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A bedtime offshore adventure story by Bobthebuilder

Old 01-21-2010, 12:01 AM
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Default A bedtime offshore adventure story by Bobthebuilder

Since I am stuck up here in Canada until I can return to FL next week, I thought I would write about an event that I was recently reminded of. This is a true story and happened before my being introduced to OSO so I don’t think I have ever shared this with anyone here. Enjoy, if you have the time to read it.

This story takes place in South Florida during one of the winter months of 2005. I had taken my sister and her husband down to Key West from Marco Island for a short 2 day trip. The trip down to KW aboard the 2003 Team PREDATOR from Marco was largely uneventful. We settled into the Galleon Marina and Louise and Reg went off to their hotel room. I had decided that this would be one of those rare occasions where I would actually stay aboard the boat rather than get a room.
Mid afternoon I could see John, the Galleon dock master approaching with a small entourage of people. As John came up to me he said, “ Bob, this gentleman has a problem and we think you can help. I would appreciate if you would listen to what he has to say”. I forget the gentleman’s name but for the sake of this story we will call him Wally. The first words out of Wally’s mouth were “ I have just spent the last two nights in the Key West jail. Hmmm. Better tell me more, Wally. LOL. Wally continues, my wife and I were at the anchorage out at the Dry Tortugas and were approached by the US Coast Guard, asking if we had any weapons aboard. Wally said, yes here is my handgun in a locked container and here is my State of Florida permit for it. The Coast Guard response was, well too bad your not in the State of Florida, you are in a US Federal Park and it is illegal to have a gun. Poor Wally was handcuffed, and spent the first night in a lock up at the Dry Tortugas and then transported to Key West for the next two nights. During the time that Wally was locked up, the Parks service approached Mrs. Wally who was left by herself on the family sail boat at the Dry Tortugas anchorage. They had said to her that for $1,000.00, a Captain could be flown out from Key West and he would take her and the boat back to Key West and she would be there when Wally got out of jail. This sounded pretty good to Mrs. Wally and she agreed to it. Eventually Wally has his day in court, was found guilty and pays the minimum fine a sympathetic judge sets and is released. Somehow Wally learns that his wife is en route to Key West aboard their boat with a Key West Captain. Wally knows that there is a powerful VHF radio at the Galleon Marina and is successful in contacting his boat. The Captain speaks very limited English so Wally communicates with his wife on the VHS. The Captain is not familiar with the electronics aboard the boat but his wife is able to give Wally a series of longitude and latitude positions over the coarse of several hours. Eventually it becomes apparent that the boat is headed east towards the Bahamas and not towards Key West. At this point, Wally in Key West and Mrs. Wally aboard the family sail boat are in full panic mode. Communication is then lost and Wally fears the worst. Because of Wally’s encounter with the Coast Guard at the Dry Tortugas he decides not to turn to them for help and that is when I was approached at my slip at the Galleon Marina. After Wally relates his story to me at a mile a minute, he then says to me “ I will pay you any amount of money to take me to my boat.” My response was “ forget about the money, let’s go get them !! “ I plugged the last known waypoints for them into my chart plotter and we were on our way in minutes. The plotter had them about 40 miles south west of Key West. The winds had picked up with daytime heating and the seas were running 4 to 6 ft. 35 minutes after clearing Key West Harbor, we see a sailboat in the distance. It was them ! Wally could not believe it. I can still remember the excitement of that moment. I approach their stern and soon determine that with the rough seas, getting Wally onto his boat is going to be a challenge. Wally climbed up onto the deck of Team PREDATOR and shouts instructions to the Mrs. to lower the rope ladder over the stern. As I am offering a life jacket to Wally, without waiting, he dives into the water and swims the 10 ft or so to his boat. In seconds he is aboard his boat and takes charge. Wally orders the Captain to go down below and locks the cabin door. He then takes a few minutes checking his systems and soon I am given a green light to break away and head back to Key West. 40 minutes later, I am back at the Galleon and everyone there was anxious to know how it went. About 11 PM that evening, I was on board Team PREDATOR and I hear a tap, tap on the side of the boat. It was Wally letting me know he was safely back in the Harbor. We agree to meet in the morning at which time he introduces me to Mrs. Wally. Wally tells me that on arrival in Key West he let the Captain out of the cabin and tells him he is not getting the $1,000 unless he can produce a Captains license. Guy goes home and sure enough returns with his Captains license. Wally regretfully pays up. After Mr. and Mrs. Wally express their deep appreciation for “the rescue”, we go our separate ways. Until they met me and Team PREDATOR they had little use for powerboats but that day changed everything. For a couple of years following he would write me these long letters telling of their boating travels and more crazy situations they would get into. From Key West they went to the Bahamas where they were in an anchorage when a storm came thru and washed them up on the beach. Eventually they sold the boat, and returned to the mid west and the letters stopped coming. Today, I have no idea what ever became of Wally but hope he is keeping out of trouble !

The end,
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Old 01-21-2010, 12:08 AM
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Great story Bob!! Thats pretty cool!!
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Old 01-21-2010, 02:28 AM
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That is an awesome story. Good for you for stepping up. That's what it's all about. That's what makes us who we are. Again, congrats.

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Old 01-21-2010, 05:21 AM
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Great story........... The Great Adventures of Bob the Builder...... do I hear a book in the making.......??
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Old 01-21-2010, 06:53 AM
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I wanna be like you when I grow up Bob!
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Old 01-21-2010, 07:06 AM
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Great story....thanks for sharing.
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Old 01-21-2010, 07:29 AM
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I love a happy ending!!
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Old 01-21-2010, 07:35 AM
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Awesome story, which once again confirms that your are one of the "Good Guys" out there in the world.
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Old 01-21-2010, 07:52 AM
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Thanx for sharing...Neat early morning story to start the day out!
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Old 01-21-2010, 08:49 AM
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Awesome story, Bob! You never cease to amaze.
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