October 31, 2020

Letter to the Editor – Thank you Captain Kirk McCarthy of Charter Boat “Howdy”


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18th February 2012

Dear iNews

Thank you Captain Kirk McCarthy of Charter Boat “Howdy”

On another lovely day in Paradise, my recent kayak reef snorkeling trip, with friend Chuck, off Boggy Sand Beach in West Bay, became a rescue operation.

With our life jackets on, floating “divers down” flag, tie up ropes and snorkelling equipment in place; all seemed well as we left the beach. However, as we approached one of the first offshore buoys the north wind and waves picked up and it became apparent that something was wrong with my kayak. It became unstable and I was having difficulty maintaining a correct paddling position. The stern of my kayak was low in the water.

We were invited to come on board a dive boat by the captain for a rest and a tow into shore after their dive was completed but we opted to paddle over to another buoy. It took us much longer than anticipated to reach the second buoy at which time the dive boat departed.

As we tied to the second buoy my kayak became increasingly unstable, causing me to slip off, then it capsized. I lost my mask and snorkel and said goodbye to my “divers Down” floating flag which became untied and was well on its way to Honduras!

Fortunately, I did not lose my paddle nor my fins. I put my fins on to give me extra kick to upright my kayak and to get back on board, at which point our snorkelling for the day had to be aborted.

We linked our kayaks together with our ropes and Chuck led the way for our trip back to shore, as his kayak was in good condition and he was able to maintain a proper kayaking position.

The wind, waves, current and a very unstable kayak, made it almost impossible for us to make any headway and I was becoming exhausted. Moreover, we were gradually drifting towards Northwest Point despite our best efforts at paddling. We then began sending distress signals to a passing dive boat that did not stop. However, as we found out later, did advise Port Authority of our predicament.

As we continued our struggle with difficult conditions, lo and behold, “Howdy” appeared behind us, and what a welcomed sight that was!! Captain Kirk McCarthy, having heard the dive boat’s report to Port Authority, came to our rescue.

Hauling our kayaks on board “Howdy”, it was obvious that my kayak was taking on water, which made it extremely heavy, thus accounting for its instability.

We thank God, Captain Kirk and the dive boat for our safe return to terra firma.

Paul Comissiong, Bay City, Michigan and South Sound, Grand Cayman.

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