Big boat finally makes it to destination |

Big boat finally makes it to destination

by Jeff Munson, Appeal News Service

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE — It’s taken nearly two months to get the 80-foot-long Safari Rose to its Lake Tahoe destination, a voyage that has been weeks overdue.

At times, owner Steve Dunham probably wishes the 1959 mahogany-and-teak, 78-ton yacht was a tugboat.

Now, like a sailor just back from a long trip at sea, Dunham is simply glad to be home.

Today, Rose will find its permanent digs in the water at Tahoe Keys Marina. It will join Dunham’s charter boats Woodwind I and Woodwind II. Its job will specialize in chartered corporate outings, wedding receptions and historic tours of Lake Tahoe.

“I’m very relieved. I’ll be even more relieved once it goes into the water,” Dunham said.

A 2,200-mile journey took Safari Rose from Seattle to freshwater channels along the Snake and Columbia rivers through Washington and Idaho before it was loaded onto a trailer bound for Tahoe.

From there, it was only supposed to be a smooth-sailing, 10-day tour to the lake.

But there was no such luck.

The gargantuan boat that snarled traffic in Carson City June 20 found itself stranded on Highway 395 in the island median in front of Home Depot.

The truck that was pulling it blew gaskets on both ends. First, the rear end of the semi-truck blew out, stalling Dunham and the driver for a few days. After it was fixed and the truck was ready to shove off, the front end gave out.

Another truck was brought in a few days later, and on June 19, it looked like Dunham and Safari Rose were good to go.

Not quite.

Thirty miles outside of Carson City, just as the trailer crossed the Nevada border into California, red lights began flashing. A California Highway patrolman pulled the trailer over and told Dunham the permit that allowed him to haul the boat had a few glitches in it, so Dunham would have to apply for another one.

So, following the law and explaining candidly the situation to Caltrans and the fact that his huge boat was sitting on the side of Highway 88, the transportation department rushed him the permit, which usually takes weeks to finalize.

“Everyone was great, CHP, Caltrans, they all had their jobs to do, and I don’t fault them for doing it,” Dunham said.

Even though it was more hassle than he had ever imagined, he said he’s pleased he finally got Rose home.

“I hope the community loves it. It’s a great boat,” he said. “It’s a great big boat that will be even greater when its in the water.”

Cranes will lift Safari Rose into the marina today. From there, it will be only a matter of days before it’s sailing in a new and, hopefully permanent, home.