Angel Ellis Khoury is a local author, based in Manteo. Angel wrote this article for the Village Realty newsletter in 2008, but you can still visit the Elizabeth II today at Roanoke Island Festival Park in Manteo. All
Boat; No Float
The Improbable Adventures of the Elizabeth II
Angel Ellis Khoury
Since the Elizabeth II was christened and launched
25 years ago, the representative 16th century ship built and berthed
in Manteo has sailed to some 20 ports.
But at least for some, her construction on the shores of Shallowbag Bay
was a lot like building a boat in the basement.
All boat; no float.
the waters surrounding Roanoke Island were too shallow for the 69-foot vessel
to do more than make a big splash when she was launched. But hurray for American ingenuity, not to
mention the Army Corps of Engineers.
months after hull planking had begun at the George Washington Creef Boathouse
on the Manteo waterfront, Manteo’s mayor found out just how many people watch
CBS Evening News. On May 12, 1983, Dan
Rather did what he must have thought was a humorous piece about “a boat that
would cost more to get out of the harbor than to build.” The cards, calls, and letters began coming
in, from Cottonwood Alabama; Elmira, New York; Carmel, Maine; and Camden,
Arkansas among others, all with solutions to Manteo’s predicament.
the US Army Corps of Engineers had neglected over the years to maintain the
channel. The newscaster pointed out that
until monies could be found, the boat indeed could not float, at least not very
far from her proposed launching site. Governor Jim Hunt pledged to find state
funds if federal funds were not forthcoming.
“Hopefully, these army engineers
can be persuaded to dig out your channel for you. Army engineers are notoriously pleased to be
digging or blasting or damming something,” wrote R. W. Scott, who lived far
from the ocean out in Arkansas. If not,
he suggested attaching balloons to the ship.
Other creative suggestions included Styrofoam and fiberglass pontoons,
derricks “like on oil platforms,” balloons under the boat or dirigibles above
the boat, and other bizarre floatation devices, all of which, their inventors
suggested, would be cheaper than dredging, and “just as effective.”
Everhart, president of Associated Naval Architects, Inc., of Portsmouth,
Virginia, addressed his remarks to the editor of The Virginian-Pilot. “For
years people have had a good laugh over the man who built a boat in his cellar
and then had to tear down his house to get it out,” he wrote. “The analogy between this and the publicized
predicament of Manteo’s Elizabeth II
is obvious [but] the newsman has been had.
Those who have the smarts and skills to build a replica of a 16th
century ship will know how to float her out of the harbor.”
suggestion included waiting for a spring tide, launching it onto the deck of a
barge and then relaunching it into deeper water, and then there were the
popular pontoons. Finally, the naval
architect wrote, “I’m sure the Manteo boatbuilders…those crafty Carolinians
must be laughing all over the place.”
of 1983, things indeed were looking dim.
There was enough water to launch the boat and sail her the few hundred
yards to her berth in Dough’s Creek, but Governor Hunt was determined she would
not be bottlenecked in Shallowbag Bay.
Meetings ensued: Senator Jesse
Helms, the Secretary of the Army, all to no avail. Governor Hunt, true to his word, found state
funds, but then there was the small problem of dredge spoil, or more
specifically, where to put it.
Cove was in the early stages of development, and it seemed the perfect
spot. But citing hydrology concerns, the
developers declined to take the spoil.
Minds were changed, the dredge began work, and now Ballast Point is the
most expensive real estate in Pirate’s Cove.
At last, it
was launch day. With throngs of people
lining the shore and more watching from boats anchored out in Shallowbag Bay,
the Elizabeth II made a ladylike
splash on a clear, bright day, November 22, 1983. Governor Hunt was there to see his dream
launched, a floating ambassador spreading the word about North Carolina’s
history and Roanoke Island’s heritage as the first English settlement in
America. The Elizabeth II’s maiden voyage occurred
two years later, as part of America’s 400th Anniversary Celebration,
when she traveled to Beaufort and New Bern.
In the ensuing 25 years, she has visited ports large and small: Bath, Belhaven, Columbia, Edenton, Elizabeth
City, Engelhard, Hatteras, Jamestown, Little Washington, Morehead City,
Norfolk, Ocracoke, Southport, Swan Quarter, Wanchese, Wilmington, Winton, and
Wrightsville Beach. Nearly 1.5 million
visitors have walked her decks and imagined what a three-month ocean crossing
would have been like four centuries ago. Dwight
Gregory and fellow members of Friends of Elizabeth
II constructed a 5-foot scale model launched on Saturday, November 22,
2008, as part of the 25th anniversary celebration of the Elizabeth II’s launching. Certainly, the little EII didn’t need any pontoons or dirigibles for her maiden voyage in
Shallowbag Bay. Twenty-five years later,
the water’s still deep and the channel is wide. For
information, call Roanoke Island Festival Park, 252/475-1500, or visit www.roanokeisland.com.Adapted from Manteo: A Roanoke Island Town by Angel Ellis Khoury.
Author:Mike Siers Phone: 252-489-3861 Dated: July 15th 2014 Views: 1,012 About Mike: Mike is a top producer in the Nations top Privately owned Real Estate company, Howard Hanna. With a...
About Outer Banks Real Estate Mike and Stacy Siers Howard Hanna
We could give you the scripted bio, but it is the age of Google. Believe me when I say if you are online, you can be found. I want to tell you what you may not know.
Stacy and I have been together for most of our lives. We enjoy being around each other so much we work together. I like to say she keeps me balanced. I have been fortunate to work for many people and companies throughout the Mid Atlantic region and feel that experience has helped me understand people and situations. I have been doing sales for about 20 years, construction during 10 of those years and have managed a few companies along the way. Stacy, operated a HVAC company, managed retail and restaurants. Stacy started in Real Estate in 2008, not the best time if you dare to remember the real estate crash. She motivated me to get my license in 2009 and I started in 2010. I looked at the bad real estate market as an opportunity. A time to learn the market from the bottom up. A time to learn how to sell real estate when no one could buy it. In one of my past jobs, I learned the who, what, whens and hows of sales. I could move products! When I bought my first house out of college, I learned this was one of the most important purchases I would ever make. So when we work with clients, it is about them. We want to know why you are looking, how you want to use the house or what you are selling. What memories you have made from this house. We believe real estate is about people and relationships. We are fortunate to build friendships through real estate. It usually means we go to a lot of dinners in the summer when folks are down. (I really love that part)
The wrap up, Stacy and I won't sell you a house on The Outer Banks of North Carolina. We will work with you, share our knowledge, provide facts and dig for information on every home you are interested in and hopefully grab a bite to eat and share the memories you are making!
"November 10, 2014 ... I wanted to take this opportunity to pass on my appreciation for your excellent customer service during the purchase of my new home in Kill Devil Hills. As I was working in the Alexandria VA area, it was especially helpful to have someone like you on the ground with your knowledge and working relationships with many other high quality professionals on the OBX. Your great recommendations for the inspection company, attorney, and mortgage broker provided for a very smooth process for a very large purchase. All the work you did to coordinate the efforts throughout the process made things easier for me. I really appreciated your continual status updates and coordination through email, text and phone calls concerning all the elements involved in buying a home. I have already passed your contact information to a few folks who may be interested in purchasing a home in the Outer Banks, and I am sure they will as satisfied as was with your services! Thank you!"