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western exposure

"Without a shadow of a doubt the oddest thing I've come across" - Canadian houseboat washes up on Mayo beach

The houseboat appears to be the brainchild of a Canadian environmentalist.

A COUNTY MAYO Coast Guard operator has described the discovery of a Canadian houseboat washed up off the west coast as “the strangest thing I’ve ever come across”.

Michael Hurst of Ballyglass Coast Guard first came across the stranded boat near Cross Beach following a call from a member of the public last weekend.

He says the boat was still “perfectly seaworthy, despite its design and the material used”.

hb2 The solar panels on top of the boat Facebook / Ballyglass Coast Guard Facebook / Ballyglass Coast Guard / Ballyglass Coast Guard

hb1 Facebook / Ballyglass Coast Guard Facebook / Ballyglass Coast Guard / Ballyglass Coast Guard

hb3 Facebook / Ballyglass Coast Guard Facebook / Ballyglass Coast Guard / Ballyglass Coast Guard

“Without a shadow of a doubt it’s the oddest thing I’ve come across,” he told

The origins of the boat, which has now been brought ashore and made safe, are still a little shrouded in mystery, although some clues on the boat itself have given an indication of its origin.

It seems the craft was created by a Canadian environmentalist named Rick Small, who has separately achieved fame for riding 7,000 km across Canada on a three-wheeled bicycle powered by solar panels.

michael s togher The salvage operation Facebook / Michael S Togher Facebook / Michael S Togher / Michael S Togher

Murphy4 Facebook / Declan Murphy Facebook / Declan Murphy / Declan Murphy

murphy3 Facebook / Declan Murphy Facebook / Declan Murphy / Declan Murphy

A note written inside the boat says:

I, Rick Small, donate this structure to a homeless youth to give them a better life that newfoundlanders choose not to do! No rent, no mortgage, no hydro.

“I believe he’s an environmentalist with a drive for helping the homeless,” says Michael, who thinks it unlikely that the houseboat will be making the return journey to Canada.

It looks like the intention at one stage was to sail across the Atlantic, but that idea was knocked on the head. The solar-powered bike this man used, it looks like he decided to use that apparatus to power the boat. As yet though we’ve no real concrete information. Our Coast Guard has been in touch with the Canadians though with a view to updating him on events.

Some Canadian citizens have posted to the Ballyglass Coast Guard Facebook site with pictures of the houseboat at anchor in Portugal Cove, Newfoundland, earlier this summer.

anith The boat docked in Portugal Cove, Newfoundland, last summer Facebook / Samantha Tanith Facebook / Samantha Tanith / Samantha Tanith

ed harris2 Facebook / Ed Harris Facebook / Ed Harris / Ed Harris

lorne2 Facebook / Lorne King Facebook / Lorne King / Lorne King

Rick Small himself has yet to be heard from.

Hurst meanwhile sees the craft becoming something of a tourist attraction in Co Mayo.

“The receiver of wrecks has been notified, he would have been onto Revenue, and the local authority who were out on the scene yesterday,” he says.

We’d be hoping to bring it back to its former glory via a local scheme, maybe as part of the Wild Atlantic Way.

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