I guess what I would like to do is inform people about what happened and how I think I survived. So others can make their own plan and maybe have an idea of what they are facing in reality. Because to be honest I STILL can't believe what I saw and experienced that night and the fact that I am sitting here with a wife and two beautiful boys.
One of the most important things was I absolutely knew that we were not getting out there that night. So I made the decision to say "well your a dead man so let's see if we can give myself a fighting chance just for the hell of it." I thought about what I was going to face WHEN the boat WAS going to capsize
3. Being beaten to a pulp by the waves (so injury)
3. Time (giving myself enough of it for someone to come get us)
I had a meter in my head
that started at % 80 chance of survival before we went over. - Have to have hope even if it's blind.
We flipped the boat it immediately filled with water
and debris, it was waist high in seconds.
Slugged through the water
to get to the salon
which was now in the opposite direction. (Massive disorientation)
Steve ordered me to grab the ditch bag and go out the escape hatch
. I did.
I clipped on the dry/ditch bag to my life jacket at the waist. It had already inflated by now. Opened the hatch
saw the D ring to my left recognized what it was for and climbed out.
As soon as I climbed out I was in the fury of the waves, with me being clipped onto the boat I was dragged back and forth under water was the waves broke and receded on the overturned hull
for at least a minute maybe more. This time was brutal. I was underwater being thrown back and forth like being caught in the surf but being held to a point and then being attached at the waist. I felt that I was going to break in half the wrong way at the waist. As soon as I got a second to unclip I did on rode
the next surge to the tramp where I grabbed on with my fingers for dear life. Hoping that I was not washed passed that point. Because if I did miss that point I was done for. Float away by myself. If I was a foot away from the boat I might was well been a mile. I gathered my life line got to the carabiner and almost fainted when I saw that it was bent WIDE open from the force I just experienced from the surge.
And yes my life line was the three clip version from a marine
store, same as the life jacket. No I don't remember which kind. But to say that was lost
a lot of hope when I saw that would be a massive understatement.
Survival meter now at less then %50
I pulled out the EPIRB
and was Immediately dismayed about the tiny little line that was wrapped around it. I did my best to secure it to the boat/tramp. And then myself to the tramp lying face down in the water with waves breaking over me. I tied my life line as the clip was useless.
Steve and Ole came out a few minutes later, rode
the surge to where I was and we all just went quiet. Remember there are still 50kt winds and 35-45 seas so we went quiet the situation was deafening.
After what I think was 20-30 minutes I realized that was enough time for my panic session and that I was losing massive body heat by laying down holding on to the tramp. So I looked around for an alternative and saw the dolphin strike. Crawled over to it stood up and held onto it for the next 11 1/2 hours.
Steve in the confusion of the capsize never found his outer shell OR his life line to his life jacket. Lesson here keep them together at all times. (I know this seems a given but it wasn't here).
I saw this and knew if I didn't do something about it here would surely be lost overboard
before anything else. So I tied the end of my line to the tramp then clipped him in to the middle clip to his and the other end to mine. So I was in an awkward bent over position holding on to him for the next 6 hours until he finally slipped out of his life jacket.
Reason for living I believe #1 - we had 2 EBIRP's. The main boat one and Ole had a new (at that time) personal EBIRB.
The one I had tied on broke free within 5 minutes and drifted away. Survival meter less the %30 now.
Ole's was held onto his life jacket by a cable. A cable. As an EPIRB
should be. His EPIRB also had a feature that I will be FOREVER GRATEFUL for. It had a red "transmitting light" and a green "receiving light".
For those who don't know, I didn't then. Red means signal is going up and out. Green means "we got your signal the Calvary is coming!"
I almost in tears just writing this. I cannot express how important that little green light was. I remember after about an 1 1/2 wondering what was going to happen/ how long can I hold on and take this beating then I heard Ole screaming LOOK! LOOK!
And there was that little green light.
Then it was time to fight.
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