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June, 2011
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Rescue At Sea
By Kathy Kenley

Rescue At Sea - Shore Contact's Perspect
By Kathy Kenley

"WITHOUT A PADDLE: Racing Twelve Hundred Miles Around Florida By Sea Kayak" by Warren Richey

The story of Sharkchow's 2006 participation in the Ultimate Florida Challenge. Coming to a bookstore near you. June 8, 2010.

Publisher: St. Martin's Press
ISBN: 978-0-312-63076-8
320 pages, $24.99
Due in bookstores and on Amazon.com June 8, 2010.


UFC 2006 New Release

$25.95 with FREE Shipping!

Jenning has a second version of the EPIC Ultimate Florida Challenge. This is a two DVD set. The first DVD is the same as the first release. But the second DVD contains two very interesting interviews.

First, SharkChow has a long interview giving many details and insights into his impressive win of the first WaterTribe Ultimate Florida Challenge in 2006. His hint about using the tides on the St. Marys river is worth the price all by itself if you are thinking of doing the UFC yourself. Note: this is really a voice recording - no video.

Next there is a shorter video interview of ThereAndBackAgain (aka TABA). TABA isn't a complainer so he had never mentioned many of the real issues he faces in these challenges. This interview opened my eyes and prompted some minimal changes to make things just a bit more fair.

Special Note: The proceeds all go direct to Jenning. Making this DVD took untold amounts of money and time. This would make a nice preview for the UF2010 event.

Racing Around Florida - A 1,200 Mile Small Boat Odyssey

Rescue At Sea - Shore Contact's Perspect

Account of Shore Contact's experience
when DolphinGal sends 911.

By Deena

I woke Monday morning knowing DolphinGal had camped along the Sanibel bridge. I fired up the computer to check her progress. Since I live in North Fort Myers, I was thinking of where along Fort Myers Beach or further south I might drive to and wave to her and other WaterTribers from a pier or shore and perhaps take more pictures. As I enjoyed my coffee and plotted her progress, I realized she was staying offshore and waving from a pier or beach would not be doable.

At 9:07:41 my phone chirps and I check to find a strange text message. It says:
URGENT
From 2 of 2: Longitude -99999 GPS location
date/time: 03/07/2011 09:07:41 EST

I had never encountered anything like that. It didn't say findmespot or DolphinGal. While I was looking at the message a second one arrives. It said:
URGENT
From 1 of 2:
noreply@findmespot.com (message from DolphinGal SPOT Personal Tracker)
Dolphin Gal Latitude -99999

I was puzzled to say the least and wondered if her Spot had failed. The word URGENT troubled me but at that moment I did not understand it as a 911 header. I realized that a moment later when my phone rang and a nice young man in Dallas informed me that he was with SPOT and following up on a 911 message. He had tried calling DolphinGal, but it had gone straight to voicemail. He then called me as the second contact number listed with SPOT for her. He asked a few questions since he had no idea where she was. He told me that if he had received coordinates his mandatory action would require contacting Coast Guard.

The weather was good, but I was puzzled so I took his number and told him I would call back with her last coordinates from about ten minutes prior to the 911 message. A few minutes later while I was on the computer, he called to say he had now received a lat/lon and was calling the Coast Guard. I made sure he would give them my phone number.

Moments later Petty Officer Webb rang me up and started asking questions. She was nice, yet all business. I gave her DolphinGal's description, the type and description of the vessel and other facts such as she was solo. In response to question I was asked, and with Chief's words ringing in my memory, I told officer Webb that DolphinGal was traveling down the coast on a distance trip, but avoided going into any details. While we were talking she had the Fort Myers Beach CG on another line and they were scrambling. I was calm but concerned. Officer Webb terminated the call and confirmed that I could call back in a while for further information.

I know the boats the CG station has and I know the area, having sailed off Ft. Myers Beach for over 30 years. I knew it would not take more than 30 minutes to reach her and possibly as quick as 15. Nothing to do but wait. Meanwhile the Spot tracker was sending out GPS coordinates as text messages to my phone every ten minutes.

I call the CG after about 30 minutes. Petty Officer Minutella has taken over. I guess Webb went off shift. She tells me she is in contact with the rescue boat and they have “hands on” DolphinGal and she is well. I find it hard to describe how wonderful that sounded. Yay!!! doesn't quite cover it. We end the call and Officer Minutella tells me the CG vessel is heading to shore.

A bit later from the CG station I learned that DolphinGal was on her way to a hospital for a check-up and possible hypothermia. Petty Officer Minutella allayed any concern and says it doesn't mean anything is wrong but that it’s standard procedure when the CG pulls someone out of the water and they’ve been in it more than x-amount of time and/or the water temp is less than some number.

Next I remembered (somehow) that part of being a shore contact person was to inform race management of pertinent happenings. I made the call to Pelican and relayed all that I could.

DolphinGal can tell the rest of the story. I just want to emphasize one thing - I now understand what URGENT means at the top of a SPOT text message. It only happens when the 911 button has been pushed. SPOT continued to broadcast lat/long at ten minute intervals until it was shut off.

I hope this recounting of the events from the shore contact end might help someone in the future.

Note from DolphinGal: I had my SPOT page set up to send Help and OK messages directly to Deena’s phone.

Copyright ©2011 Deena

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