A Lonely Night at Sea

First Mistake

As a number of you know already, Jaco Blignaut and Jethro McCarthy were lost at sea for a couple of hours the other night. The two guys went for a dive off Amatikulu on some pinnacles that are about 10km out to sea. They had planned to take a bakkie boy (person who mans the boat) along with them but he did not pitch. So instead they ended up taking some character they found on the beach. Towards the end of the day they were anchored up on a hot spot diving with reel guns in a choppy sea.

Left Behind

The bakkie boy lost sight of them in the choppy conditions and did the sensible thing by heading for the beach to get help. The NSRI (national sea rescue institute) launched 4 boats from Richards Bay and started the search from the co-ords where they were last known to be as this is a well-known spot by locals. They measured the current speed and a grid search was set-up along the likely path that the two divers would have taken.


With good seamanship by the NSRI and plenty of help from Neptune, the two divers were located around 22.00 hours, still about 3km out to sea, having swum about 7km inshore of where they were last seen. The inshore conditions were chocolate for about 2km out to sea, so having to swim through this in the dead of night would have been no fun.


It was a pitch-dark night as there was no moon and they eventually had to tie up to one another as they kept losing each other in the darkness. There was a lot of phosphorescence in the sea so they think they would have been able to see if a shark had arrived on the scene. Scary stuff.