We are very happy to report that the father-son crew of the 45-ft Island Trader ketch Yasukole are alive and well in American Samoa, having made landfall last Friday (June 30), after 78 days at sea. They had departed La Paz, Mexico, on April 14, and according to skipper Dave Wysopal, really had no gear failures or problems. It had just been a slow trip. A highlight, he said, was when the big ketch became surrounded by hundreds of dorado, which swam alongside her for days. Dave’s decision to bypass French Polynesia was apparently weather-related.
While at sea, Dave and 12-year-old Zachary had no idea that family, friends and many others had been concerned about them since mid-May, when friends ashore serving as trip monitors stopped receiving regular automated position reports via the boat’s SPOT device. At the time, neither Dave nor his trip monitors knew that there is a huge section of the Pacific where SPOT devices are useless. (Yasukole carries no other offshore communication devices.)
Said to be an old-school, self-sufficient mariner, Dave will probably be shocked when he learns that a US Coast Guard SAR crew dispatched from Hawaii flew search patterns for three solid days looking for him and his son. And even more shocked when he is told that although Yasukole was never spotted, that effort serendipitously saved the life of Aaron Carotta, an adventurer who’d been attempting to row around the world. When spotted, Carotta was adrift in his tiny liferaft and unable to communicate, having been forced to abandon his badly damaged open-ocean rowboat. A tanker was diverted to pick him up, much to the delight of hundreds, if not thousands, of Carotta’s fans on social media — many of whom then shifted their concern to locating Yasukole.
Needless to say, we too are thrilled that Dave and Zack are safe and sound. But we’re left pondering this zen-like question: Can you be found if you were never really lost?