Thursday, January 17, 2008

XII. Perilous Seas

Update: Fri 18-Jan 2133 hrs
The Persistence pulls away from the dock at 1300 hrs heading northwest into deep water. The seas and winds have greatly diminished through the early morning hours. The crew grabs a few hours rest taking full advantage of the calm waters at the dock.
1655 hrs - the seas build to 6-9ft with the occasional 12ft+. Winds 35kts sustained with stronger gusts.
2130hrs - the seas were building steadily all day. We're forced to dead-head lines running acquisition with the seas at our stern. To maintain heading along the line the captain holds a 37-40 degree crab angle due to swift currents and strong winds.

Thurs 17-Jan 2320 hrs
The Persistence left the dock today at 1224 hrs. The trade winds are howling at 30+kts. The 8ft+ seas are growing and brimming with white caps rolling in from the northeast. The occasional 12-14ft swell rocks the Persistence mercilessly along with its inhabitants. Inside, life goes on as usual and spirits are high. Exceptionally large swells throw around anything that isn't dogged down. The galley clock gets thrown off the wall and is now stuck reading 8:35. It seems we also have high-tech self-clearing shelves, tables, and counters. Traversing around inside the boat is a novelty in high seas. People turn into walking pendulums making Z-shaped paths leaning to and fro 30 degrees. The comedy is abruptly interupted with a sobering reminder of the ocean's peril over the radio.

2100 hrs - A call comes on the radio from the Aruban Port Authority requesting the Persistence assist a vessel in distress. A sailboat named Michelle with 6 reported on board is adrift. In such strong winds and high seas it's possible the sailboat could have broken its mast. All we know is that they need immediate help. The search team picks up the sonar and immediately heads in the reported direction of the distressed vessel. For miles we scan the dark horizon as Curacao, Aruba, and the Persistence carefully monitor the radio. Finally, we receive a position and plot a bearing and range -4.5 miles, heading 210 degrees. After a while, the Aruban port authority once again raises the Persistence on the radio, only this time with a very different position. It seems not only is the Michelle adrift, she is very lost. I can only imagine what kind of hell the people on board are going through. Powerless, drifting, scared, alone, and at the mercy of perilous seas the Michelle hopes and waits for rescue somewhere offshore Curacao. The Persistence is called off its search and turns towards the Port of Aruba at 2300 hrs. Although unspoken, we all feel a sense of disappointment knowing the Michelle is still out there in danger.


Anonymous said...

Kyle, everytime that you guys make another 'z' as you traverse your way across the Persistence deck amidst the tumbling ocean waves, rememeber "Z"'s are really "N"'s turned side-ways!

She is with you, dancing in your "z"/s upon the water!

God bless you all!
God willing.... you will find her and bring her home!

Hope for Natalee, Beth and Dave, Matt and all their loved ones in their familiy!


r&s_MA said...

Prayers for the vessel in distress. Prayers for all for safety.
God Bless!

raz,sharon &family

Anonymous said...

Any word on the sailboat?

Overwhelming_sadness said...

You guys have been out there for quite a long time now... I was really hoping for results by now. I can't help but begin to think she won't be found :(

Anonymous said...

Kyle and crew:

You are thought of and loved by many like me that check this site daily. Our prayers hopefully will guard each and everyone as you zig zag on your quest.

God Speed

Anonymous said...

Kyle, above all else please remain safe! Don't risk yourselves in rough water. If Natalee is in the ocean, she's been there a long time and a few more days won't hurt. I am sure all of us want you to pace yourselves and don't navigate when the water is too rough!

Anonymous said...


We also live on a boat 6 months out of the year and we have come to the point wear we love velcro. It keeps things secure in the high seas.

God Bless You and the crew!

Anonymous said...

Wow, you guys just take my breath away at times. Here you are dedicating your time to searching for Natalee and yet totally willing to help the Aruba Port Authority track down a sail boat. Let's hope it wasn't just a ruse to waste more time; unfortunately, it could happen with Aruba.

We pray that if there is a lost sailboat, it will receive assistance and the passengers will be safe.

Anonymous said...

They may just be trying to interfere with your work, Persistence. I do not trust any of them. You may be getting close.
Jack Blue

PS: I certainly wish the best to you and yours.

Anonymous said...

Reading every post; checking every day. You have many silent supporters of which I am one. Thank you, Persistence.

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