65-foot Yacht Stranded in Florida Backyard Since Hurricane Ian
It's been more than six months since Hurricane Ian tore its way through the southeastern United States.
The Category 5 hurricane did most of its damage in Florida, where nearly the entire lower half of the state experienced devastating wind and water damage.
Particular areas on the southwest coast were hardest hit, largely due to an unfortunate mix of geography and topography.
As the massive storm approached the southwest coast, the area around Sanibel Island, Pine Island, and the inlet at the Caloosahatchee River at Cape Coral served as the unfortunate epicenter for the storm surge.
The massive influx of water, not to mention the devastating 160 mph (260 km/h) winds, carried enormous power, sending seawater and everything in its path eastwards into Fort Myers.
Much of the damage was from flooding carried by the storm surge, which produced an unbelievable 10–15 ft (3.0–4.6 m) rise in water levels. Sanibel Island, Pine Island, and Fort Myers Beach bore the brunt of it, where nearly all standing structures were either destroyed or heavily damaged. The surge had such strength it collapsed the Sanibel Causeway and the Matlacha bridge to Pine Island, entrapping those left on the islands for days.
Given the amount of power generated by the hurricane, it seems unsurprising it was capable of carrying large objects over long distances.
One such case that still hasn't been resolved is a 65-foot yacht currently stuck in a Cape Coral backyard. The boat has now become a spectacle.
“I’d say hundreds of people see it if not thousands,” said Melanie Long, who lives in the Tarpon Point neighborhood, in an interview with ABC 7 News.
Sitting in an upscale neighborhood next to multi-million dollar homes, the 50-ton premium vessel is in a difficult location to be recovered.
“Until the last 30 minutes of the storm… the boat was fine,” said the boat's owner, Jens Geotz.
The hurricane tore the boat away from Geotz’s dock and sent it two doors down into his neighbor's backyard. It' hasn't moved since.
“I didn’t know them before. But we just came together dealing with the boat in his yard,” Geotz told ABC 7 News.
A restoration company is working on repairing several holes in the yacht caused by its unforeseen journey. Even once it's made watertight, it will still require a barge to lift it from the backyard and into the nearby channel.
Therein lies another problem -- the stern is touching the mangroves. Mangroves are protected in Florida and cannot be damaged by human interference.
According to Geotz, the restoration company estimates it’ll cost around $500,000 to get the boat back in the water.
After 6 months, it remains to be seen if, or when, Geotz will get his yacht back.
Check out the unbelievable footage below:
UPDATE May 1/23* - The boat is back in the water!