Sunday 13th January 2019.
It started as any other day and any other fishing trip and was turning out to be the best day out at sea that we had ever had launching at Noordhoek. None of us had even given a thought as to how things could go from being absolutely epic to absolutely catastrophic in just a few seconds. In the blink of an eye my boat unexpectedly capsized.
Since joining NSBC just 2 years ago I have been made aware on more than a few occasions that this isn’t just your normal fishing club. There’s a feeling that you get when you are there that you can’t quite put your finger on and for a while, I found myself wondering what it was. People are always so friendly and willing to get stuck in when someone needs anything, whether you get your vehicle horribly stuck in the sand trying to pull your boat out or arriving for a braai and all the braai areas and tables are full. People literally give up their own table and part of their braai area so that you too can enjoy the day and you don’t even know who they are. On Sunday morning after our disaster everything made sense. At Noordhoek it doesn’t make a difference who you are. You are family!
We got transferred to the NSRI boat and the guys were amazing. My main concern was my dad due to his age and physical exertion that he had to go through to get him out of the water. We were each assessed by the on-board doctor and was amazed at how thorough and professional he was with all of us and how much extra time he spent with my dad making sure he was ok and then making sure that we were all hydrated. The whole crew were calm, and you could just relax knowing you were safe and in good hands. Next, I had to brief their skipper about my boat and any dangers that they might face in trying to recover her. His knowledge and understanding were nothing short of amazing. Asking questions about things that I wouldn’t even have thought of. I always had respect for these guys but the way they handled everything and the outcome at the end, all I can say is just WOW!!! These guys spend countless hours of their time training and honing their skills so that one day they can come to the rescue of a guy like me and then only receiving a handshake and a thank you in return for all there countless hours of preparation.
I’m just left in awe.
On arrival at Noordhoek is where I finally understood what I couldn’t quite put my finger on for the last two years. I was feeling embarrassed and was expecting to be met with anger and disgust. Instead, in the duckpond I found a group of guys waiting to receive us with open arms.
We were met with “Welcome home brothers”, “Great to have you home safe”, “What do you need?” and “How can we help?” That unconditional care for one another makes you feel like you are family and you belong. We were escorted to a table to sit and wait for another vehicle to arrive for us. A table was gladly cleared and given up for us to sit. Drinks were bought for us and cellphones were handed to us to call our loved ones. Everyone just went out of their way to make sure that we were ok. It’s not every day one finds a place like that.
On behalf of my Dad Vernon, best friend Jacques and I would, we would like to thank a few people in particular, for their effort to bring us home safely. I apologise that I am incredibly bad with remembering names, but I hope you know who you are.
Firstly, to Chris, skipper of the boat “Destiny” and his crew, and the other boat who assisted in getting us out of the water? Unfortunately, I didn’t get the name of the other boat but I’m sure you know who you are.
Thank you for not giving up. Failure was defiantly not an option for these guys. Thank you.
Secondly, to the NSRI for your rapid response and professionalism and compassion you showed us. For getting us to dry land safely and recovering my vessel in the manner you did. You guys have my utmost gratitude and respect for what you do and how you go about doing it.
To everyone who assisted in the duckpond to receive us and help get the NSRI back out. For giving up tables during Sunday lunch, for lending cell phones and buying us drinks.
Thank you. You are the reason Noordhoek Ski Boat Club feels like home. Thank you to each one of you.
Lastly to Morven who was on the ground coordinating everyone for our arrival and to “Noordhoek control” Maggot (sorry I don’t know you by any other name) up in the tower who coordinated the rescue over the radio and guiding the NSRI boat in to the duckpond. A big thank you for all you guys did. The knowledge and experience that both of you have is a huge asset to the club. I’d firstly like to thank you both from myself, my dad and Jacques and secondly thank you on behalf of everyone that sets foot at the club for all you do in making the club a safe place to be. Thanks guys. If there is anyone, I have missed I apologise but consider yourself thanked as well.
We learnt 2 very important lessons on Sunday morning.
1. Noordhoek Ski Boat Club is our other home and we are not just members we are family.
2. Water is better outside the boat rather than inside. Who knew?
THANK YOU ALL!!