‘Phantom’ Vessel makes waves

Annie Blanks @DestinLogAnnie

SANDESTIN –It was a spooky sight — a sailboat with nobody on board, seen floating just off the beach at Sandestin past Thursday.

Its sails were ripped, it was listing to one side and it was going straight towards the crowded beach, with no captain at the wheel. Its title was Phantom of the Aqua.

Beach service crews along with Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort seen the vessel and hopped to a parasailing boat to look it over. What they discovered was “eerie,” in accordance with Jason Draughn, activities director in the hotel.

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“The very first thing that the beach guys were saying was, ‘That is creepy, it’s a phantom boat along with the title is Phantom of this Aqua,”’ Draughn said. “Inside it was just like what was thrown about. Their heads started visiting areas. Was the captain murdered by pirates? Why would a boat only be sailing by itself?”

The answer was not to be black, but the boat still had quite the story etched into its own battered wooden frame. John Hale, a boat captain out of Gulfport, Florida, was eventually recognized as the person who owns the boat.

Talking to the Daily News by telephone from Ohio on Tuesday morning, Hale said he was trying to sail the boat from his house in Gulfport, Florida into his prior home in the U.S. Virgin Islands to deliver food, medicine and equipment to the islands after they were battered by Hurricanes Irma along with Maria.

“I’m very capable, I have made that trip several occasions,” Hale explained. But strong winds and rough seas triggered by storms in the tropics ruined his sails, therefore, with his motor that he turned around to head back to Gulfport, where he had been going to try to patch up his whirlpool therefore he would continue his journey.

But a recently organized tropical storm in the Gulf of Mexico had different thoughts.

“Hurricane Nate was at the Gulf at the point, but I maintained sailing, everything was going well,” Hale explained. “And my sail broke and in the point I didn’t have a sail and that I didn’t have a motor and I didn’t have direction. So I was just drifting. I pulled out my map and in nine days I’d have landed in Mexico, that would not have been ideal outcome”

The new hurricane destroyed what was left for the copy sails and left his engine unworthy. Hale stated that he had no other option but to predict the U.S. Coast Guard, who came to his rescue through helicopter and plucked him out of the raging sea. He abandoned the Phantom of the Aqua behind, convinced it was going to be ruined in the storm.

That left the telephone call he received Thursday all the more unexpected.

“I flew into Ohio, and when I landed I’ve a call from the guys at Sandestin Resort,” Hale explained. “They explained, ‘Hey is that the person who owns the Phantom of the Aqua? ”’

Hale said that he had been floored when he realized his boat had left it through the storm. He even made plans to grab a flight into Destin to regain his boat.

But over the weekend, both six-foot swells and rough seas cut the boat loose from its anchor and it drifted several miles down coast. It’s currently beached at Miramar Beach, Close to the Whale’s Tail pub.

Hale maintained his flight he is attempting to create arrangements to estimate the damage to the boat and eventually retrieve it but for now he will head to the U.S. Virgin Islands through plane to keep the mission he originally started and deliver provisions to individuals impacted by Hurricanes Irma along with Maria.

“It has been a ride, I really don’t know what to say,” Hale explained. “I believe everything happens for a reason … this purpose is, I have no idea”

Map:

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Video of boat owner while on his boat during Hurricane Irma:

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Source

http://www.thedestinlog.com/destin/20171024/phantom-boat-makes-waves

Nantucket Harbor Frozen Solid.

Took pic of all U.S. Coast Guard Ship from Steam Boat Authority Barge this afternoon.

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