-- One Woman's Dream of Sailing Around the World Was Crushed When the Unexpected Happened

 What's not to love about the ocean? When you look at it from the shore it is clear and beautiful and so welcoming. But when you are an adventurer, the ocean is the biggest conquest one can claim. However, not many people are able to navigate the wild winds of the open waters or sail through a storm that shivers the masses. Of course, there are also pirates to consider, but it's a once in a lifetime opportunity and sometimes the call of the sea is too great to resist.

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That is why in 2016 a young spirited adventurer decided to take her destiny by the wheel and set sail on a record-breaking adventure of a lifetime. Abby Sunderland, a 16-year-old was determined to sail around the world. Unfortunately, her dream would not be realized and eight years later she received a call that changed her view and her life.

A Huge Supporter

Abby's older brother Zac Sunderland was a huge supporter and motivator for Abby's dream. He encouraged her and probably inspired her to make her epic voyage.

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A Life-Long Goal

Some people dream of becoming astronauts or gold Olympic medalists. For Abby though, her dream was to do a solo sail around the world.

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The spark and desire started at a young age. Of course, it helps when your whole family practically has saltwater in their veins. Abby already logged several hundred hours navigating the waters with her mother and father. But it was her dad who was the toughest on her during her grueling training.

Tough Love

A parent's job is to ensure that their children are equipped for anything that life throws at them. For Abby though, she needed to be prepared for whatever the ocean threw at her. And there was no better man to do than her father.

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Laurance Sunderland knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that Abby would face some tough times alone. Not only was the ocean unpredictable, but being alone on the open waters, well it can play tricks with the mind. Abby's dad knew that she wouldn't make it without proper training, and the right preparations. So he drilled her. Even Abby's mother was on board with the intense training and knew full well the dangers involved in such a task.

Mother Knows

When Abby first told her parents what she wanted to do, they weren't really all that surprised. After all, their daughter watched her older brother do it. But even still, emotions were high.

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According to Marianne Sunderland, she knew there would be dangers and possible tragedy. But she made a clear point that tragedy can strike at any moment so why not live life to the absolute fullest. And with that she let her daughter begin planning her epic seafaring quest.

Dangers Ahead

Many dangerous things happen on the high seas and Abby had to learn about all of them. She also had to prepare for the worse.

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One of the things Abby had to learn to do was be hyper-aware of weather patterns and how to avoid squalls that would creep up on a boat. But one thing she wasn't prepared for was the pirates that lurked in the open waters.

Nerves of Steel

Anybody who was preparing to sail around the world would have their insecurities and doubts and Abby was no different.

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However, she sucked it up and on January 23, 2010, she embarked on her small vessel called Wild Eyes and set out from Marina del Ray, California. 

Forces of Nature

Some people don't fully understand the full force of nature that is the open waters.

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For Abby, she had seen the calm open waters become turbulent and fierce. The sight wasn't anything new. However, she never had to take the sea alone before. And now, here she was battling the tempest alone.

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Turbulent Waters

Abby continued to keep going, determined to make it around the world. As she sailed and plowed through some rough waters, she was interviewed 101 days in her epic quest.

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In the interview, Abby admitted that a violent and rogue wave slammed her to the ground. The incident was alarming, to say the least. But wild waves weren't the only things Abby was up against. The wind was another issue all to itself.

Raging Winds

It seems for Abby, howling high force wings banged her and her ship up pretty good. She stated in the interview how the wind ripped one of her sails during a squall.

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Not only was her sail damaged, but the water was relentless and flooded her engine. Determined Abby fixed both issues and continued on. However, with the weather just not cooperating with her and beating her beloved boat, she had to give up.

A Cry for Help

During the storm, Abby acted quickly and sent out an SOS beacon. The French and Australians quickly set out to save young Abby immediately.

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Because of her due diligence and proper planning, Abby was able to get help quickly. She had all the equipment she needed to survive the storm until help arrived.

Great Concern

When word got out about Abby's predicament, several people were very concerned. It was Abby's mother who went to social media to explain the situation.

