Coast Guard

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The Casie Nicole

What Happened to the Crew

of the Casie Nicole

This is the story of the Casie Nicole, a boat captained by Billie Joe Neesmith

On April 11, 1990, Nathan Neesmith, his brother Billy Joe Neesmith, his nephew Keith Wilkes, and his friend Franklin Brantley set off from McIntosh County pier in Georgia to go on a seven-day commercial fishing expedition. Their ship, Casie Nicole, had just recently been docked for maintenance. They took it to an uncharted reef off the coast of South Carolina. Early in the morning on April 12, their boat capsized and quickly took on water. They had to abandon the ship, so they boarded a raft. Nathan Neesmith left the other three men in the raft with some food and went off in a wooden box to go find help. He was rescued five days later, but the rest of the men were never found. The only things ever found were a sleeping bag and a life vest. To this day their fate is unknown.

One probable conclusion was that the men simply drowned at sea. While that is wholly possible, there were?strange phone calls?from a man who didn?t speak English, which made the families of the missing men think they were still alive. Starting about six weeks after the disappearance and continuing over the next year, there were seven calls made in all. Four were made to Nathan?s sister, and the other three were made to a man named Doug Tyson, the owner of?Casie Nicole. The caller would just repeat the phone number, say the name of the person he was calling and the name of one of the missing men, Billy Joe. In the last call, the man said he was going?to bring them home. However, the men were never seen again.

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Terry Jo Duperrault, immediately before her rescue by the Captain Theo.

Terry Jo Duperrault, immediately before her rescue by the Captain Theo.

Orphaned on the Ocean

?A young girl alone on a raft. A mysterious yacht accident. A missing family. It’s a strange and tragic tale

Terry Jo had somehow survived four days on that float at the mercy of daytime heat and night time cold without food or water. Worse even than that was the secret she carried when she was found near death in the Northwest Providence Channel in the Bahamas by a passing Greek freighter.

A lookout had spotted, the authors stated, “the last thing that could possibly be there: a beautiful blond-haired girl looking up and feebly waving.” The picture taken of the girl on water would quickly cover two pages in Life magazine.

Soon, all flotation devices would be coloured orange because of Terry Jo Duperrault, a doctor’s daughter who awoke in her cabin aboard the Bluebelle on Nov. 12, 1961, to hear her brother scream, “Help, Daddy, help!”

Because she was a nearly invisible white speck in a sea of whitecaps, a Coast Guard board of inquiry into the case recommended “that consideration be given to amending the specifications for buoyant apparatus … to require that the body of such lifesaving equipment be painted international orange.”

Soon, rafts, life vests and even some rescue helicopters were orange. Only few know why.

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The Sarah Joe after she was found and pulled from the sand.

The Sarah Joe after she was found and pulled from the sand.

The Mystery?of Sarah Joe

The ocean is a prime spot for mystery-it’s vast, violent, and unknowable. One of the most curious tales comes in the form of the Sarah Joe.

The 17-foot?Boston Whaler went out from a busy port, was crewed by a number of responsible people, then disappeared. But this story takes a twist because rather than the usual ?was never heard from again,? this boat actually turned up years later. And rather than answer many of the questions, its discovery only added to the mystery.

Scott Moorman was born in 1952 and grew up in the San Fernando Valley. He watched the TV series?Adventures in Paradise?as a child and started telling his parents that one day he was going to move to Hawaii. He married young and had a son, but his dream of living in Hawaii never left so when Scott and his young wife called it quits in 1975, he fulfilled his dream by moving to the small community of Nahiku on the east coast of Maui.

Nahiku was a town of native Hawaiians and a growing population of “haoles,” mostly?Caucasian refugees looking for their version of paradise – hippies, earth?mamas,?nature freaks and Vietnam vets trying to forget. Women and men both wore their hair long, grew and smoked dope, lived with each other with no thought of being married and partied way more than they worked.

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