Another look at the bow and the foremast...
But then...a bit later in September, I heard from D. Kent Yates...who'd wintered at Palmer Station in 1973...and of course traveled on the Hero several times. To quote him: "Recently I retired and have moved to Toledo, Washington, and two days ago drove out to Bay Center, WA to see if I could find her again. What I found was so unsettling that I had trouble sleeping the following night, and have been depressed about ever since. She is in a terrible state and is in the process of being scrapped out by the current owner. I spent a lot of time talking with him and went aboard as well and took a lot of photos."
On 17 September Kent and I spoke on the phone. He'd been there a couple of days earlier and met up with owner Sun Feather who is living across the street. Around Christmas of 2012, some methheads or whatever showed up in a boat, cut into the hull on the landward side, and stole a bunch of the copper and brass to sell for scrap. He patched it with some foam.
Aboard...the bridge had been stripped of instrumentation...Sun Feather showed Kent some of it...to be sold.
The ice bow steel plates had been removed, presumably sold for scrap.
The charts and other paperwork (undefined, but probably including some of the scientific files in the lab) were sent to a maritime professor in Maine. Kent visited again later in an attempt to find out who that was, and to get further information.
Sun Feather said he'd sell the Hero for $3500 to get rid of it...his dream is over, and his financial situation is rather tenuous now. He was spending around $50/month to keep the bilge pumps running. He was more than a bit overwhelmed with all of the tasks he was trying to accomplish, as well as concern that he might end up being an owner of a sunken vessel in the Palix River estuary.
For various reasons I have no more recent updates, but here are several more of Kent's photos.
Sun Feather with the ship's wheel and brass plaque showing its builder and launch date.
Note the photo of Hero's christening (my copy of it).
Closeup of the brass plaque.
From Kent's subsequent visit...Sun Feather in the pilot house (with Kent's sister, Janelle)
showing how much of the navigation equipment has been cut out and removed.
What's next? Who knows. Only other thing I can add at the moment is that Jon Lingel later told me that he'd heard from some of the locals in the nearby café that it would be hopeless to think that Hero could be towed from its mooring as the channel has filled in.
The tale continues. Some 2015 photos.