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Thursday, February 4, 2016

Shipwrecked!



It had been a beautiful day of sailing. We were making our way past Sanibel Island on the outside passage in the open ocean. Sailing conditions were good. We'd had a late start due to heavy fog so we knew we'd be anchoring in the dark. That didn't bother me as we'd night sailed often enough before.

Unfortunately we got tired and decided to go in at Captiva Pass so we could anchor and rest. Bad decision. We placed too much reliance on our paper charts and chart plotter. Hindsight being 20 20, we should have gone in at the much larger Boca Grande Pass up the coast.

In short, we hit an unmarked shoal. Where my plotter said we should have 17 feet of water, we had two feet. The transition from deep water to shallow was too quick to react. The boat grounded, hard. We tried repeatedly to get off the shoal, but the wind and breakers kept throwing us back on.

The boat was tossing violently from side to side and were starting to take a beating. We decided to abandon ship. The boat was rocking so violently that my lovely wife was thrown onto the tiller and it cracked. With some difficulty I was able to assist my wife and dog into the kayak. I ducked back into the cabin to get our go bag that had basic survival supplies. I added my c-pap, my wife's pocketbook with her medications, and her cell phone. Conditions were worsening by the moment. Several attempts later I was able to untie the kayak and successfully jumped into it.

We could see lights on North Captiva Island so we headed for shore. With water breaking on the shoals all around us, we paddled towards the lights. After a while we could hear surf pounding, but were unsure if it was more shoaling or the beach -too dark to see much of anything. Deciding it was probably the beach, we surfed in on a big wave and made a successful landing. Our Sea Eagle kayak really came though for us that night.

Some lights from beach houses were visible and we could just barely make out a trail. I sent my lovely wife to knock on the door of the first house we came too. I'm kinda big and ugly looking in the dark, especially after washing up on a beach. A wonderful couple on their first day of vacation took us in. Our cell phone had no service on the island so they let me borrow the land line. I called 911 and let them know what happened and had them dispatch EMS to check my wife. Outside of a few bumps, bruises and exhaustion, she was fine. Better safe than sorry.

I called my boat insurance company, Boat US, and they put me in contact with the Charlotte Harbor Tow Boat people run by Captain Kyle. They sent a boat out right away. I paddled back out to try to help the guys. The boat was tossing too violently to get back on-board. The tow boat was in danger of getting stuck on the shoals so I tried to tie a tow line on the bow cleat. With the boat bouncing violently and with waves breaking over me, my cleat work wasn't the best. The tow line came free and I wasn't going to attempt it again. The kayak was so full of water by the time I got to shore that I couldn't even flip it over to drain it. Fortunately, the 420 model has self bailing drains and by opening one of those enough water drained so the kayak could be dragged up the beach.

The kind beach people let us sleep on their couches and made us breakfast in the morning. Kyle and his crew were right back at it first thing in the morning. They tried to rescue the boat, but during the night's pounding the keel came off. They barely got off when the boat flipped over on its side and sank. As a hazard to navigation the wreck of the sailing vessel Morning Glory became a huge liability issue. Fortunately I'd gotten liability insurance and Boat US covered the salvage costs. It took three tow boats and their crews to get the boat, still mostly submerged, back to their base on Pine Island.

Kyle gave us a lift to Pine Island and called a cab for us. My wallet was lost, but fortunately my wife's purse had a debit card. Unfortunately she did not have the cards that accesses most of our funds. Those were in my lost wallet. We barely had enough funds to pay for a cab ride and a rental car. We got to my step-mom's with just the cloths on our backs and a deflated kayak.

The boat is a total loss. Kyle will save any personal items he finds, but he says the boat's pretty open. Much was lost to the sea. We lost almost all of our personal possessions. I'm writing this on a borrowed computer as mine's gone. We don't even have toothbrushes or a hair brush. It will take some time to rebuild our finances and replace our necessities. In the end though, it's all just stuff. My lovely wife and I, and even the dog, are all right.

-Sixbears

39 comments:

  1. Sixbears,

    I'm speechless. I'm so sorry that happened, but so relieved that you, your wife, and dog are all safe.

    Probably more to say when I'm no longer stunned.

    Yoda

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    Replies
    1. That's life. We are fine. It's just stuff. It is funny to think that my stained T-shirt, ratty shorts and flip flops are my best clothes. I've a nice light jacket too, but that's about all my clothes.

      This morning my lovely wife is wearing some nice red Christmas clothes she left at my step mom's.

      A shopping trip in in order this morning.

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  2. I'm so sorry for the loss of your boat. But as you say at least everyone is safe.

    This really stunning as we all have been enjoying vicariously your adventures on the sea. I hope your recovery will be quick and painless.

