After spending two weeks a dozen feet into the deep, a pirate vessel known as the Time Bandit is upright once again.
The 40-year-old, 16-ton ship has quite the history, including an appearance in a Hollywood film called "Time Bandits" and history as a tour boat at the Ports O'Call Village in Los Angeles.
Ship owner Loren Hafen and a crew of workers set about Thursday morning using air-lift bags to raise the vessel out of Big Bear Lake -- which proved to be quite the job, as the Time Bandit is a one-third-scale replica of a 16th-century Spanish galleon.
Hafen, a certified scuba diver, strapped the bags to the bottom of the ship while crew members filled them from an air compressor.
“As soon as they started filling the bags with air, it went up,” Big Bear Lake Resort Association Spokesman Dan McKernan said. “Now they are just working on getting the water out of it.”
Hafen and the workers used water pumps to remove water from the Time Bandit’s hull and get it out of its 12-foot-deep watery grave.
On Feb. 28, a severe storm that brought 10 inches of rain and snow to Big Bear Lake caused the pirate ship to sink.
“I cried, I just cried,” Hafen said about his first time seeing the submerged vessel. Hafen and his wife Patty purchased the Time Bandit in 2000.
But now people are optimistic that the Time Bandit will be ready to set sail for the 100-year anniversary of Holloway’s Marina, where is has been docked since 1998.
“We definitely are thinking it will be ready for the anniversary,” McKernan said. “It would be a great way to start the festivities by getting the ship sailing again.”
After a slew of repairs, the Time Bandit will sail again on Big Bear Lake, with tours expected to resume Memorial Day Weekend and continue through October.