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Fisherman asked God for help

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Wayne Redman’s not a religious man, but he called in a favour from a divine authority when confronted with death on Tauranga Harbour last Friday night.

“I looked up and said to Him, ‘I look after your number one girl that’s my partner. Now you can look after me’,” the 60-year-old told SunLive.

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Wayne Redman survived a life-threatening night in the water last Friday.

Wayne was wallowing in icy cold water in the dead of night after his three and a half metre ‘tinny’ capsized.

A tearful Wayne says thankfully, his prayer was answered.

His ordeal began when he tried to move fishing spots off the bottom of Sharp Road in Katikati. The anchor fell off the foredeck and the rope tangled around the prop, stalling the outboard motor.

“I lifted the outboard to untangle it and because all the weight was at the back of the boat, a couple of waves swept in. The boat went over and I went into the tide.”

He spent the next 12 hours on the hull and in the water alongside the upturned boat.

“The boat probably saved me.”

He also suffered “wicked bouts of cramp”, and some dark thoughts.

“I knew I was in big trouble. I thought I was going to die. I thought about my kids, who would be at my funeral and whether I should just gulp water to make me drown quickly.”

But then some resolve set in and mind games began.

“For a long time I was peering just above the water level pretending I was a US Navy Seal on a mission to attach a limpet mine to an enemy ship. I feel stupid, but it stopped me shaking from the cold and took my mind off things.”

Wayne says there was another mistake.

“No-one actually knew where I was.”

His partner Eve Smith was at work and trying to phone and text him. His cellphone was at the bottom of the harbour.

“It should have been in a plastic bag and attached to the boat somehow,” says Wayne with hindsight.

And it wasn’t until she arrived home at 11pm and discovered Wayne’s car and boat gone that she twigged.

“I actually suffered more trying to get ashore through the mangroves. It was impossible.”

“I was so exhausted I made a little bed of mangrove branches in about 15cm of water and lay down and went to sleep for an hour and a half. It was so good I didn’t care if I didn’t woke up.”

Later it took him an hour and a quarter to progress just a few metres across the tidal flats, but eventually, shortly after dawn on Saturday and more than 12 hours after his boat capsized, he knocked on the door of a local farmer at Aongatete, east of Katikati.

“I gave him a real fright. And I asked him to ring the police because I thought they may be looking for me,” says Wayne.

“They were beautiful and couldn’t do enough. His ‘missus’ even gave me Weetbix which I had difficulty eating because I was so cold.”

Wayne says he did some research and discovered a temperature of 35 is dangerous – life threatening even.

“Well I was 34 when I got to hospital.”

Wayne is now a very grateful man, a different man. And he has a lesson for others.

“I have learned a lot of lessons from this. I am a different man.

“I don’t take life for granted. Don’t hurry things, take time to prepare properly when you are going out in a boat. Look after your cellphone and don’t leave your unattached anchor on the foredeck.”

He is also humbled by the efforts put in by complete strangers on his behalf.

“I have said it a hundred times and I will say it again. We need people like the Coastguard, the Police and surf clubs. If I could bake I would whip them up a cake.”

This ‘changed man’ has pledged to join Coastguard. And yesterday morning he went out and bought himself a new fishing rod.

His other ones are close by his cellphone.

Comments on SunLive

god didn't save him

Posted on 27-09-2014 07:02 | By Conzar

He saved himself.

Saved By God

Posted on 26-09-2014 17:16 | By LyricalSoul

I’d be interested to know whether he now continues to believe in God

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