The U.S. Coast Guard captured an amazing rescue on video of a Frenchman with a damaged sailboat about 400 miles south of Cold Bay, Alaska. The video shows the dramatic moment when Emmanuel Wattecamps, 28, jumped onto a rescue ship with his new pet cat tucked safely under his jacket.
Wattecamps, a sailor originally from Brittany, France, along with his cat Pipalup were on their way to Chili when his 30-foot sailboat, named La Chimere, was damaged. Wattecamps activated a location beacon from his sailboat on Tuesday after a rogue wave briefly capsized the boat, causing it to take on water.
Wattecamps said: “Words cannot describe the feelings and emotions I experienced that long cold night waiting for rescue, wondering if someone, anyone would be able to locate us in time.” He added, “With little Pipalup tucked away in my inner jacket for warmth, my diminishing spirits were getting the best of me until that moment came… A large ship headed right for me.”
He is so appreciative of the U.S. Coast Guard and the Swedish ice-breaking ship named the Tor Viking for saving his life and that of his ‘best friend’ Pipalup. With his cat tucked inside his jacket for warmth, Wattecamps recalls how he felt upon seeing the rescue boat approaching. “I don’t doubt that Pipalup could likely feel my heart when it began to surge with both excitement and relief.”
Amazingly, this was not the first time the sailor rescued the kitten. According to Wattecamps, one evening while at the docks in Dutch Harbor, a desperate call for help was heard coming from a pile of fishing equipment on the side of the road. Upon investigating the sound, Wattecamps noticed a tiny little black and white head pop out of a frayed empty sack.
“I had met my tiny little Pipalup. One look at her in the cold harsh night and I knew she was left for dead. One look from those eyes and she captured my heart. She crawled out to meet me and it was then I knew she was destined to be a sailor. She quickly lived up to her destiny as she took to the rocking of the sailboat as if she was born for life at sea.”
While the news that Wattecamps and Pipalup (a.k.a. Pip) are safe is truly wonderful, there remains a dark cloud over the calm seas. The sailor no longer has a sailboat. La Chimere is probably now resting at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean.
La Chimere has taken Wattecamps to Spain, Portugal, Caribbean, Bermuda, Newfoundland, Greenland, Northwest Passages, until its final voyage from Dutch Harbor, Alaska. For those who would like to help him purchase another sailboat, Wattecamps has set up a GoFundMe. Click here to donate, and to see photos of the seafaring pair.