Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Two boaters rescued from gulf after kayaks overturn

APOLLO BEACH — James Dixon chose Saturday's beautiful weather to kayak from the Apollo Beach Nature Park to Beer Can Island with his girlfriend.

But on their way back at 6:30 p.m., the couple were hit by a 10-foot wave and both their kayaks overturned in the bay, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office.

Dixon, 44, said he spent about an hour treading water before marine deputies plucked him, 39-year-old Shelly Valdez and both kayaks out of the water.

Marine deputies say the couple left the park at 1:30 p.m.

"When we were on Beer Can Island — there were a bunch of boats anchored in the area — a 10-foot wave came out of nowhere and shook everyone," Dixon said.

The concerned couple decided to pack up and head back to Apollo Beach but on the way another wave swept over them and turned over both watercraft.

"I have a 12-foot, wide bottom ocean kayak," Dixon said. "But when that wave came . . . before I knew it I was in the water."

Dixon's kayak drifted 40 feet away, so he turned his energy toward turning over Valdez's 11-foot kayak and getting her back inside. He hung on to her kayak and even sat on the back trying to kick, he said.

She reached into her plastic container, pulled out her cell phone and called for help.

"They responded really quickly," Dixon said.

A helicopter spotted the couple and told the marine unit where to find the duo, the Sheriff's Office said.

He said he and Valdez, a schoolteacher, are experienced kayakers who have been taking trips like Saturday's for eight years.

"It was a nice day but by the end of it my teeth were chattering," the information technology specialist said. "It was cold, and I'm exhausted."

Two boaters rescued from gulf after kayaks overturn 04/03/10 [Last modified: Saturday, April 3, 2010 10:49pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Lightning owner Jeff Vinik backs film company pursuing global blockbusters

    Corporate

    Times Staff

    TAMPA — Jeff Vinik's latest investment might be coming to a theater near you.

    Jeff Vinik, Tampa Bay Lightning owner, invested in a new movie company looking to appeal to a global audience. | [Times file photo]
  2. Hernando readies for possible rally at county's Confederate monument

    Public Safety

    BROOKSVILLE — Law enforcement officials have readied themselves in response to a string of social media rumors about possible rallies at the Hernando County courthouse Friday afternoon centered around the Confederate soldier statue that sits out front.

    Hernando County's Confederate monument stands on the courthouse lawn in downtown Brooksville.
  3. What to watch this weekend: 'The Defenders,' 'Halt and Catch Fire,' 'What Happened to Monday'

    Blogs

    Slow burn: The Defenders

    First there was Daredevil, then Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Iron Fist followed. Now, the superheroes team up for The Defenders. The new Marvel series on Netflix follows the city's unlikeliest heroes as they struggle with their own personal vendettas …

    Charlie Cox, Krysten Ritter, Mike Colter and Finn Jones in The Defenders.
  4. Bill Nelson celebrates Steve Bannon's departure

    Blogs

    Bill Nelson likes what he sees Steve Bannon getting the boot:

  5. Algae bloom and fish kill confirmed in Old Tampa Bay

    Environment

    An algae bloom and fish kill have been confirmed in Old Tampa Bay from Safety Harbor to the south end of the Bayside Bridge.