Monday, March 3, 2014

Corrections Coming, Schooner Nina

Reporting on the missing Niña story made sense since I had been reporting on another missing yacht, the Lady Domina.  Little did I know, my casual reporting would turn into a major blog about the search for the Niña.  It has been a cherished experience, working with family members and a dedicated team of volunteers at Texas Equusearch.  As it turns out, there are plenty of errors in my postings which I will repair over the course of time.  

Fortunately, as I got closer to the source, I was able to avoid many errors, like the false report the Niña was not in good shape.  The truth is, the Dyche family made the Niña part of their lives, spending countless hours and their fortune renovating the historic schooner.  The boat was rated as being "sound" in 2012 by professionals who had been aboard her.  This is a major departure from the reports by professional journalists who repeated speculation by people who had never been aboard the Niña and lacked the qualifications to determine her condition if they had been aboard her.

One big error on my part was the inclusion of this photo in the early reports:

I probably got the photo from one of the New Zealand papers.  My error.  This is not the tender that was aboard the Niña.  Instead, it is a tender for the boat Ninita.  The tender that is aboard the Niña has pointed or "canoe" ends.  You can see part of the tender in this photograph:

The top of the tender on Nina is covered, but clearly,
the tender has a canoe or pointed end.

If the Niña did go down, she left evidence.  Kind people are watching for things that are floating or which have washed up on various beaches.  We know because people have been in contact with the families.  So far, nothing that has been found appears to have any association with Niña.  Still, we don't want lingering misconceptions, so we have included the picture of the tender here.

Some people have asked, 'are they still searching for the Niña this late?'  The answer is a resounding YES!  The families are still searching.  They are working on raising more funds and talking about how best to search remote places.  The Tasman Sea and Pacific are odd places which swallow boats up and spin them in the currents for years.  Just recently, we witnessed the survival of Jose Salvador Alvarenga who had been at sea for 13 to 14 months with no provisions.

The Ninita, sloop rigged

Another false report, again which I checked carefully before going to press, is that Texas Equusearch (TES) has a cross to bear in this search.  We know some people think the non-profit Texas based search organization is making something on the search because we get those veiled emails questioning motives.  For those who are in doubt, the record should be square.  TES volunteers take nothing.  Ralph Baird, Larry Slack and other volunteers have given relentless hours of their valuable time, at cost to family and fortune, to pass the legacy of good tidings in helping locate the missing Niña 7.  They have been troopers in doing what every one of us should be willing to do when a loved one goes missing, which is to pull out all the stops and go full bore, be of service to others.  Yes, people are that dedicated to giving themselves to their community.

If you are just coming to the search for the historic boat and want to read more, you can start here.  The families have an update page which a dedicated volunteer has helped put together for the families.  You can check it out here.

There is a lot of the Niña story which I have not been able to tell.  My silence falls well within the ethics required of a journalist.  One day, there will be "the rest of the story," as Paul Harvey used to say.  One part of the story which remains unwritten, the rescue of the crew.  While I cannot say much, I can say this:  I believe in my heart there is a strong chance this crew is floating in the Tasman Sea or washed up in a remote location.  The families ask all people in the North Tasman Sea to keep a sharp lookout, and for the rest of us to keep the crew in their blessings.  

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