Early on a Saturday morning, last June, Andy sat down and watched a little TV while waiting for two German friends to pick him up to go on a sport fishing trip. Andy and two German friends (one of them can’t swim) left at dawn for what should have been a fantastic fishing session. The plan was to return early, they all wanted to be back by 4pm to watch Germany play Sweden in the World Cup.
Shortly after 7am, while they tried to make the zigzag to skirt the waves, a necessary maneuver to leave the bay and to enter the open ocean, a very strong wave turned the boat upside down. Andy and one of his friends surfaced and saw that the boat was upside down and being dragged to the high-sea.
His second German friend was nowhere to be seen. Remembering that he could not swim, they started to cry out his name. After a while they discovered him unharmed and very scared, underneath the boat, holding on to an iron and breathing the air that was trapped under the boat.
It was hard to rescue him from under the boat and equally hard to place him in security on the keel of the turned boat, from where it was easy to slide. The panic was constant. Andy could only salvage some objects floating nearby, many of them were saved in the air balloon formed underneath the boat. Rods, cell phones, digital cameras, etc, were gone or damaged.
Despite a semi-rigid, the boat was still large and heavy, with capacity for twelve people. Just one engine weights two hundred kilos, therefore it was not possible to try to turn it. Two hours later the three friends were still on the turned keel, arguing what measures to take.
The fact that two boats had passed without reaction to the requests for help only contributed to increase their despair. One of the boats come closer and gave some turns around them, from a position where they could clearly see the distressing situation, but when Andy with gestures indicated that he intended to throw a rope to be towed, the boat pulled out and disappeared for good.
It was after 10am when Andy concluded that the tide was moving the boat away from visible land and that it was necessary to act. He dived, removed the best fins and one life-vest from one of the bilges of the boat and started to swim to the beach. His two friends didn’t want him to go because the coast line looked to be very distant and the water was really cold, not to mention the sharks infesting the area.
Andy, 28 years old and a fit man, described what it was to swim until no longer feeling his legs and also the unreal sensation to see the beach coming closer and closer. The beach where he arrived was rocky. He immediately abandoned the fins and the vest, starting to run on the beach in the direction where he knew a lighthouse would be found. Along the way he met two fishermen children, whom he insistently asked not to lose sight of the point in the sea where the turned boat could be found.
He ran for about two hours until he found a fisherman from whom he borrowed a canoe he used to cross the channel. After another couple of hours, he arrived at an isolated house on the other side of the channel, where fortunately he found some friends who helped him to return to the boat in distress.
When he reached his two German friends it was already around 4pm. With the aid of ropes and the tow force of another boat, the semi-rigid was returned to the right position. This operation was followed by an helicopter that meanwhile arrived and only left the site when the boat was turned back and everybody was in security. It is possible that the helicopter was alerted by one of the boats they had sighted in the morning.
Nonetheless, Andy’s swim to find help was needed because they had no guarantee of aid and if the night arrived the boat could disappear on the horizon and be dragged far away. The boat with the three adventurers was towed and arrived at night in the same club they had left early in the morning. They suffered small injuries and explained to us that the experience was very similar to a car accident. All these events happened near Inhaca, an island located in front of Maputo, in Mozambique. That same day Germany won against Sweden by 2 goals in the 2006 World Cup. All in all, it was a lucky day for Germany!