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According to Marianna's post, she stated how Abby had everything she needed to survive. Abby was well equipped with not only a wet suit but also a survival suit, an emergency bag, and a life raft. Marianne went on to say that help was on the way and that all her daughter had to do was stay warm and hang on.

The Rescue

Abby held on for a grueling 13 hours before help arrived. But when they did, they were surprised to see the rigging was a mess, but the boat was still upright.

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As for Abby, she was rushed to a nearby island. It was there on the island Abby got a huge surprise.

An Unexpected Visitor

When Abby arrived at Reunion Island she wasn't expecting to see a familiar face. Yet, there he was waiting for her.

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Abby's brother Zac flew from California to help his sister out. Not only to bring her fresh supplies like a brush and new clothes but to commend Abby on her brave attempt at conquering the sea. Together, the siblings headed back home to California.

Back Home

It's not surprising that Abby was thrilled to be back home. After all, she didn't have to constantly battle the sea or feel like she was at the mercy of it. However, there were a few things she would miss.

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Abby stated that once she got back on solid ground how she missed certain parts of her adventure. She stated how surfing the huge swell or watching the sunset on the open waters will stay with her forever.

Relief

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If there is one thing that breaks a parent's heart it is when their children's dreams aren't realized. This is especially true for those who have worked so hard only to fall short of victory.

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For Marianne and Laurence, their hearts broke along with Abby's for not completing her goal. However, they were thrilled to have their daughter back on dry land and safe. Of course, the same couldn't be said for Abby's boat Wild Eyes which unfortunately she had to abandon to the whims of the sea.

Battered and Bruised

When Abby was rescued by the Australian and French, they couldn't pull her ship back with her. Instead, the ship was left behind and tossed to the sea.

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Unfortunately, it was a decision the rescuers had to make on the fly. But still, it was the vessel that Abby used to get her to where she went and she missed it dearly. Abby just assumed like the rest of the people, that the ship would eventually be swallowed by the sea or end up in pieces on some distant shore.

Lost and then Found

After Abby was rescued, she went on and lived her life. Sure, she had some fond memories of the experience but she never thought that 8 years later she would be getting a call from the authorities.

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The Sunderland's got a phone call that shocked them. An aircraft out hunting tuna happened to spot a yacht flipped upside down. The small yellow craft was drifting near Kangaroo Island near Australia. The authorities pulled it in and two very unique words stood out.

Surprise

To Abby and her parent’s surprise, the name on the ship was none other than Wild Eyes. According to David Griffin an oceanographer, he states how he could see the ship traveling around the world.

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Granted, Abby made the right call to abandon her vessel when she did. But the fact that her boat made it around the world solo is astonishing.

Safety First

While Abby may have dreamed of traveling the world in Wild Eyes, she knew her limits and acted on them. Abby was fortunate enough to travel 12,000 miles before she needed any help.

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She was prepared and fortunate that her emergency gear worked as it was meant to so that she could be rescued promptly. A number of things could have happened to her. Sort of like what happened to two women who were on board another ship called the Sea Nymph.

The Tempest

It was 2017 and Jennifer Appel along with Tasha Fuiava and their dogs Zeus and Valentine set sail on a journey to Tahiti.

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The trip, which was only meant to last three weeks took an unexpected turn. The two women and their dogs planned to set sail from Honolulu and have a wonderful and memorable journey to Tahiti in May. But things didn't quite go as planned.

At the Sea's Mercy

As exciting as a journey might be, the two women had no idea what was in store for them just two hours after they set sail. Their ship, the Sea Nymph was several damaged by a raging storm.

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The storm broke their steering system which caused them to lose any and all means of navigating the ship. Just mere hours after taking to the open waters, the Jennifer and Tasha were at the sea's mercy and tossed about.

Destiny

Interestingly enough, Jennifer and Tasha didn't know each other that well before they went on this quest. In fact, the ladies would later state they only met a few months prior to setting sail.

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They were, no doubt an odd couple who decided to take the sea head-on. It turned out that Appel, who was 47 and Fuiava 27 decided that fates lead them to each other. And between the two women, their sailing skills were close to none.

