Not Without Hope
by Nick Schulyer
Memoir of a 24-year-old personal trainer/former football player who went fishing in the Gulf of Mexico, 70 miles off the Florida coast, with three friends, two of whom were NHL football players. After fishing for a while they decided to head back because of an approaching storm, but the anchor was stuck. They tied the anchor rope to the back of the boat and gunned the engine, hoping to pull the anchor free, but this pulled the stern down and flooded the boat. After a 48-hour ordeal, only one person - Nick - survived. This is his story.
Oh my gosh. I couldn't put this down and ended up reading it in one day. These guys, unfortunately, were inexperienced boaters. They didn't have certain equipment that would have given their location. The flares on the boat were useless after getting soaked. They didn't have life jackets on. One of the guys, Will, probably could have survived but he used up so much energy diving underneath the boat to find life jackets for all the guys.
Sadly, if they had just cut the anchor line to free the boat they would all be alive. But Marquis Cooper, who owned the boat, had been fishing the week before and the anchor had gotten stuck then. He cut the line and had to pay $200 for a new anchor, and he didn't want to do that again. They never imagined, though, that in trying to gun the throttle with the line tied to the back it would capsize the boat.
After they capsized, the guys did everything they could to turn it over but were unable to get any leverage. When the storm came in they had to battle 10-foot waves, desperately trying to cling to the boat to stay alive. They knew that eventually, when it got dark, their relatives would be worried and send someone to search for them, but unfortunately help came too late for three of them.
Because the guys were in such good shape and had so little body fat to protect them from the cold water, one by one they succumbed to hypothermia. Nick had on an insulated ski jacket, which he had put on after becoming sea sick earlier in the day. This is probably what saved him.
The only negative about the book, for me, was the repetitive talk about how sore Nick was from the waves bashing him against the motor, which he was hanging on to, and how sore his butt was from being in that same position for so many hours. I kept thinking, yah, but you're alive, so what? Also I was just a little bit irked about him complaining about his loss of weight and muscle in the days after he was found because, again, so what? you're alive, but then I remembered that he was a 24-year-old kid who was a personal trainer so of course he thought about that. He was just being honest.
I read some things on the Internet where people speculated that Nick fought the guys off in order to survive, that he murdered them with a gun, that an investigation should have been done to look for evidence of blood or gun powder on him when he was finally found by the Coast Guard. How ridiculous. These guys were his friends! He gave detailed accounts of their deaths, how they foamed at the mouth, how they became delirious from hypothermia, how he held on to his friends' bodies for as long as he could after they died. He told about how they all recited the Lord's prayer and how they talked about their families. Why would he make all that up?
People are so weird.
I read a blogger's post of the Oprah episode where Nick tells his story. If you'd like to read more about this story, it's pretty interesting.
Do I Recommend?
Oh my gosh, YES.
Source: Bought it at Sam's.