A Tragedy at Sea
In the late afternoon of September 2nd, 2007, our fishing vessel the Papa George sank off the coast of Washington with the loss of two hands. The sinking is being investigated by the Coast Guard. Three crew members survived in the skiff and got to shore after a harrowing ride. They were given the utmost care by the first responders in Ocean Park, WA.. Many thanks to the fire department, the surf rescue team, Pastor Johnson, and Len & Miriam Atkins of Seaview. Our crew was given dry clothes, food, counseling, and shelter.
Our skipper, Dave Starbuck, and friend of many years, Ethel Zelaya, along with Boots, their dog, all drowned at the site of the sinking. They were brought to shore by the crew, who would not leave them behind. The loss of our friends has been the most devastating of blows. We offer our deepest condolences to the families of Dave and Ethel. We have met with many of them in person to share in this grief. The question most often asked is "What happened?"
The answer is we don't know, and maybe no one will ever know. There is speculation in the news articles based on an initial Coast Guard press release, but we will wait for the official report which will come in the near future.
Steve and I have been struggling with this loss of our friends and have not focused on the loss of our business yet. That will come in time. Steve was on the phone twice with Dave on Sunday the 2nd of September, and we knew they would catch their 45 tons, which they did. It is with the heaviest of hearts that I write this blog today. I don't know when I can continue to tell the tale of tuna fishing from Panama to the South Pacific on the Papa George. For now, our canned tuna business will continue, but that is all we know at this point.
A website has been set up in memorium of Dave. In addition to comments and photos of Dave with his family, there are many links to news articles about this tragedy, as well as comments from his friends.www.davidstarbuck.com