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Monday, March 02, 2009 

Big Al gets stuck on a boat

So one tale that I forgot to mention was my 5 hour situation off the coast of Palawan, Philippines. Jo and Big Al were scheduled to really go on a 3 hour scuba diving tour.

(The Philippine's version of the Titanic.)

Given that I have a few dives under my belt, the schedule was to go out to a deep portion of the bay where another diver (the Russian) and I would dive for about 40 minutes. We would then come back closer to the shore for a shallow dive where Jo could join us. We made it out to the dive spot which was about 4-5 miles from shore. The waves were pretty choppy given that it was monsoon season. Jo didn't feel too well, so I decided to stay with her while the Russian and the dive master would dive. During this time on the boat, I also got pretty sick and decided to "feed the fish" a few times with that morning's breakfast. After their allotted, they boarded the boat and we proceeded to head to the shallow area.

(This is the primitive method of starting the engine.)

On our way there, the boat suddenly stopped. In their primitive attempts to start the boat (when I say primitive it was striking a rusty screwdriver against the ignition) the engine failed to turn and we basically were stranded at sea. We were approximately halfway through out 3 hour tour and both Jo and I have fed the fish many times. Luckily we were within cell phone distance, so they called their friends. Unfortunately, this was New Years Day and their friends were either still sleeping or hungover. What should have been a 30 minute wait for the rescue boat took an additional 3.5 hours. Normally this wouldn't have been too bad, but remember this was monsoon season so the water got worse and we went through 2 different storms. We were drenched, sick and scared. I even made the attempt to grab the life jackets from the hidden compartment within the boat.

(This is our rescue boat after 3.5 hours. Too many San Mig beers the night before.)

We luckily survived the whole ordeal. We were dropped off at the hotel, checked out and didn't pay for the scuba trip. I bring this story up because of the latest incident where 4 boaters (including 2 NFL players) went missing off the coast of Clearwater, Florida. Luckily one person was found hanging on to the capsized boat. My prayers are with those that are still missing and with their families.