You just can't keep a good sailor down.
A yacht with a solo sailor on board missing for over a month in the Caribbean, and given up for lost, has been found.
His extraordinary story has been spread among cruisers in the area and reported to Cruisers Network Online.
Many long and short-term cruisers knew 80-year-old Lon Matlock on his 32 ft yacht Liberation, and he had spent many seasons in the southern Caribbean and in Venezuela. They also knew that he was a good sailor, a veteran cruisers with more than 30 years experience.
However hope was fading after he had failed to make rendezvous with another boat and had been missing since 3rd February. Health and Welfare alerts were sent out, and cruisers asked to keep a lookout, but there was nothing to indicate what might have been his fate. Had his vessel sunk? Had he fallen prey to ruthless pirates? It seemed the mystery might never be solved.
But then, the Port Captain in Bocas del Toro heard a story of some local people who had in their care the skipper of a yacht that had foundered.
He told his story, which, in the confined waters of the Caribbean, is extraordinary.
He left Colon on February 3, bound for a reunion in Bocas with his good friend and fellow cruiser John, on Mermaid. At some point his motor failed, and then his mainsail ripped. He then drifted around the area for 29 days, before running aground on a reef near the Panama mainland, Playa Rojo, south of Escudo de Veraguas.
After spending the night on the reef, in the morning the local people noticed him and came out to the reef. They rescued him, took him to the chief's home, and then returned to the stranded yacht to salvage his solar panels, the dinghy, jerry jugs and any other valuable gear they could find, and brought it all to the chief's house where Lon was resting.
Upon receiving the news of the strange rescue, the Port Captain in Bocas del Toro personally manned a launch and to fetch him from the village, and brought Lon back to Bocas to receive medical attention.
Here is another story of man lost at sea and his survival story.