ALIVE AND WELL
Barbadian couple tells of recent ordeal at sea
The Barbadians who became lost at sea for three days after encountering difficulties as a result of stormy weather are thanking God they are alive today and are extending gratitude to those who came to their rescue.
It was around 8:30 a.m. last Saturday when captain Arthur Alleyne, 63, also known as Captain Sam, and his 59-year-old wife Sharon Went-Alleyne began sailing from St Lucia and were expected to arrive in Barbados around 2:30 a.m the next day to deliver a 47-foot vessel named the Serenity.
This was a mission Captain Arthur told Barbados TODAY this afternoon during a telephone interview from his St Lucia home, he had undertaken countless times as he delivered boats across the world annually.
However, this time around, they experienced bad weather 20 miles north west of Barbados, as they headed towards Port St Charles, St Peter.
It was at that point that the vessel developed engine trouble and ran adrift.
“We got demolished by this storm so we had to drift back down and steer the boat down between the channels of St Lucia and St Vincent whereby saving our lives, but nobody knew we were there,” Alleyne explained.
“The batteries in the boat went flat, the towers would not pick us up.
“When we broke down off Barbados. I tried my LIME phone and the reception is apparently 18 miles out, but we were 20 miles out. It was unreal because we saw no boats, no fish, no birds, nothing for three days. It was unbelievably dull and the sky was grey all the time,” he told Barbados TODAY.
Usually between St Lucia and St Vincent there is heavy yacht traffic and fishing boats, but Alleyne said “we saw nothing, not even a cruise ship”.
He said while he was accustomed to battling stormy conditions, the three day ordeal required that he remained focused, while calling on basic survival skills and depending primarily on drinking water until they arrived in Soufriere, St Lucia.
“We really have to thank God that we got back in because if we had gone three or four more days, we would have been too weak to do anything. And, they probably would have found us dead on the boat drifting somewhere, maybe towards Venezuela or something like that,” Alleyne suggested.
While describing the public support they got as “amazing”, he said this week’s ordeal was certainly one he would never want to experience again.
“My wife and I are overwhelmed by the amount of support, not only from Barbados, but from St Lucia and all over the world. We have to thank God and we have to thank our family, friends, extended friends and people who do not even know us from all over the world. We have to thank everyone who went out of their way to assist,” Captain Arthur said.
“There were people who took their own personal money putting fuel on their boats and planes and flying looking for us. We did not see one plane until the day we were going into Soufriere on Wednesday morning and that was Mr C.O. Williams’ plane.
“I want to thank him personally for that. But what happened is that we were on the west coast of the islands and the rescue teams followed the storm and that was going north. So everybody was concentrating on the east side of the island chain, while we were on they west side,” the captain recalled.
“It was horrendous,” his wife remarked in the background.
Alleyne, who has over 40 years’ experience, is the former captain of celebrity ship Brigg Unicorn, which was used in the filming of all three Pirates Of The Caribbean movies, as well as in the television series Roots.
He said the ordeal was just an example of what seamen faced everyday as they worked on the ocean.
“People don’t realize the dangers that we are in everyday out there. We look for support services from our telecommunication services and coast guard systems. We depend heavily on these people because you can’t get a roadside mechanic if you break down, you are literally on your own,” he said.
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