Definitely Not Sailors

You have to wonder what would make a security guard and a landscaper decide they can take on the wild currents of the Pacific Ocean.

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After all, neither Fuiava nor Appel had any previous sailing. Yet, they both wanted to set out to reach the Polynesian Islands so that Appel could become an organic farmer. As for Fuiava, she was just in it for the ride. But this adventure would be more than both ladies could handle.

One Thing Right

Although neither of the women had any experience sailing the open waters, they did know how to plan.

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It turns out that they stock enough food and water for not only themselves but their dogs as well. It was almost as if intuition was screaming at them what was going to happen. But one thing was certain; the ladies weren't going to starve along their journey.

Where About: Unknown

For Jennifer and Tasha, the hours turned into days and the days to months. Without a word, their loved ones began to wonder what exactly happened to them.

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Even Fuiava's own mother reported her lost at sea. Concern grew for the women as people started wondering if they survived the storm at all and where they were.

News Finally Arrives

Finally, in late 2017, nearly 5 months after Jennifer and Tasha set sail from Hawaii, their boat was discovered 1,000 miles from Japan.

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Taiwanese fishermen located the women's vessel and approached the damaged Sea Nymph. Although the fishermen didn't think they would find anyone alive, they searched the boat anyways.

Survivors

Not only did the Taiwanese fishermen find Zeus and Valentine, but also Jennifer and Tasha as well. Both women were alive.

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It didn't take long for the fishermen to send out a message to let the United States Coastguard know about their find. Luckily, a branch of the US Coastguard was stationed out of Guam and came swiftly to the rescue.

Finally Relief

Certainly the friends and family of Jennifer and Tasha relieved to hear they were safe. But so was Jennifer and Tasha when they saw the Coastguard ship coming to their aid.

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Finally, after months of being at the whim of the Pacific Ocean, the women were saved. According to Appel, it was pure relief and pride that filled her that day as she set foot aboard the USS Ashland. But it would be the women's account of their time on the water that would cause many to scratch their heads in disbelief.

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Tall Tales? Or Delirium?

No doubt being stranded at sea is hair raising enough. But some of the stories that Appel expressed to the public just didn't make any sense to experts.

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One such encounter was a group of Tiger sharks using the boat as a launching point to teach the younger tiger sharks how to hunt. Appel went on to explain how some of these sharks were even around 30 feet in length. Granted, being alone on a dark sea at night is frightening. But her accounts of the incident really doesn't add up.

Spinning and Fantastic Tales

As the news spread about Fuiava's and Appel's rescue at sea, it seems the grander their stories became. It didn't take long before people started seriously questioning whether or not the ladies saw what they did.

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One big critic of the women's encounter was George Brugess. Mr. Brugess is a shark expert. His study of marine life does not quite add up to what Jennifer and Tasha spoke about on their voyage.

Hoax or Something Else?

According to Mr. Brugess, he states how tiger sharks do not have the character qualities that Jennifer and Tasha claimed they saw. He also has gone on to say that these types of sharks don't teach their young to hunt. That is it a natural instinct.

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So who is telling the truth? Or was it delirium setting in for Jennifer and Tasha that they saw such things? After all, being adrift for so long does play games with the mind.

What Really Happened?

Not only have people started to question Jennifer and Tasha's story about the sharks, but about other things as well.

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Some even claim that the storm that wrecked their ship didn't happen. And the crazy thing is, NASA satellites can back that up. According to both NASA and the National Weather Service, there were no squalls or major storms that took place on or around May 3rd. Still, the women are sticking to their story.

A Big Imagination

It's one thing to say the storm wrecked the ship. It's another to exaggerate the size of the storm. But according to the woman on the Sea Nymph, the storm that tore apart their boat was a Force 11.

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To prove their point that there was in fact a storm, the women produced an email from the Coast Guard warning of 10-foot waves. However, with a category Force 11 storm, they would be looking at 37 to 52 feet waves. So which was it? What kind of storm did these women see? Was it a squall that they didn't know what to do to prevent damage to their ship? Or a serious storm that battered and bruised their ship and would have done it to any small vessel out on the open water?

