Kekoa Set to Return to the Water Today!

Kekoa sits on Hansen Bay beach Tuesday afternoon.

Kekoa pictured on Hansen Bay beach Tuesday afternoon.

Well folks, we have some great news to share with you all! Kekoa is going back into the water today!

I’m sure many of you are familiar with Kekoa, the beautiful wooden catamaran with black sails that is typically anchored in Cruz Bay. Kekoa, sadly, was severely damaged during Hurricane Irma and has sat at Hansen Bay where her owners have been working on her since late last year. Here is what Andrea Milam wrote about Kekoa in the February 2018 Caribbean Compass:

“Winds thundered across the landscape, whipping up the sea and tossing boats, cars, and large sections of people’s homes through the air with the ease of a toddler throwing his toys mid-tantrum. Kekoa, a 50-foot wooden catamaran, was tied down in St. John’s Hurricane Hole alongside more than 100 other Virgin Islands vessels in preparation for a direct hit by powerful Hurricane Irma,” Andrea wrote. “Slowly, one by one, Kekoa broke free of the 15 three-quarter-inch lines with 75 feet of three-eighths-inch chain per line anchoring her to the ocean floor, and then edged herself toward the shore line. The sleek gray vessel had been here before, alone at sea in a terrible storm. She knew how to take care of herself. Kekoa crawled up on the shoreline, narrowly missing several large boulders and a pileup of wrecked boats that would have torn her body apart, and came to rest where she awaited discovery by her builders, brothers Ryan and Jamison Witbeck.”

Over the past 15 months, the brothers have been working tirelessly to bring Kekoa back to life, along with their friends, over on the beach at Hansen Bay. And today is a day they have been waiting for for quite some time. Here is what they wrote on their Facebook page:

“After 15 months and 6 days we are ready to push Kekoa back into the Caribbean to make her way to Tortola for final repairs! Along with our families, we’d like to invite you to Hansen beach for the launch. Show up at noon on Wednesday for a little chaos as we begin our next chapter.

“This launch date coincidentally falls on December 12th, the 10 year anniversary of the day she was abandoned at sea by her delivery crew. We are excited to turn this date into a victory! See you all there!”

From Kekoa's Facebook page

From Kekoa’s Facebook page

How beautiful is that…

So if you happen to be on St. John today, head out east and check out this great event. I hope to see you all there! In the meantime, have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!

12 comments for “Kekoa Set to Return to the Water Today!

  1. Marketta
    December 12, 2018 at 8:42 am

    Yay! So happy for Jamison and Ryan. We will sail with the in May.

  2. Nancie Moore
    December 12, 2018 at 8:44 am

    This makes me smile and cry with joy at the same time. I think the spirit of this boat speaks to us all. There will be times when you are lost, abandoned, battered and broken…but with love and attention and a lot of work, you will rise again to take your place in this world. God I love this boat! And I admire and respect all the people who made this day happen. Thank you!

  3. Lynn Blaisdell
    December 12, 2018 at 8:51 am

    Great news!!

  4. Steve Whichello
    December 12, 2018 at 9:15 am

    I had the pleasure of stopping by to meet both these guys and other talented guys bringing her back while on vacation. Really beautiful boat and awesome group of people.
    I would love to charter her when I return.

  5. Larry and Kate Hines
    December 12, 2018 at 9:32 am

    We,re here——-we,ll be there !!!!!!

  6. lisa
    December 12, 2018 at 10:15 am

    One Love.
    Beautiful story! Good luck!

  7. John
    December 12, 2018 at 10:28 am

    “And there was much rejoicing….”. We were on island last week and stopped by to see the Kekoa team and our favorite girl. She looks great and is ready for paint! As Nancie perfectly said, the Kekoa exemplifies the spirit of beautiful St. John. Bravo to Jamison, Ryan and the entire Kekoa team. Can’t wait to see her in Cruz Bay again!

  8. Lori Harvison
    December 12, 2018 at 10:33 am

    YEAH! Welcome back! We love Kekoa

  9. Julia Penna
    December 12, 2018 at 11:16 am

    We were there in January and February watching the progress. So happy to have this day come. We. Love Kekoa and her family. Congratulations

  10. Candace Bertram
    December 12, 2018 at 1:48 pm

    We’ve sailed on the Kekoa many times. Any idea how long in Tortola? We’d love to sail again. Feb. – Mar. Best wishes to her strong and loving owners and crew.

  11. Steve Jackson
    December 12, 2018 at 9:56 pm

    Saw then rebuilding it last February. Looking forward to visiting st John this February

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