Wisconsin man abandons water-filled boat in Chatham – CBS Boston
CHATHAM (CBS) – John Bialk, 54, of Wisconsin, thought he understood freedom. He bought a 35-inch sailboat in New Hampshire, outfitted it, and planned to sail to the Caribbean for a life of leisure.
But not all plans work.
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“I was about six days away from the trip when this happened,” he says. “I’m lucky to be alive.”
On Friday evening, it was anchored off Chatham in rough seas and sleeping. Suddenly a wave woke him up and Bialk discovered a lot of water on board and the anchor line had broken.
So he decided to abandon the ship, jump into a nine foot dinghy and head for land.
“I spent four hours in the dirt,” he says.
But he got to Chatham, sold the filthy one, and used the money to get back to Wisconsin, believing his future home had sunk.
The next day, the port captains found John’s boat stranded on Monomoy Island.
“We’ve thwarted a lot of situations that are weird, but this one is absolutely in the top five,” said Chatham harbor master Stuart Smith.
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Here is the problem for the authorities: they find a 35 ′ sailboat, with no one on board. They start a search, and when they don’t find any “survivors,” they tow the boat to Stage Harbor.
“Everything indicated that someone had fallen from the boat,” says Smith.
Even the captain of the tug found it bizarre and probably sad.
“It’s a crazy scene,” said Jada Reid of Tow Boat US. “I’ve never seen anything like it.”
The Coast Guard therefore examined the documents found on board and located Bialk, Wisconsin.
Bialk now has some great advice for sailors.
“Learn to use the radio,” he said.
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Bialk is a very lucky guy, but he could be just as lucky if the authorities decide to indict him.