What's Up With That?

Any sailor that embarks on the open ocean knows to have at least one means of communication to the outside world. It doesn't matter if it is a radio, or a beacon, or some other high tech equipment. A smart sailor never goes out against the tempest of the ocean without something to help locate them in an emergency unless they deliberately want to die.

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However, for Tasha and Jennifer, this never came up. The woman aboard the Sea Nymph never sent out a distress call or signal. However, they did have such a working device onboard. So if Jennifer and Tasha really were in a life-threatening situation, them against the sea, why didn't they call for help?

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The Ultimate Chill Mode?

Of course, the women were questioned about why they never called for help. They answered directly how they never felt their lives were in that kind of danger.

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Granted, these women were adrift for five months at sea, without a means to steer their vessel. Perhaps they thought sailing the old fashion way would be the best way? Or maybe they enjoyed being out there away from civilization? Either way, being out on the open waters with no direction or means to steer is a long time to hope that everything will turn out okay.

Who Were These Women?

As more and more news sources got hold of the story, more things started to come to light about these women.

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First off, Appel apparently was a dominatrix as well as an exotic dancer. Granted, everyone has a past. But maybe for Appel turning a new leaf really meant finding inner peace and she couldn't do that in a civilized world? Who knows.

Raising More Questions

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Over the eleven months that it was up, it only raised $40. Maybe telling tall tales and spinning elaborate stories isn't the way to get a point across.

Plans for the Future

After everything the two women went through, as well as the public humiliation, they still have plans to sail in the future.

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However, they have stated that for next time, they will be better prepared. After all, drifting at sea for 5 months was certainly an adventure, getting to one’s destination might be a better goal.

Misadventures

Although we may never really know what happened during those long five months these women were adrift at sea, we know that this tale ended on a good note.

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After all, both women were healthy and alive when found and even their dogs were okay. But not every story has a happy ending when it comes to the ocean. Sometimes, situations are a bit more dire.

The Disappearance of Louis Jordan

It's hard to think of a loved one lost at sea. But for the parents of Louis Jordan, that is exactly what happened and it turned their world upside down.

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As hours turned into days and days to weeks, there came no word from Louis. His family had to prepare for the worse and realize that they would never get the answers they so desperately needed.

Love of the Sea

For Louis, there was nothing better than heading out into the open waters of the Atlantic Ocean. It was almost as if Louis had saltwater instead of blood. You see, Louis worked on the dock and was an avid fisherman in South Carolina.

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It was January 2015 when he decided to head out to fish. With his experience and natural love of the water, no one questioned his decision. But the 37-year-old had no idea what this trip had in store for him.

Won't Be Gone Long

Louis decided to head out and told his family he'd be home later that day. But when they didn't hear from him, they didn't think anything of it.

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Louis loved the water so much that oftentimes he would be out there days at a time. His parents simply thought this was one of those times. Except when he didn't check in after a week, that is when the red flag was raised.

Drastic Measures

After a week without a word, Louis's parents finally got on the line with people to try and figure out where their son was.

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They started by passing out fliers and asking questions around the dock and down the coast. Then they started checking the paper and police reports of washed-up bodies praying their son wasn't on that list.

Holding on to Hope

Louis's family continued to hold on to hope as more days slipped by without any word. But there had to come a point when enough was enough.

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After two months had passed and they didn't hear anything new, they resided to the fact their son was lost at sea. As a memorial, Louis's mother hung up pictures of Louis on his boat so that she could get some kind of closure.

Against All Odds

Despite the fact that Louis's friends and family had no clue where he was or even what happened to him, they had to move on with their lives. Many family members and friends held memorial services for him as a symbolic gesture of letting him go.

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Even after two months had passed, the chances of him coming back were slim to none. It was heartbreaking for Louis's parents to admit, but they had to let him go.

The Parent's Pipe Dream

For any parent to lose a child, it is devastating. But to have hope or fantasies about their child coming back isn't abnormal. Many people dream that one day their loved one will walk through the door and fill the hole that was left behind in their absence.

