Aurora Restoration Project Part 26
by Christopher Wilson - Published November 24, 2016
If you have been reading my story this far then you know the challenges to this point. There have been a lot of characters both good and bad. It's about to get worse. I never imagined the type of people who I would meet after acquiring the Aurora. The world is a colorful place indeed.
The entire crew or at least all but one wise crew member wanted more then anything to move the Aurora to San Francisco. The promise of watching the Aurora quickly transform into something amazing was very appealing. We spent many months at Pier 38 aboard another vessel while working on the modifications to the pier. All of this for the small hopes that we could actually pull this off. Bring a 300ft ship to t-bone pier 38, some of the finest real estate in this country and we would have the best view.
The largest hurdle in the way was Mr. Potter. He certainly got along well with my crew members. I could tell early on that this was likely not going to be a good thing. To some he offered the hope of a better then average paying job. To some he gave elaborate gifts such as motorcycles and cars. Either this guy was Santa Clause or something was a miss. On occasion Mr. Potter would pull me into his office just to chat. He made everything sound great. He still offered to pay the tow for the Aurora to come to his Pier but we already had that part figured out.
His conversations were very interesting. He would praise me for my intelligence and for being above and beyond the normal adventurist. No matter what he said to me something just didn't seem right. I was coming more clear that I was being baited.
Mr. Potter had a guy that we will call James managing his affairs at the Pier. James also had a large boat that he had plans for already at the pier therefore we had something in common. I couldn't quite figure out James as he had one hell of a poker face and did everything in the interest of Mr Potter. James was put in charge of assisting me with details on getting the ship to the Pier. It appear that Mr. Potter had a great respect and trust for James. Later we will find out why.
The more time I spent at the Pier the more I got to know the people on the pier and around the area. For some Pier 38 was the best thing going and for others a nightmare. Pier 38 was likely the largest tech hub in the city and hosted a large amount of startup companies. It was an amazing place.
If the Aurora was going to be successful this was certainly the place to make things happen.
Our crew worked hard to get the Pier ready for the Aurora. We also spent a great deal of time trying to make her look as beautiful as possible for her trip to the city. Was a nervous? Absolutely. Was the Aurora ready for this? Not really but with the hopes we had of prompt restoration as a public attraction we pushed forward despite being ready.
We already had investors in place and the Aurora was to be transformed into one of the coolest things she could possibly be. She was to be transformed into a unique concert venue for big names and a small crowd. Kind of like MTV unplugged. She would have big names and throughout the evening you could actually meet and speak with the artists intimately. Of course tickets would not be cheap/. This was the plan and money was set aside to make all of this happen.
I spent so much of my own time and money trying to make everything work as smoothly as possible. I couldn't be more grateful for the talented and dedicated volunteer crew we had working around the clock to help make this all happen. I just didn't know the right way to warn them that Mr. Potters kindness towards them with the gifts and jobs likely wasn't going to come without a price. In the end we were all going to pay one way or the other.
We finally filled out a dead ship tow application with the Coast Guard and awaited response. This normally took a week or so. During this time we did everything possible to make the Aurora presentable. Although my thoughts were starting to lean more towards keeping the Aurora in the small city in the delta. We had come to far to turn back. Far to many hopes from the crew needed to be met. We were "all in" despite my visions of a nightmare coming.
A week or so passed and the Coast Guard finally came out for the big inspection of the Aurora. They were pleasantly surprised that the Aurora was cleaned up and starting to become a ship again rather then the trash heap that she had been for years.
The Coast Guard of course had a couple of small items of concern and our crew went immediately into action repairing the issues. After a couple of hours we were good to go and the inspection was a success. Now the tow vessels would need inspection that is if they would even permit these vessels to tow the Aurora. We waited anxiously for response. If these vessels didn't pass then the idea was not going to work and we would be staying right where we were at.
Momentum was building and this trip to the city was starting to feel a lot more real. I knew that not everything would go as planned but if nothing else the Aurora would have the best home that I could possibly find for her.
There were far to many unknowns to be comfortable with everything that has been going on. Mr. Potters was certainly at the top of the list. I couldn't even imagine what was in his head. What else would he get out of the Aurora coming to the Pier? This with a mixture of his advanced case of bi-polar disorder made him a bomb ready to go off.
The move was only days away. If I was going to modify our deal I had better do it now. Mr. Potter and his management were very intelligent. Far more intelligent then just myself. I was almost positive that I would get nothing in writing but I had to try and change some vital parts of our agreement to my favor in order to lessen the nightmare that was coming if I could.
I met with Mr. Potter and James and voiced my concerns but they knew that they already had me. They knew there was no turning back so why would they change anything? They wouldn't. It was already done as far as they were concerned.
There was still a false kindness with Mr. Potter. But one could see that it was only acting at this point. He wanted the Aurora at his pier even more then I did.
The tension was building as the big day came more into focus. There was a humming in my head that wouldn't seem to go away. This was backed by adrenaline, some depression and a whole spectrum of new feelings that are difficult to describe. The humming seemed to deaden all of these feelings. After thinking about things for many years I figured out just what the feelings were. They are not hard to do scribe once I fully understood them. This was my way of shutting down. Kind of like a prisoner on death row ready for the walk.
Finally a few days later the dead ship tow was approved. We were a week away from the big move. Things were about to get more intense as if they possibly could.