ACADIA WHALE WATCHER, Bar Harbor, ME – 1986
The "ACADIA WHALE WATCHER" was built in 1975 by Gulf craft Inc. as an oil rig crew boat. After she was purchased by Bar Harbor Whale Watch Inc., she returned to Gulf Craft and was converted into a whale watching vessel. She is shown here in June of 1986 after her conversion was completed. Later sold to Captain George Lockhart, she sailed from Point Judith, RI as his party fishing boat "SUPER SQUIRREL II". After that, the boat operated as the dive vessel "WAVE DANCER" from Belize. On October 8, 2001, the "WAVE DANCER" was carrying members of the Richmond Dive Club and moored to a pier when Category 4 Hurricane Iris struck. Winds in excess of 140 mph and a storm surge of fourteen feet pulled the "WAVE DANCER" from her mooring. She was blown across the lagoon and capsized. When the storm subsided, 20 of the vessel's 28 passengers were dead. An investigation into this tragedy (the worst in the history of recreational diving) revealed that the boat's owner and captain had ignored storm warnings and needlessly endangered the lives of their passengers and crew. The "WAVER DANCER" tragedy would later become the subject of the book "No Safe Harbor". She was salvaged and was sold to Captain Paul Forsberg who gutted and completely rebuilt the vessel. She is currently sailing as the "VIKING SUPERSTAR" providing ferry service to Block Island as part of the Viking Fleet from Montauk NY. Photo courtesy of Scotty Tibbs II and Gulf Craft Inc.