No going back to sea
A diet of flying fish, parched by the sun’s sweltering heat and an occasional collection of rain water kept 28-year-old Dail O’Neale Moore alive for 13 days while adrift on the high seas.
The Harpers Land, Clapham, St Michael handyman also bent his knees in prayer daily, asking God to spare his life from the ordeal.
“I never gave up hope, for I used to pray to the Father and ask him to send someone for us,” Moore told the SUNDAY SUN yesterday as he recounted how a fishing trip turned into a nightmare after leaving Barbados three Thursdays ago.
Moore returned home from Antigua on Friday night after he and his fishing mate and captain of the boat, Victor Bowen, were rescued by a cargo freighter.
Sadly, Bowen, an experienced sailor, succumbed to exhaustion and exposure just hours after the two men were spotted about 40 miles off the Barbuda coastline.
Moore said about four hours after fishing about 15 miles out to sea, the boat developed engine problems.
“It was about eight o’clock in the night and the boat started to drift cause the tide was very hard. The boat also kept rolling and rolling away from Barbados,” he said.
“Late that same night while drifting we saw a plane and we lighted up the three flares we had onboard, but we did not get any response,” Moore said.
The two soon lost sight of land and by next morning, Moore and Bowen were hoping that some passing vessel or an aircraft would soon spot them. The next 12 days proved to be challenging for both men as they fought for survival.
According to Moore, by the fifth day they had run out of a few tins of tuna and biscuits they had onboard.
“All that was left was a little bottle of water. Bowen told me that we should add sea water to the water to stretch it but I decided that I wasn’t going to drink any of that.
“He [Bowen] even told me that we could catch some sea water and after a few days it would break down,” Moore added.
Over the next few days, the two men were just aimlessly adrift with nothing in sight. Moore said around the ninth day, Bowen began to get weak and his body was trembling.
“His [Bowen’s] body began to break down and got weaker and weaker,” he recalled, while adding that Bowen started to cough repeatedly and was showing signs of collapsing.
A few flying fish that the two men had placed in the sun also began to become too salty for their stomachs.
It was around this point that Moore said he began to pray earnestly and hoped that his prayers would be answered.
“I just kept praying, morning, noon and night, because there was nothing else to do,” he said.
Moore described the sighting of a freighter nearby as a miracle on the 13th day.
“I began to wave my life jacket and shouted to them that we wanted help.”
It was following the rescue, while the freighter was on its way to Antigua, that Moore received the dreaded news that Bowen had passed away.
Queried about why he never told his family that he was going fishing, an expedition that almost cost his life, Moore said he would never return to the sea again.