Winsbert “Bug” Harry has had another mishap at sea. His most recent episode was recorded last Saturday when he was aboard the ‘Sunshine Angel’ that sank eight miles off Vieux Fort, St Lucia.
Harry, along with fellow Vincentian – Cafu Guy, and St Lucian captain and boat owner- Mac Clement St Rose, was forced to swim for over three hours, before being rescued by three men from Choiseul, St Lucia.
They were en route to St Vincent and the Grenadines, after collecting relief supplies for fisherfolks who were either displaced or were inconvenienced by the eruptions of La Soufriere.
When the Sunshine Angel was about to take its last gasp above the water just after 9am Saturday, Harry recalled saying “Winsbert again”.
His sigh was a case of déjà vu, as his previous ordeals instantly were replayed in his mind.
Harry’s ordeals at sea began just over two decades ago.
“In 2000, I swam about 45 to 50 miles from St Vincent and the Grenadines, where I (had to) sleep two days at sea, just holding on for life and breath”, Harry recounted.
He said that his boat then, ‘Elijah’ had capsized, as they were caught in a trough system, but were later rescued by fellow Vincentian fishermen, having spent over 48 hours in the raging waters.
Harry revealed that in 2002, he and other members of his fishing crew went adrift about 50 miles south east of Balliceaux, before ending up in Mustique. Again, Harry disclosed engine failure was the cause of them going adrift.
The tables were to turn for Harry, as in 2003, he had to return the favour of saving three fishermen, who encountered issues with their engine.
But Harry’s mishaps restarted this year, when in February, fellow villagers of Rose Place in capital, Kingstown, had to remove him from his capsized boat.
Reliving last Saturday’s experience, Harry said, it was a case of a total shift in moods.
“The tragedy that took place with us on Saturday, was after joy… We had a celebration, that we had a lot of handing over for the National Fisherfolk Co-operative from since the eruptions of La Soufriere… We went on a drive… We were looking to reach out to fisherfolks, fisherfolks in the red zone, in the orange zone as well as the green zone”, Harry explained.
“Our mission was to get these aids and see how best we can assist the fisherfolks in St Vincent and the Grenadines, that is how we reached out to the St Lucians”, Harry restated.
Harry, who is also the chair of the National Fisherfolk Organisation and deputy chair of the Caribbean Network of Fisherfolk Association noted: “I tried to see how best I could cope myself and even encourage them… after being in the water for at least three and a half hours swimming I said, I remember the last couple times that I was in this situation I asked on the Almighty God for sparing me …and I say let me ask him again”.
He emphasised that he had to do so, as it was the first for St Rose and Guy in such a predicament at sea.
Harry said that after he shouted “God is good” for the fourth time, up came the fishermen from Choiseul, to their rescue.
All three men, concurred that their calamity came about when the bilge pump in the vessel malfunctioned and their efforts to bail out the incoming gushes of water failed.
They are all thankful to be alive, and save and except the scars on their bodies left by fuel which was on the water, are in good health.
The three returned to St Vincent and the Grenadines last Saturday, compliments the crew of Jaden Sun.
St Rose, Harry and Guy, though are counting their losses, as they try to restart their trade at sea.