Jerry Kim's and Dave Bradley's two-person chartered kayak capsized after it was turned sideways by a strong eddy and into an oncoming wave from a freighter.
"When we went over, my first thoughts were to get back into the overturned kayak, after struggling for several minutes, we were able to get back into the kayak but it was full of water and we had no pump," said Bradley.
"We were in the water almost 20 minutes and were almost ready to swim to shore when we are pulled out of the water by this whale watch boat." added Kim.
Crew from the whale watch boat, Peregrine, pulled the two Sammamish, Washington men from the water.
Once safely aboard, local naturalist Jeanne Hyde applied blankets and first aid.
One of the rescued lost feelings in his fingers and was hypothermic and showing signs of confusion.
"I wrapped them in every blanket we had and breathed down his back to help bring the body temperature up" said Hyde.
"I had seen them from very far away get pushed by the current and wave and immediately secured my passengers and hit the throttle. We backed into them, killed the engines and all of us lifted them aboard", said Capt.Spencer Domico of Legacy Tours who was the ship's Captain of the Peregrine at the time.
The Peregrine is owned by Maya's Westside Charters.
Another marine broadcast was made by the Peregrine to notify San Juan County responders to meet the victims and passengers at Snug Harbor Resort. One of the first responders was working close to Snug Harbor, heard the broadcast on his radio, and met the Peregrine at the dock to assist the victims until further assistance with equipment could arrive.
The Sheriff's Dept. rescue team were first on the scene to be followed by SJC EMT team and ambulance.
Kim and Bradley were last seen standing on the shoreline awaiting a pickup from the kayak company, still wearing their blankets in the warm San Juan Sun.
"We lost our credit cards, cell phones, cash, and even our keys to the car that is in Anacortes!" said Bradley. "We definitely have some trip planning to do!"
- Story by Norris Palmer
- Photo by Jim Maya