    Wade in NW Florida

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    Replies
    1. We are bit shook, but otherwise fine. We are trying to sort out insurances and finances, but that's just life.

      Delete
  3. Oh my!
    What a drastic change of events, so glad to hear everyone is OK.
    (justjohn)

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  4. Yikes! Scary stuff. So glad you, Cindy and Brownie are all ok. Let us know if you need us to send you anything!

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    1. We are fine. Getting our act together. Lots of paperwork to sort out.

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  5. So sorry to hear of this accident, but the important this is that the two of you plus dog are non the worse for wear.

    I had wondered why the delay in blogging - it sounds like you had far more important things to deal with.

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    Replies
    1. Yep, being shipwrecked causes delays. We are fine, and everything else is just stuff.

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  6. Really bummed to hear about the loss of the boat, but glad you and the Mrs. are ok

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    1. We are fine. You know me, it's all just stuff. Still had lost of great experiences.

      Delete
  7. Sorry for your loss, the boat sounded like a winner for years to come. Glad you all survived as the outcome could have been out-rite disastrous. Don't know what I can do to help but I'm close enough (5 hours) just ask! mike.yukon@yahoo.com

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    Replies
    1. We really enjoyed sailing that boat. Oh well. Thanks for the offer Mike. We made it safely to my step mom's where we kept out car. I spent the day on the phone getting stuff sorted, so it's going well.

      Thanks again.

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  8. Whoo... SO glad to hear you're basically alright, if stepping a little lighter.

    Only advice is to take it easy... a night like that can take it out of feller and family! Might not want to push anything to hard for a bit.

    If we can help, drop us a line you-know-where.

    Dave Z

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    Replies
    1. Good to hear from you Dave. We are fine. My years as a firefighter prepared me for dealing with emergencies and disasters. Helped me keep cool under pressure.

      My lovely wife is great in the lurch, but shakes after. I'm taking really good care of her.

      Tomorrow I go back to the salvage place and look for personal items. My wife will stay behind and rest up. I'm not going to push myself either.

      It was bad on the shoal, but we had our life jackets on, the kayak was inflated and in the water, my wife had the hand held radio and we got our ditch bag. Being prepped a bit helped.

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  9. Wow, glad you are all ok. Not sure what part of Florida you're in but i'm in south MS. Not too far. If you need something just ask.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for the kind offer. We made it to my step mom's so we have a base of operations. We are good.

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  10. Sorry for your loss of the boat but glad you the wife and dog are OK. I hope your next adventure involves only cheeseburgers and cold beers only!

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    1. You don't get to enjoy the highs without having a few lows. Since my lovely wife is fine, I'm a happy man.

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  11. I am just glad that you, your wife, and the dog got out of that situation alive. That is what mattered the most.

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    1. Indeed it is Dizzy. I count my blessings and I'm grateful.

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  12. God Almighty! You are very nonchalant about what must have been a traumatic experience. Your wife sounds like she really comes through in a pinch. I admire your sang friod.

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    1. She saves her emotional breakdown for when the crisis is over. We had a ditch plan and it mostly worked. Should have kept my wallet in the ditch bag though. Live and learn.

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  13. What a ordeal. I bet you felt alive when you got to shore. Thjngs could have been so much worse but sorry for the loss of your boat.

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    1. I felt alive the whole time. Never doubted we'd make it. I'm going to miss the boat, but material things never worried me that much.

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  14. Blimey Sixbears! You are having some adventures! I am glad you, your wife and 4 legged friend are alright. In the end this is what matters. I hope it won't put you off more adventuring later on. Joel from Suffolk, UK

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    1. We are still figuring out what to do for the rest of the winter. We've a tent with us so we might just go camping for a while.

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  15. Blimey Sixbears! You are having some adventures! I am glad you, your wife and 4 legged friend are alright. In the end this is what matters. I hope it won't put you off more adventuring later on. Joel from Suffolk, UK

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  16. Oh, Sixbears! Sorry you lost the boat, but so thankful all are safe! Possessions are just stuff and will be missed but you saved the most important.

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  17. Stuff may be gone but you and yours are safe and sound. That's the good part.

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    1. We are fine. I'm so happy my lovely wife is Okay. It's one thing for me to do these foolish things, but having my lovely wife along is a huge responsibility.

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  18. Wow guys, wow. That must have been scary! I'm so glad you're safe and the pup too! Much love to the both of you!! Marissa, Gary & Samuel

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  19. It's hard to know what to say at times like this, except I'm sorry about your losses, but praise God, you're all okay!

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    1. Thanks Gorges, but I really am fine. I count my blessings. My lovely wife is fine. I'm fine. Even the dog is fine. Everything else is a bonus.

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