Happy new year! I've spent the past few months on the sidelines sending prayers to those in need, just not announced over the forum. My mother experienced some TIA's and then recently a couple of strokes but she is doing fine. But back to the story . . the 2nd half of our waterfowl season opened this past Saturday and this is the first year in about 35 that I haven't been able to join in, but that's ok. I took a few minutes to drive down to the outlet of Irondequoit Bay just to check things out. My plan of attack for Sunday was the same. I left the house at about 8:30 and learned later that my wife had tried to stop me as I backed out of the drive way due to loosing power at our house. As I neared the outlet I knew there was trouble due to a number of emergency vehicles in the parking areas with their lights flashing. I left the dog in her crate in the van and headed out on the west jetty. There were probably 8-10 Sea Breeze volunteer firemen at the scene. I asked the first one that I encountered if she could share any info as I had friends hunting in the area and she directed me to a lone individual weathering the wind. I took him to be in his mid-twenties and he said that he was 1 of 4 hunters hunting out of two boats that were set up on the west side of the west jetty. That would be the place where you'd be exposed to the winds that were bending the goal posts in Rich Stadium during the Bills - Patriots game. He explained that he and his partner were set up furthest out on the pier and when the wind came through, their boat, about a 14' aluminum got tossed partially up on the rip-rap of the pier. He continued in soft voice and said that they hadn't seen the second boat. My heart sank. I said a quick prayer and told him not to loose faith as not too much time had passed. But looking out into the lake my thoughts were of finding his friends the next day washed up on the eastern shore of the the Great Lake, Ontario the next day 90 miles away.
I was dressed properly and headed out the pier. The blowing beach sand was stinging any exposed skin on your body and thank goodness that there was a cable hand-rail along the walkway. His partner came off carrying their two cased guns, but no word of encouragement. As I continued, a volunteer coming my way said. "It's ok. We've got them both." I've never experienced such a feeling of relief, and I don't think I've ever been so close to a disasterous situation. The first hunters that came off of the pier had actually walked past the capsized second boat that was right next to the jetty getting hammered by the wind and waves with their friends clinging on. The hunters that were ok were using the cable hand rail that was away from side of the pier where their friends were, therefore obscuring any view of them. Two lady volunteers escorted one of the hunters off, one on each arm. He looked like the walking dead. Expressionless and hypothermic. The temperature had dropped about twenty degrees and was around freezing. With a 50 mph wind he wouldn't have lasted much longer.
I heard someone call my name and I look up and recognize the captain as someone that I work with. He said that they hadn't had a drowning all year and the last week of
December was no time to change it.
The Coast Guard Came down with their Boston Whaler and hauled one boat around the end of the jetty to calmer waters. What gear could be retrieved, was. I believe the motor was salvaged from the capsized boat because when I went down the following day to scope it out, the boat was recognizable only as scrap aluminum. Everything about that boat was flattened and shredded.
MAybe a little long, but true none the less. The weatherman isn't always right, but they said that this was coming. Had they only listened. Be safe!