Keehi boaters survey tsunami damage

Steve Legate
Steve Legate
Joey Santiago
Joey Santiago
Alex Taylor
Alex Taylor

By Brooks Baehr - bio | email

KEEHI LAGOON (HawaiiNewsNow) – "Got your first sunken one right here," boat owner said Steve Legate as he motored away from the broken pier in front of La Mariana Sailing Club.

Legate and two others from the club spent Monday surveying the damage in Keehi Lagoon, untangling boats that became intertwined during the tsunami, and taking an inventory of piers that broke away from docks and are now floating in the middle of the lagoon.

"This is part of our 'A' dock right here. (And attached to the dock are) two of our marina boats that need to come back but can't because we don't have any repairs done yet," said La Mariana Marina supervisor Joey Santiago.

As they maneuver Legate's motor boat through yachts and other vessels now anchored off shore they spot several sail boats where sank in the tsunami. Their masts are all that is visible above the water's surface.

"I know over at least half a dozen are sunk that I've been able to sight visually. And damage, you know, got to be at least 100 boats damaged. It was just one of those things, literally hit or miss. You either got lucky or didn't get lucky. And I, I kind of got religion on Friday," said a man who lives on his boat in Keehi Lagoon and identified himself as Captain Duncan.

"This at one time was my home. But the events of Friday took care of that.

Half of this catamaran is underwater. The other half stayed up. So now I have half a boat," said Alex Taylor while standing on his partially submerged catamaran, the "Ehukai." Taylor hopes to salvage his catamaran and added, "At least I know what I'll be doing for the next ten years."

The piers at La Mariana and Keehi Marine Center are privately owned. Both suffered major damage and repairs are likely to cost millions of dollars.

The state owned piers at Keehi are secured by concrete pilings and while they were damaged, they fared much better than the piers at La Mariana and the Keehi Marine Center.

State Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation administrator Ed Underwood told Hawaii News Now nine of the 20 boat harbors around the state were damaged.

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