Lost at Sea and Supposed Dead

Here’s a photo of the Zambak, a newspaper clipping (incomplete) about the episode with a picture of Mari on the cover, and some e-mail exchanges explaining more of what happened.

There is a fuller story he sent me on 25 Dec 2013 that you might enjoy.

The Zambak

Patrick wrote the following back-story:

Here is the boat I bought for 500 dollars in Izmir.  The first day out, after getting her fixed up, a storm tore up the mainsail and blew us onto a sand reef.  The captain of the fishing boat who pulled us off lost a finger in the winch.  We (bandmaster Billy Bielmeir and I) spent the night in the bar of a safe harbor, while helicopters and rescue people searched after the storm cleared. The next day we tied up what was left of the mains’l and using that and the jib, we limped back to the yacht club in Izmir.  Meanwhile the newspaper AKSAM had reported us lost at sea and supposed dead.  The photo shows Mari receiving the news.  She was surprised when I arrived at our apartment, needless to say. The guy in the uniform was the piano player in the band I played in after leaving Billy’s band after an argument with his agent.


Turkish Newspaper Describing the Lost Zambak Episode

Mustafa, a Turkish racing friend, translated the article fragment as follows:

It says an American and a German were saved after battling the waves for 6 hours. The German was working at the NATO base and the American was a teacher. The headline reads ” The survivors will give a boat to their saviors” 
He added:
No worries man,
I got shipwrecked near a fisherman’s village in 1984, not too far from
where your dad had to battle the waves. The Aegean can be a bitch
during the Black Fig Storms.
Just send me the date and I’ll make a few calls, maybe we can get a
full copy of the paper from the archives.
Patrick responded with:

As I recall, this was around Easter in 1963, but I’m not sure, could have been in 1964.  Maybe Fred’s letters will fix me a date.  We had planned to route of Homer’s Ulysses – he was to bring sponge rubber mattresses, which at the time were not available in Izmir. There are several letters, between us, ending in the cancellation.  Robert was already in Athens, expecting to meet up with us.  Little did I know the complications.  I would first have to pass a marine pilot’s license test (in Turkish), just to leave the coastal area.  I started studying Turkish, but never got that far.  Probably just as well.  To head into the open sea with so little experience might have sent me to Davy’s Locker.

Maybe I should just send you Fred Young’s letters, starting at the end of the files going back to the 60’s, instead of the M files.

I’ll dig them out later.  No luck, I started digging, and zilch.  I did find however a couple of letters from Bob Fellet a military friend in Ezmire telling me that he had a nibble on the Zambak, for $200 – that’s shows how long ago that all took place!  That letter was dated 31 Oct, 1963, which means that was the year of the storm, probably in May – if I recall the dates of my visit to Rome and Athens with Mari, having given up on the Zambak trip.  Returned from Italy with Milo and Barbara to Izmir, and soon thereafter left for Salzburg in a VW beetle, having lost my job, sold my bass and guitar, plus who knows what else, and building a wooden baggage rack, we started the endless drive.  (On the way down to Izmir, I think I told you, in the middle of the night we reached a point in the road where the sign was waving back and forth in the wind, so we took the right fork in the highway, which was going the wrong way, toward Sarajevo, not Skopje. This was fortunate, because had we gone the right way, we would have been in a hotel there the night of the devastating earthquake http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1963_Skopje_earthquake.)

Thanks to Mustafa for the translation – this is the first time I heard that we I had promised a boat to the rescuers.  Probably I should have, since one of the crew members – or was he the captain? lost a finger, and after all, the boat was left in dry dock when we were given 24 hours to leave the country.  Then, in Turkey, foreigners with no job lost permission to stay. When your mother found me working, teaching for the US Air Force, Mr. Price, the Baptist fundamentalist principal had no choice, in his opinion to let me go. The proper reaction would have been to garnishee my miserable salary, and Mari’s as well.

So unless the Aksam has digitized its back editions (in Tampa, for instance, you can search back to 1895 now! in the Tampa papers), then I don’t know how to track down the date of that article.  I should have scribbled the date, but then, who would’ve thought?

Another beautiful day here, and relaxed briefly with a book in the sun – I have to learn how to slow down and enjoy, never my strong suit.