Life Changing Moment..Boom


Flash back to November 26, 1999, thirteen years ago, my life is about to be changed and I don’t even know it.

It is Black Friday and my wife and daughter are out shopping, what a waste of a great day. My boys, Phillip and Heath, and I are camping and boating with a friend Larry Strong. Larry’s three boys, Mark, Trevor, and Travis came with us. We had been looking forward for a long time spending the day out to sea with my boys. We are heading out the Chaskawiska river in Homosassa, Florida.

It is a peaceful day the Carolina Skiff and the Evenrude outboard are doing their job. Larry and I are kicked back, one of his kids, I think Mark is driving the boat as we head out towards the Gulf of Mexico ready for a day of fishing. Blue skys, bright sun, and a breeze in our faces, almost heaven on earth, then WHAM, the motor hit a rock.

I have broken many a shear pin which is not a big deal to replace but this time, we took out the lower unit, the bottom gears in the motor, it was toast. Now we have to paddle in. Our day going out into the Gulf was ruined, capoot, shot. This boat can’t handle roungh water and it can’t handle shallow water either.

Why do they sell so many? I mean Carolina Skiffs are everywhere. Why can’t someone make a boat that runs in extreme shallow water and still remain safe on the high seas, while they are at it, why do boats get such horrible fuel economy? Why can’t someone make a boat that uses less fuel.

Little did I know that I was going to become that person, just give it a few years.

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The Last World Record Voyage….Smallest Power Boat To Cross The Atlantic

We made it to London

We made it to London

It can’t sink, it can’t sink, it can’t sink were the words going through my mind along with help us Lord Jesus, and trust your equipment. Bob is saying don’t panic. He did not remember saying those words to me, but it actually helped me to remember not to panic.

Hugh waves are breaking into the boat, we are being pushed up on a shoal. The boat is full of water and if it is not tied down it is gone. The antenna has fallen, the T top dry box just bounced open and all my important papers are falling, the waves are pushing us up to the rocks that we can’t see, it is pitch black out with a cloud cover, our spotlight is only good for a few feet because of the fog. We are scared, I am scared both for my life and for the mission, especially the mission.

A few minutes prior to this, I was driving, it has gotten dark and I am totally exhausted so I ask Bob to drive. He too is exhausted. We have just passed a light house on the outer Islands of Faroe. There is a small town there. We decide to go back to the small town to spend the night.

When we got back we can’t find the harbor, because there is none. There are two large fishing boats not too far back; we decide to follow them in. Only they are too far away and they disappear. The waves are over 10 foot and it is black out. We see a couple of light houses in the distance, and Bob wants to tuck in behind an Island.

Suddenly the waves get much bigger and start breaking into the boat. In ten minutes a relatively calm rolling ten footers went to xxxxx. Ten minutes ago we had a better chance to follow two much larger boats, but they are both gone. Ten minutes ago we felt successful having reached the Faroe Islands, ten minutes. Now the waves are filling the boat. Bob still wants to find a way to get out of the storm. I want to get away from the rocks. I don’t even know where they are, you can only see the outline of an Island. We both think the storm caught up with us.

I want to get out to the open sea. I will take my chances with the bigger waves, but not the rocks. Bob, let me take the helm, gladly. It won’t sink, it won’t sink, it won’t sink. Don’t panic. Don’t panic, Help me Lord, help us Lord, please, Trust your equipment. Trust your equipment. I set a course back out. The boat is full of water, more waves are breaking. We are talking to search and rescue, we only want directions, they want information, and I don’t want to change screens to give them the coordinates.

Can’t get the boat straight, Bob climbs out to fix the antenna, waves are still breaking into the boat. It is pitch black out and it is hard to drive by GPS only. It is slow to respond, hard to starboard, hard to starboard, why won’t this heading change, too far, hard to port hard to port. Waves are still breaking into the boat. Up and down. Suddenly there is a bright star or a planet. We lock in on our bearing. We get the boat straight, trust your equipment. Bob wants me to do something, can’t take my eyes off the screen, suddenly we are spinning around again, don’t know where the rocks are. There is the star, keep it on the right, starboard.

We are back out to open sea. The waves stop breaking. We get in the shelter of some islands. Wow, we are still going. The mission is still on!!!!

There is a helicopter with a spotlight in the distance. Are they looking for us? We get them on the radio, they were looking for us, it is Ok, and they go home. Do we wait for day light or try to make Torshavn tonight? Bob takes the helm. He gets us there. I try to sleep. So cold, so wet, I don’t think anyone makes a suit for what we are doing.

The first person we meet in Torshavn is Linjohn Christianson. Get this he is the captain of the Akamalik, the STAR OF THE NEW DISCOVERY CHANNEL TELEVISION SERIES, MIGHTY SHIPS, a Greenland Icebreaker Fishing Ship. What are the odds? He invites us over for a shower, a nap, and breakfast. I am writing this from his daughter’s computer.

Mine, well, both dry boxes got full of water last night. Thank God Panasonic gave us a Tough Book, because, well I hope I can find someone to pull the hard drive from my new anchor because that is all it will be good for. It is now time to go into full use of that Toughbook, it still works.

When I turned this one on, we were already on the home page of the Faroe Islands

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