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Surfrider Foundation volunteers, along with a couple of other local groups, finished cleaning up fishing vessel debris from Yaquina Head Sunday, the remnants of the ill-fated Fishing Vessel Chevelle that sank at the entrance to Yaquina Bay last March.
The area just seaward of the main stairway to the Yaquina Head tide pools was a tangled mass of rope, wire, metal rods and heavy pieces of flashing that all gave way when the Chevelle was rear ended and swamped by a towering wave while entering the jaws to Yaquina Bay March 11th. The Chevelle was slammed against the inside north jetty, broke up, and later went to the bottom. The fore section was eventually salvaged, but the aft section was pulled seaward by outgoing tides and has not been recovered.
The Chevelle’s debris became separated from the aft section. Later, with the lift from buoys that were attached, the mass was all floated to the surface and was then swept into Yaquina Head’s tidal pools just southeast of the lighthouse.
Surfrider and other surfers spotted the mound of debris on the beach and almost immediately went to work removing it for fear that sea lions, harbor seals and other wildlife might get entangled in it or mistake it for food.
Seven visits to the site and over 1,000 hours of volunteer help later, the area is clear of debris. Sunday, April 28th was their last day…for now. They still have their eyes on a pile of buoys that lie on a secluded beach just to the west of the first pile. But the volunteer clean-up crew will have to wait for the harbor seal pups to be born and strike out on their own before they can return to remove the buoys.
Hats off and a big salute and community THANK YOU! to Surfrider and the others who did a yeoman’s job of hauling away what was estimated to be FIVE TONS of debris that came off the Chevelle last year.