Theodore Rezvoy: facts regarding my interrupted row and loss of my boat
Translated from Russian by Tatiana Rezva-Crutchlow
First of all I would
like to thank all those, who sent me letters of support - I greatly
appreciate your understanding, how difficult it was for me to realise that
I had lost my boat and the dream I had been living with for the last
was taking a rest in my cabin, when the "Sea Me"
gave me a signal that there was a ship in the area. It prompted me to take
this chance and to ask them ( Can I be excused to refer to the members of
the crew as "they") if they can render me assistance.
I knew, that as far
as sea was high, if they take me onboard to see a doctor (and I didn't
know how long it would take) the boat could be smashed against the ship.
And I would not dare to ask anybody to lift and then to put the boat back
on water in such a sea. So I asked them, if they could lift my boat and
take us ashore. I underlined, that there was no emergency and, what was
the most important thing - that I could not be separated from my boat.
Then one of the sailors with aqua-lung from Zodiak dived under my boat and checked the bottom.
My boat was tied to "Zodiac" ( by our mutual efforts) and it was towed to the ship. We put the ropes around the boat, hooked them on and then left my boat for Zodiac. I was warned that the boat could get some damages during the lift, though I presumed it was going about some minor damage.
When being next to the ship, the boat was beating against her side so that some bolts from the oar locks flew away. But I had extra, and though it made me shiver, I knew I would manage to repair it. The main prove I did suddenly get, was evidence of the quality of the hull - nothing happened to it. Even a part of plywood moved slightly away ( an hour work to repair), but with such a hull I could rely on this boat on the highest sea.
Meanwhile I was taken aboard and there the next check took place. I was asked first to face the wall and was checked from head to toe. Then I turned around and they checked me that way. But it was not more humiliating than a thorough check at the nowdays international airports around the world.
From my boat I managed to take my Pelican case with Iridium ( the time of my scheduled contact with ORS was approaching and I thought of giving them a call in order they were not worried.) and photo camera ( I was documenting all the events of my row, so after the successful lift of my boat I was dreaming to take some pictures with those who helped me). My belongings were checked and taken away, I got them when we arrived at Salem. Of course I was not let to use any of these equipments, which was quite natural, when to change the point of view. I was on a US Navy ship, after all! Neither I was allowed to make a call home or to ORS on my Iridium phone.
Then I got medical assistance, medications and health check. I was told "Sorry, we could neither lift your boat nor tow her, we let it adrift." That was an unexpected scenario, and I had to face it postfactum. When I said, that I had all my things onboard, I was answered, that it was too late - the boat had gone.
I was not given chance to take anything from it. But knowing, that my Argos was on board of the boat and transmitting positions, I said nothing else and knew, that the next day I would launch the search for my boat.
I was offered shower, hot meals, and navy outfit ( I had left my boat just in a survival suite and rowing shoes). And I was settled for sleep - with blankets and all normal stuff. Though it was in a corridor, it was still better than my "bed" in my boat.
Later on I was told that I can make a short call home, but the telephone was busy ( mother was dialling my sat without break, because it was second scheduled contact that I failed to make) but I reached a friend in New Jersey asking him to make a call to mom and to say, that I am ok. Then I didn't know that besides absence of contact ORS suddenly stopped to get Argos positions, that put mom in almost a panic. For them it looked as if the boat had sunk.
The next morning USS Doyle arrived to Salem, where I was "handed" to a police officer, who checked if I was legally in the States and took me in his car to the Police Station - to give me a shelter and possibility to make a call home, and to get calls - my sister-in-law Olga had to come from Connecticut to pick me up.
Before going ashore I was given back my belongings, which I had with me,when I had boarded the ship, and oars from the boat; I asked the sailor for flares and knife, and he brought them...together with Argos beacon.
That was the most hard moment from the whole event - to realise, that that was the end of hopes to find my boat. That was really her death sentence - there was no Argos aboard my boat any more.
I found answers for many questions I had had, and came to terms with my
loss, but that puzzle as for what reason could it be to take the tracking
beacon off, still has no answer.