bay. The ship had been
docked here for roughly ten years, with little maintenance until this tragic
day. She was submerged in this state for three years, before being
raised and removed.
And from here, the restoration began. She was repowered with a Cummins diesel motor and slowly brought up the East Coast of the US. After drydocking in Baltimore, she spent the winter anchored in the upper Chesapeake. As docking entails paying rent, our preference was to find an out of the way area and just drop the anchor and let her sit offshore. The next spring, we moved her through the D&C canal and up the Delaware River to Philadelphia where it was easier for us to make weekend trips down from New York City to work on her. The goal was to eventually get her to New York City, but at a blistering speed of 4 knots (4.4 miles per hour), continued renovation and shoveling of mud and the magnetic attraction the hull had for hidden sand bars made the journey seem incredibly long.
After an exciting year in Philadelphia,
we began the long trip down the Delaware River to Cape May, New Jersey.
The "Frying Pan" actually served here in Cape May from 1965 until her decommission
in 1967, as the Cape May lightship. Here lies the demarcation line
between inland waters and the ocean and with this crossing, everything
needed to be ship shape. After stowing aboard enough water and chocolate
doughnuts for a week, a motley crew of supportive friends joined us on
the ship's first return to the ocean in over 15 years. The next day,
while 30 miles off of Atlantic City, we met a storm that gave us an idea
of what it must have been like to be aboard her during her days on station
at Frying Pan Shoals during a good blow. We plotted our position
every half hour and we were being pushed backwards for a whole day!
The pitching stirred up some silt in the fuel tank, causing a blockage
that could only be unclogged with a strong blast of air back up the line
and due to our lack of fuel gauges, there was talk of being out of fuel.
But we eventually figured it out and made it under the Verrazano Bridge
two days later than expected.