Aurora Restoration Project Part 27
by Christopher Wilson - Published December 20, 2016
If you have not read the last 26 parts of this story then your likely going to want to catch up. I will do my best to make them more easily available.
We are still back in very early 2010 and the crew of the Aurora is doing everything they can to get her ready for a trip to San Francisco. The time is counting down quickly and by no means is Pier 38 ready to support the Aurora yet. She is looking better then she has looked in decades however. The entire ship was whitewashed and looking good. At this point it was all work and very little sleep and full concentration on every last detail involved with making this move happen.
The vessels that would tow the Aurora for this trip were set to be inspected and all fingers were crossed that these would pass so that all pieces of the puzzle would be in place. Indy and his crew of interesting individuals were ready to go at a moments notice. Much of this had to do with Mr. Potter putting heavy pressure on Indy to help make this happen. Mr. Potter had a huge interest in the Aurora at his pier as you could imagine
I invited a few people along for the ride including Peter Knego whom proudly accepted the invitation as with many of my good friends whom also helped as crew.
Still the work preparing the pier was far from ready for the Aurora. So much needed to be done in order for this new location to be able to support the Aurora without damaging her or the Pier. It was looking more and more like we would not be as far along getting the Pier ready as we would need to be in order to feel comfortable.
After what seemed like a long wait Coast Guard finally came out to inspect the two tow vessels belonging to Indy and with a few minor changes they passed the inspection. We now had the green light and less then 48 hours to get everything in order and go. I was as close to being in a panic as I have ever been. Should I be in San Francisco getting the Pier ready or should I be at the Aurora getting her ready. I chose the pier.
Instead of having the large steel brackets to hold the fender system in place for now we would just use truck tires and hang them from the pier. This was the only quick solution and we needed to act fast. We had 80ft of pier and 300ft of boat t-boning the pier. We had to somehow tie off the bow and stern when she arrived but had no way of successfully making this happen without of course improvising and that's exactly what would soon do. Mr. Potter had his ideas of how to make this happen but all his ideas seemed ridiculous. We will get into that later. I am just glad that he accepted my ideas with some logic of course from his staff member James who seemed to be reasonable and knew what would work and what might fail.
I was exhausted and needed sleep but wouldn't be able to slow down until this was over. My heart wouldn't stop pounding as the move grew near. All that I could find myself doing was working on how to improve anything I could to make this all work better though I knew we needed more time.
Once we would arrive we would immediately have a crew of investors checking out the Aurora for a planned refit into what would be one of the most unique venues in the city. Big name bands with a small venue of 200 or so guests. Much like MTV unplugged where you could have an intimate evening getting to know the band. Needless to say the investors were hungry and had been planning for this day for the last several months. They were ready to completely refit the Aurora and bring her up to standards for dockside passengers. This would mean over the next years we could restore her propulsion system, have a fine restaurant, hotel, Luxury Liner Museum and more. The Queen Mary of San Francisco only more unique. I wanted nothing more then to see this happen.
I was able to slow down for a few hours so I just sat at the end of the pier and watched as the sun went down and the city light up. The best way to see San Francisco is certainly from the Bay. I just relaxed here the best I could. The next day I would need to travel back to the Aurora and get ready to get underway.
Was the next days going to prove to be the best thing that could possibly happen for the Aurora?? Or would the next days become the darkest chapter of this story???. The next 24 hours would be the true beginning of my story.