When Hurricane “Ike” traversed Galveston Island, on Saturday, September 13, 2008, it decimated The Galveston Yacht Basin, where I lived aboard. We, all of us, tenants and management, endeavored to rebuild. On generators for months, dug out and cleaned up. Showering naked on docks in the pitch blackness, water cold and conditions primitive. Thank God, I grew up in “Almost Heaven” West Virginia, uniquely qualified for such hardship. Even though the storm destroyed the marina, it was it’s owners that destroyed a culture. Then we were recently acquired by this other “thing”. So many vessels gone or departing, I cannot keep count. I as well now gone. From the age of 19 (now 54), I had played and sometimes lived there. Secret even to many Galvestonians, a paradise lost. Even Ernest Hemingway would sob and attest to its demise. What these new operators aspire to accomplish with all their inexperienced, ill-fated grandiose plans, becomes at once tragic for those who once called it home. Yes, home. Not unlike Key West, San Diego, Marina Del Rey, Annapolis or San Francisco, where whole cultures reside on the water. Now, rapidly becoming an aquatic ghost town, where promises are fast and those promises as hollow as those who speak them. A patron of the yacht club since the early 1980‘s, where my drinks were coming out the door to the pool before I could even find a recliner, because they knew me, and I tipped in cash. I suppose attrition is a natural part of life. Are we not all losing something from the minute we are born? Still, it is heartbreaking to have witnessed it’s collapse.
Michael Alan Basham is a veteran of advertising, public relations and government affairs, and a 35 year resident of Galveston Island.