The silver lining story about Silver Cloud

You can't miss her in the Coral Bay harbor.

Three masts, steel black hull, lots of rigging, looking like a pirate ship. 100 feet long and 110 years old. What stories she could tell.

Silver Cloud.

Like how during World War 1 …yes "1" … she did duty as a fire boat, according to a story in the latest issue of the St. John Sun Times.  Before that, a kind of ferry, taking captains to shore when storms threatened.

Over the years, the hulking vessel was in service up and down the east coast, as far south as the Bahamas. Some of the runs were doing the Lord's work, at least one involved smuggling, the Sun Times said.

Finally,  Elliott Hooper, a Key West silk screen business owner, became her owner and captain.  
In fall of 1989, he and a friend decided to move to St. John.  According to AllatSea.net, they strapped the t-shirt business equipment and a 1941 panel wagon to the deck and set sail, arriving in Coral Bay one day before Hurricane Hugo hit.

But Hooper and his pirate ship weathered that storm, and a few others since then, thanks to a spirited community of friends on the island. After Hurricane Marilyn in 1995, friends helped jack the boat inch-by-inch off the shore to get it floating again.  "It's stuff like that that makes you want to live here," he told AllAtSea.net.

You can find Hooper, and hear his stories, at his t-shirt and silk screening business, Tall Ship Trading. It's next door to Shipwreck Landing.

Learn more about Silver Cloud:  

The picture of the ship (above) is via the Skinny Legs Web site.  The restaurant's staff party in July last year was aboard Silver Cloud.

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