NEAR CARPINTERIA, Calif. - Heavy equipment was moving into the low tide zone on Santa Claus Beach and nearby locations this morning to remove what was once a trawler boat anchored off the coastline near Santa Barbara.
It broke apart on the rocks in to countless pieces after wave action for several days threw it around on the shore line, where it ended up, when it drifted away from its original anchored location.
How all this happened is still under investigation.
The result has had numerous residents, environmentalists and others in the area upset at the mess left behind, but thankful for the clean up that has returned the beach to its natural state without debris.
Hillary Hauser with Heal the Ocean calls it a "miracle." She cheered as the crew did their work. Normally these projects take up to ten days to get notices up and approvals, depending on the jurisdiction.
It was coordinated by Harry Rabin with Reef Guardians, Brian Borgatello with Marborg Industries and Lt. Butch Arnoldi with the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department. All credit Union Pacific for allowing access over the track and taking part in the plan that required heavy equipment to go through the right-of-way as a way to the boat wreckage.
A small stack of wood serving as a temporary bridge was constructed for everything to go back and forth.
Giant boulders were moved to create an opening.
Some of the work was done with an excavator. The Marborg crew also picked up trash cans full of small debris including foam insulation, and sections of the boat's structure. Some were lodged in the coastal rocks or partially buried in sand.
Hauser said, "I was just astonished that the railroad contact we have, picked up on her cell phone and said sure here is Javier the track manager. He had it together within an hour."
Wednesday afternoon the equipment and crew were assigned for the early morning job.
Borgatello said, "we brought three 40-yard rolloffs in here. I thought that would be ample. As you probably saw earlier, all three trucks were heaping full they were extremely heavy. "
A special sling was used to help pull the trucks over the sand and tracks with the excavator leading the way.
Then the specially opened hole was closed up, and the rocks were replaced.
Borgatello said, "we took photos before and after. They even asked if we could push a little of the sand away from the tracks and make it better than it was before."
He said the site was restored and improved from what they had upon arrival, and so was the beach.
Later in the day a swimmer walking around in bare feet said she did not see the work crew but had no complaints about any issues with the beach, and there was no sign of any remaining debris.
During the work, the trains were held while the crews went through. About 7 a.m. a Southbound Amtrak Pacific Surfliner went through with no delays.