Lucky escape for anglers as boat surfs in tunnel of sneak wave

Two charter fishermen and a boat skipper had a close call on Sunday when they were dumped into the sea by giant waves in the treacherous Kowie River mouth.

Seabreeze skipper Danny Vermaak, 77, said he was racing out of the river mouth at full throttle when a sneak wave forced them to change direction to try and outrun it.

“The wave broke clean over the motors. For a while the boat was riding in the tunnel of the wave.”

Vermaak, who has been operating in Port Alfred for 21 years, was thrown overboard with two charter fishing customers while an unidentified crew member clung onto the deck near the motors.

“We were very lucky, somehow my crew member stayed onboard and managed to bring the boat safely onto the beach.

Vermaak said damage to the R500 000 boat was minimal.

“I lost a rod and reel and another was broken, I was very nervous afterwards when I realised how lucky we were.”

Dr Jerome Boulle said he had watched helplessly from his apartment on a ridge overlooking the river mouth as the drama unfolded.

“I could see big waves coming that the skipper had no sight of, I knew he would not make it out if he went for it.”

Boulle, who was watching the sea to decide whether it was worth surfing, said the boat surfed the best ride of the morning.

Boulle alerted the NSRI.

– David Macgregor

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