Aurora Restoration Project Part 36
by Christopher Wilson - Published May 10, 2018
Pier 38 in San Francisco was about to become a nightmare. One of the most beautiful locations a ship could go in the world and it became almost impossible to take it in for the beauty. Things started looking more and more like a possibility that Mr. Potter was not only planning but going to attempt to steal the Aurora and try to make his own go of it. He knew full well that he could make a fortune off from this ship as an attraction in this prime location. It was a depressing time and put a lot of stress on me and my crew. We put in so much hard work, time and money just to be lost. It was overwhelming and hard to stomach. Over the next weeks I couldn’t figure out a way to deal with this. My head was completely scrambled. It was hard to keep my head up so instead of staying depressed I slowly became more and more angry. Finally I decided If there was a way out of this I was going to find it. Anger turned into focus.
Over a period of time James ( Mr. Potter’s now former assistant )became a good friend. Mr. Potter had did everything he could to run James off and wanted to steal his historic ship ( the Chaleur ) also located at Pier 38 for unknown reasons. Likely just to turn and resell it for,a profit. He went so far as to try and arrest the Chaleur but soon found out that arresting a ship was an expensive and timely venture. James did so much form Mr. Potter and to watch him being thrown out like the trash was hard to watch. I was sure that my time was coming. Mr. Potter did all he could to get rid of James and I did everything possible to make sure James didn’t loose any of his personal belongings off the pier by helping him to get everything to a safe location. James didn’t want to loose the Chaleur or any of his things. It was a very bad time for us all. Soon after his things were moved from the pier and then Mr. Potter restricted James from entering or accessing any part of the pier. He had to access the vessel by water from a nearby marina. James was starting to get angry and frustrated with the situation. He had almost everything he owned in his ship including a large investment in money and time, and now it was held up at Pier 38 with no other potential locations in mind to take it.
Was this going to be the model of what was about to happen to both myself and the Aurora?
Mr. Potter ordered the Power to be cut from James’s ship and ordered people to enter and look for and remove any cameras from the Chaleur I caught wind of this and I made sure this didn’t happen. I took many steps to make sure his ship was not boarded or broken into and his property not messed with. The hull of the Chaleur was made of wood and had some small leaks that were dealt with by bilge pumps. When the power was cut the problems began.
It was time to enter the next phase. After several weeks passed the Port of San Francisco finally got a break in their lawsuit against Mr. Potter and he knew full well that bad things were coming down the line for him in a hurry. After months of torment from likely one of the worst people I have ever met, both James and I were no longer a focus of Mr. Potter. His eviction was coming soon and we all couldn’t have been any happier to hear that news. Each day passed and we waited for the fireworks to start. Soon the Port would take back the Pier. It was time for Mr. Potter to remove all of his junk and he had a lot of junk.
While we all waited for the Port to work their magic, I often thought about what their game plan for the Aurora and other ships located at the Pier would be. No way could the Port of SF be worse then Mr. Potter. Only time would tell and we didn’t have much of that until events would start to unfold.
Days felt like weeks. The Pier was a madhouse while all of Mr. Potter’s stuff was being removed. It was clear that he was now feeling just what we felt for the last months. He was angry as depressed and in a hurry to figure out where he could go next. Maybe karma does exist.
Then it happened. A few weeks passed and finally here came the key members of the Port of San Francisco. The Chief Wharfinger and his crew. The would hang big orange signs everywhere on the pier saying unsafe conditions. The Aurora and the other ships however got a special delivery. A three day notice to vacate delivered by the Chief Wharfinger himself. I spoke with him for a few moments and they gave me the notice. I mentioned to him that there was no possible way for us to leave in this short amount of time. He said. I don’t care what you have to say everyone on the Pier needs to leave. All areas have just been red tagged. He was not a nice guy. Everything I said to him was met with a verbal roadblock. There were no negotiations or excuses that he wanted to hear, just Leave....
The story gets much more interesting and perhaps much of it I shouldn’t even be telling. This is my education to anyone looking to save and restore a historic ship.
My thoughts. I have learned a lot over the course of the years of dealing with the Aurora. It doesn’t really matter what your trying to do in this world. Every person has something they are working on that is equally as important to them as the Aurora is to me. You may be in the process of finding a solid cure for cancer or have found a way to deal with the earths biggest problems. No matter what your doing there will always be the Jackasses trying to shut you down and stop what your doing. They will make you to believe that your project is worthless. As far as I can tell we only live once so my advice is to fight for what you believe in at all costs. That’s what makes things happen....