Winnie Estelle retires to Museum

Many of you may remember the Winnie Estelle as a vessel used by TREC students.

Winnie Estelle to stop in San Pedro on her final
voyage home

Many young islanders may not be familiar with
the Winnie Estelle but many long-time residents can certainly share their
memories of the vessel. 90 years after her launching, the vessel is making her
final voyage, with a stop on Ambergris Caye, before heading back home to the
Maritime Museum at Chesapeake Bay in Crisfield, Maryland, USA. The vessel, which
was built in 1920, has a long history and passed from one hand to another,
eventually making its way to Belize in the 70′s where it was used to transport
pine lumber and eventually used for tours off the island.

The Winnie Estelle was one of the original
Chesapeake Bay buy boat (buy boats are a type of cargo vessel used to buy
catch-of-the-day/products and transport such loads to a mainland market) used to
transport melons and sea products in the US. Buy boats are so uncommon now and
only a couple of them exist, so much so that it is considered a historical piece
that is referred to as an “endangered piece in the Americas.” Of the
few buy boats left, the Winnie Estelle is the only known boat so far that has
kept its original design and in perfect condition, keeping about 20 percent of
the original material it was built out of 90 years ago. The boat was used for
many years between the Guatemala and Honduras border to transport pine lumber to
Belize. But it became an icon when it was brought to Ambergris Caye and used to
conduct cruises and even tours to the Blue Hole. The boat was used until it
became too dilapidated, and was left to sink off Belizean shores. Thanks to
Roberto Smith, the boat was pulled up and it took a little over six years to
salvage the boat that holds so many memories and history.
The Winnie Estelle,
which was named after the two daughters of the original owner Noah T. Evans, is
currently in Rio Dulce, Guatemala and will be in San Pedro on May 4th and 5th.
The vessel will then depart to Crisfield Maryland, where it will be
decommissioned and placed into the Martine Museum at Chesapeake Bay. Those who
want to see the Winnie Estelle can look out for the vessel on the Eastern
coastline as the 60 foot boat cruises around for the last time in Belizean
waters. It will make a stop at the San Pedro municipal dock before leaving to
the US.
San Pedro Sun