One of my first assignments as a reporter at The Seattle Times was to walk down to the South Lake Union waterfront and write a story about a classic old ship with three towering wooden masts. The headline read, in hopeful tones, “Aging Schooner’s Restoration Begins.”
But it didn’t. Or it wasn’t enough to turn back the tide of time eating away at its 111-year-old timbers. During her heyday, the Wawona carried cod and lumber in her thick-sided holds. But her last cargo was simply the best of intentions never fulfilled.
This morning, I again found myself down at the South Lake Union waterfront to witness what had sadly become inevitable—the Wawona’s last voyage. Just after 8 a.m., she was towed a quarter-mile away to Lake Union Drydock, where her once sturdy hull and deck will be cut into pieces. Some of her most significant parts will be saved and displayed, a reminder of the kind of boats—and people—that once plied these waters.
The sea chantey sung before Wawona departed was a fitting tribute. It was time for her to go.