Sunday, April 6, 2014

One Of Our Own ...

Charlotte and her family

A few days ago while catching up on Facebook's "Women Who Sail" group, I learned that one of our own members was waiting to be rescued at sea.  As I read the post, my heart sank and I hurriedly read the remainder of the post ... hoping that nobody was hurt.

It was our member, Charlotte, from "Rebel Heart".  Charlotte isn't only a member of the same sailing group as me, she's also someone I feel I know.  While I haven't met Charlotte and her family, we've read each other's blogs, and we've given each other support and well wishes.  I've read her thoughts on childbirth, family, sailing, and the preparation for their latest cruising adventure.  I've seen pictures of her husband and two daughters, and have followed them on their journey.  I remember reading her post just a couple of weeks ago about getting ready to leave Mexico and sail the Pacific.  Now, just two weeks into their cruising adventure, they were in distress.

Luckily nobody was seriously injured but their youngest daughter, one-year old Lyra, was very ill and needed immediate medical attention.  Add to that the loss of a functioning motor and steering 900 miles from the Mexican coast, and you've got a crisis.

While hoping for the best, the story continued to grow and I even began receiving updates on the television.  Imagine my surprise while watching the "Today Show" and seeing my fellow sailor friend's story.  The Navy was in "rescue mode" and a ship was headed their way.  This morning, I turned on the television with thoughts of Charlotte, and they were the headline story on the "Today Show".  I was relieved to hear that little Lyra was stabilized, pararescue jumpers were with her on the boat, and Charlotte and her family were waiting for the Navy ship to arrive and take them back to San Diego by tomorrow.

With this terrible situation that "one of our own" has experienced while cruising, I can imagine my family seeing the story on tv and telling me how dangerous this "cruising stuff" is.  So, do I now have second thoughts about cruising?  The simple answer is "no", for several reasons.  For one, Ken and I don't have a bluewater sailboat and have never planned on crossing oceans.  The type of cruising that we plan to do is called "coastal" cruising.  We figure if anything does go wrong, we won't be too far from help.  Also, danger is everywhere ... even in the local mall or movie theater.  There's a risk in everything, even when in "the safety" of your own home.  Do you know how many people die from falling in their home?!  I don't know the number, but it's a lot more than you'd think.

Anyway, the good news is that even when sailing 900 miles from the coast, Charlotte and her family were able to receive help.  It was quite impressive to see the footage on television of the pararescue jumpers leaping from the helicopter ... deploying their parachutes.  The latest story that I read said that the rescue has be accomplished and all are onboard the Navy ship heading for San Diego.  While the story is not a pleasant one, it does end with a rescue.  According to the "Women Who Sail" group, the sailboat will be tagged and left behind.  However, it's not leaking.  I don't know what the plans are for the boat, but it seems that Charlotte and her family are well, which is the most important thing.

I don't know what the future holds for Charlotte and her family, but I hope they continue to live their dreams ... whatever that is for them.  For those that criticize their lifestyle due to the recent events ... shame on them.  We each have our own life to live, and Charlotte and her family have chosen to live their lives as they wanted to ... not as others would have them do.  I think kids of cruising parents are some of the luckiest kids, because they are shown a whole different perspective of life and taught to have a sense of adventure.  Charlotte and her husband had the courage to follow their dreams, and they were smart enough to ask for help when they needed it.

Hasta luego ... until then.  Mid-Life Cruising!


Emily said...

I love this post and your attitude. I agree completely! I am so glad your virtual friends are safe -- and I'm equally encouraged that you aren't going to let fear chase you from your dreams! You're right, danger lurks everywhere these days. So you just gotta keep keepin' on!

Rodger said...

I very much like what you said about cruising with kids--it is a very positive thing for most. I was distressed to read on the Rebel Heart blog the horrible and very much ignorant criticism of the couple as parents--just pure anger and hatred coming from other people with no idea of boats, sailing, or living anything outside a 9-5 life. Everyone is so quick to judge what's right for other people without any informed basis to do so! I'm sad they lost their boat, their home, but in my view they took no unusual risks and to my knowledge made no big mistakes.

Laura and Hans said...

Cheryl, the farthest Hans and I ever really intend to go is back to the Bahamas. We, too, are most likely only going to cruise the coast because that's all we're comfortable with. I totally agree with you (I just published my thoughts about this on our blog); they were well prepared and when they found themselves in trouble were able to get help. I'm amazed at the hateful comments too. I would love to know how many cruisers make this trip, I know it's a lot and honestly the fact that this made such big news shows that the need for this type of rescue is pretty rare.

Bywalabear said...

I am curious about how you feel about the large expense require to rescue them. I'm not against cruising by any means, nor against taking children to sea, but I can understand the criticism that taxpayers are essentially providing a free insurance policy to them. Do you think they should be financially liable for their rescue?

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