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Marooned in Tampa Bay

Winds around Tampa Bay on Thursday were gusting up to 40 mph. Seas were 3 to 4 feet.

It probably wasn't the best day to go fishing.

That didn't stop Ronald Rogers and Faustino Dominguez.

Moments after getting their small boat in the water off the Gandy Bridge about 7:30 a.m., the engine seized up, stranding them 100 feet from shore.

That left them with a tiny trolling motor and two oars _ no match for the strong current and winds. "You couldn't push against it. You couldn't row against it. You couldn't swim" said Rogers, 31, of Oldsmar.

Fearing they would get blown across the bay, they eventually anchored the boat to a sandbar.

There, for the next two hours, Rogers and Dominguez wildly waved their arms in an attempt to flag down one of thousands of motorists passing them on Gandy Boulevard.

Shortly before 10 a.m. a motorist stopped and notified authorities. Before they arrived, however, commercial fisherman Lawrence Reynolds, 45, of Dunedin, saw the pair and towed them in.

Rogers and Dominguez, 25, of Tampa, said they were not injured beyond hurt pride.

They weren't the only ones who had abad day.

Small balls of oil from a tanker-freighter collision last August washed ashore in South Pinellas, and the Coast Guard rescued two people on a sailboat near Picnic Island about 11 a.m.

Things should calm down today.

Winds should drop to about 15 mph, and high temperatures are expected in the mid-70s, perhaps a harbinger of the weekend, which is expected to bring fair skies and daytime highs in the 70s.

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