News stories

December 12, 2006

I hate links that link to News stories becuase the stories always disappear after a while and you get dead links. I wish the guys at Seapaddler.co.uk would figure this out, how frustrating to see some amazing sounding / looking stories only to find the link dead. Instead you guys should do it like this: post the whole story.
Kayak tour group rescued off west Maui

By Gary Kubota published by starbulletin.com (no point in making the link)

MAALAEA, Maui » George and Sandra Wysock had paddled on lakes before, but they were not prepared for the strong winds and high seas that scared them and more than two dozen of their tour companions into abandoning their kayaks off West Maui yesterday.

Most of the 29 visitors who started an early morning kayak tour off Olowalu abandoned their vessels and swam for shore, with winds blowing at 28 to about 35 mph. The Coast Guard said none of them required hospitalization, but at least seven visitors on the Action Adventure Tours were rescued and taken aboard vessels. All of the visitors who swam to shore appeared to be wearing their life vests, and at one point were spread out over 1.3 miles along the shoreline.

“It was so hard to get back,” said Wisconsin resident George Wysock, who guessed he and his wife spent nearly four hours at sea, in and out of their kayaks, before being rescued by the Coast Guard.

Jeff Welch, one of three tour guides in the group, was in training and yesterday was his first day on the job. The winds, he said, carried him the farthest from shore.

“It seemed I was halfway to Kahoolawe,” said Welch, who was rescued by a Pacific Whale Foundation vessel. “I thought that was it for me. First I lost my life jacket, and then my kayak sunk on me.”

Welch, a surfer, said he tried swimming, but nothing seemed to work for him. “Every time I tried to swim, there was a mouth full of water,” he said. “I just prayed.”

The tour got off to a good start, Welch said, in waters off Olowalu between 7 and 8 a.m., but then the winds came rushing through the West Maui Mountains.

“It just blew everything out,” he said.

Coast Guard Chief Boatswain Mate Rob Bushey said his office receive a call about 11:55 a.m. from a fishing vessel that had picked up two kayakers in distress about a mile off Olowalu.

Bushey said the Coast Guard arrived in the area at about 12:19 p.m. and located several kayakers. County fire and rescue workers used jet skis and surfboards to assist swimmers to the beach or aboard the Coast Guard vessel.

Bushey said ideally people should stay with their vessel because it is a larger object, which makes it easier to spot.

Luckily, he said, everyone was wearing life vests.

So what did they do wrong? Well for one 3 guides and 27 group members – mostly beginners! They then got out of the boats…

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