Sailor left living in his truck

December 17, 2008 4:37:24 PM PST
Life is not back to normal for many people who live and work in Clear Lake three months after Hurricane Ike. At least one marina is still in tatters, with several broken and battered boats are just lying around. But one of those boat owners is now living in his car, thanks to Ike.[SIGN UP: Get headlines and breaking news sent to you]

Every day, Darrell Long comes to what was a marina on Clear Lake with the only family he has left -- his two dogs. He comes to visit what was to be his home -- a sailboat that was purchased just a few days before Ike hit. Long says that's what his dying sister wanted for him.

"She was the last of my family," he explained. "Before she passed away, she said, 'Go get your boat. Life's too short.' So I did, and here I am."

Long's sailboat sits on dry land, where it washed up from the marina. His story grows even sadder. He had no insurance.

"I bought it. I just got the card to get it surveyed so I could insure it, and I hear there's a hurricane forming," he recalled. "You know, they won't write policies on them, then."

A lack of insurance explains some of the other boats still piled up on shore or partially sunk in the water. Salvage prices are high and Long can't afford them. He now lives in his car with his dogs Ginger and Petals, who he feeds before he eats. So many boats are damaged and destroyed, but few probably meant as much to their owners as this one did.

"It's probably going to be just cut up and hauled away, I imagine," Long said. "It weighs 5,000 pounds. I can't lift 5,000 pounds."

Besides the dogs and his used truck, that boat was about all Long had left in the world.

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