1 minute reading time (286 words)

What’s the hurry on the Enchantress?

From Bill Mitchell

Anacortes is a tugboat kind of town.

Before there were fishing boats in Anacortes, there were tugboats towing logs to the mills. When the cod schooners arrived in 1891, the tugs were here to meet them.
Come the canneries, tugs put in the fish traps, serviced them and hauled scows of salmon to town for canning. Tugs helped fight our waterfront fires and, at this very moment, purrat the Port docks, in the channel or on the bay, waiting to safely guide tankers to and from the refinery docks, ready to do the job.

The Enchantress is retired now, after 50 years of hard work, yet she’s currently doing two jobs. First, she’s a small but highly visible greeting card/photo op for our visitors and, with minor promotions, could be worth big money to our town.

Second, she’s become a marine habitat. Kingfishers, cormorants, blue heron, gulls and seals call her home. The thick crust of barnacles and muscles on her hull feed the fish and help filter Fidalgo Bay.

The Department of Ecology thinks that tearing her up and releasing lead paint chips will “improve the water quality” of the bay, yet, they haven’t studied that ecosystem. Let’s see some proof.

They say removing her will improve the aesthetics of the Bay. She’s a tired old lady, granted, but she’s extremely picturesque and, with her long colorful history, can be quite charming and a real asset.

I’d like to see DOE and Port slow down their fast-track demolition plan and consider a kinder and cheaper “float and salvage” option. Save some money to fight bigger and more important problems.

Better yet, just let her be.

Ironically, whether whole or in mangled pieces, she would be towed away with a tug.

Bill Mitchell

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