Sailor offers thanks to rescuers

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It is with gratitude and apologies that I pen these words.   

In the wee hours of July 16, I was in Chimney Cove (as we locals call it) on the northeast end of Kelly’s Island in Conception Bay.

As a small child, I remember going to Chimney Cove on my Grandfather’s boat to get Kelly’s black earth for my mother’s flowers.

I swam there, caught tom cods and conners there, burned my hand there and had boil-ups on the beach there.

At approximately 1400h on July 15, I left port in Long Pond and headed for Chimney Cove.

I had provisions on board to sustain me until Thursday, and I had my own mooring.

I was a happy camper, and as I sat on the deck of EB Tide that evening and watched the sun go down, I thanked God for all my blessings.

At 0300h, I was awakened by a northeast wind.

It was blowing south-west when I went to sleep. I determined that my mooring had dragged inward a little, but after 30 minutes on watch, I was certain it was secure.

That it would snap was not a scenario I considered.

I decided to wait until first light to head to port.

At 0333h, the stern hit the wind.

I knew immediately that the mooring had snapped, as the buoy was attached to the boat, weightless. Before I had time to start the engine, she hit the rocks.

When I looked back, she was taking on water, so I donned my lifejacket and jumped.

Fear was not a factor. I did, however, thank my creator that I would not drown that night.

The beach was my haven. I walked ashore.

As daylight approached, I could see the tide had gone out. The swells were large, but EB Tide was on the rocks and going nowhere.

I thought I should record the situation, so I boarded her and took my camera. I saw my purse floating, so I took it.

Back on shore, I thought of my cellphone, so I reboarded and got it.

By now I was shivering, so I took my bag of clothes as well.

Dry and warm on shore, I knew the only thing that could get me off the beach in those swells was a dinghy. EB Tide’s anchor light hadn’t gone out. There was power.

I boarded her for the last time and called a mayday. It was 0600h, July 16.

Thank you to the Canadian Coast Guard for dispatching the Beaumont Hamel to come get me.

Sincere apologies to the commuters on board who had to disboard to accommodate my rescue.

Thank you to CPS Avalon Squadron for teaching me how to call a mayday — my response was immediate.

Thank you to the two guys of the Hamel’s rescue craft that took me to the waiting Dalton Girls; and thank you to her crew for dropping me safe and sound at my home marina.

I apologize to the staff at CBC whom I spoke to by telephone. While I don’t agree that people’s misfortunes/misadventures is news, I had no right to shout and name-call anyone. Thank you Mr. Quinn for respecting my wishes.

Last but not least, thanks to my dock mates for always keeping an eye out for me.

Bonita I. Pomeroy

Conception Bay South

Organizations: Canadian Coast Guard, CBC

Geographic location: Chimney Cove, Long Pond

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  • Ron Tizzard
    July 23, 2013 - 09:13

    Thank you Bonita for sharing your story. That said, it is very important, whether on land or on the water that 'near miss stories' are published...publication of such instances can save, does save lives. These very grounded stories are wake-up calls. You know today Bonita that your story 'will save lives'...because people will pay closer attention to the little things, the routine things ...the ones that in too many instances result in tragedy. You stated that "...I don’t agree that people’s misfortunes/misadventures are news...". Bonita, people reading your story feel good today that you were rescued, that you are safe and sound...but likely more particularly that you gave them a heads-up to be always alert on the water, and by extension in places of isolation on land...where people often get lost...and unfortunately too many have died. It is important that these stories are reported, while names can be withheld. Through my many years I have gone trouting sometimes alone, where paths where 'vague' to follow. I had wake-up calls on a few occasions when I stayed on shorelines too late and had to practrically feel my way back to the car...I had my wake-up call...lesson learned i.e. getting back to the car practically inch by inch....but, that last trout was worth it. Your sharing will help people be safer in days to come while enjoying their un familiar out doors...on the waters or in thew woods.