Friday, December 12, 2008

Shipwreck ( Part One)

well, that was quite a morning for us Ala Moana lifeguards. thanx to Jeff we got the photos and video to document the incident. I've been at Magic Island lagoon since '02 and the three shipwrecks I've see were all due to "pilot error" and "equipment failure", and all of them happened in the Ala Wai Harbor channel with two up on the rocks on the Ewa side (SE winds!)
and the third on the Bowls reef side. But this shipwreck was all mother nature.
The owners of the 37 foot yacht had been playing cat and mouse with Harbors after getting evicted from the Ala Wai Yacht Harbor. the game they played was to anchor outside the channel, about 500M for the 72 hour time limit, then sail away, only to come back to the exact spot (probably an anchor point secured to the bottom) and restart the clock again.
the DLNR was the detective on the case and were running a stake out to catch them, but the criteria was too difficult to actually prevent them,...until a Low Pressure system decided to take matters into it's own hands. On Wednesday, the wind gusts were already hitting 30, and the last chance to tow the sailboat to safety. But the owners bailed on a kayak, probably just praying the predicted storm wouldn't jeopardize their boat.
But Thursday morning, Ala Moana lifeguards all showed up to 10-8 their radios and with the wind gusting up to 45 plus, we were just hanging out in our Radio Shack.
That's when we started thinking about that darn boat. Jeff grabbed a radio and headed out on foot, and when Kainoa decided to jump on the ATV to check if the boat was in trouble, Jeff came on the radio sounding like he was at the North Pole, yelling above the wind that he couldn't see the boat through the squalls and Kainoa took off on the ATV.
Me and Bill G. headed out and the game was on.
Unbelievably, Rescue 1 wanted to launch and make sure there was no one on board and after we all got out there he showed up and circled the boat and then came in to report that it appeared abandoned. But at that point it was still secured and appeared the anchor might hold through the storm. Pouring rain, winds to 45 and a rising wind swell up to 8 foot chop.

I think I'll stop here and finish the story tomorrow!

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