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For Louis's parents, they too wished they would one day see their son walk through their door. But far too much time had passed and they knew it was nothing more than a fantasy.

It's A Miracle

As all hope was drifting away, something miraculous happened on Good Friday. Louis Jordon walked right into his parents’ house.

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Granted he was beyond exhausted, and looked worse for wear, he was alive. The only thing left to answer was how? How did he survive for so long out at sea and what happened to him?

The Rescue

On a clear Thursday morning, a cargo ship found Louis's ship with him sitting on the battered boat.

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Apparently, Louis had drifted 200 miles off the shore of North Carolina. His boat was barely seaworthy, yet Louis was on it and still breathing.

So What Happened?

Louis recounts the accident and stated how a massive swell capsized his boat during a severe storm. The mass to his 35-foot boat snapped and he lost his radio equipment.

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During the storm, Louis also injured himself. With a banged-up shoulder, he knew he had to do everything he could to survive for as long as possible. With his boat drifting further and further away from home, Louis held on to hope that one day he might be rescued.

Experience Helped

When Louis's boat capsized, it was a scary encounter. However, Louis being the seasoned fisherman that he was, he managed to bring the boat upright even with his injured shoulder.

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Although the boat was back up, he had an even bigger problem. He needed food and fishing with an injured shoulder would be difficult, not to mention hardly any equipment to do so.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

So what saved him during those long months at sea? Believe it or not, Louis survived off pancakes.

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The one thing that he had plenty of was pancake mix and luckily a supply of drinkable water. But he knew he had to ration his food. During his time on the sea, he ate what he could and fished when he could by using a small net and the will power to keep going another day.

Other Issues

Food wasn't the only thing Louis had to worry about. His boat was taking on water too. This meant he had to bail out the water every day.

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Louis kept his boat upright and for the most part water-free. He also harvested rainwater when it would come to keep his supplies up not knowing when he would ever be saved.

Doing What He Could

If Louis wasn't such a keen sailor, chances are he wouldn't have made it back to shore. But he knew what he had to do to get home and started working on it.

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With a broken mass, Louis realized he needed to construct a new one. So, he created a makeshift mass along with a sale that would help push his boat. Unfortunately, his boat was too big and the currents too strong for it to have any effects. Although on windy days, Louis was able to move but slower than anticipated.

Most Important Item on the Boat

So what would someone who is stuck out at sea need the most? Well, to Louis that would be the Holy Bible.

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According to Louis, he read the Bible in its entirety from cover to cover. It was the only thing that kept him going and he prayed every single day to reach the shore.

Answer to Prayer

The Thursday Louis was saved, happened to be one day before Good Friday. It was on this day the cargo ship found him and plucked him from the ocean.

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According to Louis, he was standing on his boat waving his arms around like crazy praying to get the attention of the cargo ship. It was at 1:30 pm when the Coast Guard got a call from Houston Express cargo ship that they picked up a lost sailor.

Home

The moment Louis set foot on solid ground, he was whisked to the hospital in Norfolk. But that was not where Louis wanted to be.

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He refused help from the hospital and headed straight for his parents’ house. Although he suffered a broken shoulder and was dehydrated, he didn't care. He needed to see his family.

The Call that Changed Everything

Imagine giving up all hope on a loved one only to get a call months later saying their loved one is safe. That is exactly what happened with Louis's parents.

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The family was clearly shocked by getting a call from the Coast Guard telling them they found Louis. It truly was an answer to prayer.

A Happy Reunion

Sure enough, Louis was happily reunited with his family and tears were certainly shed. According to Louis's family, it was unbelievable to see him walk through the door.

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Although Louis was only gone a few months, the weight of not knowing what happened to him was enough to make it seem like an eternity. As Louis embraced his family, they all realized it was Easter and surely a time for celebration. It was like Louis was raised from the dead and had come back to them.

One Day at a Time

Louis isn't quite sure what he is going to do now that he is back on land. But he does know that he will be taking things one day at a time.

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The ocean is no joke and for some, it can be a crazy experience. For Louis, he better understands the tempest that is the open ocean and while he may go back to fishing, it's possible he won't be drifting off so far next out. 

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