05 October 2008

Survived 26+ hours in the Pacific

05 October 2008
James Bell, photo by Jacqueline Hernandez

Some of you may remember a previous post about Jim Bell, the 70 y/o swimmer in our branch. Well, we recently thought we lost him to the ocean. He completed his swim around the island of Saipan and decided to swim the channel back to Tinian. This particular channel has very unpredictable currents. So unpredictable that almost 30 years ago it took him 12 hours and just a few months ago it took less than 5. This time, however, he was in the ocean for an unbelievable 26+ hours fighting intense currents. I can't imagine being isolated and exhausted in the ocean miles away from shore in the middle of the night. (Apparently, he was stung several times by the jellyfish who like to surface at night)

At about 9 o'clock that night, after no one had heard from him, they filed a missing persons report and sent a boat and helicopter out looking for him. Apparently, the helicopter's spotlight just missed him at one point. He wasn't discovered until 11am the next day, 2 miles NE of Tinian, and even after all he'd been through, he still refused to get in the boat, and he managed to swim the last 2 miles to shore.

He may be stubborn, but he's also very loveable! We're so glad he's ok!

Check out the Clawsons blog for more details: http://tiniantimes.blogspot.com/

NEW: Jim Bell's account


Melissa said...

Oh my! That is AMAZING! I can't believe he refused to get in the boat and kept on swimming. Tough man.

Soelbergs said...

That is CRAZY!!! I can't believe where you guys are. I also can't believe eric turned DOWN a job in AZ! What were you guys thinking?! That would have been so awesome to live close to you again. Can't wait to hear where you're going next!

Posy said...

Keep up the good work.