Rick Rodriguez of Tavernier, Florida, and three friends faced a whale of a problem after a huge whale sank their 44-foot sailboat in the Pacific Ocean. They were 13 days into a three week trip from the Galapagos Island to French Polynesia when, during lunch, all hell broke loose.
"The second pizza had just come out of the oven, and I was dipping a slice into some ranch dressing," Rodriguez said. "The back half of the boat lifted violently upward and to starboard."The back half of the boat lifted violently upward and to starboard."
From The Guardian:
Other members of the crew were thrown by the large impact, but each saw from different angles that a whale had smashed into the boat.
"I saw a massive whale off the port aft side with its side fin up in the air," Alana Litz said[…]
Rodriguez placed a mayday call on a VHF radio and dispatched the emergency position indicating radio beacon, a distress signal that is connected to a worldwide rescue network.
The Peruvian coast guard later picked up Rodriguez's distress beacon and notified a US Coast Guard station in California that oversees American ships in the Pacific Ocean.
While saltwater spilled into the vessel, others in the boat gathered food, emergency equipment and other gear, as well as fresh water.
The crew launched their lifeboat and a dinghy. They had grabbed their safety supplies but didn't have enough time to get their passports.