Couple restores The African Queen

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Take one look at the African Queen, with its rope fender rail and steam boiler, and it’s easy to conjure images of gin-swigging Capt. Charlie Allnut pulling it through the leech-infested waters of the Ulanga River with prim but gutsy missionary Rosie Sayer aboard.

The 30-foot riverboat, which lent her name and presence to the 1951 John Huston film starring Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn, is looking mighty good these days. And just in time for her 100th birthday celebration.

“Want to hear the bell?” asks charterboat captain Lance Holmquist.

In December, Holmquist and his wife, Suzanne, rescued the historic boat from a decade of neglect that began with the 2002 death of Jim Hendricks Sr., the African Queen’s first saviour.

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