Boat finally back in bayou
Returning from Crowley, La., to their home on Carpenter Road in Bridge City the Sunday following Hurricane Ike, Larry and Belva Buckley found what he now calls a “bittersweet” surprise.

Buckley’s 58-foot-long shrimp boat had made a new berth for itself, with the back of the ship sitting only 15 feet from the couple’s back door along Cow Bayou in Victory Gardens.

“I had it tied up with four ropes on my home side,” Buckley, a 17-year Bridge City resident, said. “And I had one rope tied on the bayou side. It broke.”

With the surge of water from Hurricane Ike, the ship followed over the bank to brace itself against two trees in the Buckley’s backyard.

“It was bittersweet in a way,” Buckley said. “The boat blocked a lot of the surge coming from the bayou and water didn’t come in the house. It acted as a shield in that manner.”

On April 30, Buckley was finally able to get the ship placed back into the bayou – through out-of-pocket expense.

“I had no insurance to handle any moving costs,” he said. “Lucky for me I had worked with the (Anthony) crane company, the mat supplier (Ritter Forest) and Gulf Co. in the past and they all just charged me delivery price to move the boat.”

Buckley said Ike was the first time he ever left his boat unmanned during a storm. He even rode out Hurricane Rita in 2005 inside the vessel while docked in Cocodrie, La.

“We had 11 feet of water come in there with Rita,” he said. “I knew that the ship would be OK.”

Buckley, who shrimps part-time in bays all the way from the Alabama state line to Corpus Christi when pipefitting work slows down, said the ship needs only cleaning and minor repairs – and that he should be able to take it out in a little under a month’s time.

“It has been locked up for six months, so it definitely needs to be cleaned,” he said. “It has been a while and I’ve got the itch to get back out there.”