Fortunately, the Carnival Cruise Ship Valor was in the neighborhood and came to the rescue of Smug and the three men with whom he was traveling.
The video footage below was taken by a passenger aboard the Carnival Valor who recorded the entire rescue.
“By the time they got there, there were two 800 pound water tanks had already come loose, the refrigerator came loose in the cabin,” said Smug’s dad. “The boat was starting to fall apart at least on the inside.”
“We were about 30 or 40 miles north of Cuba,” Smug’s dad continued. “We turned the boat toward Cuba, with the idea if it did pick up more we would make it to port there.”
Before leaving Fort Myers on Thursday, they checked the weather, and conditions were expected to be good. But they quickly found out, serious mistakes were made, although not on Smug’s watch.
Here’s video of the rescue:
In a reader? Click here to watch video of the rescue.
How did it get to the point where they had to abandon ship?
A thick rope attached to the dinghy they were towing snapped in high winds. It became entangled in the rudder and they lost control of the boat.
A large wave almost tipped the boat over and Smug’s Dad decided it was time to abandon ship, the only home he and his wife had.
“It’s difficult because you have everything you own on it,” DeMott said. “Family photos, notes, letters.”
Smug’s dad posted the following at HuffPo:
Hi. Wes DeMott here. Thanks for the concern for us and my cat, which was pretty well panicked as we rocked around for an hour with our prop and rudder fouled by the tender rope, calling Cuba and requesting a tow vessel that never showed. At one point I decided to swim under the boat and cut free the rope, but my crew stopped me because of the danger. The cruise ship graciously stood by for a half hour as I tried everything I knew to save the vessel, which carried all of my wife’s and my most important items. The winds were not predicted to be anything near 50 mph, but as soon as they starting increasing I headed to port, risking the U.S.G.’s ire rather than stay in those seas.
Even after everything they went through, Smug’s dad called it a “great adventure.” I have a feeling that Smug felt differently.