A RESCUE AT SEA

Text and Photographs By

"Captain" Bob Paty

The ME TOO As She Looked in 1981


As the sun in the east broke the surface of the Atlantic Ocean, it glowed like a giant fireball. It was a comfortable spring morning as the twenty eight foot hull sIipped through the gentle swells. We were on a north east heading out of Port Canaveral, Florida. All indications were that this was going to be a pleasant day for fishing.

The way point on the Loran was a coordinate of a wreck I had located on a previous trip. After several tries I had locked the old second hand autopilot on a compass heading. With the boat's engine turning at twenty eight hundred revs. I simply leaned back in the skipper's chair and watched as the green water sprayed from beneath the boat's hull.

The water under the ME TOO started to change from a cloudy green to a bright green hue, a glance at the depth recorder indicated water depth at sixty five feet. We had cleared the Southeast Shoal and would soon be in ink blue water. A glance over the stern of the vessel indicated the shoreline was fast disappearing.

Frank Hallum, my brother in law and I had talked for several weeks about fishing the wreck of a sunken ship north of Cape Canaveral, Florida. I was commercial fishing for king mackerel at that time and was considering starting a charter service for weekend fishing parties. This weekend trip was to be a "shake down" trip, toward that goal of chartering on the weekends.

Frank lazily scanned the horizon for any sign of birds, flying fish or anything of interest, and I guess we both spotted it about the same time. Something large on the surface of the water on our starboard side was reflecting the sunlight.

The object was not moving, and with the sunlight reflecting from the shiny surface it was impossible to determine its size. I pulled back on the throttle and reduced the boats speed, Frank used the binoculars to get a better look. There was no definite shape, whatever it was remained partially submerged. It looked suspiciously like the wing of an airplane, but with the great distance separating our boat and the object it was impossible to telI, besides we were looking directly into the sun. We checked the ship to shore radio as well as shore based FM broadcast stations, there was nothing of any aircraft down in the area. I powered back up and changed our heading, I felt obligated to identify the shiny object on the horizon!


Twenty minutes passed, the object was farther away than I first thought. It was definitely not moving, but it still remained a long way off. Another twenty minutes went by before we got close enough for a positive identification. Slowing the boat down we could now, with the aid of the binoculars tell that it was a small boat that was overturned.

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