Andy... No Es Tranquilo! FRONT PAGE

It used to be, back in my past life, back before there was Pura Vida, when almost anything that ran counter to my way of thinking... would just completely piss me off. 

It didn't take much; a little too much traffic, the internet going down, idiot drivers, inefficient processes... it did not matter.  If it ran counter to the way "I" thought it should be, then my emotions would begin to take over.

I vowed when I moved to Costa Rica, those days would end, and for the most part I have succeeded.  "Tranquilo", my new calmer state of mental well being has succeeded... until now!

Back in mid October, a local shrimp boat moored in Bahia Hermosa, suspiciously caught fire.  Within days, the boat's owners stripped the Pekin Star of anything that could be considered remotely valuable.  They left the charred hulk to rot just a few meters from the low tide line.  Click on pictures to enlarge.

Now, nearly two month's after the fire, what remains of the Pekin Star languishes in the gentle shore break of Playa Hermosa.  Our local Playa Hermosa Association, in conjunction with local divers, tried to raise this decaying piece of shit and tow it out a few hundred meters to an artificial reef.  Unfortunately their valiant effort did not succeed. (see story and video)

So today the rotting hulk sits on our beautiful beach... ignored by its owners and ignored by our own municipal government.  It appears that nobody wants to claim responsibility for anything associated with this potentially lethal situation.  And this is where this story begins... at least for me.

"That's all I can stands, cuz I can't stands n'more!"

When it comes to dealing with irresponsibility and inefficiency, I have a short fuse. 

Each morning, Fran and I, along with our furry girls Úpe and Ashka, take nice long walks on the beach as do many of our friends and neighbors.  And every day we are forced to navigate precariously around the rusting remains of the Pekin Star.  Whenever I inquired about the status of the removal of the wreck, no one seemed to know anything however they all sounded like they knew everything.  It was all conjecture and speculation designed to sound like fact. 

I was really getting sick and tired of hearing all this second hand bullshit so I did what I do best... I stirred the pot of discontent, publicly displaying by disdain for the status quo by starting a thread on Facebook that quickly went viral (by Playa Hermosa standards).  As it turned out, there were others like me, concerned and pissed off and wanted to do something to mitigate this terrible situation.

Within 24 hours, I organized a meeting of concerned local beach residents.  Frankly, I was surprised (and totally pleased) that so many were able to attend on such short notice.

Identify The Problem:

The way I saw it, we had two problems; the first and most important was the cleanup and removal of all dangerous debris on the beach including barrels, cables, and rotting wood timbers.  The second task was the removal of the rotting hull.

The group immediately agreed to a phased approach.  The first work detail was scheduled for the next day at Aqua Sport (a local beachside restaurant) beginning at 10:00 am.

Barrel Removal

We began by digging out three partially sand covered barrels.  In the four weeks since these barrels landed on shore, they managed to fill completely with sand making them impossible to move.  Before the barrels could be removed, they needed to be split open and the sand removed.

In just a little over 90 minutes, all three of the rusted 50 gallon drums were dug up, emptied and lifted (by hand) into an awaiting dump truck.

Cable Removal

Once the drums were properly dispatched, our volunteer cleanup crew focused on removing the 30 meters of boat cable which was imbedded into the sand.  This was particularly dangerous because it was invisible at high tide.  Anybody walking on the sand could easily get their feet entrapped in the cable with potentially catastrophic results.  

The cable was traced back to it's source on the boat.  The ends of the cable were secured to a marker buoy, coiled by hand and physically dragged next to the boat's hull, placing it out of harm's way.

With the main danger out of the way, we had two final tasks for the day; cordon off the area with our homemade buoys, the purpose of which was to warn other watercraft of the submerged wreck and load all our "basura" (garbage) onto the dump truck.

All in all, our impromptu cleanup fest went off without a hitch.  We had sufficient bodies to get all the work done and most importantly, nobody got hurt.

The next item on the agenda will address what to do with the rotting hull.  A meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, January 12, 2011 back at Aqua Sport.  If you are a resident in the area and you would like to participate in our discussion and planning, your input will be welcome.


There is also a video of this event.  View Video Here


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