For those of you who have ever fished the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel (CBBT for short) you will be able to picture this for those who haven't I will try to be detailed.
As everyone knows the CBBT is right near the mouth of the Bay. If you were to be dead in the water at the start of an outgoing tide you could quite possibly be carried into the Atlantic- Not to bad if you are in a boat as you could always radio for help or with the traffic someone would surely see you. But what if you are not in a boat, what if you are swimming, and the sun is about to drop past the horizon - scary thought.
Well one evening I was in my 15' aluminum boat with my 9.9 Evinrude - Oh did I mention this was years ago and I was just a kid? Yes that was the boat of a 14 year old kid who was born and raised on the Chesapeake Bay.
Anyway one evening we were tied up at the second island of the CBBT on a HARD running outgoing tide fishing for big gray trout. Boy those were some great days - all you needed was a 1 oz red lead head and a straight white grub and you could catch 10 lb trout all night long. What happened?
Anyways - Here we are trout fishing and the tide is ripping - most of yall know how Oregon Inlet can rip? Well its not quite that bad but still to fast for swimming.
I had just made a cast up under the bridge and I was stunned to see this guy come flying around the backside of the island bobbing up and down in the current with a life jacket on. My buddy and I both did a double take on that one - NOBODY would be dumb enough to be in this water.
Instantly we knew we had to untie from the pilon and get this guy. Easier said than done. We motored over to him and pulled along side. We tried to get him in the boat -as I said only 15' aluminum boat and for two young kids pulling a full grown man in was a trick.
Well it became obvious real quick that something was wrong with this guy. He said one unintelligible word and we immediately knew he was mentally retarded. Bad too.
We started questioning him as to what in the h-e-l-l he was doing in this water. We were able to get enough out of him that he came from the other side of the island - OK we knew that. We ran around to the front side and there was a lone boat with nobody onboard - a divers flag flying and 2 divers just coming out of the water. They had already been back on board but were back in the water looking for this guy.
As it turned out we had their retarded brother whom they had left on the boat BY HIMSELF while they went scuba diving. God only knows how he got in the water but he was the luckiest man alive at that given moment because we were the ONLY boat there. He would have surely drifted until the sun went down and unless he was lucky enough to hit the Cape Henry area beaches it would have been all over. It would have been dark and they would have never found em - at least alive. Most likely had we not been there or had I not loved to trout fish every single evening this guy would have went right out the mouth of the bay. Lucky for his irresponsible brother I was there too.
I got no big thank you, no heros parade, but thats was OK I was just glad I was in that spot at that moment. I was glad I was able to help this man live to see another day.
Thats my story and thats the only life I ever saved.