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Old 12-24-2016, 12:22 AM   #1
Bob Ballew
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Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Long Beach
Posts: 6,016
Diver stranded on Catalina for 2 Days..

...The wind is blowing the rain sideways outside, as my windows rattle in the latest storm ...Good night to be by a fireplace and not on stormy seas....so, on to the latest waterworld story:
....Fifty-year old diver takes his sailboat to Catalina Island on a solo trip this week....anchors off the backside where it can blow up suddenly at any time in the winter...comes back to see his sailboat drifting westward..swims after it but, soon realizes it is too risky and returns to the island...climbs ashore....spends the next 2 days waiting to be rescued...after 40 hours or so, he is picked up by a Coast Guard helicopter that was searching for him....
...Gives me flashbacks to the time Gary Thompson and I had to abandon my 25' Whaler off the backside when Mother Nature paid us a visit. A storm blew in while we were underwater diving commercially for abalone near China Point...cresting.waves washed over the bow, flooded the boat up to the gunnels and we couldn't get the big Merc outboard started manually
....Worsening weather, late afternoon an hour before dark and building 8' waves made the choice for us...we grabbed our wallets, hit the water and started swimming westward toward a beach with less rocks to go over than where we were at...Half-mile later, we pick a spot, time the big waves, and go for it...luck was with us, as we surfed over the tops of the big boulders up onto the rocky shoreline, yanking off our fins and running like hell to escape the backwash...climbing the goat trails, we made it into middle ranch at midnight, awakening a ranchhand who was scratching his head over the two odd characters standing on his porch, wearing wetsuits...
...My boat was found two days later, drifting 3 miles off the island...it was so rough, the 3/4" anchor line snapped and the boat drifted out rather than onto the rocks...a new starter motor and I was back in the commercial diving business....luck of the Irish....
...Moral: Always use lots of anchor chain, buy a boat with self-draining decks and never pee into the wind...

Last edited by Bob Ballew; 01-06-2017 at 03:56 AM.
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