Friday, February 08, 2008
Stuck in the tidal mud of Fidalgo Bay sits the Enchantress, a World War II-era tug boat at the center of a present day battle. By coincidence, the Enchantress washed up nearly eight years ago in front of the home of retired tug builder-turned-model maker, Ken Breselin. "The first time I saw her I couldn't believe it," he said. He says the owner who abandoned the tug was murdered. The owner's business partner, the man accused of the crime, committed suicide. The old boat has been here ever since. "People come by here every day. They'll park down here and take pictures of it, people ask me about it," said Beselin. Now the unlikely tourist attraction is in jeopardy. The Port of Anacortes and the Department of Ecology say the Enchantress poses risks to the environment and needs to be taken apart and hauled away.
The EnchantressEcology says the boat may contain toxic substances like lead, arsenic and asbestos. "The pollution caused by taking this thing apart is going to be far more severe all at once than just letting nature take its course," said Beselin. Hoping nature gets its way is historian and artist Bill Mitchell. He's leading a charge to save the Enchantress. "She is a very important piece of Puget Sound history and also American history," he said. Mitchell and several others plan on packing a meeting of the port commission asking them to reconsider. Commissioners are expected to award a contract to have the enchantress torn apart. "She could be there another 50 years without doing anything to her and with a little maintenance she could be there even longer... she could outlive us all," said Mitchell.