South Pacific boat rescue; Wisconsin crew responds after whale impact

What would you do if you were sailing in the South Pacific, thousands of miles from land, and your boat sank?

A crew from Muskego said they were in the right place at the right time.

"Can’t see much here, but this is S/V Rolling Stones," Mark Moriarty said in video of the rescue effort. "We’ve ventured off our normal course to go rescue a boat. We have four people in a small life raft and a dinghy."

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It happened around 10 p.m. on March 13. Capt. Geoff Stone, his catamaran and crew of three – brother, friend and father-in-law – took a little detour for a rescue mission.

"Alright, beacon’s out there. We’re getting close, we’re about three-quarters of a mile from them," Moriarty, Stone's father-in-law, said in the video.

Muskego crew rescues S/V Raindancer in South Pacific

FOX6 News caught up with the S/V Rolling Stones crew once they made landfall in Hiva Oa, French Polynesia. 

"We didn’t have to change course too much, because everyone’s leaving Galapagos or Panama and making their way west," Stone said. "They were maybe a half of a degree south of us, so we veered south more and went right up to them."

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"They didn’t have their passports when they first came aboard," said Alex Stone, Geoff's brother.

"We let them aboard anyway," Moriarty said.

Geoff Stone, Alex Stone, Mark Moriarty, Corey Bergdahl

For perspective, from Muskego to the Galapagos is nearly 3,000 miles. The S/V Rolling Stones and the boat that sank, the S/V Raindancer, were traveling from the Galapagos to French Polynesia – nearly 3,500 miles over open ocean. 

About 2,000 miles into that weeks-long journey, the S/V Raindancer crew reported a whale hit their boat – sinking it, leaving them adrift.

Distance from Muskego to the Galapagos Islands

"There is nothing. There are no stops. Literally no land. You don’t pull over for gas. Nothing out there," said Corey Bergdahl, a friend of the Stone family.

"No Kwik Trips!" Moriarty said.

Distance from the Galapagos Islands to French Polynesia

"And this was one or two days after the middle of our journey. Perfectly as far away as we could get from land," added Bergdahl.

After S/V Raindancer sank, its crew used their emergency beacon and satellite comms to send their position.

Muskego crew rescues S/V Raindancer in South Pacific

"They were able to reach their emergency contacts and let them know to spread the word as quickly as possible," Geoff said.

The S/V Rolling Stones was the closest. Geoff and his crew commend the S/V Raindancer for their preparedness. 

"They were ready to act," Bergdahl said.

Crews from the S/V Rolling Stones and S/V Raindancer after South Pacific rescue

"It was very humbling to be able to help them, and it was a great experience and exciting," said Geoff.

It just so happened some guys from Muskego were there to help. 

Geoff and his family will continue their island hopping in the South Pacific for the next year – no doubt with many more adventures on the horizon.