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Home-built boat is a fish out of water

A Colorado man who spent a decade building the boat of his dreams in his back yard was faced with a dilemma this spring: The boat was too big for him to move out of the yard and to the water.

The man had to hire a crane operator to hoist the 32-foot, 24,400-pound motorsailer up and over his house and onto a flatbed truck, according to Denver’s Channel 7 News. The man and his wife reportedly plan to sail to Mexico and, after a layover, set off on a circumnavigation. “That’s it. We’re going cruising,” the man says in the report. “We’re outta here.”

Marine mammals could soon be patrolling the waters off a Navy base in WashingtonState. In an attempt to bolster security at the Kitsap-Bangor Naval Base, on Puget Sound near Seattle, authorities have been training 30 California sea lions and bottlenose dolphins to detect and apprehend waterborne terrorists, an Associated Press news report says. The dolphins reportedly have been trained to drop a beacon in the water when they spot a suspicious swimmer or diver, alerting an interception team ashore. The sea lions have been trained to use their mouths to carry special cuffs attached to long lines. When they see a suspicious swimmer, they can clamp the cuff around the person’s leg so the individual can be reeled in for questioning.

Nine months into what was expected to be a 10-month voyage, a Japanese sailor attempting to become the oldest person to sail solo around the world had to be rescued May 5 off Tasmania after his boat was disabled in 30-foot seas. Ikuo Kashima, 77, contacted Australia’s Maritime Safety Authority after his 42-foot sailboat, Koraasa77, was damaged by a wave and he was injured, according to a report in The Australian newspaper. He spent 10 hours adrift before a rescue helicopter crew hoisted him to safety in 60-knot winds and transported him to a hospital. Kashima had set sail Aug. 6 from Tannowa, Japan, and expected to complete the circumnavigation in about 300 days. The record for the oldest person to sail non-stop around the world is held by 71-year-old Japanese sailor Minoru Saito.

What is believed to be a World War II torpedo boat rose to the surface in the Pacific this spring after a massive earthquake hit the western Solomon Islands. The vessel was discovered after reefs rose more than 10 feet above sea level when the 8.1-magnitude earthquake hit the region in early April and triggered a tsunami that killed some 50 people, an Associated Press news report says. The hull, reportedly packed with explosives, was still intact. “We were amazed by the finding, as previously this wreckage had long been sitting under the seas and rusting,” an official in charge of the recovery says in the report. Perhaps the best known of the WWII torpedo boats is PT-109, commanded by John F. Kennedy and found in 2002 by oceanographer Robert Ballard.

A Texas couple was surprised this spring when the man they paid to trailer their 33-foot wooden sailboat from a yard in Maryland showed up with only a trailer. The boat, they found out, was under federal protection after a pair of ospreys was discovered nesting on board, according to a Caller-Times newspaper report. Workers at the Galesville Yacht Yard were preparing to haul the boat when they discovered the birds, which are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and further by state wildlife laws. Despite the setback to their boating season, the couple had taken a liking to their feathered liveaboards. “I feel like a lost parent being [in Texas],” the owner’s girlfriend says in the report. “We need to get back there to check on my birds.”

A man was arrested in May after allegedly shooting at a pair of fishermen competing in a bass tournament when they drifted close to his fishing lines. The two fishermen were heading up the OconeeRiver near Greensboro, Ga., when they noticed a group of people fishing on a riverbank, according to a news report in the Augusta Chronicle. An 86-year-old man apparently raised a rifle and fired two shots at their boat to warn the men to stay away from his lines. A third shot reportedly struck one of the fishermen in the arm. The boaters sped off and called for help; authorities apprehended the shooter at his home. The boater suffered no life-threatening injuries.