Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Lights of Land and Life

Sometimes I read things that really get my mind turning. Good stories about things that turned out well. But I wind up with so many questions.

Today I invite you to read a news item I read yesterday.

It is titled: Three Boaters Rescued after Three Days Lost at Sea. It is a CNN news item.

(CNN) -- Three boaters in South Florida have made it back to worried friends and family on dry land, three days after they went missing when their 32-foot boat broke down during what was supposed to be a one-day fishing trip 20 miles off of West Palm Beach.
The trio -- identified as John Land, 48, David Blakeney, 39, and Kevin Wood, 45, all from the local area -- and their disabled boat, named the Shade Maker, were spotted Saturday night by a U.S. Navy frigate 85 miles east of Jacksonville, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.
None of the men was injured, and their craft was towed to shore in a joint effort between the Navy frigate and the Coast Guard, arriving in Mayport, Florida, overnight Saturday.
Skipper Land told CNN affiliate
WJXX that the boat blew an oil pan gasket and the radio failed when he tried to call for help.
The men's situation grew tense when the boat was caught in a Gulf Stream current and drifted further north.
The men were reported missing early Friday by a relative who grew worried when the boaters did not return Thursday at sunset as originally planned, the Coast Guard said.
"We could hear on the radio, we could hear everybody looking for us, but could not get back," Land said.
Land said they ate their catch to maintain strength during the three days at sea.
"Last night we had raw dolphin and a little spicy mustard," he said.
He was grateful to be back on shore Sunday, expressing appreciation to see signs of life again.
"It is good," he said. "I'm looking at buildings and trees and stuff. It is a beautiful thing because out there we couldn't see the glare of the city lights anymore."


I have been fishing off West Palm Beach, only last month. We were not 20 miles out to sea by any stretch of the imagination, but we were in the same general area.

I found the last sentence of the news item to be the most interesting.
They could not see the lights of land and were afraid for they were lost at sea.


I have always thought that it would be so beautiful to look into the starry night sky far away from the lights of cities and to ponder our God who created each of those stars.

But then, I did not imagine myself adrift in a small boat--helpless, out of food, caught in the Gulf Stream and headed for the wide open Atlantic Ocean and storms of unimaginable proportions.

It is a fully different perspective from what I imagine for myself--but at least their boat continued to float.

And so I question myself--do I find comfort in the things created by humans--the buildings and the lights--signs of civilization? Despite what I want to believe, could I live without those things? How would I have felt given the same circumstances--adrift in the open ocean with few prospects for rescue?

The three men had a lot of time to think and ponder.

I wonder if they prayed.

I wonder of they talked about death and dying.

I wonder what they talked about and how they probably tried to repair the engine of the boat and the radio on which they could hear the searchers, but could not respond.

A fun day of fishing became a three-day ordeal. A "three-hour tour" so to speak.

And yet, they were rescued! I cannot imagine the joy they must have felt as they realized that the ship they saw on the horizon had seen them and was heading for them with the intent of rescuing them. I'm sure it was unimaginable joy and relief.

I'm glad this story had a happy ending.
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