Bloomington couple back home after Atlantic rescue
A Bloomington couple is lucky to be alive after they were stranded 100 miles out to sea when massive waves start slamming into their boat in the Caribbean, which left it useless.
Sailing veterans Gunther and Doris Rodatz along with two crew members started a four-month sailing adventure to the Virgin Islands in early January.
Last Thursday, the weather changed their course in more ways than one.
"I can't really realize that happened. It's like a dream," Doris Rodatz as she showed pictures and video on their computer Friday afternoon.
The vacation pictures the couple have aren't from happy or relaxing times.
"The wind shifted to the south and we didn't make any headway and we got caught in the storm," said Gunther Rodatz.
Not just one, but two wicked storms surged with potent waves and destructive winds that ruined a rudder, knocked out an engine, and caused the vessel to lose power.
The four of them spent about two days drifting while trying to repair the boat, all while a third storm loomed.
"One time we got hit broadsided by a wave and the whole boat was basically submerged," Gunther Rodatz said.
That's when the Coast Guard came to the rescue. Forever grateful, dramatic video from the couple and the Coast Guard shows the rescue as Doris is pulled up to safety.
"I still cannot imagine what happened. When I see it, it's like a movie and I'm not in that. I cannot describe it but I think it will come later," Doris Rodatz said.
Rescued Monday, they're still processing everything that happened.
"I'm thinking, 'My God, we are lucky'," Gunther Rodatz said.
"I just thank God we are okay," Doris Rodatz said.
Despite the terror of it all, they say they never once feared for their lives.
"You're a different person, you concentrate on the issue and you're not panicking," Gunther Rodatz said.
It wouldn't be all smooth sailing, so to speak, once they got home. In fact, when they got home to Bloomington, they found another problem, also water-related.
Their bedroom is now filled with what had to be ripped out of the bathroom. The wicked winter weather whipped a hole in their pipes, sending water gushing into the bathroom and bedroom.
Despite the journey to get their home and board back to normal, their optimism isn't sinking.
"Things like this can happen and as long as you can fix it, it's okay, look forward, life is good," Gunther Rodatz said.
And their love for water, the very thing that's brought them so much torment this year, is still there.
In fact, they're excited to sail again - one day.
"I would not go tomorrow, but after tomorrow, maybe," they laughed.
The two could have been rescued a few hours earlier, but they would have had to board a boat and go to Israel.
The two left for Bloomington Tuesday, ran into bad weather, and made it home Thursday.
They plan to spend the weekend unwinding and get caught up with their five kids and two grandkids.
As far as the boat and home, insurance will handle the claims.